District 3 candidates for City Council offer perspectives on economic development
This week, we have introduced the candidates for the 3rd District seat on the Lee's Summit City Council. Phyllis Edson was introduced on Monday, and Todd Haynes on Wednesday. The third candidate, James Lloyd did not respond to Link 2 Lee's Summit's attempts to reach him.
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. Below are responses from both Edson and Haynes.
District 4 candidates will be introduced next week with the election set for Tuesday, April 5.
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. Edson: I think it’s a more positive environment for people wanting to open a business in Lee’s Summit. The Development Center demonstrates that Lee’s Summit wants new business and wants to encourage businesses in settling here, not discourage them.
Mr. Haynes: Since the opening of the development center two years ago at City Hall, the business environment has changed for the good as it has fostered an environment in which people can receive answers to questions regarding business and maintain an open dialogue with the City of Lee's Summit.
Link 2 Lee's Summit: What role do you see the City Council playing in the community's economic development endeavors?
Ms. Edson: City Council is the legislative branch of city government. We set policy. It’s the role of the EDC to sell Lee’s Summit and “birddog” new businesses. The council then can approve incentives and other terms to help grow existing businesses and/or bring new businesses to town.
Mr. Haynes:As an Advisory Board Member on the Lee's Summit Economic Development Council, I believe the City Council plays a significant role in the economic development endeavors of the City of Lee's Summit. We must facilitate an environment where the City Council works together with the LSEDC in retaining existing businesses and attracting new businesses that will provide opportunities for Lee's Summit residents to work, live and play in their own community. This provides for a larger tax base that will then be able to pay for the quality schools and wonderful parks we have come to enjoy.
Link 2 Lee's Summit: What is economic development to you? How do you define it?
Ms. Edson: Economic Development to me is the plan to and the act of working to growing existing businesses and bringing in new businesses that pay wages which allow families to live and work within the Lee’s Summit area.
Mr. Haynes: Economic development is multi-faceted. It entails retaining and attracting businesses to Lee's Summit because of a diversely skilled and educated workforce from which to hire. It entails that because of that businesses contributions to the tax base that the best schools are built with the best teachers to educate the children of that workforce. It entails the building of communities for that workforce in which they can work, live and play in that community enjoying all of the amenities that City has to offer because of a solid operating base of employers that have chosen Lee's Summit as their home.
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. Edson: Either increase the number of districts by 1-2 or add 1-2 at-large seats.
Mr. Haynes: The City Charter is reviewed every ten years. I believe there needs to be term limits placed on how many terms someone may run for municipal office. For instance, you may be a City Council member for two terms, take two years off and then run again. We have plenty of talented citizens with great ideas who can add plenty of value in contributing to our community while fulfilling their civic duty.
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. Edson: I’m an active member of the Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation and have been for several years. I work hard on fundraising for this organization so that teachers and students have additional tools in the classroom that school budgets may not fund. It’s fulfilling to me because I get to raise the money, have a direct say in where it goes AND help out teachers and students all at the same time.
Mr. Haynes: The most fulfilling board position that I have been involved with in Lee's Summit in the last year, has been as an Advisory Board Member with the Lee's Summit Economic Development Council. I am able to help advise on and help facilitate the attracting of new businesses to Lee's Summit and the new jobs that are provided. I am well suited for this type of community involvement because of my experience as a businessman. We all have different involvements as citizens where we can add value.
Link 2 Lee's Summit: If elected, which liaison assignments would you seek?
Ms. Edson: Livable Streets, Public Safety, Arts Council.
Mr. Haynes: I would be open to any and all liaison assignments. I am willing to serve in any capacity that is asked of me.
Link 2 Lee's Summit: Day to day, what is the single most important quality of a city council member?
Ms. Edson: Integrity.
Mr. Haynes: Integrity.
All candidates for City Council were on hand for a public forum hosted by the Lee's Summit Chamber on March 15. Below is video of the District 3 candidates answering a question concerning the Council's role in managing City Hall and holding staff accountable to direction issued from the Council.