As we approach the General Municipal Election on June 2nd, There is no topic more important than our economy. Back in August, when I announced my candidacy, I was already concerned about the soft economy of Blue Springs. There were empty buildings with no signs of being filled. In October, Haldex announced their departure. My concerns were validated when Mayor Ross announced in the city council meeting on January 6th that the city started the 2020 budgeting process with $1.2 Million in deficit.
I released my 4 Step Plan to address the economy from day 1 on January 28th. Completing each of those steps is critical to any successful economic development plan. On February 18th, I released the Empty Buildings video and asked the question “Is this our future?”
At the time, I anticipated a recession. Then COVID 19 became the concern and how our already soft economy in Blue Springs will recover. Our city budget was already struggling which is directly tied to the economy and it must be addressed. There are only 3 ways to accomplish what is ahead to provide for the needs of our city. 1) Cut spending- we have already done this for the 2020 fiscal year according to Mayor Ross, by cutting programs citizens want (i.e. hazardous waste removal) and jobs. 2) Borrow money- this must go to a vote of the people and in my view, just because we can doesn’t mean we should. 3) Increase revenue- this happens by economic growth of the city with the addition of businesses at all levels and consumers to support them. In other words, we need to cultivate conditions for current businesses to thrive and grow, new businesses to open, and for consumers to have what they need right here in Blue Springs.
We can’t maintain the things we need and advocate for the things we want without a plan to pay for them. Are you willing to cut more programs or jobs to pay for needs? Are you willing to borrow from the future for our children to pay for needs? Let alone our wants? If not, then the only answer is to rebuild a strong economy in Blue Springs. If that is important to you, please vote for me on June 2nd, because…
Elect Dale Carter
In 2030, Blue Springs will celebrate its 150th anniversary. What will Blue Springs look like in 2030? How will we handle the opportunities and the challenges? My answer: The Future Starts Now. (May 1, 2020- Once we address the immediate needs of our economy in Blue Springs we can start on the big ideas of where we can be in 2030)
Here are some big ideas that will move our city forward:
1. Development revitalization. A proactive plan to market Blue Springs and take advantage of a surge in manufacturing jobs. Let’s make Faurecia the first example of how we’ll move our economy: jobs and opportunities for our future graduates and more shopping and service businesses for our residents. We also need to work hard to retain the businesses we have!
2. Development of the 104 acres at Adam’s Dairy Parkway and I-70 overlooking Lake Remembrance. Several developers have tried. Let’s make it our mission to create a mixed-use development that includes a boardwalk and sit-down restaurants overlooking the lake.
3. Support the merging of CJC and Prairie Township Fire Districts. All of Blue Springs should enjoy the fire protection and EMS service that most of Blue Springs has. The city has taken a big step by granting land on the south side for a fire station. Let’s go the rest of the way by supporting a merger.
4. Move the city from the L7 to the L6 Lagers Retirement package. To get and retain the best city employees, we have to have a better benefits package.
5. As rail grows in Kansas City, we’ll work with other city leaders, MARC and ranking member of the House Transportation Committee, Sam Graves, to make commuter rail a real possibility. Imagine the growth of Downtown Blue Springs when commuter rail happens.
How will we achieve these goals? On day one, we will adopt COOPERATION and COLLABORATION as our motto in Blue Springs. There is nothing we cannot achieve if we work together for the benefit of our city.
I will appoint a council liaison to the other taxing districts (School District, Fire Protection Districts, etc.) and make sure we open the lines of communication. I will develop a Blue Springs Leadership Council, inviting representatives from all the major stakeholders to quarterly meetings to further open those lines of communication. I will institute a complete review of all boards, commissions and the Blue Springs Municipal Court to make sure we are serving the citizens of Blue Springs to the best of our ability. I will call for a review of the Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code to make sure we are competitive with other cities.
When we have achieved the best possible working relationship with all of the stakeholders in Blue Springs, I will ask for complete buy-in from all parties to pass an Internet Use Tax so we can capture the city portion of internet sales that we aren’t currently getting. As costs go up (better retirement plan for workers and concrete for the street overlay program to name two) and internet sales continue to grow, the city will need this revenue stream to function.
When JFK committed the United States to a mission to the moon in 1961, he said it would be completed within a decade. He said we choose to do this not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard! We can do everything I’ve laid out and more if we’ll get out of our silos and work together to move our city forward!