Before COVID-19 I was concerned about the direction our county and region were headed. The Riley County Flint Hills area has been blessed over the years with strong economic growth and development. However, clouds had appeared on the horizon. Now COVID-19 has turned those clouds into the largest storm ever. Originally my campaign slogan was to be “A New Direction for Riley County”. It is now “Bringing Riley Co. Back”.

The Initial Clouds
  • Ever-increasing taxes and fees that are creating affordability issues for young families, retirees, and farmers

  • Sales tax revenue and property valuations flattening out

  • Rental vacancy rates rising

  • KSU enrollment, since peaking in 2014, dipped to a 20-year low and the demographics do not look good going forward

  • Empty businesses and storefronts, as it has become more difficult to attract new businesses and top talent

  • Economic development has become crucial, not only for Manhattan, but also for the sustainability of our rural communities, and smaller cities

The Attack Plan
  • Pandemic Response: Keep safety the priority while working to reopen the economy to lessen the health and financial impacts of the economic downturn; maintain vital county services while eliminating discretionary spending to account for reduced tax revenues and the inability of many to afford of any type of mill rate increase; do more with less

  • Transparency: Have county commission meetings broadcast online, publicize meeting topics well in advance of the meetings, and hold key topics (like budgets, real estate purchases) meetings in the evening to allow for greater attendance

  • Reach out to our citizens to understand and address their concerns 

  • Review county operations, complete long-term projections, and develop an organizational structure and operating model that is sustainable and affordable

  • Work with other local government entities and other counties to determine where we can combine forces, streamline operations and eliminate duplication – be it facilities, services, or administration

  • Become a key partner in economic development efforts, pushing for what is best for the overall region while making sure rural areas are included

  • Lobby the state on regional issues, including for K-State, as well as for state policies that will enhance the market competitiveness of Kansas

The Leadership to Succeed
  • 35 years of executive experience driving efficiencies, lowering costs, and improving services

  • Management of operations with budgets and staffs larger than Riley County

  • Responsible for the movement of billions of dollars of merchandise on an annual basis

  • Working for and with such companies as Foot Locker, Walt Disney, Macy’s Federated, McKinsey and Company, Accenture, KPMG, Nike, Adidas, and others

  • A key player in major company reorganization and cooperation efforts

  • Former Manhattan City Commissioner & Mayor

  • Former Chairman of the Riley County Law Board

Bringing Riley Co. Back

Paid for by Matta For Riley County Commission, Kristi Harmer Treasurer