Wyandotte County’s turnaround began in 1995 when voters elected Carol Marinovich mayor. A short time later, they astutely agreed to merge city and county governments, and they followed that decision by wisely choosing Joe Reardon as mayor in 2005.
The current mayor, Mark Holland, has served very much in the white-hat, progressive tradition of Marinovich and Holland. In fact, Holland often says, “I stand on the shoulders of giants.”
Voters should back the mayor for another four years. The reasons are clear: Holland has kept the momentum going, and he can cite his own list of impressive accomplishments.
Among them: The city is aggressively tackling blight. It’s taken a hard look at spending in the fire and police departments, which is necessary in a county where public safety now accounts for more than 60 percent of the budget. The Unified Government has lowered property tax rates, which have long ranked as a countywide scourge, although more needs to be done. The mayor’s downtown health campus is on track for a groundbreaking come spring.
Wyandotte County also has attracted a major new employer in Amazon, and more than one-third of the new jobs created went to county residents. On top of all this, the county’s jobless rate is at its lowest point in 30 years; its household income growth is double the statewide average; and its population, long in decline, has started to rebound.
That’s a record worth rewarding.
Holland’s opponent, David Alvey, has struggled to make the case that a change is needed in the mayor’s office. He has talked of aggressively cutting taxes while tackling the county’s backlog of deferred maintenance. Doing both would be tough.
Mark Holland has earned a second term.