To the editor:
I am writing to you out of frustration and concern for the war that has taken over our courthouse, a battle that seems to be gaining momentum every week and it is tearing our county in two. I am a lifelong resident of Leavenworth County and I retired from the county after 20 years of service just one year ago.
The battle I am referencing was well-established by the time I retired, but has since accelerated to what we have come to know as out of control. Leavenworth County Treasurer Janice Van Parys took office in 2013. In just eight short months, she filed a lawsuit against the Leavenworth County commissioners. The legal battle cost the taxpayers of our county more than $70,000 in legal fees. But this battle is not yet over.
County Treasurer Janice Van Parys’ spending is out of control. In 2014, Van Parys’ first full year in office, the total expenditures in the Motor Vehicle fund exceeded total receipts by $53,027, a 40 percent increase since taking office. This same year, Van Parys violated Kansas Budget Law K.S.A. 8-145 as reported in the 2014 audit report when she reversed a $38,000 transfer from the General fund.
Probably no one remembers when the previous County Treasurer Janice Young was in office. There were no confrontations with the commissioners and never any complaints from the residents since customer service was priority. But one thing I do remember is how gracious she was with the excess monies collected from the Motor Vehicle fund. Look back on any motor vehicle budget prior to 2012 and you will find excess money transferred to the General fund and always sufficient funds remaining to carry over and start the next year. In 2009, $100,000 was transferred to the general fund, $70,000 was transferred in both 2010 and 2011, always with sufficient cash carryover. That excess money supported other projects and assisted with maintaining our mill levy.
We don’t have to be concerned with transfers following 2017 because there is no money to transfer from the county treasurer’s fund. The Leavenworth County treasurer’s 2017 proposed combined budgets exceed $1 million, a 56 percent increase since taking office, an unprecedented first. The proposed total expenditures in the Motor Vehicle fund exceed the proposed receipts by $117,797 and exhausts 100 percent of the unencumbered cash balance. Where is the money coming from to dig her out of this hole?
Our county commissioners are elected to oversee the spending of our tax dollars in our best interest and to maintain a reasonable mill levy. If our commissioners are not fighting her spending, then they certainly are not representing us.
Don’t allow this battle to destroy our community. Let’s get back to business. Make your vote count on Nov. 8.
Diane Collins is the campaign treasurer for Kelly Kultala, who is running against Janice Van Parys for Leavenworth County treasurer in the Nov. 8 general election.