LIBERTY — Liberty mayor Lyndell Brenton faces challenger Joseph Duncan on the April 2 ballot for his re-election bid for mayor.
Duncan is no relation to current council member and candidate for Ward 2, Greg Duncan.
To educate voters on where the two stand on issues, the following is part one of two rounds of questions and candidate answers about key issues impacting residents and the city. A second round of questions will be printed in a coming edition of the Courier-Tribune. All candidates were limited to 70 words per response.
How you define the role of mayor and the relationship between the city’s mayor and Liberty City Council?
Brenton: “The role is caretaker of Liberty’s past, present and future. It’s preserving Liberty’s heritage and special character; administering policies, legislation and services that provide the quality of life our citizens expect; and visioning which includes goals, strategies, economic vitality and growth initiatives resulting in a strong legacy for future generations. The mayor leads the council and staff creating an atmosphere of collaboration and mutual respect that delivers successes for Liberty.”
Duncan: “If elected mayor, I plan on keeping the relationship between the Liberty City Council and the mayor the same as it is now. It’s the job of the mayor and the city council to work together and to have an open line of communication with the city departments in order to ensure the best results for the citizens of Liberty.”
What is your No. 1 goal for your term, if elected?
Brenton: “Delivering on the $6 million of commitments made to Liberty voters in connection with passage of the use tax in April 2018. Those promises include a new $2.5 million state-of-the-art animal shelter, major renovations of $2 million to City Park and upgrades totaling $1.5 million to the community center and 10 neighborhood parks throughout Liberty. We are on track to fulfill these commitments as promised.”
Duncan: “My No. One goal is to be careful with tax increment financing and to make sure Liberty is getting a fair deal from businesses that want to start doing business in Liberty.”
What areas of economic development does Liberty need to improve as the city continues to grow, and how, as mayor, will you work to improve them?
Brenton: “Liberty needs to expand our inventory of industrial/business park properties. This is important for economic vitality and job growth in our community. The mayor, council and city staff has worked to get considerable acreage, adjacent to Heartland Meadows, site certified by the state for economic development. We continue working with key partners to establish an industrial business/park site in the southern part of our city.”
Duncan: “The current mayor and city council are focused on growth and development. However, I don’t think Liberty needs more fast food restaurants or retail stores that pay low wages. We should be bringing in more corporate jobs to Liberty because many residents commute to Kansas City or Overland Park (Kansas). Economic development is fine, but let’s make sure we are doing it correctly and bringing in more high-paying jobs.”
Now that Liberty is making headway on the Kansas Street/Highway 152 corridor, what would you like to see as the city’s next large infrastructure improvement? As mayor, how will you work to achieve it?
Brenton: “A major road connecting South Liberty Parkway and (Missouri Highway) 210 is needed to capitalize on the economic impacts of an industrial park in southern Liberty. Additionally, connecting to M-210 would be a strategic street network addition by providing access to another four-lane highway and an alternate access to our city. We are already leveraging established relationships with key community partners and governmental entities needed to make this new road infrastructure reality.”
Duncan: “It’d be nice to get an upgraded power station as the power in Liberty goes out quite often, but I’ve been told by the city administrator that KCP&L has no incentive to shell out the money for a project like this. As the current administration is, I would continue to advocate for this project and try to find a way to pay for it without raising taxes.”