Archive for Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mayor candidate: George McCrary

March 12, 2009

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.

Comments

hellothere 5 years, 6 months ago

"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."

How does he know there is gas there if the city hasn't conducted a study on the land and what’s below it? Also, does anybody have any idea on how insanely expensive an exploratory drilling project would be?!?!?!

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oliphant 5 years, 6 months ago

for those that didn't know so much fun was going on over in the SpeakOut section, here's a great link to help you get caught up on Georgie:

http://signal.baldwincity.com/weblogs/wagner-signs-mccrary-property/2009/mar/07/my-oh-my-what-is-this/

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greyghost 5 years, 6 months ago

George sounds like he's got some great ideas. Even if exploratory drilling is indeed extremely expensive, how awesome would that be. Surely the cost to benefit ratio would be well worth it. With the price of natural gas the way it is, it would probably pay for itself in no time. Again, worth looking into for sure.

One question I have is whether or not the diesel engine generators we own could burn natural gas?

And to Oliphant, what have you found out about Mr. McCrary? Have you found anything illegal? Did you report it to the proper authority? Did you call the Attorney General? From what I can tell, all you and others have done on Speakout! is accuse and gossip. In other words, small town freaks on a mission to discredit someone, oh yeah, without providing any evidence at all.

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p_zinzer 5 years, 6 months ago

grey,

Diesel engines work on an entirely different principle of what you might call "self-combustion", whereby the particular mix of diesel fuel and air are rapidly compressed, which ignites the diesel. There's no way to convert the diesel part of the engine to work with natural gas. The question might be whether the generators could be fitted to a natural gas-fired power head.

Anyhow, all "great ideas" aspects aside, the cost of running our own natural gas production station seems to be exactly the antithesis of what we're trying to do here, which is to lessen our capital outlays for more equipment. It's the cost of the debt service that is what's got our rate structures all out of whack. Not the price of fuel. Natural gas costs are actually quite a bit lower than they were two years ago, yet we're being told we still need a rate increase.

I think this is an idea that George needs to throw in the "it would have been nice to...." pile.

pz

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hellothere 5 years, 6 months ago

The idea of drilling a well is outrageous. There is no way the cost benefit ratio would be worth it. I don't think anybody that supports this idea has any idea how much this would cost.

From a website that I found: http://www.energy4me.org/questions/how_does_industry_find.htm

"Drilling a well is expensive; shallow offshore wells or deep onshore wells can cost more than $15 million each to drill. Aggregate capital costs for exploration and development of some deep water oil and natural gas projects can exceed $1 billion during a period of as much as seven years before production first occurs"

Seems like a lot of money to spend on a project that we aren't sure will have a single BTU of Natural gas.

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greyghost 5 years, 6 months ago

pz and ht,

Thanks for the response. I don't know much about diesel, but I keep thinking about how buses in some larger, progressive cities (I think Lawrence is looking into it as well) now run on natural gas. I've seen pictures of those diesel beasts we use down at the power plant and can't imagine what it would take, let alone cost, to convert them to burn gas. But still, I'm intrigued enough to want to know and hear more about what Mr. McCrary knows. Hopefully the Signal will have a complete report of the March 25 candidate forum, because I will be unable to attend.

ht, thanks for the link. I now know it would be outrageous for us (BC) to foot the bill for this exploration underground, but what if KGS wants to foot the bill and give us the hook up? Perhaps there are some federal grants out there. Perhaps there will be stimulus money up for grabs to make our town greener. Let's not close the book on it yet. If it means my electric bill will benefit, I'm all for at least looking into it, that is, of course, if there is natural gas there to begin with. Again, Mr. McCrary will hopefully have the opportunity to answer this question at the forum.

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oliphant 5 years, 6 months ago

Don't know what to make of it, but sure enough, look at the difference between the 2008 and 2009 tax records for the property along the hwy

2009 http://www.douglas-county.com/online_services/valuestaxes/results.asp?Pin=2020401002001000&Plate=B00051A&DisplayYear=2009

2008 http://www.douglas-county.com/online_services/valuestaxes/results.asp?Pin=2020401002001000&Plate=B00051A&DisplayYear=2008

George is no longer on the listing. I guess something happened after all regarding George's ownership thereof. And to think that those of us who dig for the truth are called mean, evil, and nasty.

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greyghost 5 years, 6 months ago

As a voter, this means absolutely nothing to me.

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cranky 5 years, 6 months ago

oliphant,

Who gives a crap? Can we stick to the issues at hand?

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oliphant 5 years, 6 months ago

"As a voter, this means absolutely nothing to me." "Who gives a crap? Can we stick to the issues at hand?"

So what exactly is important to voters like you? Isn't it important to you that someone who would be placed in charge of directing something as insignificant as our City's budget actually can manage a checkbook?

Isn't it important to you that someone who will be responsible for making commitments on behalf of the City of Baldwin (i.e. contracts) actually believes that said commitments should be honored?

Or is it more important that you really, really like the guy and, you know, he is just such an upbeat fellow, how can you not vote for him? Is that it?

Luckily, there will be enough registered voters in this town that see George for the high energy, but low intellect person that he is and will not be voting for him, due to this issue as well as several others that CLEARLY demonstrate George is not qualified to serve as mayor.

And hey, even if he won, he would undoubtedly get bored after about a year and he would resign, just like he did in 2002 when he got bored or got scared of the decisions he would be required to make as an ELECTED member of City Council. But hey, that probably means nothing to you as a voter either.

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greyghost 5 years, 6 months ago

Even you said "Don't know what to make of it. . . .", but now you know what to make of it. So what is it? Show me something; court records (where the Lorenzens took McCrary to court), copy of bounced checks, copy of contract, etc.

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oliphant 5 years, 6 months ago

greyghost,

So you are denying that George defaulted on the payments in a contract for deed situation because we do not have court records showing that the Lorenzen's took McCrary to court?

As I understand the Lorenzens tell it, they threatened McCrary with court for what is called "specific performance", meaning that the court would order McCrary to honor, in full, the payment of all that was owed to Lorenzen for the property, even if it meant that McCrary would have to liquidate other assets.

However, such proceedings take a long period of time to work through, and during this period of time, the Lorenzens, even though they would continue to make bank payments on the land (unless they wanted it foreclosed) would be unable to rent or sell the land during the proceedings. It was a business decision that the Lorenzens made to force George McCrary to quit any claim he had to the land, forfeiting any monies already paid, in exchange for Lorenzen once again receiving clear title to the land.

Don't for a minute think that this is just a walkaway matter for Lorenzen at this point. The contract for deed included that payments were to be made by McCrary for taxes on the land and to keep insurance on the building (as would be required by Lorenzen's primary bank loan). Now, Lorenzen has to eat these costs unexpectedly because George simply decided to quit honoring a "contractual obligation". Notice it wasn't called a "oh, if you feel like it" agreement. It was a contract, which is a foundational principle of American business.

BTW, if you have ANY doubt about this, call up the Lorenzens. They will be happy to set you straight about this.

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greyghost 5 years, 6 months ago

Why are you and gop so sure that the Lorenzens want to discuss their personal matters with me, a complete stanger? What is your relationship to them?

BTW, I don't know what is true or what is false, but I do know I'm not going to take anything being said anonymously very serious at all.

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BaldwinDad 5 years, 6 months ago

Not sure what the issue was with the Lorenzens, but I can tell you as someone who has had personal dealing with George that he doesn't have any problems going back on his word and breaking verbal and written agreements, now granted when I dealt with him it was about 6 years ago, so may perhaps he has matured as he said he did since he quit City Council back in 2002, but to me this indicates a trend of breaking promises to not only in his personal business affairs, but as well as to the constituent he said he would represent in 2002. I'm sorry...but I'm not going to risk my vote on someone that has this many questionable issues.

Also the idea of us drilling for natural gas is ridiculous, a city this size needs to find a way to decrease expenditures not spend more on POSSIBLE schemes that might or might not even let us break even. Let's not even mention that he voted for the Utility purchase back 7 years ago that got us into the mess and he even admits that he and the council messed up in their calculations of how long we would go with out a utility increase.

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