Candidates meet one last time before April
On Monday, candidates debated for the last time in the "Meet the Candidates" forum at the Basehor Board of Education meeting room.
There were three questions posed to mayoral candidates Bill Hooker and Chris Garcia, as well as a question and answer segment. Responses were limited to two minutes.
The event was sponsored by the Basehor Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Susan Guy. Guy, chamber president, also moderated the previous forum in February.
The first question of the night was how the candidates felt about annexation regarding existing and future developments.
Hooker said he thought any future annexation of developments should be self-sufficient and prove that the development provides the income to maintain roads as they are built and also for future improvements.
"I drove through subdivisions Wellington Place, Pin Oaks, Hickory Point and Crest Wood and there was a lot of places where the streets were crumbling and we are going to have to pay for that," Hooker said.
Garcia said the city of Basehor has an annexation plan where seven areas have been designated for annexation.
"That doesn't mean tomorrow we would do this, it's just a plan of where we would want to go," Garcia said. "There have been votes on annexation and I have not voted for all of them because I felt there was areas that did not benefit the citizens that lived in that area."
The second question was what the candidates would do to stimulate economic growth in the city.
Garcia said he applauds the past mayors and council members who the city where it is today but in order for any new businesses to come, the city will need infrastructure in place to support those businesses.
"If you want new streets and restaurants and industrial parks, we have to get that infrastructure in first before we can go after the other," Garcia said.
Hooker said he would form a committee that would visit businesses to persuade them to come to Basehor. He also gave a list of businesses that he felt would be appropriate for the city.
"Some of the things that we do need, that we don't have, are a dry cleaner and a funeral home. Believe it or not, this would be a good place for a funeral home," Hooker said. "I also don't believe any business that we try to encourage to come to Basehor should be in direct competition with any of our existing businesses."
The last question from Guy was where do the candidates envision Basehor in the next four years.
Hooker said the economy would determine the future of Basehor and he anticipates the city growing by at least 20% without annexing any future developments.
"Obviously right now it's booming," Hooker said. "There are some signals that the economy may slow down. We can make the economy slow down or we can make it go up just by talking. If we talk bad about the economy it's going to go bad. If we talk positive about it, it's going to go good. I encourage people to be positive about our current condition."
Garcia said he envisions Basehor gaining both commercial and residential growth with the opening of the new Kansas Speedway.
"Growth is coming to our area, a 33% increase in the last 10 years," Garcia said. "People who don't want growth are not getting the word out because the growth is still coming. We are right on the doorsteps."
In the City Council portion of the forum, candidates Victor Ziegler, Julian Espinoza and write-in candidate Bob Moore all voiced their views on two questions from Guy. The fourth candidate, Joseph Scherer, did not attend.
One of the questions posed to the candidates was what they would contribute to the council should they be elected.
Espinoza said he would bring communication skills and experience in financial planning and management.
"I have the ability to listen to people and find out what it is they're communicating to me," Espinoza said. "I listen to both sides and understand the way people feel before making a decision."
Ziegler said the biggest contribution he can make is his experience in engineering through his employment at several different companies.
"I am a civil engineer and I have 33 years of experience in civil engineering and almost all of it is related to jobs similar to what city services are," Ziegler said.
Moore said he wasn't quite sure what he could contribute, but was willing to learn the position and make changes where they were needed.
"I see a lot of things going on in the city that I don't like and that's the main reason I'm running for City Council," Moore said.
Moore walked out of the forum during the question and answer segment, apparently in protest over a Chamber of Commerce flier that listed him as Robert Moore, instead of Bob Moore. Because Moore is a write-in candidate, if someone wants to vote for Moore they must specifically write Bob Moore on the ballot or the vote might not count, Moore said.
Guy apologized for the mistake and said the mishandling of his name was unintentional.