Voters in Lake Ozark will select three aldermen in the April 8 election. Ward 1 incumbent Don Langley has filed for election and is challenged by Patricia Thompson. Here, the candidates address the future of Lake Ozark.

Voters in Lake Ozark will select three aldermen in the April 8 election. Ward 1 incumbent Don Langley has filed for election and is challenged by  Patricia Thompson. Here, the candidates address the future of Lake Ozark.

*Editor’s Note: Candidates were given a word limit to adhere to. Answers were not altered in any way. Meet the candidates for Lake Ozark Ward 3 in the Wednesday Lake Sun.

1. Please give us a little bit about yourself including background, education, public service, volunteer work and of course, your family.
Donald Langley: I am a native Missourian and have been a lake area resident for 24 years, married to wife Jodi, a lake-area realtor for 15 years.  Daughter, Lauren graduate 2007 School of the Osage.  Owns and operates Dig Earth Lawncare, LLC for past 19 years.  Have been on the board of alderman and served on the joint sewer committee for the past 8 years.  I have been on our city’s budget and betterment committees in the past.  My background is in the hospitality industry, I majored in art history and psychology in college.  I’m an artist and belong to Missouri Water Color Society and Ozark Brush and Palette.  My sculpture of public art is at Lake Regional Hospital by the oncology entrance.  I’ve been a member of Lake Ozark Christian church for 20 years.  I volunteered, to design the landscape of our new church addition, as well as the new CADV shelter in Camdenton.  I also volunteered for the annual Master Gardener tour as well as hosted one year.  I have been involved many years with VIC (Volunteer in Corrections), and have helped organize the Lake areas annual conference Circle of Unity.  I love to swim and travel with my family.

Pat Thompson: I have been living full time in Lake Ozark for four years and have owned property at the lake since 1978. I am married for 46 years to my husband, Roger, and we have no children.
I am a former elected official in Orland Park, Ill. I served 12 years as clerk of Orland Townshi8p. I am the past president of Township Clerks of Illinois and had 1,432 clerks under me. I am past president of Township Clerks of Cook County, Ill. I was named Clerk of the Year in 2006. I served on the board of directors of Township Officials of Illinois
I was appointed by the mayor of Orland Park to the Village of Orland Park’s Human Relations Commission and served as the chair. Also appointed to the Planning Commission of Orland Park and served from 2005-2010.
I served six terms as secretary of the Orland Park Kiwanis Club. I was chairperson of the Crippled Children’s Council for Kiwanis Twin Lakes Camp in Plymouth, Ind. I am the founder of the Kiwanis Council’s Keep the Fire Burning dinner and silent auction benefitting disabled children. I am also one of the founders of the Weekly Wednesday Night Kiwanis Bingo.
I am now the first vice president of Newcomers/Longtimers at the Lake. I currently serve on the Lake Ozark Utility Commission, Budget Committee and Advisory Board for the city of Lake Ozark.

2.  Why do you want to be a Lake Ozark alderman?
Langley: I have great interest and place value on the environment in which I live, the quality of life at the Lake is second to none.  The Lake is our livelihood, we need to care for it as best we can as we continue to grow.  As growth comes I have concerns about safety and protection of our city, our roads, utilities.  I want to know that our tax dollars are being utilized wisely, evenly and fairly in all areas of our city.  Those areas that need improvement need to addressed and budgeted for.  I’m glad we have the city hall and the police department under one roof now which makes communication more efficient.   We also need to do something about our ageing sewer system correcting the problem and making much needed improvements before anything happens, so we are in good shape for years to come.  I also am keeping in mind we will need to expand our sewer treatment plant in the future.  The roads need improvement and our terrain does not make it easy as many of the older neighborhood roads are not to current standards, some the roads do not even belong to our city – they belong to the special road districts which means communication and budgeting needs to be addressed for their future maintenance and upgrading.

Thompson: All of my adult life, I have been serving my community and I want to continue to bring this dedication, commitment and enthusiasm to the city of Lake Ozark. I want to bring “new leadership” and fresh ideas to the city.

3. One of the issues that occupied the BOA in 2013 was the possibility of allowing open containers within the city limits, more specifically the Strip.  Do you think LO should allow open containers and explain why.
Langley: NO, we need to keep the strip family orientated.  It’s sad we have lost some of the entertainment and attractions along the strip, and I applaud the merchants that have pride of their businesses and make it a pleasant experience for families and visitors.  I feel there is enough space inside the bars that it does not need to flow into the streets.  The city allows cater permits, picnic licenses for special events so the overflow can be maintained in designated areas.  Our police department have enough on their plates and we do not have the manpower and not tax dollars spent well in my mind.  If I were a merchant retailer on the strip, I would not want people drinking in front of my establishment because the liability would be too high.  Most people are responsible drinkers but it only takes a few to spoil it for everyone and problems to arise.

Thompson: On the issue of open containers on the Strip, I feel Lake Ozark’s Strip is a location that caters to family and I feel we need to be kid friendly, and the open container laws are regulations designed to control who consumes what in a public setting. Just about every community has them unless, of course, the community in question is a small, one-horse town and I feel like Lake Ozark does not fit that scenario.

4. Do you think the city is doing enough to encourage business to locate within the city?  Explain:   
Langley: I feel slow and steady wins the race and yet you need to strike when the iron is hot.  The economy is tough and a lot of people aren’t spending money and trying to get out of debt these days.  I’m grateful for the older businesses for their tax dollars and their contributions, most of them without a TIF being used.  It’s a challenge for them to reinvent themselves and keep up with the times, some of them are staples in the community and have earned our trust and loyalty.  I’m excited and welcome the new businesses that put their hat in the ring, I wish them success.  I’m glad we have set standards and policies for all to make it an even playing field.  It’s all about competition and the proof is in the pudding.  I have high hopes the new 242 corridor has very stable growth.  I would like to see light industry, college extensions and several service minded businesses added.  I understand TIF’s are necessary but I exercise caution as to what established business can be hurt and if tax dollars will be lost and “do the people of our community want or need it”.  We are no better if one business opens and two close down.  Most importantly can our community economically support the new businesses yearround?

Thompson: I think the city of Lake Ozark has made major gains to encourage businesses to locate within the city. I feel we need to bring more companies and businesses by not giving away the entire tax base as incentives. We need to increase populations who want to live in our community. We need to increase the need for homes, services and jobs and that increases the tax base. All leading to an economically strong community.

5. What do you think are the three most pressing challenges for the city of Lake Ozark near future?
Langley: Keeping up with the city’s physical development and responsibilities providing a comprehensive guide for development with family atmosphere and integrity of our historic lake area in mind.
Promote tourism industry for more year round tourist and residence which will provide jobs and affordable housing.
Developing usable land with high quality development along business 54 and 242 keeping in mind view preservation of the lake and hillsides which make up our natural geographical values of our area.

Thompson: •Economic growth, infrastructure (sewers, water, pumps, etc.)
•Clean up the Strip and make it more family friendly by working with groups such as the Chamber of Commerce.
•Improve our image. How people perceive the city is not just composed of its physical characteristics, but equally by representations in mental images.

6.  Final thoughts: 
Langley: I am grateful to for the opportunity to serve our great city and constituents as LO ward 1 alderman for the past 8 years.  I value the learning experience, we have made a lot of positive progress over the years and will so going forward.  I am thankful for our city employees, they have pride and professionalism and do a great job to keep our city safe and efficient.  I feel that our current BOA have good chemistry, work well together and respect one another.