Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau filed Wednesday for re-election to his District 4 seat, saying he has a “keen eye for finding unnecessary and wasteful spending.”
The Republican filed by petition to continue to represent the north-central part of the county including Park City and Valley Center.
Ranzau, a former physician’s assistant, is known for peppering staff and his colleagues with questions about spending.
The 49-year-old said he was running again because “there’s still work to be done. We still need to change the culture of spending here at the county. There’s room for improvement.”
He highlighted in a news release what he considers some of his top accomplishments. He pushed to sell a cell tower on county land at auction instead of directly to Pixius Communications, a move county staff had recommended. The county received $610,000 for the tower at the old Greyhound Park near the former Kansas Coliseum instead of the negotiated $280,000.
Ranzau also questioned a plan to remove trees on private land near Crestview, a project that would have cost the county $47,000. County Manager William Buchanan had signed off on the project to clear trees on private property along Central Avenue from the entrance of housing development St. Andrew’s Place east to 143rd Street. Ranzau questioned why the tree removal was the county’s responsibility. Buchanan then halted the project, and Minneha Township paid for the removal.
Ranzau argued against a plan to build a bridge at the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch at Lake Afton so horses could get to a pasture, finding an alternative that saved $190,000. The boys ranch is slated for closing in late July.
Ranzau also highlighted saving the county $325,000 in the first year of a new plan to base vehicle replacement upon actual repair costs.
Ranzau, who is married with three children, served in the Gulf and Iraq wars. He is a graduate of Wichita State University.
Also seeking to represent the district are Sen. Carolyn McGinn, a Republican, and former state Rep. Melody McCray-Miller, a Democrat.
When the board splits votes, Ranzau and Commissioner Karl Peterjohn, also a Republican, typically vote together against the other three commissioners. The board’s majority could change in their favor if Rep. Jim Howell, R-Derby, wins the District 5 seat being vacated by Jim Skelton and Ranzau retains his seat. Derby Mayor Dion Avello, a Republican, and Richard Young, a Democrat who is a former mayor of Rose Hill, also have filed for District 5, which covers southeast Wichita and Derby.