Archive for Thursday, December 16, 2004

Mayor to seek second term

December 16, 2004

De Soto Mayor Dave Anderson initiated the spring election campaign with an announcement Tuesday that he would seek a second term.

"A lot of people have been asking me if I intended to run again," he said. "I've been telling them I probably would. It seemed like a good time to announce my intentions officially."

The terms of Anderson and City Councilmen Tim Maniez and Emil Urbanek expire in 2005. In addition, three positions on the De Soto USD 232 School Board will expire. They are the Position 4 seat of Curtis Allenbrand, the Position 5 seat of Jim Thomas, and the Position 6 seat of Jim Plummer.

Should more than two candidates file for mayor, a March 1, 2005 primary would be required. A primary would be needed for the two City Council seats should five or more candidates file. The general election will be April 5, 2005.

Primaries in the three School Board seats would be contested in district with the April general election open to all district voters.

In his first four years, he has made headlines in the metropolitan area for his positions on the redevelopment of the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, which were often at odds with those of Johnson County leadership.

His advocacy has raised the awareness of De Soto's interest in Topeka and the metropolitan area of De Soto's interest in Sunflower's redevelopment in general -- and the water plant the city leases in particular, Anderson said.

Little visible progress had been made in the city's attempt to secure the water plant. But Anderson said he was encouraged by his recent meeting with Sunflower developer Kessinger/Hunter and Co. That meeting was followed with a letter from Hunter that listed proposals.

"I think he proposed some steps that would be workable for us," Anderson said. "It was a positive step. There is potential for cooperation -- on the water plant and other areas."

Although it took some time to build momentum, the last two years have included notable achievements, Anderson said.

In April, De Soto voters approved a $2.65 million bond issue for a new swimming pool behind the De Soto Community Center, which Anderson supported in his 2001 campaign. Construction is slated to begin next spring.

Another first-term accomplishment was the city's first capital improvement plan and the voter-approved 1/4-cent sales tax that financed it, Anderson said. The capital improvement plan's two biggest projects -- the reconstruction of 83rd Street from Shawnee to Ferry streets and rehabilitation of Lexington Avenue -- were completed this year.

The city built on the new pool and big street improvement projects with the replacement of oldtown sidewalks, resurfacing of Penner/83rd Street, and parking lot improvements to Miller Park, Anderson said. All of those produced a synergy that he hoped to build on in a second term, he said.

"I really don't want to study it to death, but I really want to get my hands around a housing-slash-redevelopment plan for oldtown -- I'll say particularly the trailers we have in town," he said.

Long an advocate of riverfront development, Anderson said the city's purchase this year of the old West Bottoms sand plant, which will include a boat access ramp to the Kansas River, could be the catalyst for a river trail and development.

In what might ultimately prove to be the most important city development of the last four years, the City Council agreed in the last two months to build a new sewer plant in the West Bottoms.

Anderson said one of his goals for a second term was to work with residents to update the city's comprehensive plan to accommodate the westside growth he sees as inevitable.

The key would be to find a cooperative way landowners could work with some future developer, the mayor said.

Anderson said the credit for the city's recent momentum belongs to Council members and city staff. His job was to provide encouragement and vision, he said.

The quality of city staff was a particular point of pride, Anderson said. The mayor made a change in city administrator his first year in office.

Under the direction of current City Administrator Greg Johnson, accounting and financial management had greatly improved, Anderson said. And, he said, city government was leaner and more efficient.

"We're doing more with less, because the city has grown," he said. "Anybody can see that on the expenditure line."

The filing deadline for city and school board positions is noon Jan. 25, 2005.

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