One candidate is concerned about containing crime, maintaining housing values and continuing the city’s public safety sales taxes.
Another is focused on electric utility rates and the future of a former golf course.
Both seek to succeed Eileen Weir as 4th District representative on the Independence City Council, representing the southwest portion of the city.
Weir was elected mayor last April.
The candidates are Laura Dominik and Tom Van Camp, who survived a four-candidate primary in August.
Dominik, as a member of the city’s public safety services review committee, has spent recent months reviewing the possible continuation of the city’s two eighth-cent sales taxes for public safety — one each for the police and fire departments.
Committee members plan, on Oct. 27, to recommend that the council ask voters to renew the 12-year taxes, which would otherwise expire in 2016.
“This is basically so that we can maintain our current status in both departments and improve upon their response times,” Dominik said.
Her interest is driven in part by the challenge of containing crime in southwest Independence, which, she said, is feeling the effects of urban sprawl.
“We have significant crime issues along U.S. 40,” Dominik said. “We want to develop more neighborhood watch groups in our area.”
Dominik also is concerned about home values in her district as older homeowners sell their houses or convey them to their children.
Some of these former family homes are becoming rental properties, Dominik said.
“There is some concern that the rental properties are reducing housing values,” she said.
Van Camp, meanwhile, said more attention should be paid to the rates being charged by the city’s utilities such as the Independence Water Department and Independence Power & Light.
“They should quit raising” the rates, Van Camp said. “I feel that they are too high.”
In July, the City Council approved a goal to have 10 percent of Independence Power & Light’s energy come from sources that are not carbon-based, such as coal and natural gas, by 2018.
Van Camp remains focused, however, on the rates being paid by Independence residents.
“Of municipally owned electrical plants, I believe that we are one of the highest,” he said.
Van Camp also is concerned with the future of Rockwood Golf Club, a 91-acre green space in the middle of heavily residential western Independence. The former 18-hole course has been closed for several years, and there has been occasional talk of future development there.
“I would like it to remain green,” said Van Camp, who lives nearby. “There have been several things suggested for it, but nothing has been finalized.”
Van Camp emphasized that he wants to serve the entire Independence community.
“I am a citizen politician, and I would work for the welfare of the 4th District as well as being part of a team seeing to the future of Independence,” he said.
Address: 3525 Blue Ridge Blvd.
Occupation: Director of human resources, Great Plains Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Education: Bachelor’s degrees in business and accounting, University of Kansas
Previous public service: Independence public safety services review committee
Website: Facebook: Laura Dominik for City Council
Tom Van Camp
Address: 9812 E. 25th Terrace South
Occupation: Retired special agent, criminal investigations, Missouri Department of Revenue
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Missouri-Kansas City; master’s degree in public administration, UMKC
Previous public service: None
Website: None, but email address is ElectTomVanCamp@comcast.net