Archive for Monday, March 30, 2015

Baldwin City Council candidate profiles

Election news

Election news

March 30, 2015

Steve Bauer

Steve Bauer

Steve Bauer

Family:

Wife, Alison, and children Shawn, Tim, Stephanie, Brian, Catherine, Shannon and 11 grandchildren

Education: B.S. Certified Engineer from Iowa State University, 1967


Career: Owner of Bauer Inspection and Consulting Services since 1985; assembly superintendent at PPG Industries, Huntsville, Ala.; production superintendent, PPG Industries, Marshall, Minn., glass fabrication; wareroom superintendent. PPG Industries, Henryetta, Okla., glass manufacturing.

Civic experience and community service: Parks and Recreation Commission, Henryetta, Okla.; Henryetta (Okla.) City Council; parish council, Henryetta; board of directors of the Henryetta Credit Union, Parish Council at Corsicana, Texas; president of the Corsicana School Board; parish council at Baldwin City; Baldwin City Planning Commission.


What in your background prepared you to serve on the City Council?

I have been a department head in several large factories (PPG Industries), supervising the production of as many as 400 employees including 60 technical and supervisory personnel.
 I served on a city council which developed and executed a Capital improvement program which built a new water treatment plant, a sewage disposal plant, and community swimming pool, and a new city hall and Fire and police station.

What is your motivation for running for the office?

The people of Baldwin City need to be made more aware of what is happening in the city, and have a voice in the direction Baldwin City is going. I think we need moderate and controlled growth, which is growth that is desirable for the city, not just new businesses that compete with the local business that we now have. We are a small town, and I do not support the effort to do things like Lawrence. I think we should retain the small town culture and atmosphere that we now have. We can grow and still retain Baldwin City as we know it.

The city is currently in the process of its annual capital improvement plan review in advance of starting work on the 2016 budget. As stated when CIP was approved in February 2015, it was to be a flexible document, which councils could amend yearly as conditions changed. Do you agree with that approach?

The capital improvement plan should be a flexible document, but it should involve more input from the community. There is no plan that will satisfy everyone, but neither should it just be a wish list of a few. The people need to have a say in this process and know the hard costs of these proposed projects.

Another goal the council has discussed in a new industrial park. One step toward that is a new east sewer interceptor with an estimated $2.5 million price tag. Do you agree that sewer improvement is necessary for a new industrial park or that there are other options?

I don’t think we have lost any new businesses in the industrial park because of the lack of utilities. I just don’t think they have been out there for us. If they were, I think there would have been more discussion on the issue. That said, I think we should be proactive in our planning for growth in the industrial park, but I don’t think we can spend $2.5 million on a bet that someone will come and need this service. I don’t believe we have the money for the long-term solution, but should have a short-term solution ready. Putting the business park on a septic system seems like a reasonable short-term solution.

Tony Brown

Tony Brown

Tony Brown

Family: Becky Henderson (wife), Hazlett Henderson (daughter)

Education: Ph.D. and M.S., Vanderbilt University; B.A., Wabash College

Career: Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Master of Liberal Arts Program, Baker University

Civic Experience and community service: State Representative, Kansas 10th District, 2009-2011; Member, Baldwin City Council, Baldwin City, Kansas, 2004-2008; Baldwin City Planning Commission, 2003; Kansas Humanities Council board, 2010 to present; Black Jack Battlefield and Nature Park board, 2005 to present; Baldwin City Lumberyard Arts Center, Baldwin, 2010-2015; and Franklin County Development Council board, 2014-2015

What in your background prepared you to serve on the City Council?

My previous service on the council and in the Kansas House from 2004 to 2011 either helped prepare me or, perhaps, disqualifies me for future service on the council. I think I understand the way local government works better than I did 10 years ago and have developed the skills necessary to achieve identified goals if I am elected.

What is your motivation for running for the office?

I’m fighting for my hometown. I strongly believe that local Kansas communities are going to face great challenges in the immediate future having to address increasing demands for services with stagnant or declining sources of revenue. In order to maintain the quality of life Baldwin City residents currently enjoy, it is going to be critical that elected officials make sound decisions about how to invest finite resources to gain maximal benefit for the overall community.

The city is currently in the process of its annual capital improvement plan review in advance of starting work on the 2016. As stated when CIP was approved in February 2015, it was to be a flexible document, which councils could amend yearly as conditions changed. Do you agree with that approach?

Yes, I do agree with that approach. Opportunities and priorities will almost certainly change, and to not respond to these changes would be imprudent and irresponsible. As with any planning document, balance needs to be reached between following the original plan and making reasonable adjustments when such action is appropriate.

Another goal the council has discussed is a new industrial park. One step toward that is a new east sewer interceptor with an estimated $2.5 million price tag. Do you agree that sewer improvement is necessary for a new industrial park or that there are other options?

If we want to attract new industry to Baldwin City, we are going to have to invest in these kinds of infrastructure upgrades to be competitive with surrounding communities. However, my recent service on the board of the Franklin County Development Council has taught me that economic development is an extremely complicated task that must be done in a very intentional manner. So before I would support an investment of this amount on sewer infrastructure, I would want to have discussions about what specific industries or projects the city would pursue once these improvements are in place. I do not support investing in these projects and then hoping that businesses will come knocking on our door.

Are there proposed projects on the CIP list that you especially support or that raise concerns?

I believe all the major projects proposed in the CIP — the public works headquarters, the new police station, the Mary Swan Theater, and the community recreation center — have merit. My primary concern is that we cannot afford to do all of them, so we are going to have to determine which projects have priority. And I could be wrong, but I’m guessing there may be some differences of opinion on the relative importance of these projects. So we are going to have to do some work to try to build consensus. Whatever decisions we come to, however, I firmly believe that we should complete the projects chosen fully and not attempt to stretch available funds to achieve scaled-down versions of multiple plans. This strategy will simply lead to dissatisfaction with all the projects and, ultimately, a poor investment of public funds.

April Coburn

April Coburn

April M. Coburn

Family: Husband, Chase F. Coburn

Education: Bachelor of arts in English from Washburn University and master of liberal arts with a management and leadership emphasis from Baker University.

Career: Manager – PRA Health Sciences

Civic experience, community service: I am a past-president of the local chapter of the Philanthropic Educational Organization, which provides scholarships, grants, and other educational opportunities to women on an international level. As a member of PRA Health Sciences’ employee activities committee, I also assist in organizing fundraisers for Kansas and Missouri charities at least three times per year.

What in your background prepared you to serve on the city council?

As past‑president of P.E.O., I realize and understand the varied backgrounds, ages, and ideals of Baldwin City residents. This knowledge and experience allows me to consider how each issue the council discusses might affect the different groups of people who live in Baldwin and ensures that I make decisions with the good of Baldwin City in mind.

What is your motivation for running for the office?

I’m a huge proponent of being involved in our city. I think Baldwin City residents should be aware and engaged in the decisions the council makes for the city. I love Baldwin City, and I knew it was the right time for me to step up and get more involved in this aspect of the community.

The city is currently in the process of its annual capital improvement plan review in advance of starting work on the 2016 budget. As stated when CIP was approved in February 2015, it was to be a flexible document, which councils could amend yearly as conditions changed. Do you agree with that approach?

Yes, I do agree with that approach. I think that since the city is an ever-evolving, ever-changing entity, it is logical that the CIP be a living, flexible document as well. This affords the council the opportunity to make the best decisions for the city based on its shifting needs, its residents' feedback, and any infrastructure needs that may occur in the future.

Another goal the council has discussed in a new industrial park. One step toward that is a new east sewer interceptor with an estimated $2.5 million price tag. Do you agree that sewer improvement is necessary for a new industrial park or that there are other options?

The industrial growth of Baldwin City should be a priority for the future councils of Baldwin City; however, any growth should be carefully analyzed and assessed by the council as to whether that growth will benefit the city and its residents, whether that growth will maintain the unique aspect of community that Baldwin City embodies, and whether any expenditures are justifiable, both now and for future generations. If the issue of a new industrial park is posed to the council in the near term, I look forward to reviewing and discussing these tenants with my new council members to help shape the Baldwin City of tomorrow.

Are there proposed projects on the CIP list that you especially support or that raise concerns?

Several of the projects are necessary for the growth and benefit of Baldwin City. Since the document is flexible, if the needs of Baldwin City should change, it will be beneficial to have the ability to adjust the CIP as needed, whether that be to modify projects, timelines, or costs.

Bonnie Plumberg

Bonnie Plumberg

Bonnie Plumberg 

Family: Husband, Tom, three grown daughters, two grown stepdaughters, four granddaughters and a grandson.

Education: Attended Central Missouri State University  

Career: My career has been in business management.

Civic experience and community service: Baldwin City Council, 2009 to 2012; member of the Baldwin Business Women's Club. Plumberg's business, The Pink Lady Resale  Shops, has sponsored the Baldwin Holiday Homes Tour for charity the past three years; and Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce

What in your background prepared you to serve on the City Council?

My background in business and management for the past 30 years provides the leadership necessary to serve on the council. My previous four years on the council gives me a good understanding of what is necessary. 

What is your motivation for running for the office?

I believe in the present Baldwin leadership and think my experience will contribute in reaching the council's goals.

The city is currently in the process of its annual capital improvement plan review in advance of starting work on the 2016 budget. As stated when CIP was approved in February 2015, it was to be a flexible document, which councils could amend yearly as conditions changed.Do you agree with that approach?

I do believe in the present council's approach to the CIP, and I believe the primary projects are the  right ones. But they must be done only with knowledge that is financially feasible.

Another goal the council has discussed in a new industrial park. One step toward that is a new east sewer interceptor with an estimated $2.5 million price tag. Do you agree that sewer improvement is necessary for a new industrial park or that there are other options?

Some feel that a lagoon/septic system is a better way to go regarding the business park. I disagree; I think it should be sewers. I don't think most prospective businesses would go along with having a septic system.

Are there proposed projects on the CIP list that you especially support or that raise concerns?

The projects proposed in the CIP are all good projects, and each would benefit our city. My priority would be the Lumberyard Arts Center project. I believe with completion we would benefit from the traffic it would bring to our city through event attendance. Other related businesses such as restaurants, lodging and retail would benefit. It would certainly help the revitalization of downtown. 

Casey Simoneau

Casey Simoneau

Casey Simoneau

Family: Wife, Elise, sons Jalen, 14, and Hutson, 5, and a third child due in July

Education: Bachelor's degree in Justice Studies from Fort Hays State University

Career: I have a career in law enforcement for the state of Kansas and realtor for Stephens Real Estate

Civic experience, community service: My entire career has been based around community service, and I absolutely enjoy serving the community.

What in your background prepared you to serve on the City Council?

I have been attending the City Council meetings and work sessions since December. I feel that this has allowed me to gain knowledge in helping address the issues within city government. I have worked in government and the private sector and believe that my working knowledge will help move our city forward to a better future for our citizens, and businesses.

What is your motivation for running for the office?

I enjoy serving people. I have a strong sense of service and want to help bridge the gap between private sector business owners, citizens and city government. I also believe in fiscal responsibility within our city government which is vital in order for our city to grow. Growth will lead to a better quality of life if we couple it with responsible spending. We have a great community, but we as a council must remain cognizant of the budget so that we do not grow government spending at a faster rate than our tax base. If our city government spending grows faster than our tax base, it would cause our cost of living to increase. By expanding the city tax base through planned growth, we will be able to address needs outlined in our CIP and focus on improving our quality of life such as repairing sidewalks and additional recreational facilities, among other items.

The city is currently in the process of its annual capital improvement plan review in advance of starting work on the 2016 budget. As stated when the CIP was approved in February 2015, it was to be a flexible document, which councils could amend yearly as conditions changed. Do you agree with that approach?

I agree with having a flexible document for the CIP. We have to be flexible and open to ideas within our city government. Tax bases within government rise and fall based on many different circumstances out of our control. I believe that capital improvement projects should be reflective of this rise and fall. If our tax base rises, it would allow for more projects that the council can support without causing taxes to rise. If our tax base falls we subsequently need to respond to that fall by cutting projects in order keep cost of living for our citizens at current levels. I believe the city can and should look at budgeting for future projects. The majority of families must save prior to purchasing an item, and I believe that would be a responsible approach for the city. I would like to explore the option of developing a capital improvement fund. My plan for this fund would be that as our tax base grows, or the city comes under budget on projects then the extra money could be put into a fund for future capital improvement projects. This allows the city to pay for a project versus financing it. I feel that a financially responsible approach is the best approach to solve problems.

Another goal the council has discussed in a new industrial park. One step toward that is a new east sewer interceptor with an estimated $2.5 million price tag. Do you agree that sewer improvement is necessary for a new industrial park or that there are other options?

I am a very open-minded candidate. I would want to look at all options prior to feeling comfortable supporting a $2.5 million project. If it is determined that we could initially complete this project with a septic system then I would support it. We are already servicing our current industrial park with a septic system. I think the need for easements for the future (sewer line_ would be necessary and needed however we can make this project feasible more quickly by putting in a septic system that would be less expensive than the alternative.

This project allows us to expand our tax base, grow employment and keep our cost of living down. Anytime, we can accomplish those goals and keep the city's spending minimal is a win for the city, the citizens, future employees and business owners. We need to support local business growth. In order to accomplish this, a planned out industrial park may allow us to meet the needs for current and future business owners. Our city needs to work hand in hand with our local business owners to craft plans that are beneficial for all parties involved

Are there proposed projects on the CIP list that you especially support or that raise concerns?

I am open-minded to all of the projects that are addressed in the CIP. I was able to sit in on the work sessions and hear about the needs from our local departments We have needs, but I want more information from the city. I want to know the funding mechanism for the projects, and all options to remedy the issues within the CIP. First, we need to concentrate on growing our tax base then we need to begin chipping away at our capital improvement needs. As a city government it is imperative that we address needs that may affect certain functions within our departments. I look forward to working hand in hand with the community to address our needs and help move our city toward a better future.

David Simmons

David Simmons

David Simmons


Family: Wife, Louise Cummings-Simmons, and three children,

Education: BS in psychology from Baker University, 1983, and Washburn University School of Law 1986, Juris Doctorate


Career: Attorney. Past 10 years working Employee and Labor Relations for the Farm Service Agency. Previous 19 years primarily as a legal aid and criminal defense attorney.


Civic experience, community service: A wide range of community volunteer activities, including Baldwin First United Methodist Church youth group leader, Sunday school leader, vacation Bible school walking leader, BHS band chaperone, fundraising coordinator for BHS band and church mission trips, volunteer with the Baldwin City Boys and Cub scouts, help edit the Baldwin Community Food Pantry’s newsletter, BCRC Maple Leaf City Triathlon volunteer coordinator, a BCRC OK Kids events organizer, primary partner in creating the TreeRidge trail along North Sixth Street before the installation of the multi-use trail, volunteered to build the new trail at the Douglas County State Fishing Lake, and Black Jack Battlefield and Nature Park board member and volunteer tour guide.

What in your background prepared you to serve on the City Council?

As you can see from my community service in the past 10 years I really like Baldwin and value all the people I have met. Eagle Scouts are charged with making a difference and are given the opportunity to develop leadership skills. I have carried that with me since I was a youth. Serving on the Baldwin City Council would be a continuation of that community service, just in a larger way. 



What is your motivation for running for the office?

Baldwin City is more than just a bunch of houses and businesses occupying the same piece of land. We are a community of people who choose to live here. There are many folks who work very hard in making this a great community in which to live. I am one of them. I support building a community center where everyone can go, meet and enjoy the company of their neighbors. I feel the same thing about multi-use sidewalks. These are today’s front porches where people meet and visit. That’s the type of community I want to promote and foster through service on the Baldwin City Council.



The city is currently in the process of its annual capital improvement plan review in advance of starting work on the 2016. As stated when CIP was approved in February 2015, it was to be a flexible document, which councils could amend yearly as conditions changed. 
Do you agree with that approach?

Absolutely. I see the CIP as a guideline of what the city and community needs, wants, and desires. We have to start with a set of priorities. However, as priorities change it is important that the CIP should evolve as well. It doesn’t make sense to be locked into a rigid course of action if that action is no longer needed or desired. 




Another goal the council has discussed in a new industrial park. One step toward that is a new east sewer interceptor with an estimated $2.5 million price tag. Do you agree that sewer improvement is necessary for a new industrial park or that there are other options?

Sewer improvement may be necessary. However, it should make good financial sense when spending that much money to be able to receive value in return from those who benefit from it. I’m not sure at this time we can say “If you build it, they will come.”



Are there proposed projects on the CIP list that you especially support or that raise concerns?

There are very worthy projects in the CIP such as a community center, Lumberyard Arts, a new police station, and a senior center. However, I don’t feel that Baldwin can support three stand-alone buildings with all the infrastructure each building would require and the potential for a loss of tax base. I would like consideration be given to one building that would house a community center, police station, and a senior center. Of course, consideration must also be given to replacing 30-year-old fire trucks, repairing streets, and upgrading utility production and distribution systems. These will not be easy decisions and likely won’t satisfy all the needs and wants.

Shane Starkey

Shane Starkey

Shane Starkey

Family: Wife, Tamara Starkey, and three daughters, Christie Wingert, Jennifer Wingert and Mickayla Starkey

Education: BA from Baker University in 2003

Career:I have owned my own business and have been in outside sales the last 11 years

Civic experience, community service: Baldwin City Council, 2011 to present.

What in your background prepared you to serve on the City Council?

I have served on the city council for the last four years

What is your motivation for running for the office?

I am seeking re-election because I want to set policies that help Baldwin City grow without losing the charm of our city.

The city is currently in the process of its annual capital improvement plan review in advance of starting work on the 2016. As stated when CIP was approved in February 2015 budget, it was to be a flexible document, which councils could amend yearly as conditions changed. Do you agree with that approach?

I believe that the CIP is a very responsible tool for planning future projects.

Another goal the council has discussed in a new industrial park. One step toward that is a new east sewer interceptor with an estimated $2.5 million price tag. Do you agree that sewer improvement is necessary for a new industrial park or that there are other options?

The sewer will definitely need to be upgraded if Baldwin City does have much more growth. But as far as the business park is concerned, I think we need to consider what types of industry would be moving to town. Some businesses could function fine on a lateral field while other businesses wouldn't even consider coming if we didn't have sewer. Regardless of when the sewer is put in, the city needs to have the easements in place for a benefit district.

Are there proposed projects on the CIP list that you especially support or that raise concerns?

The current CIP has several great projects slated for the next five years. Some of them are wants and some are needs. My main concern is that we approach these with fiscal responsibility.

Comments

Jason Mock 3 years, 6 months ago

I think it is important to note that with regards to the sewer interceptor project for the east side of Baldwin City would be required for any substantial growth on that side of town, regardless of the nature of that growth. Should the now vacant land east of the Heritage Addition neighborhood be developed, improvements to the sewer system will be required to accommodate that growth, whether that growth is a new industrial park or a new subdivision.

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