Archive for Thursday, March 29, 2007

Council hopefuls lay out positions

March 29, 2007

Editor's Note: The Current asked candidates for the Lansing City Council to respond to questions of interest prior to next week's April 3 election. Here are their answers, which in some cases were edited because the candidate exceeded word limitations.

Ward 1

Dee HIninger (unopposed)

What is the most pressing issue facing the city? How do you propose taking care of it?

Taxes and the mill levy. Watching spending and working to keep the mill levy low by broadening the tax base from revenue from new business.

What do you believe are the top three capital improvement projects needed in the city?

Bringing the city offices to a central location.

Maintaining and improving the streets.

Get the prison museum up and running.

If elected to the council, what will be your No. 1 priority and why?

Keeping the mill levy and taxes down to continue growth.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

I feel I can bring a businessman's perspective to the council

What qualifications should voters know about you?

I have lived in Lansing for over 37 years and owned and operated my own business in Lansing for 20 years. My sons went through the Lansing schools. I was raised in Bonner Springs, where my father was a successful businessman and the mayor, and I was raised in an environment of public service.

Ward 2

Andi Pawlowski

What is the most pressing issue facing the city? How do you propose taking care of it?

I don't think the city has a "pressing issue" at this time, thank goodness! We do keep the mill levy at its current level. In future years, as we have more commercial development, we should be able to see some residential property tax relief.

What do you believe are the top three capital improvement projects needed in the city?

Development of the city park on 4-H Road; Library/City Hall expansion; De Soto Road

If elected to the council, what will be your No. 1 priority and why?

To keep current projects on track and plan for reasonable growth. We want to shape the face of Lansing. It is a "home" town with families our main focus. Development is needed so we can to spend our dollars here, but I don't envision Main Street looking like Metcalf.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

I have served one term on the council. I have had mostly positive comments on my performance, and I want to make sure the park is completed. I also think I offer a voice that is different from other council members, and I think that is important.

What qualifications should voters know about you?

I am accessible. I seek out opinions, and I am not afraid to voice my opinion. I think I am a fair person. I take this position very seriously. I have never missed a regular council meeting in 4.5 years. I enjoy helping our community move forward.

David Anaya (No response)

Ward 3

Janette Labbee Holdeman (unopposed)

What is the most pressing issue facing the city? How do you propose taking care of it?

We need strong commercial development. I will work with others to attract new businesses to Lansing. We need a partnership between business and light industry to help stabilize our tax base. The City and the School Board efforts to save taxes are commendable, but property taxes continue to rise.

What do you believe are the top three capital improvement projects needed in the city?

Besides Town Center Development, Main Street and Eisenhower Road, we should continue development of Lansing's transportation infrastructure to include turn lanes on DeSoto Road, Gilman Road extension to 147th street, and easy access to I-435. Construction of the Regional Prison Museum would make our city a destination.

If elected to the council, what will be your No. 1 priority and why?

All of the above, but I would like to see Lansing dedicate more time and resources to developing and connecting our trails system. Few people are aware that we have an extensive trails plan as part of our comprehensive plan, which will benefit our families, runners, walkers and cyclists.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

Since arriving in Lansing in October 1973, I have volunteered with civic groups to improve the quality of life for Lansing families. It has been rewarding to see us grow, and I am interested in remaining active involved in our growth as a City Council member.

What qualifications should voters know about you?

Prior to my appointment, I have served on council advisory boards, the Lansing Tree Board and Lansing Historical Society and for 12 years as a member of the Lansing Planning Commission and Convention and Visitors Bureau. I believe my experience can be an asset to the citizens of Ward 3.

Ward 4

Harland Russell

What is the most pressing issue facing the city? How do you propose taking care of it?

Balancing growing infrastructure and maintenance needs with affordable taxes. I believe growth requires attentive planning efforts to ensure the development we experience today does not burden us with unnecessary maintenance or spending tomorrow. I will continue working for city budgets and policies that promote growth at manageable property tax rates.

What do you believe are the top three capital improvement projects needed in the city?

Main Street, which is currently under construction, needs to be finished within budget and on time. Keeping pace with the expansion of our parks facilities to adequately keep pace with rapidly growing programs. Annual capital improvements program sufficient enough to meet our increasing street, sidewalk and storm sewer maintenance requirements.

If elected to the council, what will be your No. 1 priority and why?

My number one priority and one of the things I have tried to work hardest on during my tenure as a council member is to listen to what our citizens want and need. Being a council member is of no consequence if we do not service the needs of the community.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

I have always been driven to give back to our community. I find the work very fulfilling and rewarding. I have also been a volunteer in sports programs, Scouting and school with my children. I hope that through my service work that I can encourage a sense of community in others.

What qualifications should voters know about you?

I have been an engineering technician in Civil/Site Development for over 20 years. I have dealt with construction projects of many sizes. The bulk of my experience is in commercial development and public infrastructure plans. I think this knowledge helps me greatly in researching and making decisions on city matters.

Tom Smith

What is the most pressing issue facing the City? How do you propose taking care of it?

The most pressing issue for Lansing today is establishing Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the development of Towne Center. I will work with the Mayor, other City Council members, and the City staff to get it established. My commitment to TIF is based on the developer bringing in both the grocery and home improvement stores.

What do you believe are the top three capital improvement projects needed in the city?

The top three projects are: The new city park, improvements to DeSoto Road, and long term, the development in conjunction with KDOT, of the K-7 Corridor.

If elected to the council, what will be your No 1 priority and why?

My number 1 priority is the establishment of the TIF for Towne Center. Towne Center has the potential to grow and bring more business to Lansing. More business means more tax revenue for the city. The sales taxes from business can increase city revenue without having to raise property taxes.

Why do you want to be on the City Council?

I want to help the city move forward in an organized way. The place to do that is on the City Council. I also believe that voters are better served when they have choices for elected office. So for these reasons I want to serve the people of Ward 4 as their next City Councilman.

What qualifications should voters know about you?

20-year resident of Ward 4, retired Army officer. Experience: Former member and past president of the Lansing School Board, former city councilman, current vice chairman, Lansing Planning Commission

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