Archive for Wednesday, April 11, 2001

City council welcomes two new members

April 11, 2001

A week after Tonganoxie City Council elections, two new council members were sworn in and then went right to work.

On Tuesday, Steve Gumm, Emmett Wetta and incumbent Kathy Graveman took the oath of office. Then they heard about street and water projects, and sewer issues.

During interviews, the three said they see no clear message from voters in last week's election. The three hold different views on several subjects, including the hot-button issue of whether a casino should be constructed in Leavenworth County. Graveman is opposed to a casino, while Wetta favors one. And Gumm says he needs more information.

"I feel really strongly on the things that I ran on," said Graveman, also the top voter-getter. "I'd like to see some of those things happen."

Specifically, she said, she wants the city to devise a five-year budget.

"I'd like to see more planning for the future," she said. "And I'd really like to see the city be more pro-business, instead of anti-business. I'd like to see the city do more economic development things and have the people and personalities in place to entice business in. I don't feel like we do much of that."

For newcomers Gumm and Wetta, serving on the council will mean they will get in plenty of reading.

"It's going to take some getting used to the format, how everything works," Wetta said. "They gave us a lot of reading material to look over. It's going to take some time to digest it all. It's going to take time just to read everything. That's the only way to do a good job to educate yourself."

Gumm remains optimistic he will get up to speed soon.

"I just need to get my feet wet for awhile," he said.

At Monday's city council meeting, the council said goodbye to two members: Dave Hernandez, who has served for four years, and Ray Usher, who has served for eight years. Hernandez decided not to seek re-election, while Usher was defeated in last week's election.

School board members elected last week begin their official term in July.

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