City spending and transparency are the top issues cited by two challengers to Michael Todd’s bid for a second term as mayor of Grain Valley.
Barbara Kountzman, a retired human resources officer with the federal government, and Chuck Johnston, claims department manager with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, hope to unseat Todd, a teacher who has been mayor since 2010.
Both challengers said they would like to curb city spending. Kountzman said her experience in managing large budgets gives her the background needed to do the job.
Johnston said the city could have saved money by buying used snowplows instead of new. He also said the city shouldn’t be spending more money to redo its comprehensive plan, which is only four years old.
Johnston also said he’s unhappy with slow progress in bringing more businesses to the area near a newly built B B Grain Valley Marketplace theater. The development is supported by sales tax from the surrounding area, but no other businesses have come on board, Johnston said.
Kountzman said average citizens feel ignored by City Hall and Grain Valley should do more to engage its citizens.
Todd cited improvements to the Interstate 70 interchange in Grain Valley as accomplishments during his tenure that will make for a better traffic flow and improve Main Street.
He said he is pleased with the way the theater development has turned out so far, and is confident the developer will continue to work to get more businesses in the area.
The redo of the master plan was necessary, Todd said, because many downtown businesses were unhappy with limits on signage and building materials in the 2010 plan.
“They felt like it tied their hands if they were to have a buyer for their property,” he said.
He said the city considered used snowplows, but couldn’t find any for sale that were in good enough shape to buy.
This is the third time Johnston has run against Todd.
The only contested race for the Board of Aldermen is in Ward 2, where Nancy Totton challenges incumbent Yolanda West.CHUCK JOHNSTON
611 Cross Creek Drive
Claims department manager, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
High school and some college
Grain Valley Board of Aldermen, 2013-present and
2007-2012; Grain Valley Economic Development task force
905 N.W. Pecan Drive
Retired human resources manager, federal government
Bachelor’s in liberal arts from Columbia College
Public works committee, Grain Valley, 2010-11
706 Foxtail Court
Teacher at John Nowlin Elementary School
Bachelor’s in elementary education and masters in school administration, both from the University Central Missouri
Grain Valley mayor, 2010-present; Grain Valley alderman, 2004-2010
•Website: Facebook: Michael Todd for Mayor of Grain Valley