Candidate Interview, August 6, 2002 Primary
Presiding Commissioner - William R. (Bill) Brenner (Republican)
For Warrensburg Free Press July 18 issue
William R. (Bill) Brenner of Warrensburg is a Republican candidate for Presiding Commissioner. Brenner, who describes his political philosophy as “conservative,” grew up in Johnson County and operated a service station at Gay & Maguire Streets for many years. In 1968 he was elected County Assessor and served until 1990, when he was appointed to the state tax commission. He served there for 11 years, working with a 70-90 person staff. As part of his duties he was a registered lobbyist to allow direct contact with the legislature.
Brenner believes that the most pressing issue to face the county commission over the next 4-8 years is finding ways to hold the line on expenses rather than look for new taxes. He believes that roll-back protection under the Hancock Amendment has been eroded. He thinks that increased needs of county can be met with normal county revenue growth. However, he does not wish to suggest specifics until he has a chance to know the details of current spending commitments. He states that the commission should not initiate a new jail project unless it is requested by the people. He also declines to address questions on county employee numbers and salaries without examining changes brought about by growth. He does not see a need at this time to reallocate the law enforcement sales tax funds, but that the county and city should work together.
Brenner states that the people pretty well answered the question of zoning in the 1997 election. Sewage problems are generally within the jurisdiction of the state and should be handled through state codes. He says that nuisance ordinances are “not any better than the people who administer them” and he hates to see too many rules put in place. He thinks that issues such as zoning and building codes are best left up to the people in the counties.
Brenner says he “thinks the commission has been doing a good job with the roads, but there is always someone who will question the priorities.” He notes that the county has one of the best bridge systems in the state due to the ˝ cent roads and bridges sales tax which is periodically reviewed and reauthorized by the voters. He is concerned that the upkeep on newly paved roads will become quite expensive as the roads age, but that the current system for prioritizing roads for paving seems to work.
Brenner says he has no specific priorities but that the current commissioners are doing a good job. He stated “it’s hard to decide what priorities should be until I get in there and see the resources and what needs to be done.”