Archive for Friday, March 16, 2001

Four-year council candidates answer questions

March 16, 2001

The candidates for four-year terms on the Baldwin City Council were asked a series of questions by the Signal early in the campaign. Here are the responses from the remaining candidates.

Name: George A. McCrary

Address: 916 Baker Street

Age: 34 DOB 6/30/66

Occupation: Vice President of Operations at Orthotech Sports Medical Equipment

Family: Wife, Cheryl; daughters, Kaylin and Madeline

1. What are the major issues facing Baldwin City and how would you address them?

Urban development, taxation and overall community development. Concentrate on our current status and finish many upgrades that have been initiated and possibly explore new avenues of capital by exhausting our efforts with grant applications., Evaluate current spending before addressing any more increases. Increase community awareness by getting others involved.

2. How do you think the city should plan for growth, and how should those plans be funded?

I think some sort of long range planning group should be formed with the school district, Baker University and the city to understand all aspects in which this community is growing. Because all of these organizations are anticipating growth and we all have to plan together for that type of growth. Funding will need to be accessed through several sources. We currently have no surplus to my knowledge.

3. Do you have any concerns about the city's budget?

I think with any budget concerns, always go to the bottom line. My biggest concern is understanding how we are spending. In the private sector of business, if you control spending, you can immediately increase profits.

4. How do you think Baldwin City should proceed with the 160 acres south of town it plans to develop into a business and recreation area?

I would have to say that I am 100% against the purchase of the 160 acres. I have not seen a plan that would project the types of revenues to support the presence of a recreational facility. I have seen hundreds of recreational facilities built, and in operation and almost all are funded by the cities. It seems that funds are short for upgrading and almost all are funded by the cities. It seems that funds are short for upgrading streets, sewer and electric. I do not understand how a budget would support a facility of this magnitude believe that the city has needs for a recreations facility but needs to develop a plan prior to any type of land purchase.

5. Why are you running for this position, and what qualifications do you have for the position?

I have had the opportunity to grow up in this community and after being away for several years and coming back it truly allows a fresh perspective. I want to be involved and a part of a community that recognizes rich history along with a new found growth and plan for a future that makes sense. Qualifications: Resourceful, analytical, decisive, approachable, reliable and capable.

6. Additional comments:

If you are interested in someone speaking up and for your concerns, then I want to here from you. I am interested in the overall well being of this community. I am willing to put forth many hours of time and effort to make this community a better and prosperous place to live.


Name: Carol Taul

Address: 1108 Fremont

Age: 45 DOB: 11/28/55

Occupation: Administrative Assistant K-State Research and Extension Douglas County

Family: Husband, Jimmie; daughters, Nickie and Katy

1). What are the major issues facing Baldwin City and how would address them?

I feel that managing growth is important and I feel that growth should pay for itself. I will do my best to see that the residents of the city do not pay for all of the expenses associated with the improvements needed for growth. I also think, for example, commercial growth would create more jobs in the city therefore increasing revenues at local businesses.

As far as the electrical issues, I do not honestly feel a decision can be made until you can see actual numbers and study the resolutions. I feel that study sessions should b e involved and possibly a community task force be appointed. A great deal of money has already been put into the electrical problems we are currently facing.

The issue involving the 160 acres south of town. We definitely need ballparks and a community center, however, I am not sure this is the best location. I believe it is time to find options and move forward. I do have concerns for the people who own acreage around this area. Access and exposure of this land and adequate electricity pose other problems.

2). How do you think the city should plan for growth, and how should those plans be funded?

To plan for growth I believe we should look into grant money and low interest loans. The community needs to be involved in issues involving the electricity, sewer and water problems. Communication will be an important factor between the citizens of Baldwin City and council representatives. I would encourage citizens to contact council representatives and ask questions. Possibly a 20-year plan should be implemented.

3). Do you have any concerns about the city's budget?

I do have concerns that we pay the highest taxes in the area but do not have the

services to go with what we are paying for.

4). How do you think Baldwin City should proceed with the 160 acres south of town it plans to develop into a business and recreation area?

Maybe there are different options for the 160 acres. Possibly the land could be placed for sale and could be looked at as a real estate investment. I feel there are options that need to be considered before proceeding.

5). Why are you running for this position and what qualifications do you have for the position?

It was not an easy decision. I enjoy living in Baldwin City and feel I now have the time to give something back to the community. I have been a leader for the Palmyra 4-H Club for the past thirteen years and have been involved in leadership roles through 4-H and served on various committees. I am willing to listen to everyone's opinion. As a leader, I feel we need to find common ground and move forward. The council needs input from the residents of the city. I am not representing any special interest group or feel I have any conflict of interest. My main concern is for Baldwin City and the citizens. I would like to see a workable balance between council members and the community.

Name: Ken Wagner

Address: 501 Lawrence Street

Age: 42 years old DOB 3/20/58

Occupation: Owner of Heritage Tractor, Inc.

Family: Wife, Diane; two sons, Jeff (age 17) and Phillip (age 15)

1). What are the major issues facing Baldwin City and how would address them?

Current tax rates and mill levy are of great concern. Baldwin City residents are simply not receiving the level of services they should, given the amount of taxes that they are asked to pay. I am concerned that if taxes continue to grow at the rate that we have experienced, it will be increasingly difficult for many people (especially those on fixed incomes) to live in Baldwin City.

I would propose that we find a way to increase our tax base by encouraging the construction of quality housing. Baldwin City is a "Bedroom" community and should be developed as such. At the same time, the new city council should review all expenses that are incurred by the city and make cuts wherever possible.

2). How do you think the city should plan for growth, and how should those plans be funded?

A clear long term plan for 20 years should be developed. The city council should solicit community involvement in formulating this plan. We need to utilize the expertise of those who live in the community. This plan needs to be clearly communicated to all citizens. If the city council expects the taxpayers to ultimately pay for the bill for growth, the plan needs to be clearly communicated to all.

I am not in favor of any annexation at this time. Clearly we need to take care of the property and residents within our city limits first. I am only in favor of annexation if a property owners requests it or it is a matter of public safety.

I am of the opinion that Baldwin City should encourage residential growth. This growth should be affordable, yet quality housing. Growth could be realized in areas already designated as housing developments and also in other areas of the city where undesirable housing could be removed and replaced with new housing.

I believe that this growth can be funded from several sources. First of all, new housing generates additional tax base. Over time, residential housing will pay its way. Currently, developers are paying for much of the residential growth through impact fees. While I feel these impact fees are high, I think something more amicable can be worked out between the city and developers. Secondly, we need to be more aggressive in taking advantage of grant opportunities that are available through federal and state agencies to address areas of water and sewage treatment, road improvements and other infrastructure issues. Thirdly, funding can be generated by controlling and hopefully reducing current expenses being incurred by the city. Getting out of ventures that produce a negative cash flow drain on the city will go a long way to better utilizing our existing tax dollars better.

3). Do you have any concerns about the city's budget?

Expenditures by the city in the area of electrical generation need to be addressed immediately. I am of the opinion that, as taxpayers, we really don't know what the true cost of the power plant actually is. I think we would be very surprised to find out what we actually pay. A detailed review of all expenses involving the power plant needs to be done. This review would include all costs including, but not limited to, employee and staffing costs, equipment requirements and associated costs (ie. vehicles, maintenance equipment, line equipment, etc) maintenance costs, power line upgrade costs, costs to the taxpayers for surcharges (experienced last summer). This all needs to be figured in to what this venture actually costs the taxpayer.

4). How do you think Baldwin City should proceed with the 160 acres south of town it plans to develop into a business and recreation area?

I am strongly opposed to the purchase of the ground south of town. I believe that we need to acquire additional ground for recreational areas for all citizens, but the location of the proposed park does not make any sense. I also disagree with the current council's thought of combining businesses and recreational needs into the same area.

If there is a need for additional ground to develop a business park, I believe we should encourage private sector development of this park. Local investors could more efficiently purchase ground, add infrastructure and promote business. If private enterprise wants city services in the park, then an annexation situation could be explored.

The city should concentrate on the development of recreational areas and turn away from the business park development idea. The $25,000 non-refundable option, proposed by the current city council should not be renewed. We should cut our losses and move on to more pressing issues facing the city.

5). Why are you running for this position and what qualifications do you have for the position?

I want to be a positive voice for all citizens of Baldwin City to improve the quality of life in our city. I believe the city should strive to provide quality services to all who live here. In order for that to happen, the city government needs to be managed like a business. Until that happens we are not going to have the funds available to provide the services that citizens expect and demand.

I want my involvement on this council to spark much needed debate on the issues. I will be a member of the council that may well disagree on an issue and vote against the majority. I can promise, however, that if we disagree on an issue, the will of the majority will prevail and we will collectively move on to the next issue.

I want to encourage more open communication between the citizens and the city council. This means improving communication with all citizens as well as other entities within the community such as Baker University, Douglas County and USD 348. This also means soliciting involvement of area citizens on committees. Currently, there is no one other than council members serving on the six various committees. That needs to be changed. We need to utilize the expertise of those who live her to help solve many issues.

Name: Lee Whaley

Address: 1105 Fremont, P.O. Box 283

Age: 70 years old DOB: 8/12/30

Occupation: Retired Soil Conservation Tech. & retired USAF & USAFR Superintendent of Civil Engr.

Family: Wife, Ann; daughter, Karla Grosdidier, Eudora; son, Darren Whaley, Philadelphia, Pa.; son, Mark Whaley, Baldwin City.

1. What are the major issues facing Baldwin City and how would you address them?

Trying to keep adequate infrastructure to provide for a growing population demand and working to keep costs from rising more than necessary.

2. How do you think the city should plan for growth, and how should those plans be funded?

My wish would be that we could allow only a number of new homes (the number to be determined) each year. Our connection fees would help with expansion of extra capacities.

3. Do you have any concerns about the city's budget? Explain.

I feel some parts of the budget could be reduced slightly and my "no" vote on the last budget reflects my displeasure with it.

4. How do you think Baldwin City should proceed with the 160 acres south of town it plans to develop into a business and recreation area?

There are many factors that must be answered before my final decision can be made. The "business" park could possibly be a source of revenue to help our finances. I would favor a public vote when the issues have been reviewed.

5. Why are you running for this position, and what qualifications do you have for the position?

I am running again to offer my past experiences with city and federal governments and to give voters the chance to say they do or do not like the way I vote on the issues.

6. Any additional comments you would like to share?

Baldwin City faces many major challenges. The electric upgrade, which I tried to promote while on the council 15 years back, is nearing completion. We agreed to upgrade your sewer plant just as Firetree was coming to light, but development requires we double its size. While campaigning 4 years ago, I told the town that development should help or pay for required infrastructure expansion. We since require at least $3000 per new house to partially help. A pool, new fire station and truck, highway improvement and other upgrades in the past 4 years is nearly unheard of for a city of this size, but it all costs money.

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