by Kathy Crawford
Three Tracy residents declared as write-in candidates, two of them just days before the March 28 deadline.
Alderman Rita Rhoads declared to run against incumbent Mayor Brenda Ferguson.
Tracy residents Kelly Green and Aaron Bryant filed as write-ins for the two aldermen seats up for grabs. They join Dolores McDonnell in challenging incumbents Larry Hill and Bob Kaveler.
This year's race is the first since the board voted to change from wards to aldermen-at-large, allowing voters to choose any two candidates they wish.
If Rhoads is elected as mayor, a third alderman will have to be appointed to fill her vacant seat.
Alderman Bob Kaveler:
Incumbent Alderman Bob Kaveler has served for four years on the board and said he wants the city to provide water, sewer, and public safety at a reasonable cost. He said that the city must also keep its sewer and water funds on track.
“I think having experience in finance and accounting from my job would help the city,” he said.
Kaveler wants to see discussion about proposed developments “done properly with the citizens in mind.” He is also concerned about the streets.
“We have some money from the county road sales tax that we need to decide how to use,” he said.
Alderman Larry Hill:
Incumbent Alderman Larry Hill has served for one year on the board and said he is running again to “be a voice of reason on fiscal issues.” He thinks the major issues facing Tracy are water, streets and the city debt.
“Tracy has a $100,000 debt, huge potholes and poor management from city hall,” said Hill.
Hill thinks the city should cut spending to deal with the deficit and should work with developers so the city can receive money for the streets and water issues.
“In two years, Tracy can improve the streets, grow responsibly and lower water bills,” said Hill.
Alderman Candidate Dolores McDonnell:
Dolores McDonnell, a Tracy resident for over 35 years, said some of her concerns are water and streets.
“I want to assist our mayor and board of aldermen in their efforts in finding solutions for these problems,” she said.
McDonnell is a businesswoman who spent four years as Tracy's treasurer. She presently owns and manages rental properties in Tracy and Platte City. She has owned and operated several other businesses and was a member of several civic organizations.
“As a business woman, I feel that I have something to offer my community,” said McDonnell.
Write-in Candidate Aaron Bryant:
Write-in candidate Aaron Bryant, a resident of Tracy for 11 years, said he thinks that the most pressing issues in Tracy are the streets and the water.
“I'm a homeowner, and I have an honest interest in the city because I'm not moving anytime soon,” said Bryant.
He said he thinks the board needs to think through proposed developments to ensure the city's best interests are met.
“I will work with the mayor and the board with all current issues and projects, as well as further developments of the city,” said Bryant.
Write-in candidate Kelly Green could not be reached for comment.
Mayor Brenda Ferguson:
Mayor Brenda Ferguson has served since 2002 and said she thinks the most important issues now are to iron out zoning issues and surfacing of streets. She said she has tried to enhance conditions of the city during her terms and has seen improvements.
“We now have mainline sewers servicing all residents,” said Ferguson.
For the future, she thinks a proposed truck stop, strip mall and housing will bring in more revenue. She also said she will continue attending Missouri Municipal League meetings as she has always done.
“I try to keep Tracy connected to the county, region and state by regularly attending MML events,” she said.
Alderman Rita Rhoads:
Alderman Rita Rhoads has served on the board for 15 years and six months as acting mayor during the buyouts following the 1993 flood. She serves on the planning and zoning committee and said she thinks the biggest priority is the telemetry system on the water tower. The water deficit is improving, she said.
“We've lowered the water deficit by $10,000 just since starting the $15 meter fee,” said Rhoads.
She thinks that the new development projects will bring more money into the city but feels Tracy's government can be improved upon.
“I think we need a board and mayor working as a team,” said Rhoads.