Mayor candidate: George McCrary
Baldwin City Council Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire
Name: George A. McCrary
Occupation: Business owner and personal trainer
Years lived in Baldwin City: Rural Baldwin from 1972-90. Moved back from St. Louis to Baker St. in 1999.
Family: Married, two children — Madeline(13), Kaylin(16)
Political experience: Baldwin City Council 2000-2002.
1. What is the biggest economic challenge facing Baldwin City’s budget?
The biggest economic challenge is managing our operating expenses for utilities. We need to conserve, recycle and recognize some of our independent and dependant utilities and manage those expenses closely to offset what is actually happening around us with the economy. If you ask most people living in this community over 60 if they conserve, most look at you funny and say something along the lines like, “We have to.”
2. How can the city save money during these tough economic times?
Conserve our resources and educate more on conservation and recycling.
Control spending. We have several revenues sources for the city that continue to generate revenue and cash reserves (over $2 million). We have to look at our operations and our systems to conserve and improve efficiency.
Prioritize projects. Electric rates are a real issue being presented to the current council. There will be a consultant suggesting we raise our electric rates 12-16 percent, depending on which option they choose. I was on council when we purchased the land and the power plant that we have today. We committed to not raising the electric rates for 10 years. It’s only been seven years. We need to look at more options.
3. What do you want to accomplish as mayor, i.e. why are you running for office?
Create some direction and planning and help lead and identify issues that we will be facing in the near future. Manage our green space effectively. Golf course, Spring Creek Lake, cemetery and the power plant grounds. Be an ambassador for our community. Embrace organizations that are anchors in our community. Baker, recreation commission, school district and all the other volunteer organizations that support these institutions.
4. Do you favor requiring the Baldwin School District to pay for improvements to Elm Street from 11th Street and extending Elm to Bullpup Drive as part of the project to build a new Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center?
This whole thing will have to be discussed and worked out. The school is responsible for the property they are developing. The city is responsible for public safety and providing utilities and maintaining roads. Where that line falls seems pretty obvious. The city has been aware of development happening on the school property and has done nothing to address the issue with Elm Street. The city has so far thrown the project back at the school and explained that it is their problem. It’s our problem as a community. Neither the school nor the city can pick up the tab for all these improvements; however, I think there could be some options for phasing in all the new roads necessary.
The city actually needs to include 10th Street in the issue. We have a very unsafe passageway between 10th and 11th that needs to be considered in the city planning.
Bottom line: It’s our responsibility as a community to figure this out and stop pointing fingers at who and start asking how?
5. Utility rates in Baldwin City are among the highest around, especially for electricity. Do you see any way to reduce those rates or at least stop their spiral upward?
Conserve. We continue to fight off peak load during July, August and September. The rest of the year, we are fine with power. If we don’t conserve, our rates will continue to go up to fend off peak load demands.
Drill a gas well on city property to run the power plant. Yes, there is gas there. I have been asking to check into this option for more than two years now. Not even a study or a geological survey has been performed at this point.
Continue to educate the community on conservation of utilities and resources. Our community is the most magnificent of all in the fall when the colors light up oranges, reds, yellows and many others. The other 11 ½ months of the year, we have to start thinking green.
This is everyone’s responsibility who lives in this community. From the city, Baker, schools, to every resident, we must take on responsibility ourselves. This is not just a city issue. Power across our great nation is in demand. The state is facing the option of a new power plant in the state of Kansas.
We need to be thinking about energy efficiency and independence.