Three candidates are vying for the Cherokee City Council At-Large seat being vacated by incumbent Linda Burkhart, who is not seeking re-election to the post.
Those three include Mike Morrow, Barry Lewis, and Chad Brown, with Morrow and Brown lifelong Cherokee natives.
He also emphasizes recycling all materials (paper, metals, glass) whenever possible and claims the City now does a "poor job" of recycling.
Morrow served with the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam, and raised his two oldest children as a single parent. He is the father of four children, including Joshua, serving with the Border Patrol in Arizona; Shane, employed with WalMart in Oklahoma; Mike, employed with Tyson's Deli and living in Holstein; and Chad, a truck driver living in Cushing.
Morrow also maintains that the Council members should be more active in the community and "drive around and see what's going on around town.
"There's way too much over spending, and the wasteful spending in town needs to come to a halt," explained Morrow.
Morrow pointed out the proposed new Yacht Club and Maintenance Building for Koser Spring Lake Park as examples of "wasteful spending."
"And things like the volunteer Fire Department. They should have more fund-raisers, and raise their own money instead of the City always throwing money at them."
Above it all, Morrow said the Council needs someone to inject some common sense into the many issues confronting the City.
"I'm just a common person," he said in closing. "And I want to remind citizens that they have the right to bitch to the City the first 15 minutes (Public Forum portion) of every Council meeting."
At-Large candidate Barry Lewis moved to Cherokee a few years ago, and said he wants to get involved in City government to eliminate wasteful spending, lower property taxes, reduce City debt, invest in Cherokee's future, and bring new jobs to town.
a Massachusetts native and U.S. Navy Gulf War veteran. He identifies his current career as a consultant in economic development, renewable energy, and housing for 15 clients throughout Iowa and South Dakota.
If elected, Lewis said he would freeze capital expenditures over $5,000 for at least two years; consolidate all City employees and City vehicles into one Public Works Department; seek line item approval of all City bills at all times; retire all General Obligation Bond debt coming due next for three to four years; increase the City's cash balance; and conduct ongoing audits without fail during each fiscal year.
In regards to the proposed Koser Spring Lake Park Yacht Club and Maintenance Buildings, Lewis said the City should focus on restoring the existing Yacht Club and utilize existing available buildings for the Parks Maintenance facility.
"The City needs a better financial strategy for streets, water, and sewer. We need to increase revenues and do a better job marketing the City," said Lewis. "I have solutions."
Chad Brown, a Field Operations Supervisor with the Cherokee County Conservation Board, is seeking the Council post because he feels he has a lot to offer and when he decided to seek public office, there were no other candidates for the At-Large post. He said he had been thinking about running for a couple of years, and when he told a few people about it, they strongly encouraged him.
"I've always considered serving to give something back to my community, but I have no agenda," explained the young father of three children. He and his wife Jillian are the parents of Hayden, Amelia, and Calvin. Jillian also is a Cherokee native.
Brown, who also farms with his in-laws, said he loves Cherokee County, and he and Jillian located here to raise their family and to appreciate and savor all the good things available here. He cited the City's and County's unique and "wonderful" parks, solid business climate, and said the City is fortunate to have such knowledgeable and capable department heads and staffs.
"Our department heads and City employees are experienced and been through it all. We've got to keep them," explained the Cherokee Washington High graduate. "Don and the Council, with the West Cherry Street and North 11th Street projects, show good forward thinking. We need to keep pecking away at improving our infrastructure and they are doing it. The nuisance abatement process they now have in place is working and can only be good for the City in the long run."
As do the other candidates, Brown questions the expense of the proposed Yacht Club and Maintenance Building at Koser Spring Lake Park.
"We need a new maintenance shop there, but we have the (renovated) Community Center. Why do we need a Yacht Club? There are better and less expensive ways to fix that problem."
All in all, Brown said he simply thinks the City should have a Council member "who thinks like me."
(Ward 1 candidates incumbent Jim Peck and challenger Mark Miller will be previewed in Monday's Chronicle Times).