After six years on the job, Ernie Jungmeyer is not seeking another term as mayor of Peculiar. Four people want to replace him.
The candidates in the April 8 election are business owner Michael Gallagher, stay-at-home mom Kimberly Mallinson, attorney and business owner Deborah Pearson, and independent insurance agent Holly Stark.
Stark and Gallagher serve on the city’s Board of Aldermen.
Gallagher, 63, is the only candidate to have previously run for mayor in Peculiar. He came in second among three candidates in 1984.
If elected this time around, Gallagher said, he won’t be afraid of helping out where he can.
“I’m not afraid to roll up my sleeves and get myself dirty,” Gallagher said. “That includes if the boys need help out there at a busted water line or sewer line, I’d be the first to jump in the hole.”
Stark, 43, is also a familiar face in Peculiar government. She is in her fifth term as alderwoman, presently serving as mayor pro tem.
“I want Peculiar to be an economically viable community for the future,” Stark said. “I don’t know that when my children grow up if they will want to live in Cass County or Peculiar.
“But if they do, I want to know that it is a community that doesn’t become like Greenwood — where they just become a part of Lee’s Summit because they’ve lost their identity and their ability to create a tax base. I want Peculiar to be able to maintain their identity.”
Candidates agree that this is a pivotal time for city growth.
For the fourth time, city officials will be bringing to voters the question of imposing a 1-cent-per-gallon fuel tax for street improvements.
“The fuel tax will provide the necessary revenue for Peculiar’s street maintenance,” said Mallinson, 30. “However, this has been put forth to the voters before and has yet to pass. I don’t think it should have been put on the ballot until there was more voter support.
“The city should look into why it hasn’t passed yet and what can be done to alleviate those concerns.”
Gallagher and Stark support the initiative.
“We really need the fuel tax,” Gallagher said. “A lot of people do not understand ... that the new subdivisions will need resurfacing very soon. We do not have the funds to do this.”
Pearson, 44, indicated she would explore other options before raising taxes.
More highway access is also on the horizon with the Missouri Department of Transportation’s interchange project at 211th Street and Interstate 49. Peculiar now has only one interchange on the interstate.
“Peculiar has the good fortune of being part of this amazing 1,700-mile highway economic development opportunity,” Pearson said. “This interstate will be able to put Peculiar on the map as far as a destination city, as well as a place for new business to take advantage of its location on this massive international highway.”
She said access to the interstate can create economic growth, improve the quality of life and increase tax revenue for the city.
Stark says the city needs to make sure it has all the economic tools that are available to draw new businesses to the interchange.
“Peculiar needs to have a strong and professional voice that will advocate for more state and federal dollars for roads and other infrastructure,” Stark said. “Our approach ... should be to bring businesses that have a regional draw.
“We should not compete with our surrounding cities to go after similar types of businesses.”
Pearson and Mallinson have been particularly vocal about making it easier for businesses to come to Peculiar.
“Peculiar needs to make the process for getting a business started more streamlined and make the information that a potential business needs more easily accessible,” Mallinson said. “If we want to bring new business here, then we need to be on the same level as the surrounding cities who are managing to attract businesses.”MICHAEL GALLAGHER
Owner, Gallagher’s Lawn Care
High school diploma
One term, Peculiar alderman; Peculiar Cemetery Board of Directors
10202 E. 219th Terrace
Bachelor’s in political science, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Peculiar Planning Commission
.Facebook: Kimberly Mallinson for PeculiarDEBORAH PEARSON
126 N. Main St.
Owner, Wellington’s Wine Cheese; attorney
Bachelor’s in administration of justice, University of Missouri-Kansas City; law degree, Massachusetts School of Law, Andover, Mass.
Member, Downtown Peculiar Arts and Culture District’s Economic Restructuring Committee, Peculiar Chamber of Commerce and I-49 International Coalition
9202 YY Highway
Independent insurance agent
High school diploma
Five consecutive terms as Peculiar alderman; current mayor pro tem; served on the Peculiar Planning Commission; Secretary, Cass County Corporation for Economic Development; vice-president, Cass County Coalition of Chambers