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Two aldermen will
by Alan McArthur
Platte City residents will have several choices to make in the voting booth on Tuesday, April 7.
There are contested races in Ward 1 and also in Ward 2. Current alderman Aaron Jung is unopposed in Ward 3.
WARD 1 RACE
There are two candidates for the Ward 1 alderman position. Incumbent Ron Stone is being challenged by former Alderman Lee Roy Van Lew.
Stone is 42-years-old and works as the store manager at the local Casey's General Store on 92 Highway.
Stone said he chose to run for reelection because he enjoys working with people and believes he has contributed to the city. Stone was first elected to the board of aldermen in 2007.
“I think in the past years I have helped contribute to some good in Platte City,” said Stone.
Stone said there are several areas he plans to focus on such as keeping the budget balanced, keeping the door open for people to interact with their government, and to keep doing projects to improve Platte City.
Stone said the city should look at maybe building a skate park and also developing the east side of Interstate 29.
“I would like to see new businesses come into the city,” said Stone. “We also need to improve the parks.”
Stone said he thinks the city needs more retail stores to keep people from having to go to Barry Road to purchase goods.
“The economy is bad right now, but hopefully it will turn around,” said Stone. “I'd like to keep tax dollars in town.”
Stone said he thinks the city could improve the maintenance on some of the city's parks.
“A chain saw or brush hog goes a long way,” said Stone. “We need to do more improvements to our parks.”
Stone said he thinks he is the best candidate because he has experience and he says people know and trust him.
Stone is being challenged by former alderman Lee Roy Van Lew.
Van Lew is 75 years old. He has 45 years of experience with construction companies and is currently retired. Van Lew said his focus if elected will be on making sure the city's Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) are completed.
Van Lew said he supports a proposed voluntary annexation even though the city has had some “small problems” with the developer Bill Mann.
“I am one of the individuals in favor of annexation, if the problems are ironed out I think it should happen,” said Van Lew.
Van Lew formerly served on the board of aldermen from 1999 to 2007.
“I don't know if I'm the best candidate, but I feel I am qualified to be on the board based on my past experience in the construction field,” said Van Lew.
WARD 2 RACE
The other Platte City contested race is for the Ward 2 alderman seat.
Incumbent Andy Stanton is being challenged by former alderman Ron Porter and newcomer Mike Walsh.
Stanton is a 45-year-old owner/operator of his own auto repair business in Platte City. He was first elected as an alderman in 2007. Stanton is currently the board president.
Stanton said he chose to run for reelection because several people had approached him wanting him to run again.
His goal will be to keep an eye on the spending at city hall.
“My goal is the same as always, to keep an eye on spending with the new city manager,” said Stanton. “I want to protect taxpayer money. I don't think our future is dependent on growth. We will probably see property annexed into the city, but I think we can survive.”
Stanton said he thinks city hall is doing a decent job currently.
“I haven't heard any complaints lately,” said Stanton. “Overall I think we're doing a decent job. Since (Mayor Frank) Offutt took over things have been relatively quiet.”
Porter is a former alderman in Platte City and is retired.
“I don't like the way things are running,” said Porter. “They are wanting to buy chain saws out of town when I think we should do business in town.”
Porter said he thinks the city should purchase more of their services and goods from businesses in Platte City.
“I think I can help do a better job than what they're doing,” said Porter. “These people who pay taxes in town, I think that's where we should do business.”
Porter said one of his goals if elected is to make sure the city builds a shed for equipment for the public works department and city. He said it could be built on some of the parks department's ground in the city.
Porter said he thinks the new city administrator Jason Metten is doing a good job and seems very knowledgeable.
The third candidate for the Ward 2 seat is Mike Walsh. Walsh is 47-years-old and works for a development company in downtown Kansas City.
“There are going to be tough times ahead,” said Walsh. “I feel I need to be serving for the future of the city to ensure there is no tax increase.”
For Walsh, the city will have to watch the economy to know what to do and how to spend money.
“I just watched the news today and we have to look at this on a day- to-day basis with things changing so fast. We will see what the future holds, because things are changing daily.”
Walsh said he is a citizen the same as everyone else and doesn't have a business in the city he's trying to make money with.
“I am just an everyday citizen with no business interests in the city,” said Walsh. “I am just an everyday citizen who will be there for everyday citizens.”
WARD 3 CANDIDATE
There is only one candidate on the ballot for the Ward 3 position. Aaron Jung, who currently holds the seat, is the only candidate for the position. He was appointed to the position by the mayor after Todd Sloan moved out of the city and resigned.
Jung is a 34-year-old who owns a landscaping company in Platte City. He was first elected to the board in 2006 and served until April 2008, and decided to not run for reelection. Then in December of 2008, Jung was appointed to the board to fill the seat vacated by Sloan.
Jung hopes to continue helping the city grow in the next term if elected.
“I hope to continue to promote Platte City in a positive manner,” said Jung. “I want to continue the open lines of communication with all government entities and citizens. The city has gone through a lot in the last number of years and Platte City has a ton of potential for growth on the east side of I-29. I want to be one of the individuals to lay the ground work for it. There will be some decisions that have to be made over the next couple of years.”
For Jung, helping existing businesses and citizens is very important.
“I want to continue to work with existing businesses and citizens to meet their expectations,” said Jung. “We need to make sure we are not a road block in their success.”
Jung said he wants to do the right thing for businesses and residents.
“I hope voters look to my experience and commitment and involvement to see I am committed to Platte City,” said Jung. “I am committed to making sure this is a great place for all of us to live and work. I am committed to doing what’s right by the people and doing right by anyone seeking residence here.”
Jung said he considers the community when he votes and not just his personal views on issues.
“There are good people in town, some of the nicest people here,” said Jung. “All they ask is that you do your homework and do what’s right. I’ve shown the community I have not always gone with the grain. I have voted for the betterment of the community, not my personal views.”
The election will be held on Tuesday, April 7.
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