This week, we will be introducing candidates for the 1st District seat on the Lee's Summit City Council. By means of introduction, your Link 2 Lee's Summit has asked each candidate a series of questions as it relates to the business and economic growth of the city. Today, we introduce the Susan Coffman. Candidate Franklin Tatro declined to respond. Rob Binney was introduced on Monday.
Link 2 Lee's Summit: How do you feel the business environment has changed since the opening of the Development Center two years at City Hall?
Ms. Coffman: Because of the Development center more businesses have found our community attractive. I have heard many compliments during city council sessions from these businesses regarding the ease of establishing their businesses in our community. The EDC has been very active in selling our community to the business world. We have attracted businesses with higher paying jobs. Cerner is one example.
Link 2 Lee's Summit: What role do you see the City Council playing in the community's economic development endeavors?
Ms. Coffman: City Council is responsible for making sure the tax incentives are equitable. It is important that the Council balances the cost of Tax incentives with the benefit of improvements which might be made. Also, city council should be responsive to citizens when there are concerns about a business being located in their neighborhoods. Example of concerns that might need to be addressed are traffic and safety challenges.
One last thing regarding economic development. With transportation being one of the most problematic challenges for our entire community (Kansas City area) it is important to establish a competitive job market in our (Lee's Summit) community so that people can walk or bike to work. This is not only a desire of some millennials, but also a desire of experienced members of our community. Citizens want to live, work and play in this great suburb. The only way this can be done is by attracting the right kind of businesses.
Link 2 Lee's Summit: What is economic development to you? How do you define it?
Ms. Coffman: Economic Development is attracting sustainable businesses in our community. In order for our community to maintain the quality of life we have now, these businesses should offer competitive salaries with the region. It is also important to attract a variety of businesses in order to be attractive to our diverse population.
Link 2 Lee's Summit: As the Charter Review Commission looks at our City Charter, what, if any, changes to the Charter would you like to see made?
Ms. Coffman: The City Council Districts are extremely large. I would advocate for either the districts being divided or additional council people per district so the citizens receive the representation they deserve. City Council members are doing an admiral job now, but there can always be improvement. Communication is always a challenge.
Link 2 Lee's Summit: What is the most fulfilling volunteer, board, commission or committee task you've performed in Lee's Summit in the last year, and why?
Ms. Coffman: As chair of the Human Services Advisory Board, I have been fortunate to become involved with many of the nonprofits in this community who work tirelessly to address the needs of our less fortunate citizens. It is a rewarding experience to see them working together and to share resources in order to assist this population in reaching their highest potential.
Link 2 Lee's Summit: If elected, which liaison assignments would you seek
Ms. Coffman: I would like to be a liaison to Parks and Recreation or the Housing Authority.
Link 2 Lee's Summit: Day to day, what is the single most important quality of a city council member?
Ms. Coffman: It is important on a day to day basis for council members to respect the ideas and concerns of others. They need to be great listeners and even though they might disagree with the stated concept it is important that they respect the opinion of the other person.