Archive for Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mayoral, City Council candidates respond to Q&A

March 28, 2007

Editor's Note: The Mirror asked candidates for Tonganoxie mayor and City Council to respond to questions of interest prior to next week's April 3 election. Here are their answers, which in some cases were edited because the candidate exceeded word limitations.

MAYORAL RACE

Dave Taylor

What is the most pressing issue facing the city? How do you propose taking care of it?

Economic Development. I would like to create a strategy and action plan to attract businesses thereby creating new jobs in our city. This would include the financial community as well as citizen input to get this growth started.

What do you believe are the top three capital improvement projects needed in the city?

Installation of sidewalks to improve pedestrian safety and continue the city's sidewalk system.

Pavement analysis. This provides testing and evaluation to determine why certain streets deteriorate more quickly than others. This would help keep potholes to a minimum.

We have four bridges within our city that should be monitored periodically for deterioration.

If elected to the council, what will be your No. 1 priority and why?

I will establish a program for police, during extended bad weather or power outages, to call elderly residents and persons with medical conditions. If there is no answer, an officer will go to the residence to check on the person. I will also continue, at my own expense, visiting other cities promoting Tonganoxie.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

I feel Tonganoxie is a great place to call home and a safe place for young families to raise children. My job as mayor is to keep it that way and I gladly take on that challenge every day.

What qualifications should voters know about you?

I was a contractor with my own company doing work for large corporations before retirement. My policy for the last four years as your mayor has been and will continue to be accessibility to all citizens.

Mike Vestal

What is the most pressing issue facing the city? How do you propose taking care of it?

Water. The most cost-effective way to solve this problem is to negotiate with Wholesale Water District No. 6 (Bonner Springs) for more water usage. This is the most economical solution possible, saving taxpayer money by not building a new line from the Kansas City, Kan., Board of Public Utilities.

What do you believe are the top three capital improvement projects needed in the city?

1 -- Continue road improvements including curb, gutters and sidewalks, to enhance our city's appearance.

2 -- A new City Hall. Our city staff has outgrown our current City Hall.

3 -- A police and fire station for these growing departments. These will show we are a progressive city.

If elected to the council, what will be your No. 1 priority and why?

To work with the City Council as a team in solving problems and not dragging issues on. Survey the wants and needs of each city department. Talk to all employees to try to get input on what they think our city government can do to make everyone's job run smoother and more efficient.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

I want to be mayor because I want to help this city move in the right direction. I think I can bring a strong leadership quality to the city that I love and have lived in all my life.

What qualifications should voters know about you?

Being a lifelong resident, I have watched this city grow first-hand. I was a city councilman for eight years and known how to handle myself in the Mayor-Council setting. I have good problem-solving skills and will work well with city staff. My people skills are excellent. I was Citizen of the Year in 1992.

CITY COUNCIL

Robert Altenhofen

What is the most pressing issue facing the city? How do you propose taking care of it?

The extensive growth taking place around us, which we have no say in. I will push for well thought out decisions that will have our city prepared for the growth and expansion that is inevitable. We must be involved at the county level for proper planning and annexation.

What do you believe are the top three capital improvement projects needed in the city?

Pleasant Street widened and sidewalks added; East Street constructed to relieve the burden of school traffic on Pleasant; and expand Washington Street to include proper turn lanes for the two schools (Tonganoxie Middle School and Genesis) and a better entrance/exit plan into each school.

If elected to the council, what will be your No. 1 priority and why?

To hold City Council meetings on a night that does not conflict with School Board meetings. This makes government more accessible to everyone. City Council and School Board are the two most participated forms of government. Families should not have to choose which is more important to attend.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

Tonganoxie is at a crossroads. We are on the brink of being swallowed up by the big city and will continue to grow. I want to see the town grow without losing its "personality." I'm running because I'm not one to sit back waiting for someone else to make it happen.

What qualifications should voters know about you?

The best qualification I bring to City Council is the ability to talk straight and make good decisions. I grew up in Tonganoxie and love living here. As a citizen, business owner and parent, I have a vested interest in helping Tonganoxie grow.

Paula Crook

What is the most pressing issue facing the city? How do you propose taking care of it?

Investigate the possibility of our own water reservoir. Longtime residents and Kansas Water Resource Association officials say there is enough of a water source here. We need to terminate the contract with Wholesale Water District No. 6 and hook up straight to the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities. Water needs to be first and foremost.

What do you believe are the top three capital improvement projects needed in the city?

A. East Street. Needs to be built so the city can have an alternate road to Washington Street besides Pleasant Street.

B. Sidewalks and road improvements.

C. Bridges.

If elected to the council, what will be your No. 1 priority and why?

My No. 1 priority is putting sidewalks down Pleasant Street and Washington Street to the new middle school. This should have been on the city's priority two years ago when the school bond was passed. The city is always a day late and a dollar short.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

I feel the city needs a voice for the people.

What qualifications should voters know about you?

I'm a lifetime resident, have a lot of common sense, am a good listener and problem solver. I attend all council meetings, and know what is going on. I know how hard taxpayers work for our money, and know we want our money spent wisely. I have the time and will put forth the effort for city business.

Tom Putthoff

What is the most pressing issue facing the city? How do you propose taking care of it?

I believe the most pressing issue facing the city at this time is a lack of trust and confidence between the city government and the community of Tonganoxie. I plan to listen, be open-minded and encourage involvement between the city government and the citizens.

What do you believe are the top three capital improvement projects needed in the city?

A. To continue improvements on our present streets with curbs, gutters, and sidewalks before anymore expansion to our city limits.

B. To make sure we have enough water to supply our current residents and businesses as well for future growth.

C. To connect East Street from Fourth Street to Seventh Street to provide an alternate route from the north side of town to the south side of town.

If elected to the council, what will be your No. 1 priority and why?

If elected to the council, my number one priority will be to educate myself about the issues and to openly listen to the concerns of the citizens. This will assist me in making wise decisions.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

I was born and raised in Tonganoxie and have always had an interest in local government. Now that I'm retired after working 30 years for General Motors, I'm able to give back to my community.

What qualifications should voters know about you?

My qualifications for being on the city council of Tonganoxie are not professional in nature. I've been married for 29 years, have raised three responsible children, have served in the local church, and have a willingness to serve our community. I will take this position seriously.

Velda Roberts

What is the most pressing issue facing the city? How do you propose taking care of it?

The most pressing issue is whether or not we have a sufficient water supply. This council must determine and implement the best plan for providing a reliable/ affordable water supply to the city and its service area, with the ability to increase the supply as future growth dictates need.

What do you believe are the top three capital improvement projects needed in the city?

1. A reliable/affordable water supply to meet current and future needs of the city.

2. Construction of Fourth Street project-Phase 3; Pleasant Street sidewalk; and East Street between Fourth Street and Washington.

3. Provide fire and police departments with equipment and facilities to ensure the safety and protection of all citizens.

If elected to the council, what will be your No. 1 priority and why?

My No. 1 priority will be to continue requiring greater fiscal responsibility and accountability, better planning, improved and expanded city services and the best use of taxpayer dollars to provide services to ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

I have served on the council four years and believe it is the responsibility of the council to fairly and honestly represent the interests of all citizens and businesses in Tonganoxie. I can help the city move forward, be fiscally responsible, grow and prosper for future generations, while retaining the quality of life we enjoy.

What qualifications should voters know about you?

My more than 35 years business experience and community involvement have provided me with knowledge to make responsible decisions affecting community needs and values. I will continue to commit the time and energy necessary to best represent citizens' interests and those of our community through my experience, leadership and vision.

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