Voters in Osage Beach will select three aldermen in the April 8 election. Ward 3 incumbent Fred Catcott has filed for election and is challenged by Tom Walker. Here, the candidates address the future of Osage Beach.

Voters in Osage Beach will select three aldermen in the April 8 election. Ward 3 incumbent Fred Catcott has filed for election and is challenged by Tom Walker. Here, the candidates address the future of Osage Beach.

*Editor’s Note: Candidates were given a word limit to adhere to. Answers were not altered in any way.

1. Please give us a little bit about yourself including background, education, public service, volunteer work and of course, your family.

Fred Catcott: •I am single and have a married son, Paul, and his wife, Rachel, and a wonderful grandson, Braeden.
•2013-2014 Selected as Elk of the Year for outstanding service to the Osage Beach Lodge and the Community.
•2012-2014 Served on Liquor Control Board in Osage Beach and the Planning & Zoning Commission.
•2012-1014 Elected as Alderman Ward 3, Osage Beach.
•2011-2013 Served as Osage Beach representative on the Joint Sewer Board.
•2011 Appointed as Alderman Ward 3, Osage Beach to fill vacant position.  
•2010-2011 Served Osage Beach as an alternate committee member of the Variance Committee.
•1971-2000 Served in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. Provided medical care on Navy ships with the United Sates Marine Corps and at several Navy Medical Centers throughout the world. The final 10 years of service were at the Senior Enlisted Academy, Newport, R.I.; the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, D.C., and the Navy Enlisted Personnel Management Center, New Orleans, La.

Tom Walker: I attended Akron (Ohio) University and then received a business administration degree from Kensington University in Glendale, Calif.
I started as a field sales trainee for AON Corporation in Chicago, a Fortune 500 insurance holding company. I was promoted to sales management, district management, assistant to the president and CEO and was national director of product development and new product training in the Chicago national office when I retired in 2000.
My wife, Vickie, and I have three daughters and a son, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. We bought property in Osage Beach in 1997 and upon retirement moved to Osage Beach full time in 1999.
I have been president of Malibu Shores Condominium Association in Osage Beach, was elected as a council member of the University of Missouri Camden County Extension, and I am a member of the Lake Ozark Rotary Club.

2.  Why do you want to be an Osage Beach alderman?

Catcott: I am a resident of Osage Beach that has become more involved with the growth and future of the city.  I have a positive and proactive attitude about the outlook of the city and the encouraging direction I see it heading.  I would like to carry on with the down-to-business approach the mayor, board of aldermen and city have taken making Osage Beach a better place to live.

Walker: I believe I can make a positive contribution, and make a commitment to represent all of the residents in Ward 3 in a responsive manner. I am open to suggestion, willing to listen; I will weigh all of the facts and make the best decision possible. I will remain readily available before and after the election.

3. Extension of Osage Beach Parkway west to Route Y has been put on hold by MoDOT because state cost-share funds are no longer available. What can the city do to re-start the $3 million project?

Catcott: The mayor and I have talked to David Sylvester, chief engineer for MODOT, and expressed our and the city’s desire and need for the extension. At that time, he indicated that MODOT would continue with the engineering and planning needed for the extension in hopes that the cost sharing money will again be available at the end of 2014 for construction in 2015. If this does not happen, the city has set aside approximately $1 million for the Nichols Road improvement. If this project was to be put on hold, we may be able to utilize these funds towards the extension. The extension is very important to the expansion and future growth of the city.

Walker: I am aware that several meetings and hearings have occurred concerning this issue. Apparently, cost-share funds between MoDOT and the city are no longer available at this point. My comment as far as suggesting a jump-start strategy for the extension of the Parkway to Y Road would be to put all the facts ― pros and cons ― back on the table, search for additional funding sources and consider a forward strategy only after all of the details have been vetted. Keep in mind, a safety issue is also involved here. The citizens as well as the businesses operating on the west side deserve relief and respect. They pay taxes, too. The city needs to treat its citizens the way it expects to be treated ― fairly.

4. Sales tax revenue, which is the major source of income for the city, has been relatively flat for several years while the cost of doing business continues to increase? What should the city do to solve the dilemma?

Catcott: For the 2014 budget the mayor, board of aldermen and city staff were very frugal when it planned the budget. Items that were not absolutely necessary for the operation and maintenance of the city were put on hold saving thousands of dollars. Our current budget is very similar to last year’s while the tax revenue does show positive growth. Also, we have new business this year that will aid in drawing additional visitors and shoppers to the lake. We continue to be the best destination area in the Midwest.

Walker: To weather this storm, the city must remain steady. The city is a business and must operate on the same principles. I enjoy business and have a success track to draw upon. The city is on the right track. It needs to continue to pro act, not react first. It needs to remain business friendly. You attract more business by offering incentives.

5. Do you favor Tax Increment Financing as a tool to encourage businesses to locate in Osage Beach?

Catcott: Any and all tools to encourage growth in Osage Beach should be considered. We have been very fortunate to have two development properties come to the city recently and both used Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Those are Prewitt’s and Dierbergs Developments. Both of these projects were looked at very closely by the TIF board. They both have brought additional jobs, shoppers and room for future growth to Osage Beach. The city has to look at all TIFs as unique and individual entities. I would be for an addition development using a TIF if the project met all criteria the city and the TIF Board wanted.

Walker: TIFs, reasonable and cost-effective building permits, fast-pasted, logical and practical approvals are necessary to show a business the city wants the business to locate here. Business activity is the lifeblood for continued progress for Osage Beach. Nothing positive can happen in the future without generating increased tax revenue.

6.  Final thoughts:

Catcott: Osage Beach is my home. Since moving here, the growth has been unbelievable. It is so reassuring to live in a small town in the Midwest that is actually growing. We have a wonderful city and its growth is not only in tourism but also in permanent residents. When most people relocate for business or for retirement they want to be in an area where there is a variety of things to do and they can find the items they want and need. People are coming to Osage Beach because it has all of these things. I enjoy being a part of this growth and I want to help in the future growth. Thank you very much.

Walker: Youth are our city’s future leaders. It’s just not up to the schools or parents. The city of Osage Beach needs to take a lead role in supporting encouraging our youth to seek greatness. An example could be using the city park’s damage as a teaching ground during renovation. Invite groups to use specific areas within the park to plant vegetable gardens and teach the youth how to eat healthy. The youth could discover the value of being involved in a positive group activity, with the results benefitting others within the community.