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With the upcoming elections for City Commission and School Board, we wanted to take time to highlight each candidate in the race.
All candidates were sent a questionnaire to fill out and respond to and stated that their responses to those questions will be presented as sent to us with no editing.
Today, we wrap up our City Commission Candidate Profiles with Chris Fiedler.
Please tell about your background and qualifications for a position on the City Commission.
I served as a City Councilman in Oklahoma. Having previously worked in all forms of emergency services, I know what they go through and the things they need including support from their community. As a councilman I was able to bring people together from different areas for the same cause. I worked with different organizations to help raise funds for their cause. The city I served carried an annual budget of 32 Million, solely based on city sales tax and city services. I listen and take into consideration what the community wants and I know how to fight for what’s right.
Voters in this election will be asked if they want to raise the City sales tax by 3⁄4 of a percent to help fund the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and other capital expenditures. If this passes, what specific needs would you recommend that money going towards?
I would ask for a complete review of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and an update. We need to find out just exactly what the citizens want and how to spend their tax dollars. Compare what the community wants to what the city staff has come up with on their list of specific needs. We also need to look into the future 5 to 10 years. (Possibly even 15 to 20 years.) We are asking people to pay more tax, so we need to be very transparent and listen to what the citizens want.
Where do you feel the city is in regards to Economic Development and what would you do in regards to Economic Development in the future?
I have previous experience bringing new businesses into my area. I will build a good rapport with the current business to keep them here. I will make myself available to meet with new business owners looking to locate here and go to meetings with the Commerce Department or wherever I need to be. I have traveled to Nashville to meet with firearms manufacturing wanting to relocate to McAlester and Missouri to meet with an ammunition manufacturer. You have to get out in front of them and sell your city. We have to come up with a set of incentives that are available to current and new businesses. By having a City Commissioner at meetings it shows how serious we are. But, the city needs to consider hiring an Economic Development Director, also possibly an Assistant Director. In some cities they have combined the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development in one group and separate from city offices, in its own location. Economic Development needs to be able to work continuously with our neighbors and state and federal Departments of Commerce. It is easier to grow Economic Development in a community with just one person overseeing it.
The most visible piece of land available for development is the property where the old Nottingham School and Laws Field currently sit, As a City Commissioner, what specifically would you like to see done with this property?
I believe it’s up to the citizens of Eudora what to with it. Something we do not have and I think would be a great addition to Eudora, would be a year round Expo Center. The main hall would be a wide open space where you could hold anything from meetings to weddings to company holiday parties. Make space available to rent and equip the meeting rooms with PA systems and two-way video conferencing. An Expo Center can work and make money as long as it is setup for year round use. We can use green energy to help with heating and cooling and the electric. It would be a big positive for the city and would help grow Economic Development.
What other issues do you think are important that the City Commission should look at?
The city’s infrastructure is the key to success. Schools and school safety is a top priority for our children by providing safe places for walking and not in the streets. The city needs to build bicycle routes to accommodate growing number of bicycle riders to keep them out of the way of traffic. The city needs to take up the possibility of a bus route through Eudora, connecting us to Lawrence and Johnson County. I also feel it an important necessity having an Ambulance stationed in Eudora at all times.
Why do you want to sit on the City Commission?
I lost my mother last year and she was my biggest fan when I was a City Councilman. I feel I can make a difference in the community. I live in Eudora and care about my neighbors and the businesses here. I see Eudora’s potential in growing in the right direction and I would like to be a part of it.
The City elections will be held on Tuesday, April 7. Polls will be open from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Voters can vote early by mail or by going to the Douglas County Courthouse. For more information on advance voting, you can visit the Douglas County Elections website: https://www.douglascountyks.org/depts/voting-and-elections/advance-voting
Three of the five candidates running for the City Commission will be selected. On the School Board, six candidates are vying for four seats.
We will have more in depth information about polling places as we near Election Day.