LIBERTY — Liberty mayor Lyndell Brenton faces challenger Joseph Duncan on the April 2 ballot for his re-election as mayor.

Duncan is no relation to current council member and candidate for the city’s 2nd Ward, Greg Duncan.

To educate voters on where the two mayoral candidates stand on issues, the following is part two of two rounds of questions and candidate answers about key issues impacting residents and the city. All candidates were limited to 70 words per response.

Do you think Liberty should, as other Northland cities are evaluating, limit medical marijuana facilities through zoning inside city limits? If so, what specific limitations will you advocate for as mayor?

Brenton: “The city of Liberty should always exercise appropriate zoning requirements that ensure proper land uses and development within our city limits. The zoning requirements and procedures are the due processes for our citizens to mitigate unwanted impacts on their property. It is premature to determine the specific limitations for medical marijuana facilities without considerable public input on this subject as well as additional study and clarification of the state legislation.”

Duncan: “This is a great opportunity for the city to gain extra revenue. I do think we need to be cautious in how many medical marijuana facilities we allow to open up so we can ensure that they are actually profitable. We don’t want to have multiple facilities that are all performing poorly. Let’s wait and see what the demand is and then go from there, cautiously.”

Do you support the pit bull ban, and how will you seek to help animal control carry out the will of the people?

Brenton: “After considerable study and public input from both sides of this issue, the council decided the emotional nature of this issue would be best decided by Liberty’s citizens in the privacy of the voting booth. I will not make any announcements that might influence the outcome of this election decision. To assist Liberty’s animal control, we have proactively upgraded the dangerous animal ordinance and provided for a new animal shelter.”

Duncan: “I have no opinion on the issue, personally. This one should be left up to the voters. However, I do think dog owners in Liberty need to be more responsible in general, make sure their dogs are leashed at all times and that their dogs are not left unattended in their front yards. All too often I’ve been out jogging and have been bothered by ill-behaved, unleashed dogs.”

As Liberty has recently passed a public safety sales tax, which has expanded officer and firefighter numbers; and a use tax, which is now improving parks and constructing an animal shelter, is there another city department or area that needs aid and why?

Brenton: “Yes, Public Works and Information Technology could use additional financial resources provided by the use tax. Public Works would benefit from additional personnel and equipment to maintain the extensive network of Liberty’s streets. IT could use additional computer hardware, software and personnel to protect vital systems and sensitive information critical to citizens. As promised, the public safety sales tax is used only for police, fire and emergency medical services.”

Duncan: “To the best of my knowledge, I would say no. Of course, if elected mayor, I would always be open to suggestions from citizens about what areas of our city need improvement.”

The Liberty Council has held city property tax rates neutral for several years. Is it time to increase property taxes to help maintain city services?

Brenton: “No, the council’s strategy of holding property taxes neutral the past 10 years has served our community well. By implementing specific sales taxes, the burden of city services costs are shared by all persons that shop, eat and do business in Liberty while utilizing our streets, public safety, water, sewer and other city services. Increasing property taxes at this time would place a disproportionate tax burden on Liberty property owners.”

Duncan: “Running a city is expensive, and we can’t run away from inflation forever. I don’t want to raise property taxes, and I would work hard to try and re-allocate funds that we already have before considering a property (or sales) tax increase.”

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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