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Four local residents seek to gain public favor in the upcoming November 7 election to fill three seats on the Mount Ayr City Council. In an effort to assist voters in making an informed decision, the Record-News invited all candidates to respond to questions pertaining to how they would best represent Mount Ayr residents. Three of the four candidates provided responses, and Rachael Rumple did not respond to a request for information.
The answers below are presented as stated, with minor grammatical edits.
What skills and experience do you have that would be beneficial as a Council member?
Jessica Murphy states “I have owned and operated Pampered Pooches by Jess for the last 6 1/2 years. I was on the Family Resource Center Board for 10+ years. At the end of my time on the board, was the full remodel of the building.”
Chandra Poore has been a teacher at MACHS for 17 years. She also worked as Manager of Judge Lewis Pool for 10+ years. She also served for many years on the Ringgold County Group Home Board, the Ringgold County Supportive Services Board, and the City Parks and Recreation Board in the past. “I learned the ins and outs of a public pool and what is needed for it to be successful. I believe this insight would serve our pool project well. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to continue on this project after November 1,” states Poore.
Michael (Mike) Wik stated “I spent 3 years on the Lineville, IA city council, so I have some experience in city business. I plan on bringing the knowledge of using a small budget and low income homes into plans and considerations.”
What do you believe is the role of the City Council in our community?
Jessica Murphy stated “I believe the City Council’s role is making decisions to keep our town thriving and moving forward for years to come.”
“The role of City Council is to listen to the community members to identify their needs and concerns,” states Chandra Poore, “We then should take this input to the council table and use it to craft decisions that best serve our community.”
Mike Wik said “I believe the role of the council is to be the voice of the people.”
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision making process and get community feedback?
“I am happy to talk to anyone at anytime, but we all have different views and need to respect each other,” says Jessica Murphy. Murphy encourages residents to let her know how they feel in a healthy way.
Chandra Poore says “I think listening to residents and getting their ideas however possible is a crucial factor of any Council decision. With rapid changes in technology, there are many ways to gather community input. We should be utilizing all available resources to ensure that the Council is serving the citizens of Mount Ayr. All major projects (that aren’t considered maintenance) involving $400k in public funds or more should be sent to public vote.”
Mike Wik said, “I plan to involve the community as I do in everyday life. I’m always available by phone (641-203-4854), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or on Facebook (Mike Wik). I also work in the community, and the public is more than welcome to flag me down or come to The Goldmine while I’m working to ask questions or raise concerns”
How would you evaluate whether or not a potential project for new public infrastructure (road, pool, wellness center, etc.) is worth implementing in our community?
Jessica Murphy states “I would look at both sides. Financial cost to the city, sustainability of the project, and what the community as a whole wants.”
According to Chandra Poore, there would be many things to consider. Financial viability – can our tax base support this? Cost benefit analysis – what is the real economic and social value of the project? Most importantly – is this project the desire of the community? “There have been projects in the past that have been pressed on the community without widespread support,” states Poore. “We should be prepared to safeguard against this type of thinking in the future and look to listen wherever possible to all citizens.”
Mike Wik said, “I would evaluate all the facts, and consider if it will be sustainable for years to come, is it affordable, does the majority of the public want it, will it help our city grow?”
What’s more important for our city right now; creating more housing and rental options or rehabbing/expanding/better utilizing our existing homes and storefronts?
Jessica Murphy states “Of course brand new housing is enticing but we have so many empty spaces in our town. Filling those first would be so beneficial to bringing more people to our community.”
Chandra Poore says, “I think it is important for the city to determine the cost effectiveness of both. Given the diverse income levels in town, I think it is important to provide affordable housing and business spaces for everyone. We should also work to provide quality housing and rental options to community members. We are currently working to create standards for rental housing to ensure renters in our community have safe and affordable options. I think creating areas for housing development is important as well. I support residential development projects utilizing some of the neglected properties within the city. Many no longer have the ability to maintain these properties. We should look to find strategies to incentivize the sale of these properties to those wishing to build or improve our community.”
Mike Wik said, “I believe what’s most important for our city to look at currently is our infrastructure, sewer, water, roads. The foundation that Mount Ayr is built on needs attention so Mount Ayr can continue to grow in the future.” Wik continued, “For example, look at Osceola. They out grew their water source, now they have a year until they are out of water because they did not worry about their infrastructure.”
Do you have any personal or professional relationships that could be seen as a conflict of interest while serving as a Council member? How will you navigate those relationships if you were to be elected?
Jessica Murphy states “I do not feel I have any conflicts of interest. I am not currently on any boards.”
“In my opinion, to be a good council member you have to separate yourself from the decision that needs to be made,” states Murphy, “vote for what is best for community, not your own agenda.”
Chandra Poore states “I do not have any personal or professional relationships that could be seen as a conflict of interest. Should something come up, I would always abstain from voting on an issue that could potentially lead to a conflict of interest.”
Mike Wik said “I work for Windstream and the Goldmine. I also volunteer for the ROA. I will simply abstain from any votes regarding those organizations to stay away from any conflict of interest.”