Leavenworth County commissioners discussed transportation projects and other issues Tuesday when meeting with officials from the Mid-America Regional Council.
"I'm looking forward to deepening our relationship with you," David Warm, MARC's executive director, said to the commissioners.
According to the organization's website, MARC is a non-profit association of city and county governments in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The organization acts as a planning agency for the region, serving a nine-county area.
Ahead of Tuesday's meeting, Commissioner Dennis Bixby had expressed concern that Leavenworth County was underrepresented in MARC.
Bixby said Tuesday that he hoped the commissioners and MARC officials had started a dialogue.
Bixby and Commission Chairman Bob Holland serve on MARC's Board of Directors. Each has an alternate for representation on the board. Holland's alternate is Mark Preisinger, mayor pro-tem of Leavenworth. Bixby's alternate is William Peak, a member of the Tonganoxie City Council.
Preisinger and Peak also participated in Tuesday's meeting. County Administrator Pat Hurley participated as well. And Warm was joined by Mell Henderson, MARC's director of transportation.
Warm provided an overview of MARC.
"We are governed by a board of elected officials," he said.
He said MARC is not a government entity. He said the organization brings communities together, identifying common objectives.
Bixby discussed the idea of an outer beltway highway for the western Kansas City area that would pass through Leavenworth County. He argued it would benefit the county as well as the rest of the metropolitan area.
Commissioners also discussed the idea of a new Centennial Bridge with four lanes as well as a four-lane highway extending from the bridge in Missouri.
Warm said he's having a similar meeting with the Platte County, Mo., Commission. He said this issue is probably worth spending some time on.
Henderson said one thing that can help is being clear on the county's priorities for transportation. He said the county has had a revolving door in the past regarding priorities.
Warm said there are only so many resources available.
"It's got to be clear what you want to walk away with," he said.
Holland asked if smaller cities that don't have the means to financially support MARC are still represented by the organization.
Warm answered, "Absolutely."
He acknowledged that MARC is supported by dues from local governments and cities are asked to make contributions. He said MARC receives good participation from cities in Leavenworth County.
Holland later asked if there's additional MARC committees the county should be participating in.
Warm said he will double check but there was nothing "glaring." He said he believes the county is covered in terms of core operational matters.