In the midst of budget shortfalls for the city of Lee’s Summit, are there specific programs, positions or other cuts you would be in favor of making?
The function of the Lee’s Summit City government is to provide police protection, fire and emergency response, water and sewer service, and public works/street maintenance. The citizens have an expectation when they call the police and fire department that there will be a timely response. When they turn on the faucet, water comes out. When they leave their driveway the street is maintained and the snow is plowed. These are the basic functions of a city government and these services can’t be cut. Any other non-critical programs are subject to budget review and potentional cuts.
Discussions about having an economic development component in city hall have recently surfaced. Do you favor adding additional funding to the EDC and/or funding an additional position?
I don’t favor additional funding for the EDC at the expense of the taxpayer. I would only support the City providing this function if it could be funded by the Hotel/Bed tax that is already being collected on visitors to the city. The City Council needs to establish measurable performance quotas for the Economic Development Council. If they don’t meet the goals established by the council, their funding would be cut or eliminated.
What topics would you like to see addressed at future city council retreats?
The first area I would like to see addressed is the redevelopment of the 50/291 highway corridors and the corresponding retail sales tax issue. I believe the City Council should address this topic and not turn it over to non-elected committees. The owners of the properties in those corridors benefit greatly through infrastructure improvements made by tax monies from the passage of the upcoming bond issue. The city must make sure that any subsequent development in this area brings full benefit of increased tax revenues from those properties into the city’s treasury as quickly as possible.
A second topic is the street snow plow plan. We need to develop a plan with the necessary funding to adequately and timely address this issue.
Arnold Hall, the arts and the approved outdoor performance space are all topics of discussion right now. What do you think should be done with Arnold Hall and are you in favor of the outdoor space remaining next to that structure?
The taxpayers approved a bond issue for the outdoor performance space so we need to insure that this project moves forward on budget. As for the performance space remaining at Arnold Hall that is more a matter of stretching the bond money by locating the venue on city owned land. Unless funding for Arnold Hall renovation comes from the bond funds authorized by the voters as a part of the performing arts venue, the council should proceed with the request for proposals to sell Arnold Hall.