Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
We wrap up our profiles of the candidates for Eudora City Council today. We sent out a questionnaire to all candidates and asked them the exact same questions. Their responses to the questions will be printed verbatim. This is opportunity for you, the reader, to see not only their responses but how they respond. The questions in the survey came from both editorial board decisions and reader input.
Today, we profile incumbent Ruth Hughs.
Ms. Hughs, please tell us about your background.
I moved to Eudora in January 1972 and taught third graders until I retired from full time teaching in May 2004. I currently work part time with USD 491 novice teachers as a district mentor. It has been a privilege to invest in Eudora for 39 years.
What qualifications do you have for a seat on the City Council?
I have served on the Eudora City Council since March 2010 when Mr. Fred Stewart resigned due to health issues.
What do you think is the most important issue that faces the City Council?
We need new businesses to come to Eudora. Currently the homeowners carry the tax burden. More industry and businesses would create a larger tax base and all citizens would enjoy the benefits of lower city taxes.
How would you help improve the city budget?
Our city administrator has worked diligently to create a city budget that is fiscally responsible. It is my responsibility as a member of the city council to make sure that all decisions are prudent and in line with the wishes of the citizens of Eudora. It is critical that our resources are carefully managed to provide for a stable and vibrant future.
Many citizens complain about the water quality in the city. Do you have ideas on how to improve the water conditions?
Water quality has been an ongoing issue since I have lived in Eudora. However, over the years the quality has improved significantly. The city council has invested in a new process that will better control the lime output and hopefully we will taste a difference in our water. Our water is carefully monitored for safety and that is of utmost importance to me as a consumer and council member. Any further significant upgrades will be over 1 million dollars. I question whether the citizens of Eudora can afford these upgrades. People on fixed incomes would find it difficult to pay higher water rates. I will continue to seek better water quality while keeping a close eye on the budgetary constraints.
Many citizens feel taxes and utility costs are high. What are your opinions on taxes and utility costs?
I think our taxes and utilities are high and we must keep actively pursuing ways to decrease the costs. When we attract new businesses our taxes will decrease. Westar just raised our electricity costs by 30%; however, due to the diligence of the council we have been able hold the line at a 1% per kwh raise in the electric costs to the citizens of Eudora. We have been able to do this by cutting 4 employees from the payroll and lowering the operating expenditures by $800,000.
What ideas do you have to increases businesses and jobs in Eudora?
The Eudora Chamber of Commerce and the City of Eudora are diligently working toward the goal of increasing businesses and jobs in Eudora. Currently we are hiring a Director of Economic Development. This individual will work closely with the chamber and the city to market Eudora. The Nottingham property is ready for a buyer and is actively being marketed. It is an exciting time in Eudora and we are poised for organized growth.
What other issues do you feel are important to the City Council?
The nuts and bolts of the city operations must be carefully maintained: our sewers, water safety, streets, and electricity. We have recently started a process of mapping the streets and have designed a plan for organized maintenance. This systematic upkeep is critical to being fiscally responsible.
Eudora needs to have a fully staffed advanced life support ambulance housed in the city. Baldwin has a fulltime ambulance in their city and we deserve the same benefit. Currently the response rate is 13 minutes for an ambulance to come to Eudora; however, it is 3.7 minutes for Baldwin. This is unacceptable. Furthermore, Eudora has a much higher call volume than Baldwin. I am committed to pushing Douglas County to provide the same service to us as they have provided to Baldwin.
Why do you want to sit on the City Council?
I believe Eudora is a wonderful place to stay for a lifetime. We have award-winning schools, a 5 star Nursing Center, an excellent Recreation Center that offers many activities and wellness opportunities, an active Chamber of Commerce, and citizens who love and care about Eudora. I would like to continue to serve the citizens of Eudora as their city council member; helping Eudora continue to grow and thrive is my goal.