What the vote tells us

April 5, 2013 

The bond issue’s overwhelming passage this week in Lee’s Summit cannot be seen as anything other than a mandate about improving our community.

The directive from 6,000 voters – we’ve seen more, we’ve seen less on single-issue ballots – was clear: by a whopping 70-plus percent, Lee’s Summit approved a measure that improves two roads and begins a process of satisfying a cultural arts plan that will set us apart of from many communities in the region.

That’s significant. It’s important, not only to us, but to our kids and the generations behind us.

There are several sub-issues that bubbled up from this recent bond measure that bear tackling now that we have a clear directive from voters on our direction.

First, the city needs to prioritize past bonds and finish work that voters have already approved.

Lagging behind on this could have sent this latest issue into the abyss. Fortunately, the minuscule opposition didn’t overcome a vast amount of support. But it could in the future.

Second, our city council and city staff hopefully learned that a cooperative spirit and better plan of action is needed while planning future bonds. Wasteful committee time and a list of items from here to New Longview isn’t the way to plan for these ballot measures.

And third, we need to look at items of need in our city that didn’t make this bond.

Due to the costs and nature of the expenditure, we would have never bonded for new life packs for our fire department. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a vital need.

Fire department issues certainly cropped up during the final weeks of this campaign and need to be addressed immediately, especially if we are working with severely aged equipment. Some say there is a dire need at Station No. 3 as well. Let’s hope the spotlight is put on that now to address that issue.

We are fortunate that voters were able to take each issue on its own merits.

Seventy percent of the voters sent this message. And it’s a message that comes with a tremendous amount of work ahead.

On top of the issues I addressed above, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us to ensure that this clear command from voters is followed through with.

The keepers of our historical society are tasked with getting a feasible plan put into place for the future of that entity, we need to move on the land where the outdoor space will be located and residents on Orchard and Pryor will be looking for a timeline on when they can expect these improvements.

It’s worthwhile work that will continue to move Lee’s Summit in a progressive direction.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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