Voters will elect two persons to the seven-member board overseeing Water District No. 1 of Johnson County in the April 7 election.
Three-term incumbent Joe Vaughan is being challenged by Dennis Wilson, a former state representative and state senator, for the district’s Position 6 seat.
Five-term incumbent Dick Noon is being challenged for his Position 7 seat by Arthena Easterwood, a Democratic precinct committeewoman.
Newly elected board members will serve four-year terms beginning in May.
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An independent utility not affiliated with Johnson County government, Water District No. 1 serves 400,000 people in a 272-mile service area that includes the cities of Overland Park, Leawood, Lenexa, Shawnee, Fairway, Lake Quivira, Merriam, Mission, Mission Hills, Mission Woods, Prairie Village, Roeland Park, Westwood and Westwood Hills. It also serves portions of Olathe, Spring Hill and unincorporated Johnson County.
Vaughan, 67, president of Joe Vaughan Associates, has served on the board since 2003. District challenges are being addressed proactively, he said.
“Good planning is keeping WaterOne ahead of problems,” he said.
The planning includes a six-year master plan approved in 2013.
“The comprehensive program is designed to meet customer needs through this period,” he said. “Preliminary capital outlay costs for executing various elements have been made.”
Additionally, the Wolcott Treatment Plant in Wyandotte County that went into service six years ago should fortify the district’s needs through 2040, he said. An ongoing program of replacing aging infrastructure is designed to control costs and keep service interruptions to a bare minimum, and four full-time trained inspectors are employed to address backflow issues.
Vaughan is being challenged by Wilson, 64. Availability and deliverability of quality water are the primary challenges facing the water district, he said, particularly as the county grows. Other concerns include addressing state and federal restrictions, should any arise.
“Water is a precious commodity, so any restrictions are a concern,” he said.
Wilson said he wasn’t aware of any problems facing the district regarding water supply and thinks the district has a good program to address backflow issues.
Noon, 79, said the primary challenge facing the district is delivering a high-quality, safe product at a fair and reasonable price to the growing customer base. Daily testing ensures water conforms to Safe Water Act requirements.
“It is a higher quality than the bottled water that is being sold and is far less expensive,” Noon said.
A master plan approved by the board updates and evaluates population demands through 2042, he added. Both water plants are being evaluated, and no infrastructure challenges are apparent, he said.
Noon is being challenged by Easterwood, 41, a business consultant. Easterwood said she is seeking a position on the board to assist with fiscal responsibility and to help the organization provide great customer service, stable rates and reasonable rate increases. Primary challenges facing the district are staying current with technology and replacing hardware, such as water pipes and facility equipment, on a scheduled replacement cycle.
Education: Bachelor’s in journalism, University of Kansas
Occupation: Author/publisher, president of Joe Vaughan Associates, Prairie Village
Elected experience: Johnson County Water District No. 1, 2003-present; current board vice chairman
Education: Southeast High School
Occupation: Independent businessman
Elected experience: Republican precinct committeeman, 1992-93; Kansas House, 1994-99; county treasurer, 2000-05; Kansas Senate, 2005-09
Education: Bachelor’s, LaSalle College; Stonier Banking School, Rutgers University.
Elected experience: Board of Johnson County Water District No. 1, 1995-present
Education: Bachelor’s in psychology, University of Missouri-Kansas City; master’s in business administration, University of Phoenix,; master’s of accounting and financial management, Keller Graduate School of Management.
Occupation: Business consultant
Elected experience: Democratic precinct committeewoman, 2012 and 2014