Mission will have a new mayor in 2018, and it could be a current city council member.
Mayor Steve Schowengerdt, who was elected in April 2014, said he would not run for a second term. As of May 18, Ward IV councilman Ron Appletoft was the only candidate who had filed with the Johnson County Election Office to run for mayor this fall.
Appletoft was elected to his current term on the council in April 2016. He previously served on the council from 2002 to 2005, but stepped down when he was named chief financial officer of WaterOne.
Appletoft retired from WaterOne earlier this year.
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In addition to his time on the Mission council, Appletoft previously served on the Countryside City Council and was that city’s treasurer for 15 years.
“I’ve been involved in public service most of my life — 37 years,” said Appletoft, who also serves as council vice-president and chairman of the finance and administration committee. “I have the experience, and having just retired, now I can dedicate the time.”
Appletoft said development of the Mission Gateway project and maintaining the vitality of the businesses on Johnson Drive would be among his top priorities if elected mayor.
“Things are going really well now,” he said. “I’d just like to keep the momentum going.”
Schowengerdt said his decision to step down was based on personal financial considerations.
“I love to serve the people of Mission, and I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s really, really tough to do any type of work,” he said. “I think it takes someone who’s retired, because of the time commitment. Raising 10 children, you don’t have a lot of time to save for the future.”
Before being mayor, Schowengerdt was a council member from 2003 to 2010.
In addition to being retired, Appletoft has the backing of the council, Schowengerdt said, making him an excellent candidate for the job.
“I know Ron will do a really good job. The city is in good hands,” Schowengerdt said, citing the “fantastic” group currently on the council as well as City Administrator Laura Smith and City Clerk Martha Sumrall.
Nominating Smith, the city’s former finance director, to be city administrator; the reconstruction of Johnson Drive; and the upcoming reinstallation of a traffic light at the intersection of Johnson and Woodson Street are among the highlights of Schowengerdt’s tenure, he said.
Schowengerdt said he’s most pleased, however, with how well the council and staff worked together.
“We didn’t agree on everything, but everyone respected each other, and what we accomplished, we accomplished together.”