Standard Questionnaire Responses

What’s your age? 


Why are you running for re-election?

Tourism is the second largest industry in the state of Missouri. I continue to work toward the development of a Heritage Tourism program for Excelsior Springs. We have seen an incredible investment, both public and private, in our downtown, with improvements at The Elms Hotel and Spa, the downtown streets, landscaping, historic street lights, and museum. The state partnered with us for two new bridges on Isley Boulevard (10 Highway). The Downtown Excelsior Partnership has helped to bring in new business and thousands of people come to enjoy annual events. Changes in our planning ordinances have encouraged Airbnb type businesses to close a housing gap for tourism. Most recent will be the improvements at the Hall of Waters through the $500,000 Save America’s Treasures grant – a grant that I helped to write and advocate for. Thousands upon thousands of people visit Watkins Mill State Park and the Jesse James Farm and Museum each year. With our proximity to those historic sites, Excelsior Springs should be seeing the same traffic here. I believe tourism is economic development. I am a committed, strong voice at the table to make our tourism industry a priority.

I am also running for reelection to the council because I am able to represent the downtown and east side of Excelsior Springs, otherwise unrepresented, as well as represent all other areas of the city.

What are your top two qualifications for continuing to serve on the council? 

My level of community involvement keeps me aware of what issues are important to the public and provides context for decisions in future planning. My experience working with the Chamber of Commerce, Museum, Downtown Excelsior Partnership, Business Women of Missouri, Good Samaritan Center, and others has been educational and rewarding. While serving on the council, I have been liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission, Housing Authority, and Planning and Zoning Board, and am a member of the Excelsior Thrive Housing Committee, all boards that serve our neighborhoods and create zoning overlays for land use. Personally, I like having some green space between us and neighboring communities. I like that Excelsior Springs can be a destination. As a preservationist, I feel there are many opportunities for redeveloping existing property by reimaging what is possible.

I have continued education and outreach during the past nine years on subjects such as Planning and Zoning, Finance, Public Works, Economic Development, Emergency Preparedness, Ethics, and Leadership. I love to read and subscribe to many newsletters that address governmental issues such as American City & County, Smart Growth America, AARP Livable Communities, Rethinking Homelessness, The Daily Yonder, Missouri Humanities and the Citizens Institute on Rural Design. I have built relationships within the community and among outside agencies and organizations that support me in the performance of my council duties and provide valuable resources.

What is the city’s greatest need and how would you propose to meet it? 

The city’s greatest need is more revenue to maintain financial stability and work towards sustainability. The city council, city manager and city staff practice effective two-way communication to develop annual budgets. In addition, the city maintains a six-year capital investment plan of selected priorities developed in work sessions and reviewed annually. These priorities are shared with residents who serve on city boards and commissions to bring them into the planning process. Building and maintaining a six-month revenue in reserve for all departments is a financial resiliency goal. Our new city finance director is finding areas where we can trim expenses. Having new projects prioritized and in “shovel ready” form is desired. This means that projects have been planned and engineered sufficiently so that when funding grants or other opportunities present themselves, we are able to take advantage of those opportunities. Excelsior Springs has a lot of resources to attract investors such as our Enterprise Zone, Opportunity Zones, and 353 Tax Abatement area. We need to hone our message that Excelsior Springs is a great place to live, work and play. Our participation in the Communities of Excellence program is smart and provides a framework for attracting new investment, which will help our community and our revenues to grow.

Do you think the city allowed the public ample notice about the intention to change golf course management? Why or why not?

The golf course personnel are dedicated and have helped to make changes at the course that have improved its financial performance and increased membership. As the golf course provides a greater skill level and attractiveness to players, the experience that Orion Management Services brings to our course will help further the great golfing that Excelsior Springs is historically known for. Now our staff have a management team to partner with in getting the best performance possible for our course. There has been much discussion with the public to let us know that the citizens want our golf course to be less of a burden on our general fund. We have cut the dependency on the general fund almost in half in the past few years. With the new management, the public should continue to see improvements at our course that move it toward sustainability. The council was excited to be presented with this opportunity and moved quickly in order for the transition to take place during the off-season months, wanting staff and Orion to have as much time as possible for planning this golf season.

Do you agree with refunding the community center bonds? Why or why not?

Yes, I voted for refinancing the community center bonds at a rate of about 2%, taking the city from the 4% rate that it received when the bonds were issued in 2014.  I also voted to approve bonds up to $6.5 million to be issued from the Community Center Sales Tax at the new rate to finance improvements to the community center. This allows the city to move forward with plans for an outdoor swimming pool area that were desirable in the first phase of the center, but were not affordable at the time. New visioning began in 2017 for Phase II, but, again, a financing source was not identified. I have heard continued requests for an outdoor pool and it will build on the success of the community center in providing a healthy and fun way to spend recreational time. The community center steering committee, public and community center partners, such as the school district and hospital, will be brought together to identify what improvements will be made in this next stage of development.

Are the city’s emergency response departments funded adequately?

No. Public safety should always remain our number one concern, however needs often exceed what can be spent from the Public Safety Sales Tax funds. I certainly would like to see more funding available. We need to provide salaries and benefits that compete equally with neighboring communities in attracting and keeping qualified personnel. Due to the loss of tax revenue on phone land lines, as more people opt for cell phones only, the E911 tax does not generate enough revenue to pay for 911 equipment. Our fire department is responsible for an extended service area outside of Excelsior Springs that we may not be adequately compensated for. We are in the process of upgrading the fire department radio system, as well as the tornado warning system. The fire department would like a storm shelter on its property for staff and citizens protection. We have an incredible team of emergency personnel that serve Excelsior Springs and are to be commended for all they do. They are the professionals in public safety and, most often, they are the ones who identify the solutions.

Is the city’s infrastructure (streets, sewers, water) funded adequately?

No. I could answer no to questions posed in this manner indefinitely. What city council representative would not like to see more funding for city departments? The Capital Improvement Sales Tax remains the saving grace for many infrastructure needs. I would like to have more of our sidewalks that are in disrepair replaced. I’m excited about the Safe Streets and Sidewalks grant opportunity for west side development in the area of the new elementary school and business district. The expansion of Miller Cabinets has provided an opportunity for funding improvements to Jesse James Road and the road was chosen as the next street overlay project. As planned now, those improvements would extend down Dunbar to the old fire station. It will not fund the needed improvements to the bridge over Henri Street, however, and there is not adequate funding yet to replace the low water bridge on North Main Street. The Department of Natural Resources now requires that we maintain a Stormwater Management Plan, public education and outreach activities, but there is lack of a funding source for stormwater system improvements. It needs to be moved out of the sewer fund and its own funding source identified so that citizens can better see what services their tax dollars are providing.