When Lake Ozark voters head to the polls on April 2, they will have a choice for mayor. Paul Sale is challenging incumbent Johnnie Franzeskos. Both were asked questions of importance to Lake Ozark. Here are their responses:
Johnnie Franzeskos: I grew up in Kansas City, Mo. After graduating from Northeast High School, I enlisted in the United States Air Force serving in the military police squadron during the Berlin and Cuban Crisis. After completing my military service with an honorable discharge as staff sergeant, like my father before me I went to work on the Kansas City Fire Department, working my way through the ranks to captain. During that time, I attended Penn Valley Community College, graduating with an associate’s degree. In 1997, I retired after 32½ years of service to my community. I have three sons, a daughter, six grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
I am presently serving on these boards:
Planning and Zoning Board City of Lake Ozark
Joint Sewer Board/ Osage Beach and City of Lake Ozark
Lake of The Ozarks Solid Waste Management District T
Lake of The Ozarks Council of Local Governments
Miller County Tax Increment Financing
Lake Ozark Regional Economic Development Council
Chairman- Lake of the Ozarks Solid Waste Management District Council
Paul Sale: I have lived in the lake area for 20 years now. My family and I moved here to manage the horseback riding stables on the State Park, and my kids grew up working there and attending local schools. In the past few years, I have found a love of pottery art, and now own a small shop on the Strip called Fire and Earth Studio.
I have served as the Lake Ozark mayor in the past, and as an alderman, too. Although I am originally from Colorado, I lived all over the world as a career Marine.
Why are you running for mayor?
Johnnie Franzeskos: My wife Courtney and I have always loved the Lake of the Ozarks, so nine years ago we decided to make it our permanent home. However, soon after settling in I realized that working as a public servant for more than three decades wasn't enough! I loved my new home but I saw a lot of untapped potential so I decided to get involved in city government.
In 2006, I successfully ran for the position of alderman for the city of Lake Ozark and served in that position for one year. In 2007, I decided to seek the position of mayor of the City of Lake Ozark to bring about a change in the way the city conducted business and improve the image of the city government. I am presently serving in my third term.
The changes were not easy and came with struggles, but effort, time and a newly adopted “teamwork approach” allowed the city to emerge with a brighter future and move forward with greater success. However, it didn’t happen by chance. We chose to work through our differences to develop a cohesive team that is focused on one thing: making the city of Lake Ozark the very best that it can be. I sincerely believe we are on the fast track to make that happen because the momentum has shifted in our favor. I want to continue to be part of the team that’s guiding the city of Lake Ozark to new heights and believe the strong associations I’ve forged with elected officials and department heads in Jefferson City as well as in the lake area will help accomplish that.
Paul Sale: At one time, I thought I was done with Lake Ozark politics. However, I cannot sit by and watch what’s happening in the city without at least trying to make a difference. Citizens are not involved in committee activity like they used to be and that’s critical to shared governance. City government is not about what the mayor and city administrator want, it’s about what’s best for the citizens and the businesses of the town. I am the type of leader who listens to the citizens, and can manage change in a positive manner.
In addition to short council meetings with little citizen input and few committee meetings, I am concerned about communication in general. The city web site is a joke. Our comprehensive plan is not being used for guiding growth. Even meeting notices barely meet legal posting requirements.
Most cities allow you to pay your tax and utility bills online, but you won’t find that here. I also feel that the mayor should NOT be a voting member of the Planning and Zoning Commission. The current mayor has managed to obtain that status, even though it appears to be against state of Missouri statute.
List three challenges the city faces in the next five years.
Johnnie Franzeskos: I believe the top three challenges we face are
1. Maintaining a balanced budget.
2. Building our reserve funds.
3. Continuing to provide and improve services to all of our residents. That list of services includes, among other things, repaving many of our streets and then purchasing equipment that will help us maintain them; providing reliable vehicles for our police so they can answer calls; expanding our storm sirens and improving our water and sewer systems.
While it is expensive to operate a city, and while the “to-do” list might seem great, I believe the continued growth of our tax base through new residential and commercial development, coupled with the redevelopment of our existing commercial areas, will help us accomplish everything that we’ve set out to do.
Paul Sale: We need to find the resources to upgrade all of the main roads in the city.
1) We need to find a way to build the infrastructure on Rt. 242 without asking the citizens to pay for it with tax increases. This area needs to be developed to increase our sales tax base.
2) We need to find a way to build prosperity for all Lake Ozark businesses while cherishing the traditions of the Historic Bagnell Dam Strip area.