Truesdell, seeking second term, hopes for continued progress in Tonganoxie
Jim Truesdell was a little hesitant to run for his second term as a city council member. But after thinking about it, and after being asked by other residents to run again, the bridge engineer for HNTB and part-time recreation soccer coach decided he wasn’t finished with the work he started for the city.
“I think we’ve done a good job identifying important projects to the city, working on them, completing them and also bringing our employees pay and benefits up to levels that are comparable to surrounding communities without raising taxes,” Truesdell said.
Among the things that he would still like to see in the near future are an upgrade to the Tonganoxie Fire Station, possibly a new city hall and the continuation of infrastructure projects to provide residents with a better quality of life.
He said one of the things he was proud to have been a part of was replacing the old Chief Tonganoxie Swimming Pool with the new Tonganoxie Water Park. He was also pleased with the city’s efforts to build a new public works building and improve Pleasant Street.
He said it was projects such as the water park and Pleasant Street that, while they may cost money up front, will save the city more money in the long run.
“That’s what I look for in projects — to see if we are spending a lot of money on maintenance,” Truesdell said. “On some projects we can get the job done and eliminate or minimize the maintenance cost and in the long run it’s going to benefit the city economically.”
He said this is going to be especially important because of the slumping economy.
“We are going to have to make some tough decisions with some of the projects in the future,” he said. “We may have to delay some, but we’re just going to have to work through the economy. I don’t think we should stop working on projects. I can’t predict when (the economy) is going to turn around, but I really believe that it will.”
In the last four years , Truesdell said making decisions hasn’t always been easy and he has felt inconsistent, especially when it came to voting on alcohol sales in the city. He said people have accused him of putting his agenda in front of what is best for the city. He said it’s not his agenda that he’s promoting, but he’s promoting what he feels is the overall opinion of the city.
“Right now the majority of people that have come to the meetings are opposed to the sale of liquor on Sundays,” he said. “When this issue comes up and there is enough notice, they call and ask me to take a stand and so I do, but I don’t feel like it’s my personal agenda.”
In May 2008, Truesdell voted with councilmember Tom Putthoff against allowing the sale of alcohol on holidays that don’t fall on Sunday. The vote passed. He said he voted against the measure because there wasn’t enough notice given for people who would normally have opposed the ordinance to come and give their opinions to the council.
Dennis Bixby, who has opposed the sale of liquor sales on Sundays, spoke against the ordinance at the May 5 meeting.