Thursday, February 14, 2013


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: We continue our questionnaires with Hal Walker, who's running for the UG At Large 2 Commissioner's Seat. 

1. What in your background (or what experience) makes you believe you are qualified to serve on the Unified Government Board of Commissioners?

I served as Chief Legal Counsel to the Unified Government and as City Attorney for 23 years, giving me the unique perspective of understanding the legal and operational basis of municipal government from both the county and city perspective. I also served for 23 years as Chief Counsel to the Board of Public Utilities and gained an understanding of the importance of the utility to the present and future of our community. I will have both knowledge and experience at making high-level difficult decisions and the independent resources to reach a decision without undue reliance on administration and staff.

2. As a candidate, what would be your top three priorities as a commissioner in Wyandotte County? 
  • Tax reduction, tax reduction and tax reduction.  The top priority of the UG should be to implement tax reduction in advance any economic “windfall” that may come from the Village West/Legends/Speedway bond payoff. Our citizens cannot wait for five to seven more years to gain real relief; funds received from casino and the payoff of the bonds should be tied directly to tax relief and reduction of the PILOT paid to the UG through the BPU billing reducing a “Hidden” tax.
  • Development of office, warehouse and industrial park(s) to attract jobs that generally pay a more livable wage than retail.
  • Revitalization of the urban core East of I-635 and South of the Kansas River that have not shared in the retail boom of the Western part of the City to provide the amenities and quality of neighborhood life throughout the county.
3. A two-part question - What distinguishes you as the top candidate for this position and what differences should voters in Wyandotte County look at before making their choice?

I have the knowledge and experience to know the job having observed the best and the worse in elected official for my 23 years as Chief Counsel. I know the laws and understand the operational mechanics of municipal government. This frees me from depending upon staff for making independent decisions. Voters should look to experience and knowledge as the best indicators

4. In the next three to four years, millions of dollars will become available after the city finishes off paying bonds that were issued to increase the economic development in Western Wyandotte County. As a commissioner on the Unified Government’s board, how would you encourage that money to be spent?  

I believe the people expect that the money will be used to reduce taxes, fees and the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) paid to the UG on the BPU bill.

5. What in your opinion are the three biggest challenges facing Wyandotte County? If you feel there are more than three to list, feel free too. 
  • Tax reduction (including fees and PILOT); 
  • Neighborhood preservation combined with economic development in those communities; 
  • Meeting the economic challenges of the Federal and State unfunded mandates; 
  • Preserving the BPU as a viable economic engine for development  and helping it meet the demands of the Federal government for present and future governmental regulations and Federal and State environmental modifications to existing plants to retain family sustaining jobs within Wyandotte County rather than continuing to import power production from  outside the county.
  • A more aggressive timetable for replacement and construction of basic infrastructure needs throughout the county but focused on the urban core.
6.  Do you feel the Unified Government can do more to increase growth in areas outside of Western Wyandotte County, particularly the northeast part of Wyandotte County? 


Development or limiting of special incentives to narrowly define economically challenged area of the community and by focusing upon the specific needs and wishes of the citizens living in that area.