City Council candidate: Chris Nichols
Name: Chris Nichols
Occupation: Business owner – Architecture/Construction
Years lived in Baldwin City: 6
Family: Kisa Nichols (wife), children — Anna (12), Quinn (8) and Kate (4).
Political experience: New to the political arena.
1. What is the biggest economic challenge facing Baldwin City’s budget?
The biggest challenges facing the Baldwin City budget are the city’s operating costs and the cost of utilities. These costs, if not carefully addressed in the coming years, will cause the escalation of costs that will continue to be passed on to the residents of Baldwin. This, along with a thorough review of the entire city budget from all departments, is an absolute necessity.
2. How can the city save money during these tough economic times?
I think it might be necessary to take a look at reducing current costs that the city incurs when it outsources jobs that seem to be part of the job description of the city staff and planning department. We need to prioritize the programs and improvements that are absolutely necessary and not think we can do them all. Just like many families having to make sacrifices in today’s economy, the city is going to have to make some sacrifices. Some expenditures might have to wait until the economy has changed direction.
3. What do you want to accomplish as a city council member, i.e. why are you running for office?
I want to be involved in the progress this city has made and look to make it a place where businesses thrive. I want to continue to help make Baldwin City a place that its residents are proud to call home. Most importantly, I want to be involved in making Baldwin City a town that is affordable, unique, safe and offers a great quality of life for its residents and a top notch education for their children.
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?
I believe the city should have a hand in paying for improvements for the extension of Elm. I believe some of these costs can be covered by a federal grant to help alleviate some of the costs associated. Schools are vital to the growth and development of a city and the city should have a vested interest. I do believe the schools should assist in various maintenance items associated with these improvements.
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?
Utility rates and the utilities in general are a huge concern. I think with the right solution, rates can be reduced or maintained. In today’s current economy, utility companies around the nation are raising rates to remain solvent. Alternative energy/fuels should be reviewed as well to provide maximum production performance of the existing equipment. Alternative energy plans should be investigated to see if there is any potential savings to the existing power plant as well as the citizens of Baldwin should investigate possible energy grants available to them through the federal government. This in turn would make their homes more energy efficient, thus reducing the amount of utility necessary for their household. It is going to take a team effort and progressive thinking to maintain or reduce rates to the citizens of Baldwin.