Mayor will not seek re-election
Prudden bows out, throws his support to City Councilman Duke Neeland
DeSoto will have a new mayor in April, but city voters will decide if it will be the candidate the present mayor endorses.
At last Thursday's city council meeting, Mayor Steve Prudden announced that he would not seek re-election. Prudden also announced he would support the candidacy of City Councilman Duke Neeland.
Monday, Neeland said he informed Prudden several months ago that he had no interest in another term on the city council.
"I told Steve I'd thought about running for mayor, but that I'm not running against you," Neeland said.
Neeland said he and Prudden have generally agreed on issues over the past four years, the first term for both men.
As for the future, Neeland said he would concentrate of infrastructure improvements and "getting DeSoto looking as clean and nice as we can. More of what we've been doing."
During the past four years, the city council has hired a new city administrator, city clerk and planning director. It incorporated the positions of city attorney and city engineer more fully in the city's organization scheme and created the position of city parks and recreation director.
"I think we're pretty tapped out along those lines," Neeland said. "We might have to do something with emergency preparedness we haven't addressed."
Neeland will have at least one opponent in the election. Local contractor David Anderson has also filed for the office.
Anderson said he had been encouraged to run by perhaps "two dozen" people in current city government, the school district and in the business community.
HIs first priority as mayor would be to get DeSoto "in the loop" in the transfer of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant. He is not advocating the plant's annexation, Anderson said, but including the city in the planning process of its transfer and redevelopment.
In what Anderson sees as a related issue, he is calling for improved relations with other government jurisdictions. Improved relations with the state and county are especially important if the city wants a voice in Sunflower's future, he said.
But Anderson added that the city has to mend fences with rural water and fire districts near DeSoto and the school district.
"When you look at it now, we have either no relations or strained relationships with all of those," he said. "You can't agree on everything, but you have to have better relationships."
Another priority would be the creation of a five- or 10-year plan of infrastructure improvements. As an engineer, he said it makes sense that the city develop a priority and schedule of improvements that could be used to manage growth and attract economic development.
As of Monday, two candidates have filed for the two open city council seats, incumbent Tim Maniez and planning commission member Clyde Sanders.
"There are a lot of things going on right now, and I want to continue being a part of it," Maniez said. "Growth and how we handle it is the biggest single issue out there."
Maniez is finishing his third four-year term on the council. He first served from 1987 to 1995, before unsuccessfully running for mayor. Maniez served on the DeSoto Planning Commission for two years before earning a seat on the council.
Sanders, a retired insurance claims representative and supervisor, said he is running for city council for much the same reason as Maniez.
"We're in a position to define our direction, and I like to be a part of that and help out," he said.
The deadline to file for city offices is noon, Jan. 23. Candidates must file at DeSoto City Hall.
Should three or more candidates file for mayor or five or more candidates file for city council, there will be a primary Tuesday, March ?? The city/school district general election is Tuesday, April 3.