Archive for Thursday, June 17, 2004

Mayor: ‘I’m running for re-election’

Joseph Scherer seeks second mayoral term

June 17, 2004

Basehor mayor Joseph Scherer answered the bell rung by a political challenger this week by announcing his own re-election plans.

"It's something I've actually known since I inherited the position," Scherer said in an interview this week. "I hope the citizens of Basehor realize and believe in me that things I want to do may seem rash, harsh or expensive but that long-term, they are in the best interests of the city and its future."

Earlier this month, Chris Garcia, a past mayoral candidate and former Basehor City Council president, announced his intention to run for mayor in next year's April election. Scherer said he expects the field of candidates to include more than himself and his opponent of record.

"Anytime you do something new, it wakes people up," the mayor said. "But I do not believe most people have a true understanding of what the position of mayor or City Council person really is."

Regardless of the election's outcome, Scherer plans to use the rest of his current term to complete as much work as possible. He laid out a list of ambitious goals he'd like to see finished before the election.

"After inheriting my position a year and a half ago, I feel I've made forward strides for the city," he said. "I'll use the remainder of this term to do as much as I can for the city."

One of his first goals includes finishing a plan for the development and revitalization of a new downtown area.

The city has completed some preliminary work for a new downtown on areas along 155th Street. Scherer said he hopes to have a blueprint of what the area will entail before the end of his term.

The second goal, Scherer said, is the founding for a new municipal water department. Preliminary work for the water department's creation has begun, Scherer said, and its implementation would allow the city to control development so growth fits the governing body's long-term plans.

Another of his lofty goals, but one on which work has not yet officially started, is bringing an emergency medical services ambulance to Basehor.

The city's ambulance service is currently provided through Leavenworth County or a substation in Tonganoxie.

"That is just something I'm beginning to work on," Scherer said. "We are the fastest growing city in Leavenworth County, we pay a lot of taxes like everyone else, and I believe it's our right."

Scherer, former City Council president, assumed the office of mayor in Aug. 2002 following a surprise resignation by then-mayor Bill Hooker. Scherer was elected to the City Council in 2001 before assuming the remainder of Hooker's term.

He said his tenure as mayor has included a boom in development and planning for the future. His term also brought the hiring of the city's first-ever city administrator, a position Scherer said the city has "needed badly for at least the last five years."

Planning for the future has also been a top priority for Scherer. He said laying the groundwork for growth by opening up sewer lines and building new ones has opened the eyes of both residential and commercial developers.

"We've opened up avenues for retail businesses, which is how we can level out our taxes or hold our taxes tight," he said.

Next April, Basehor voters will decide not only the mayor's race but also two City Council seats. The City Council positions are currently held by Keith Sifford and City Council president Julian Espinoza.

If the mayoral field becomes crowded with more candidates than Scherer and Garcia, a primary election will take place in February.

Scherer, 35, is a lifelong Basehor resident. He is a partner and owner in Realty Executives in Bonner Springs and Scherer Construction, Inc.

He is a past member of the Basehor Planning Commission.

Scherer said his campaign for re-election hasn't ever stopped.

"I feel I campaign every day and at every meeting and when I speak to every citizen," Scherer said.

"I hope the citizens of Basehor will always believe me and trust in me that I'm working for their best interests and those of the city."

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