Jennifer Schartz, Barton County Commissioner from the fifth district, has filed for re-election. At the end of this year, she will have 10 years of experience representing the people of Barton County on the board.
“I have helped lead the county through some really tough economic times,” she said. “I am proud of the fact that the mill levy has remained relatively constant – up less than 2 mills since 2007 – despite the loss of significant revenue streams.
“The county used to receive local ad valorum tax reduction (LATVR) money from the state and machinery and equipment taxes that sometimes netted us about $700,000 yearly. Those are funds that the state promised through legislation that are no longer honored.
“The latest cut to counties by the state is the dissolution of the mortgage registration fee that could result in a loss of another $700,000 annually,” Schartz said.
Additionally, the county’s interest income has fallen from a high of nearly $800,000 in 2007 to only $40,000 last year.
“Barton County will continue to lose income of about $2.2 million annually,” Schartz said. “The only way we have managed to maintain the quality of services our taxpayers have come to expect and deserve is by careful and prudent cuts to the budget and good planning.
“It is easy for people to complain about high taxes and for candidates to promise to lower taxes,” she said. “During the past decade I have worked diligently to balance spending with services and promise to continue to do so, if I am re-elected.
“I am proud of the fact that our county’s mill levy is the 95th lowest in the state out of 105 counties,” she said, “and also that Barton County is only one of five counties that carries no debt.”
A few of the successful projects Schartz has been involved with include:
• Maintaining paved county roads as some of the best in the state,
• Fixing the curves and the railroad crossing on Boyd Road,
• Completing the new jail and sun setting the sales tax that paid for it,
• Hiring a fair and professional county appraiser,
• Making a loan to CPI and having it repaid,
• Expansions at the sanitary landfill,
• Improvements at the county-owned cemeteries including a veterans’ memorial,
• Offering incentives to Red Barn to locate here,
• Supporting the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway, which has gained national significance,
• Creation of a strategic plan and an economic advisory board,
• Paving the compost road, and
• Purchasing and implementing commercial software and a new website.
“I have always invited comments from the public when they need help and will continue to work steadfastly to achieve a fair result for everyone,” Schartz said. “I am honest, hardworking and always strive to look at the big picture when making decisions instead of seeking a quick fix.
“I believe that the best, most efficient government is that which is closest to the people,” she said. “I have to look into the eyes of my friends and neighbors and answer directly to them on a daily basis. I think my years of experience will continue to serve them well.
“I have proudly served the people of the fifth district and consider myself a public servant, not a politician,” she said. “I have no agenda other than to continue serving my constituents in a thoughtful, deliberate way. It is my hope that I have proven myself worthy of another four years in office.”
Schartz also works as the public information director for USD 428. Her husband of 36 years, Shannon, is a retired Great Bend Middle School teacher. They have three children, Melanie Lewis, a nurse at Great Bend Regional Hospital; a son, Dane, who lives and works for the Kansas City Royals in Independence, Mo.; and Brianna, a 2014 Great Bend High School graduate who will attend Kansas State University in the fall.
If you wish to discuss county issues with Schartz, please feel free to call her at 620-639-2395.