Archive for Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Truesdell cites planning, school work

January 26, 2005

Jim Truesdell, an engineer who's served for two years on the Tonganoxie Planning Commission, believes his background would serve him well as a member of the city council.

Truesdell, 51, is one of five candidates for three open seats on the council. The other candidates are Steve Gumm, incumbent council member, Jason Ward, Bob Nickle and Cecil Vinyard.

The election will be held April 5.

"We're losing three city council members, and I've been sitting on the city planning commission since being appointed two years ago," Truesdell said. "So I feel that my knowledge of the comprehensive plan, and planning and zoning regulations, will be of benefit to the city council."

Truesdell, a bridge design project manager for HNTB of Kansas City, Mo., and his wife, Diane, have three children, who attend Tonganoxie schools. The family moved here about four years ago. He holds a bachelor's degree from Kansas State University in civil engineering and physical sciences and a master's in civil engineering, also from Kansas State.

Truesdell ran unsuccessfully for the city council two years ago.

In addition to his work on the planning commission, he also has served on the school facility committee and the school committee formed to help pass the $25.3 million bond issue to construct and renovate schools. And, most recently, he's been asked to serve on a short-term committee to review architectural plans to ensure they're in line with what voters approved last November.

"I'm familiar not only with planning zoning regulations from the city standpoint, but also the needs of the school district," Truesdell said. "I think with my engineering background and my experience on both of the committees, I can be a valuable city council member."

Managing the city's growth and ensuring the growth is of the highest quality possible are key to Tonganoxie's success, Truesdell said.

"We have a small-town atmosphere, which most people want to keep," he said.

And he believes a planning consultant the city recently hired to help it with its planning needs also can provide direction on growth management. The firm has experience with growing communities the size of Tonganoxie, and Truesdell believes it makes sense to hear the company's suggestions.

"I really will be proactive in trying to get their help in helping us evaluate it and maybe address some of our needs and the economic development issues, as far as drawing the right type of business and industry to Tonganoxie," Truesdell said.

And although he brings expertise to the table, he said he doesn't bring an agenda of his own.

"I don't really have an agenda," he said. "I really don't. I didn't last time. And I still don't."

City employees are an important component of how the city functions.

"We need to make sure that employees are satisfied, and that we take care of employees," Truesdell said. "They make the city go. They're the day-to-day life blood, and we need to make sure that they're well-taken care of."

And Truesdell said his work on school committees underscored for him the importance of consensus-building.

"I know I can reach consensus on tough issues and try to find a win-win situation for everybody," he said.

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