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Jankovich to seek re-election

By Corene Brisendine

Commissioner Rich Jankovich on Friday for for re-election in the 2013 city commission race. Jankovich was elected in 2010 to a two-year term.

“I think the biggest thing is to maintain the positive direction the city is going in right now, and being as fiscally responsible as we can and not forgetting what our community is really about,” Jankovich said.

He said his record speaks for itself.

In the past two years, Jankovich has supported the renewal of the half-cent sales tax, the expansion of the airport, the larger map of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the commission’s work on bringing NBAF to Manhattan, the work on reducing Wildcat Creek flooding and the work on developing stronger partnerships with Fort Riley.

Jankovich said he sees the voters passing the renewal of the sales tax as a message to commissioners to continue growing the community and using taxpayers’ money to develop it.

On working on the budget, Jankovich said they have been doing more to plan for future projects, especially Community Improvement Projects and debt management.

“We are at a phenomenal time in the community because our bond rating is really strong, and our interest rates are extremely low,” he said. “We just did a refunding of a bond issue, and it saved the citizens a substantial amount of money. . . So, I think those are the kinds of things that give me hope as to how we are going to go in the future, and how I work.”

Jankovich said he is still concerned about the redevelopment projects on the north and south ends, but was happy to hear Friday that September’s sales taxes topped $1 million.

“When I was a youngster, I never imagined Manhattan would see a billion dollars in retail sales, and there’s a strong possibility we will peak that in 2012,” he said. “That’s an incredible thing to think about. That tells me we have people wanting to come here and enjoy Manhattan. I think it’s critical that we keep that positive momentum going.”

Jankovich also said he supports the expanded map for the Metropolitan Planning Organization because it includes Junction City and Fort Riley, which he said is an important part of this community. He said the larger map is a “much more cohesive plan for how we can generate traffic” and help it “flow around our communities.”

Jankovich said his work on the Wildcat Creek Board is important to him, and he would like to continue working with the group to ensure improvement on the flooding areas and making sure when development of properties occurs in those areas it does not contribute to flooding.

“We joke a lot in the meetings that all our work has kept us from having floods, but it is really fortunate that we haven’t had the rain incidents,” Jankovich said. “And that’s not to be taken lightly because the land, home and business owners were seriously impacted, and I’ve talked to each of them.”

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