Archive for Thursday, July 25, 2002

Navinsky, Tellefson run for LVCO 1st district seat

July 25, 2002

Although there will be no primary for the Leavenworth County Commission first district seat, the two candidates for the position are gearing up for the Nov. 5 general election.

Both candidates, current county commissioner Don Navinsky and county resident James Tellefson, said their purpose for running was to help Leavenworth County.

Navinsky, a Democrat, has been on the County Commission since 1995. He has served two terms and said he hopes to serve a third.

"I feel I've done a good job," Navinsky said. "I feel I can continue to do a good job for Leavenworth County and its residents."

Tellefson, the Republican candidate, is a financial counselor, independent stockbroker and insurance agent based in Leavenworth. He, too, believes he can benefit the county by serving as a commission member.

"Leavenworth (County) is looking at a lot of potential," he said. "And yet the waters are froth with problems."

Navinsky said the biggest issue facing the county today and in the future would be managing the rapid amount of growth Leavenworth County is receiving.

"The future of Leavenworth County is planning and zoning because the county is growing so rapidly," he said. "We're the sixth largest county in Kansas by population.

"We don't want to have hap- hazard development all over."

Growth is also on the mind of Tellefson.

He said Leavenworth County could expand its economic base by recruiting more industrial businesses.

"We need to be involved," Tellefson said. "We need to find industries. We need to find more of these businesses."

Navinsky said one of the biggest achievements he has been a part of while on the commission is developing an open line of communication between county and city officials.

He said he was also proud of helping develop the county while maintaining a low mill levy.

"Out of 105 counties, there were only 13 with lower mill levies than Leavenworth County," Navinsky said.

The County Commission is currently in the process of developing the 2003 budget and county officials have said it appears a mill levy increase might not be necessary.

The budget must be finalized and submitted by Aug. 23.

This year's election will be the first time Tellefson has run for public office. However, he said he views the position as a full-time job and would not expand his business or client list while serving as a commission member.

"My intention is to maintain my business, but not take on any new clients," Tellefson said.

"This is not a part-time job. It's a full-time focus."

Also appearing before Leavenworth County voters during the general election will be whether to hire a county administrator.

The three-member Leavenworth County Commission unanimously approved putting the question on the ballot during a meeting Tuesday, June 11.

The County Commission does have the authority to hire an administrator without an election, but commission members said voters should decide the issue.

"I would not want to do that without a vote of the people," Navinsky said.

The question will be placed on the November ballot, instead of the August primary ballot because voter turnout is historically higher during the general election.

Tellefson also agrees that Leavenworth County needs a county administrator.

"We definitely need a county manager," Tellefson said. Hiring a county administrator would help the county in dealing with day-to-day operations as well as budgets, he said.

Currently, there are 14 counties in the state with a county administrator on staff. The list includes Wyandotte and Johnson counties.

According to a report filed with the Kansas Association of Counties, seven of the state's largest counties have county administrators.

The question has been posed to voters during previous elections. It was a discussion item during the 2000 election and was on the ballot in 1998.

Voters rejected the proposal in 1998, by a margin of 7,421 to 5,956.

Navinsky said he was in favor of hiring a county administrator.

"I've come to believe that Leavenworth County is ready for an administrator," he said.

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