Archive for Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mayor won’t seek re-election

November 19, 2008

Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia will not seek re-election in April.

Garcia, who was elected mayor in 2005, made his announcement in an interview Monday.

He said family weighed heavily in his decision. His daughter, Nicoletta, will be a high school senior; son T.J. will be entering high school.

“One of the things (about being mayor) is being away from them and not being able to do as much with them,” Garcia said Monday at City Hall. “With my daughter going away to college, I really only have got one year with her being home.”

Garcia said he held off from making his announcement public until after the national elections were completed. Now, however, with the filing deadline for the April city and school board elections looming fewer than two months away, Garcia said he was hopeful the news would bring out potential candidates, both for mayor and for seats on the city council now held by Roger McDowell and Keith Sifford.

“January will be the deadline to put your name in for those three open seats,” Garcia said, “and that’s really only about six or eight weeks off, so if anybody’s interested in running, it’s time to put your name in the hat and start going out, getting people to know who you are and start politicking or whatever you choose to do.”

With five months still to go in his four-year term, Garcia said there still was much he wanted to accomplish before he leaves office, including final approval of the 150th Street intersection project for the Wolf Creek Marketplace grocery and to see construction go smoothly on the city’s new wastewater plant.

Garcia said he notified city employees of the news of his plans two weeks ago, and he thanked them again Monday for all of the work they’ve done.

Ironically, Garcia pointed to the same project as both the source of his biggest accomplishment and biggest disappointment as mayor.

He said he was happy the grocery store project was finally under way and was hopeful it would create good jobs in the community and generate sales tax revenues for the city. The disappointment, he said, came from not being able to help developers overcome issues that delayed construction of the grocery store until now.

“If that store was in let’s say a year ago, the city of Basehor could have generated and received a lot of sales tax revenues that could be used to possibly reduce the mill levy,” Garcia said. “That’s what our citizens were wanting … to take some of the burden off of the residential ratepayers.”

Prior to becoming mayor, Garcia served a four-year term on the council. He also served on the Basehor Planning Commission.

“It’s been about 10 years (of public service) and I’m about 50 years old, so that’s about a fifth of my life.”

Although Garcia said he didn’t plan to seek any other elective office, he said he eventually wanted to continue his involvement with one or more of the city’s civic organizations.

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