Our questions for the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners candidates

The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners makes up the canvass board that certifies election results.

A few weeks ago, we ask readers to submit suggestions for issues they’d like to hear the candidates running for office this fall address. Based on that input, we’ve put together five-item questionnaires for candidates in the several Shawnee Mission area races.

Today we’re releasing our questionnaire for the candidates running for the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners. Those races are:

  • District 1 incumbent Ron Shaffer and challenger Becky Fast
  • District 4 incumbent Jason Osterhaus and challenger Janee’ Hanzlick
  • District 5 incumbent Michael Ashcraft and challenger LeEtta Felter
  • County chair incumbent Ed Eilert and challenger Trinette Waldrup

Here are the questions we’re putting to the candidates:

  • In May, the board of county commissioners unanimously approved awarding at $10.5 million contract to ES&S for 2,100 new voting machines. But the debut of the machines was marked by massive wait times after the never-before-fielded combination of hardware and software failed to generate results reports. Did the board make the right decision in awarding the contract to ES&S? Why or why not?
  • Late last year, the board of county commissioners voted not to renew the contract of County Manager Hannes Zacharias. Was parting ways with Zacharias the right move for Johnson County? Why or why not?
  • Some areas have seen residential property valuations by the Johnson County Appraiser’s Office shoot sharply upward the past few years, leading to thousands of appeals cases. Are you comfortable with the rate of increased residential valuation in Johnson County? Should the county be taking any steps to mitigate property tax burden on residents?
  • What’s your overall view of the role of county government? Is it fulfilling its mission at present? If not, what needs to change?
  • What’s the biggest challenge facing Johnson County today, and what should the county be doing to address it?

We’ll be running candidates’ responses to one question a day for five days starting Monday, October 15.

The last day to register to vote in the fall elections is Tuesday, Oct. 16. Advance voting by mail begins Oct. 17 and advance in-person voting begins Oct. 22.