Archive for Thursday, January 4, 2007

Council race draws two

January 4, 2007

One incumbent on the De Soto City Council will not seek re-election, one will and one remains undecided about whether she will join the race that will also include a local businessman.

Two-term Councilwoman Linda Zindler said Tuesday she decided not to seek another four-year term on the council.

"It's a very difficult decision," she said. "I've served two terms, and I just believe it's time for me to step aside. I know there are other leaders out there who would like to step forward.

"We've come a long way in the past eight years. We've set some excellent policies and good foundations. We have a good staff; people are seasoned in their jobs."

The filing deadline is noon Jan. 23 for the spring elections for council and De Soto USD 232 Board of Education. Three positions are open on the council, while four seats are open on the school board.

Incumbent Councilwoman Mitra Templin said she ran four years ago out of a desire to build the city through an enhancement of its quality of life. The new pool, park trails, boat ramp and enhanced parks and recreation offerings helped keep children, and the parents' shopping dollars, in De Soto, she said.

She is running for re-election because the experience she gained in her first term would be valuable in addressing a number of current initiatives, Templin said. Those include a new five-year capital improvement plan, the search for long-term water solution, and a resolution to the city's relationship with Johnson County Rural Fire District No. 3, she said.

Another primary goal was making De Soto more affordable to its citizens by encouraging commercial growth, Templin said. Limited tax abatements and well-designed TIF programs could be used to encourage business growth.

Templin and her husband, Roger, have lived in De Soto for 13 years. She is a graduate of Kansas University and worked in pharmaceutical sales before resigning to raise her two children.

Another first-term council member, Betty Cannon, said she was leaning to running again.

"I probably will, but I'm still thinking about it," she said. "I would like to run to see some of the things we've started get into place. There's a lot of stuff yet to do."

Those items included a long-term solution to the city's water needs, developing the parkland around the boat ramp in the West Bottoms, dealing with development at Sunflower and a variety of housing issues, Cannon said.

Cannon, a past president of the De Soto Chamber of Commerce and owner of Betty's Trucking, guided a volunteer effort to finish the boat ramp last year, which included many of the city's contractors.

Another former chamber president, Mike Drennon, has also filed in the race. The vice president of FCB Bank said his entrepreneurial and banking experience could be of benefit as the council deals with decisions of downtown revitalization, Sunflower and encouraging growth to pay off the new wastewater plant.

Of particular interest was the downtown revitalization effort, which got under way in 2006 with a joint city/De Soto Economic Development Council effort to craft a revitalization plan.

"It's a must for De Soto," said Drennon. "It will help keep De Soto as it is and not get absorbed by Sunflower."

Another interest was the expansion of the city's commercial tax base, Drennon said. It is something he has been a part of as a banker, co-developer of a self-storage complex and husband of one of the owners of a new car wash coming to the KTEN Commercial Park.

"I would like to see more emphasis on commercial growth -- strictly commercial growth -- to help offset the burden to taxpayers," he said. "There's a big sewer coming on line. We have to find a way to pay for that."

Drennon is a 10-year resident of De Soto, his wife, Erin's, hometown. The couple have two daughters ages 2 and 8 and are expecting a son in March.

A graduate of Basehor-Linwood High School, Drennon received his undergraduate degree from Baker University and is on track to earn his MBA from the same university in August.

Should more than six candidates file for the three open council sets, a Feb. 27 primary will be needed to reduce the slate of candidates to six for the April 3 general election.

Rich Walker is the second incumbent to file for re-election to the De Soto school board. The two-term De Soto resident is running in Position 1 of De Soto and Lexington Township.

If more than three candidates file for the position, a primary will be conducted to pare the candidates to two.

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