by Alan McArthur
The second district commissioner race in Platte County brings Republican incumbent Jim Plunkett against Democrat challenger Chuck Rankin in next Tuesday’s election.
Plunkett was first elected to the position of commissioner in 2004. Plunkett owns JPI Glass, which specializes in non-residential windows.
Plunkett said he plans to continue focusing on roads and bridges in the second district and to continue carrying out the Roads Master Plan.
“We reorganized public works in 2005 and brought Greg Sager on board (as public works director)” said Plunkett. “This year is one of the first in 15 or 20 years, crews went out and reworked approximately 20 miles of gravel roads. The big goal is to make public works customer friendly. And I want to be sure that we are good stewards of taxpayer money.”
Plunkett said that when he was first elected, the county worked to get the public works department to sell much of the equipment it only used seasonally and now rents the equipment for less money.
Plunkett said he chose to seek reelection because he wants to continue bringing his business skills to county government.
“With my business skills I wanted to bring my financial knowledge to county government,” said Plunkett. “We have a smaller planning and zoning staff than four years ago and that requires people to be more efficient. I hope my track record will speak for itself.”
Plunkett said he is in favor of presenting the parks sales tax before voters again because it sunsets in 2010.
“Voters need to decide,” said Plunkett. “The county currently has over 800 acres of land and a percentage is not improved.”
Plunkett said that the recent parks master plan update showed citizens were concerned with maintaining the current parks property.
Currently part of the parks sales tax revenue is used to pay for the bond payments on the Shiloh Springs Golf Course. According to Plunkett, the cost is about $500,000 a year to pay for the bond payments on the course that was first constructed in 1993, with the county owning the improvements. The land underneath the improvements was actually purchased in 2005.
Plunkett said income from the course covers the day-to-day operations through green fees and other revenue, but is not able to pay the debt on the bonds.
Plunkett said he also hopes to lower the county tax levy again to 1-cent. The levy is currently at 2-cents and was lowered by the commission in September.
Charles Rankin is attempting to unseat Plunkett in the second district commissioner race.
Rankin owns a business out of his home to design transmissions and sell the designs to NASCAR.
Rankin said he decided to run for the county commission because of concerns he has after discussions with the health department. Rankin said that in his home, methane gas was coming back through the sewer trap.
Rankin also said venting the sewer systems would solve the problem of the gas coming back into homes.
“Money is one thing, health is another,” said Rankin.
Rankin said that Canada has had requirements on sewers since 1995 and New Zealand and Australia have air changers required in homes.
Rankin also said that using the parks sales tax revenue to pay for Shiloh Springs should not have been done without voter approval.
“A large amount bleeds out on Shiloh, but we've already incurred the debt and I don't know how to undo it,” said Rankin. “We've got to do something to stop the bleeding.”
Rankin said he supports preserving green space in the county for parks.
“It sounds like people want green space, I am all for green space,” said Rankin. “That is why we moved here. We've got to keep that, I don't know a lot of other areas suited better.”
Rankin said he also thinks the county did not go far enough with the roads sales tax money.
Rankin said he thinks the regulations on sewers need to be addressed and people should consider air-to-air exchangers.
Rankin and Plunkett will face off at the county election on November 4.