Old Drum Network
An Alternative News Source for Warrensburg and Johnson County Missouri
Candidate Interview, April 6, 2004 Municpal Election
City Council - Don Nimmer
Transcribed interview, basis for Warrensburg Free Press article March 11 issue
Interview was conducted on 3/1 at Dr. Nimmeer's residence.
What do you see as most important qualifications for a council person?
I think knowledge of the community, openness to work with different elements and hear what they have to say so can represent them. Key is the ability to make decisions, get all input form constituents and other places and make a decision.
How long have you lived in Warrensburg?
What's your educational background?
PhD in Educational Evaluation, Research and Statistics. Came as an employee of CMSU, retired there as director of Institutional Research, where pulled information from sources to help make projections and decisions.
What civic or other organizations have you served in?
Past Treasurer for Survival, PTA President at Ridgeview and Middle School. Now VP of Friends of the Library, Treasurer of Habitat for Humanity, secretary of food center board, Christmas store chair in 2002, volunteer at Southeast School and elder at Presbyterian Church.
What do you see as the 3 main issues facing Warrensburg and how address?
- Balancing act of trying to grow and progress with our population. It’s a funny population: students are temporary, and buy mostly consumables here and generally don't care much about local institutions. Military – some stay here, some are temporary and others come back. Affects busienss as they often do a lot of their buying on base and supplement it in town. Professional people from city, CMSU and base often spend money in Kansas City as outing. The rest are often lower wage people and buy at stores like WalMart.
As a result of these habits, we have few nice restaurants and the uncertainty affects mix of retail. In 2000 census tried to get a handle on real population, but students were hard to convince and are often counted elsewhere. This affects business decisions by chains and affects all other issues. Need to maintain a balance of expectations and resources on all groups.
Should the city support the Old Drum Bus Service? At what cost?
- Would you support additional taxes for city services?
Have to look at the expectations, ask if we have the resources, if not, figure where the money would come from the meet the expectations. If expectations strong enough, would need additional taxes to meet them. Taxes must be linked to needs & expectations.
- What do you believe is the maximum sustainable sales tax rate for the city?
Question if the sales tax should be on all items purchased, has issues with taxes on necessities. Noted that state & federal funds for grants are drying up.
Certain people have the need or no car accessible. Relates to how we feel about people who can't get around. Bus was attractive to CMSU student government, which kicked in money. Students from larger cities with public transportation should like the bus, but there's a question if they'll wait for the schedule. If CMSU were to assist in funding, that would reduce other funds. If the need for the bus isn’t what is forecast, may not be able to fund it.
Are Warrensburg's parks needs properly addressed? Elaborate?
Parks are getting better with recent changes, expansions and new facilities. The problem is resources aren’t located where most usable, but have good facilities and a master plan.
Do you support a skateboard park – how should it be funded?
Yes. If part of the park structure, some outside sources should supplement park money.
In the past, relationships with the County have sometimes been strained. What's best way for governmental units to work together?
At present, seews people working hard to make sure communication there. The Chamber of Commerce, Main Street and Economic Development Corporation trying to make sure all are include din discussions. The county mission is different from the city's. Haven't seen problems with the county.
To what extent should CMSU influence governmental decisions?
CMSU is a major constituency. Shouldn't dictate to city, but should be part of the discussion on matters of mutual interest.
What degree of oversight should the City exercise over non-governmental entities that receive tax money:
People expect the city to be a good steward. Organizations that get city funds have to be monitored and periodically evaluated, but not micromanaged.
Would you support mandatory curbside recycling?
- Main Street – what's view on how (or if) downtown could be best revitalized in long run?
Stores are located on Holden and Pine Streets, and Pine is thought to be hard to park on evenings. Difficult to deal with the issue. Recent change to Holden positive, need to finish Holden then do Pine. Pine is seen as sufficiently different – hard to get buildings renovated, don’t see a coordinated effort there as on Holden St. Would like to see downtown thrive.
- Chamber (room tax) – What should (or can) be done to increase Warrensburg's desirability as a tourism destination?
Get more activity. We get visitors due to WAFB and CMSU, but what other rasons are there to come. Clinton does golfing weekends, we're just as good if would work together on it. For example, the year the air show and the downtown festival were on at the same time and people were shuttled form town to the show. Need to look for package deals.
- Warrensburg Area Economic Development Corporation (WAEDC)
Agree with the effort to bring in industry. It's a trade-off – will they come in and what are we willing to pay for it. That's the reason for tax incentives. Question is what should the balance of incentives be – we must be ingenious.
- What’s your view on using TIF or commercial/industrial tax breaks?
Don't really know specifics in this area.
- Should government use eminent domain for economic development purposes?
Use infrequently as it often causes more trauma than wanted. Use judiciously.
I like idea of recycling, but it's hard to force people. Must see what options are and what can be done. Would like to see curbside recycling available.
Would you support smoking ban in businesses?
Don’t like "mandatory" Need no-smoking sections. It's hard to legislate something like this.
How should city employees be compensated?
Clasify jobs in organization on level of difficulty, training, responsibility, etc., Once establish hierarchy then pick benchmark communities (similar) in the geographic area. Must temper because of jobs at base and CMSU. Public safety jobs need to look at competition.
Would you support employee unions?
Have not heard how fire department's union has worked out. Employees ought to be able to look into unions.
What should be our public works priorities? Streets? Sewers? Development?
Streets & sewers the first concern – thinks they do a good job. Parks next. Development thinks issue is bringing in more opportunities for business and employers.
What should be done about the West Pine Street bar situation?
Thinks has improved. Must enforce laws & ordinances on age. Various ways of doing. Thinks ought to give kids a chance – hate to see law come down hard on them without giving an opportunity to set drink aside. Bar owners have a responsibility to enforce the laws.
Anything else you want to bring up before the final quote?
Thinks this is a community that either fits or doesn't fit people. People know right away if it fits them; those who don’t look to leave quickly. Mix of people who've been here for generations, have turnover with military and CMSU that brings in new blood and ideas. Most of the young people are very nice. "Good place for me and my family"
Will you give me a quotable statement on why we should elect you.
"I've been active in the community since I came. Now that I'm retired I want to take the service to anther level. I care about the community and want to see it thrive and see others like it as much as I do. I feel I can add something to the community by seeking election to the council because I'm willing to be open to different constituencies as I see each has a special value to add. Unless one feels one has special value it's hard to make things click."
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