Archive for Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Eudora City Council candidate Q&A (Part II)

April 3, 2007

The Eudora City Council candidates were invited to a "Meet the Candidates" night last week at Eudora City Hall.

Following the forum, the candidates answered prepared questions for The News to post online in addition to the questions that were asked at the forum. Their answers appear below.


MARIA NELSON

1. What long-term plans do you believe the city needs to develop?

I would like to see the city build a closer community between both new and old residents. EudoraFest is a good step towards providing an outlet for this, and so is the new pool. It will be important to make sure that all residents are aware of the opportunities out there to "meet and greet" with new and old friends that live nearby!

I would also like to increase consumer spending in Eudora long-term. This needs to be accomplished not only by encouraging residents of Eudora to spend money in the city whenever possible (instead of going to other cities), but also by allowing more small businesses into the city which will eventually create consumer spending from residents who live outside the city (other towns). This will create positive growth for everyone in the city through the tax revenue and the jobs it will bring to the community.

2. How will you support the economic growth of Eudora?

I will encourage the economic growth of Eudora by supporting, whenever possible, an environment that supports business growth as long as it is not at the expense of the residents. Long term, additional business growth in Eudora will be positive for all of the residents -- new and old! It will grow our tax base, and create convenience for the residents by bringing services that the residents otherwise must go outside of city to obtain. It is important that residents are given all of the information about the opportunity that business growth can provide.

3. What are things you would like to see accomplished for community development?

I would like to see the community become involved in a recycling program. My preference would be to see curbside recycling come to Eudora. This is a great way that residents can feel solidarity together through their environmentally friendly choices. If there is already a recycling program in place, then I would like to make sure more residents are made aware of it. I have lived her for almost two years and never heard anything about a recycling program.

As I mentioned in question #1, I would like to see more community involvement between old and new residents. The opening of the new pool will present a good opportunity for this. I want to make sure that all residents are aware of the networking and socializing opportunities that are available.

4. Most land developers want no or low impact development fees, but current residents do not want to pay for new development. What is your opinion on providing incentives or cost sharing for residential or commercial development?

This is an area where I realize I will need to be brought up to speed in order to make the most educated decision. I know that many residents are against it, and I would guess it is due to the tax effects it may cause on the individual level. We need to weigh the positives and negatives of this tax impact long term. Long term, adding new businesses and more homes will help all of the residents. However, we can't make decisions that will greatly hurt the current residents monetarily in the short-term. So the options need to be weighed in a fair way. I think that it would be helpful to educate the residents, so that they are aware of the benefits that new businesses can provide them in the long run (i.e. the tax dollars that these businesses will bring in which will eventually provide us a means with which to refinish our roads, improve our utilities/water, upgrade our sewer systems, etc.).

5. Eudora needs beautification projects. What are ways you think the city can participate to improve the appearances of Eudora?

I feel that revitalizing downtown Eudora is a positive move, but also believe that a big part of improving the city's image - making it more beautiful - lies in giving residents the means to keep their houses and properties kept up and clean. I want to approach beautification in a holistic sense, involving the residents and not just the city government. One idea is to create a yearly "large item" trash pickup day; I have seen this implemented in other cities. I would like to seek input from other cities regarding how they accomplished/paid for this service. It would involve having one day a year when residents can put items -- of any size -- on their curb for pick-up and removal, thus removing any trash they may not want from their yards or houses. Overall this will improve the image of our city, from the inside out. It will also help residents to be relieved of items they may not be able to otherwise remove.

Another move I believe we need to make is to implement an examination of the entire city to make sure that all houses are abiding by city codes that are already in place (i.e. no cars up on blocks in yards, no obvious trash littering properties, etc.). I am not talking about adding additional "restrictions," but simply abiding by codes that are already in place.

JEFF PETERSON

1. What long-term plans do you believe the city needs to develop?

I believe Eudora needs to continue to plan for growth by developing infrastructure plans relating to sewer, water, roads and streets. We need to develop a strategic plan of how we want to grow, i.e. what type of business we want to attract.

2. How will you support the economic growth of Eudora?

As recommended by some others I support exploring the idea of partnering with the Chamber in hiring a full time Economic Development Professional. I support using incentive programs when appropriate like creating a tax increment financing district.

3. What are things you would like to see accomplished for community development?

I believe additional programs for kids in the community, to compliment our excellent school system is important. Also, the new Recreation Center, passed by Eudora Citizens will create new opportunities for programs that are currently being planned.

4. Eudora needs beautification projects. What are ways you think the city can participate to improve the appearances of Eudora?

We need balance and patience. Utility rates and taxes in Eudora seem to be plenty high. We have recently raised rates to help offset the infrastructure needs, as well as maxed out our loan through KDHE. Although I welcome and support the growth developers will need to share in the cost of future growth of Eudora.

5. Eudora needs beautification projects. What are ways you think the city can participate to improve the appearances of Eudora?

The downtown beautification project that we have passed is a good example of a positive step forward for Eudora. But we need to do more to help our neighborhoods, by passing and enforcing ordinances that support beautification. Additionally, I believe the upcoming presence of Lawrence Memorial Hospital as a new front door to Eudora will be a very positive image.


FRED STEWART

1. What long-term plans do you believe the city needs to develop?

We should be taking more into the city when you can get sewer lines south and east where the city is going to go. You need to get under the highways with sewer lines. You need to be able to take care of the land before you get in with development. We've got to have sewer and water everywhere we are.

2. How will you support the economic growth of Eudora?

I'm going to support Eudora's economic growth. We need jobs. We have young people driving to work, and if we can get something to come in here, I'm for it.
We have the labor force here. We need work for people.

3. What are things you would like to see accomplished for community development?

I'd like to see the sewer under Kansas Highway 10 and Lawrence Memorial Hospital build their clinic. Lawrence Memorial there right off K-10, you can see it from the road on the land they bought off of the Kurtz family. It would be a nice deal for Eudora to have it sitting out there, as far as I'm concerned.

4. Most land developers want no or low impact development fees, but current residents do not want to pay for new development. What is your opinion on providing incentives or cost sharing for residential or commercial development?

Right now, the developer has to pay for the streets and sewers when putting the development in. That's the way it was when I was mayor, and the way it stays as far as I'm concerned. I'll try to help get them money and that kind of thing, but the city doesn't have funds to do that, I don't think.

5. Eudora needs beautification projects. What are ways you think the city can participate to improve the appearances of Eudora?

We need a big park and we need to plant trees. We just need to get a good big park for the city of Eudora, and add trees and try to take care of the downtown as best we can. I won't get all that done. I'll help, but I won't get all that done in four years. I don't know what they've got on their mind up there. There are four more (council members) besides me.

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