Archive for Thursday, April 2, 2009

Council candidates discuss growth

April 2, 2009

The growth of Eudora was the most talked about topic at Thursday’s Eudora City Council candidate forum, which was sponsored by the Eudora Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber President Amy Durkin moderated the discussion, which was attended by five candidates — Mike Warner, Tonya Summers, Tim Reazin, Brian Nyp and Bill Whitten — vying for two open seats on the council.

Warner, 55, is an assistant U.S. attorney for the federal prosecutor in the western district of Missouri. He has lived in Eudora for about five years.

Summers, 44, works at Home Depot and served one term on the Eudora Planning Commission. She has lived in Eudora for about 25 years.

Tim Reazin, 35, is a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Eudora and works in logistics for the Federal Emergency Management Administration when disasters occur. He has lived in Eudora for about 12 years.

Nyp, 29, is a CPA who audits cities and school districts and has lived in Eudora for about six years.

Whitten, 44, is a career firefighter in Lenexa and was born and raised in Eudora.

He currently sits on the council and is coming to the end of his first term.

Durkin first asked candidates what they would do first if elected.

Whitten said he would push for economic development in areas of Eudora where it was affordable to do it, as opposed to places where the infrastructure wasn’t yet in place.

Reazin said he’d get to know the city employees before passing any judgment on what the city needed.

Warner said he’d expand the city’s business tax base as well, and advocated for growth where and when it made sense.

Nyp said he’d encourage the city to not go out of its way to create incentives for businesses.

Summers also said she’d make herself familiar with the city’s department heads and their future plans.

All of the candidates were committed to the expansion of the city, but Warner said more emphasis on planning for potential growth was needed.

Nyp said input from current business owners would be positive to create an environment to attract more business owners.

Whitten, referring to $90,000 made available in this year’s budget for economic development, said the city spent too much on economic development and that city should focus on areas where infrastructure already existed rather than spending money to build new infrastructure.

Reazin also said he was against growth for the sake of growth.

All of the candidates favored being fiscally conservative when faced with possibility of decreasing revenue and increasing expenses.

Summers said she had no idea what she would do in such a situation, but wasn’t going to make up something just to sound good. However, one of her main goals would be to learn about how to deal with the situation.

Whitten and Reazin said the city should watch its spending.

Warner said careful consideration should be given to any decisions and funds should be used as efficiently as possible.

Nyp made the point that it’s more important to control spending during prosperous times so that money is available during the harsh economic times the city now is in.

When it came to development fees falling to taxpayers or residential and commercial developers, Whitten, Reazin Warner and Summers said fees should fall with developers.

However, Nyp said if the right development was interested, then he might look into fees for the taxpayers, but that for the most part he would be against that.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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