Crawford County Commissioners Tom Moody, Carl Wood and Jeff Murphy discussed their plans for 2017.
What do you plan to accomplish in 2017?
Moody: I think one thing we’d like to do is continue to upgrade the county equipment. Some of our trucks have 300-400,000 miles on them, so we’ll be looking to upgrade. We’ll also keep using the taxpayer money wisely.
Wood: We’re also going to continue to improve training and safety. Workman’s compensation cases are down and we’re going to keep them down. We’re going to keep taxes where they are and continue to be frugal with funds. We want to see the county grow and bring in good paying jobs. They are getting ready for an expansion over at the CTEC building, which will hopefully build us a better workforce in 2017.
Murphy: We’ll also be maintaining and upgrading county facilities along with equipment for road and bridge. We’re working on remodeling the courthouse. We’ve done a good job maintaining the roads, so we’ll continue that and continue to support economic development, CTEC, Live Well Crawford County and local foods. Economic development is a big thing to push forward this year. More, good jobs is something we need more than anything else.
How will you accomplish these?
Wood: We’re in the process of building two new facilities to protect equipment and personnel in the road and bridge department. A new bridge is being installed on Centennial starting January 30, and we’re going to keep improving roads.
Moody: We put more chip and seal on roads this past year than in several previous years combined.
Wood: We’re working with the new Kansas Crossing Casino that is going to bring a lot of jobs to the county, we’ve helped the two museums come on board and hope to add a third, and we’re fixing up and redecorating the courthouse. We’ll also keep looking for and offering education opportunities to county employees.
What are some obstacles the county is facing?
Wood: Insurance. Our risk management insurance costs for employees keeps rising.
Moody: Jobs is a big obstacle. We need more work for area residents.
Wood: Highway 69 is another one. We sat three or four years ago and listened to the governor tell us 69 was going to be four lanes from Fort Scott to the Oklahoma border. Getting that through Crawford County would be a huge boost for the area.
How will the county overcome these obstacles?
Wood: Work harder and smarter. I think we’ve started taking a more aggressive route, but we can always be more aggressive. As far as 69 goes, it’s up to the governor.
Moody: We can overcome a lot of these by bringing the different cities together. Sometimes moving forward is all about communication and education. We’re taking a step in the right direction with semi-annual meetings with all the cities. Representative Lusker said there is a possible push to reopen the dog track in Frontenac, which could bring 300 to 400 additional jobs into the area.
Murphy: The economic development committee I sit on works with all the cities to find grants, create programs and work together. We need to look at improvement as “Crawford County” not just as “my city.”
Moody: I think lines of communication between the county and cities are better now than they have been in the last 20 years. That will be a big help going forward.