Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Bob Archer: JEDO Board Is the Correct Size

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Bob Archer: JEDO Board Is the Correct Size

Article excerpt

The Topeka City Council's revised version of the Interlocal Agreement, in which the city has requested 10 voting seats on the Joint Economic Development Organization board, is ill-advised and would be detrimental to the organization and Shawnee County taxpayers.

First, it is important to note that in November 2014, the citizens of Shawnee County gave JEDO, in its current form, a resounding vote of confidence by approving a 15-year extension of the sales tax. More than 38,000 Shawnee County voters supported extending the sales tax for projects until 2031, representing more than 65 percent of the vote. This demonstrates that our community approves of the job that the JEDO board has been doing thus far.

Sales tax dollars will be used for the Kansas Expocentre, the Topeka Zoo, the Bikeways Master Plan, economic development, 13 road projects and county bridge projects.

In my seven years on the JEDO board, the current governance structure has proven effective and efficient. All infrastructure projects have been completed on time and under budget, jobs and capital investment have come to Topeka/Shawnee County, the public has been engaged and transparency efforts have improved.

It is important to recognize that currently all members of the city governing body and all county commissioners are members of JEDO. As stakeholders they can and should attend all meetings, participate in discussions and provide needed input. The voting members of JEDO include the county commissioners, the mayor, deputy mayor and two council members selected by the full city council. Although the city and county are equal partners, the city currently has a 4-3 voting majority.

Shawnee County commissioners represent all residents of Shawnee County, including Topeka residents. In fact, the majority of each commissioner's constituents are residents of Topeka. …

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