Name: Kanyon Gingher

Position you are running for: City Commission, City of Arkansas City

Family members (e.g. spouse, children, grandchildren): Three children

How long have you lived in Arkansas City?

Over 20 years.

Have you served on any boards previously?

I have served on several boards.

Why did you choose to run for this position?

To enhance the quality of life for Arkansas City and its citizens.

South Central Kansas Medical Center (SCKMC) currently owes around $2 million to the City of Arkansas City in loan repayment, plus continued special assessment payments. SCKMC has promised to start repaying the city by the beginning of 2018. What steps, if any, do you think should be taken to address this issue? In general, what does the city need to do to ensure continued financial stability for SCKMC? Do you think significantly reorganizing and/or selling SCKMC should occur, and if so, why?

The current situation with the hospital should be addressed. The hospital has made strides to improve their situation. I think an overall review of their financial position and long-term outlook would need to be completed to fairly assess their situation. I believe the community should have a facility for health care needs as it is a quality-of-life issue.

The City of Arkansas City in 2018 will provide $75,000 to Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum, $45,000 to Cowley First, $30,000 to the Cowley County Humane Society, $17,200 to the City-Cowley County Health Department and $10,000 to the Arkansas City Area Chamber of Commerce. Do you think any of these amounts should be increased, decreased or eliminated in future years, and if so, why?

Support to outside agencies enhances quality of life for our citizens. The city services are important, but there are also arts, culture and science arenas to round out growth of a population base.

Citizens and visitors want to see culture, health and educational programs integrated into a well-balanced lifestyle. Outside agencies complement the work and efforts of all the citizens of Arkansas City.

The 2018 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) outlines a $4 million reconstruction project for North Summit Street from Kansas Avenue to Radio Lane. This project would impact many businesses and likely need to be paid for by issuing some debt. What is your opinion of this proposal, and why?

The city produces minimal income and is therefore dependent upon the tax base. Population is the key component in driving the tax base. Without visitors and growth/retaining current population, the city cannot make substantial improvements as the tax base may not support them.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) have indicated substantial upgrades need to be made to the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), which is more than 50 years old. A $22.25 million project is proposed over the next two years. There is cash to cover the first phase, but the second phase would require a loan similar to the one KDHE issued for the new Water Treatment Facility. Some parts of the current WWTP can be upgraded and reused. What is your opinion of this project, and why?

Additional information on this topic would need to be reviewed by me to answer appropriately. I do understand that the WWTP will need maintenance/updates and is a key component to city services.

The CIP includes $500,000 annually for continued water line replacement, as well as $1.75 million in 2019 for a new water tower and redundant water line to serve Arkansas City east of the Walnut River. How much priority should these projects, as well as ongoing well rehabilitation efforts, be given in future city budgets? Should more or less money be spent on new water lines?

The overall project would need to be reviewed. Determination of needs relating to this issue would need to be prioritized. This review should be done after the new WTP comes online in 2018.

A mandatory requirement for our citizens is clean, usable water.

The Wilson Park Master Plan has received a lot of coverage this year. Currently, the plan is to use very little city funds for this project, with the majority of the cost being paid for by private donors. Do you think the city should allocate public money to make this plan become a reality? How many years do you think it should take to complete the entire master plan improvements?

I do not believe city funds should be used for the additions/renovations to the park. The plan was introduced as a private donor project, which it should remain. While the theory behind the project is good, the park is not in dire need of updates so this project is a “want” instead of a “need.” All projects based on “want” should be evaluated and ranked by priority as money is readily available.

The City of Arkansas City plans to transition to four-day sanitation and start a pilot curbside recycling program east of the Walnut River later this year or early next year. Would you like to see a full-blown curbside recycling program throughout the city, and if so, should it be mandatory? Alternatively, should sanitation be privatized, and if so, why?

A curb-side recycling program should not be mandatory. There are over 19,000 cities in our country and almost every one of them operates their own sanitation department. The taxpayers in this community have already invested significant amounts of money for trucks and receptacles. We need to evaluate a way to make this work.

The City of Arkansas City plans to spend $100,000 a year for the next 10 years to tear down dangerous structures. Do you think this is too much or too little money, or should the city stop tearing down dangerous structures entirely?

I believe all can agree that having dangerous structures in our community is an issue. When condemnation of a property is at issue, there should be a long-term approach versus collateral issues. The safety of a structure versus lack of utilities are not one in the same issue. We should not take a lead-foot approach when potentially removing people from their homes.

City staff have indicated the need to find a new dedicated funding stream for streets to be able to do any major projects in the future, beyond very basic maintenance. A street sales tax is unlikely as long as 1.5% of the current sales tax goes to SCKMC. What do you think the City of Arkansas City should do to address this?

A determination on the long-term potential solutions for the hospital should be developed first.

A $50,000 master plan study of Paris Park, Paris Park Pool, the Agri-Business Building and surrounding facilities is planned in 2018. In particular, the pool and the Ag Building need a lot of investment into deferred maintenance. What is your vision for that area? (Please be specific.)

The Paris Park area and facilities should remain public access.

There is a plan to complete the hike-bike trail loop in the next couple of years. What kinds of alternative transportation options (bike lanes, new sidewalks and crosswalks, hike-bike extensions, etc.) do you want to see in the future, if any, as part of a 10- or 20-year Complete Streets Plan?

It would be important to access information from the citizens on the potential for the completion of the hike-bike trail and alternative transportation options.

How important is brick rehabilitation to you? How much money do you think the City of Arkansas City should spend on it? Should the city just focus on the downtown area and pave over residential streets, or address bricks equally throughout the entire community?

Brick streets are economical if correctly completed. Over time, many of the brick streets have been paved over or not restored appropriately. Restoration of the streets may not be an option due to infrastructure issues. Very few resources are available for bricklaying, both in repair and replacement. A cost-benefit analysis should be conducted to ascertain the feasibility. We should approach each street as needed.

Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you or why you are seeking this position?

I am a citizen who is concerned about the overall health, welfare and future growth of our community.

This information was provided by Kanyon Gingher, candidate for the City Commission of Arkansas City.