Voters in Laurie will select a mayor in the April 8 election. Incumbent mayor Herb Keck has filed for election and is challenged by Scott Fahrer. Here, the candidates address the future of Laurie.

Voters in Laurie will select a mayor in the April 8 election. Incumbent mayor Herb Keck has filed for election and is challenged by Scott Fahrer. Here, the candidates address the future of Laurie.

*Editor’s Note: Candidates were given a word limit to adhere to. Meet the candidates for Laurie Board, Ward 2 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.

Scott Fahrer: With his dad being a builder who later went into the ministry, Fahrer moved 27 times before going into the military at the age of 20. He was in the Air Force from 1994-1999. When he moved to Laurie after getting out of the service, he says he never wanted to move again and has been here ever since. He has owned property here since 1995 and has been in business at the lake for 15 years now. He owns and operates Comfort Zone Heating & Cooling.
Political Experience: None
Family: Wife Christy and two children
Outside activities: He is a trustee at First Baptist of Laurie and chairs their budget and finance committee. Through the church, he helps with Awanas, similar to kids' Sunday school but held on Wednesday evenings.
Vote For Me Because: As a business owner, I know how to manage and budget. I think my business experience can help the city. I believe in very little debt whether for my company or in my personal life.

Herb Keck: From St. Joseph, Mo., he spent 4 1/2 years in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. After leaving the Corps, he and his wife relocated to the Kansas City area where he attended St. Benedict's College then graduated from William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. He worked for the Vendo Company for 20 years and became a regional vice president, relocating along the way to Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas and then back to Kansas City. After Vendo was dissolved in the 1970s, he got into the machine tool manufacturing business. Handling the company's international marketing took him to many countries before he retired in 1996. After buy property at the Lake in 1966, the Kecks became full time residents in 1996 and moved into the city in 2004.
Political experience: Has served one term as Laurie alderman and one term as Laurie mayor
Family: Wife Joyce and three children
Outside activities: He and his wife and are both elders at West Lake Christian Church, and he is a member of the American Legion. He also assists his wife with charity work through Community for Christ.
Vote For Me Because: I have no personal agenda. I'm here to serve the community and citizens of the city.

2.  How do you feel about the purchase of a new city hall and adjacent property?

Fahrer: I would not have made that purchase if it were up to me, but the mayor does not vote unless there's a tie. I have an extremely conservative view [fiscally].

Keck: We were maxed out at the old city hall. The thought has been there, but we didn't plan to do anything immediately. When the opportunity came, it was one of those times when you could see you must either act or wish that you had. We found a way we could act on it. It was a good deal and will satisfy the city's needs way into the future. There's room for expansion if needed. There was some criticism at the time, but I think in 10-20 years people will say it was a wise move.

3. Do you think the city needs to do more to attract businesses?

Fahrer: Depleting of businesses within the city is something I'd like to address. I don't know 100 percent of how to fix the problem, but it is something I will definitely look at. I do want to implement a friendlier business environment.

Keck: We have seen a number of businesses leave, but I think this year as the economy slowly climbs back we'll some businesses reopen or relocate here. We've seen some evidence it will get better this year, but there haven't been any applications yet. There are indications that things will improve this year. We have infrastructure - the latest being broadband service. So everything is here for the city. I think personally that the greatest thing we can do is reflect a pride of image. If you make it more attractive, you make a better impression so you become more than a place people have to slow down for while driving through. We can't tell private owners what to do and we know they have limited resources, so through our enhancement committee, we're trying to help build that pride by dressing up the community. The city doesn't collect real estate tax or have much in the financial way to entice business. We can't offer a tax abatement. We can only make the city an attractive place for them by building a good citizen population to show we have the traffic flow for business.

4. Should or could sewer and water rates be cut?

Fahrer: I'd like to see the city bring down water and sewer bills. As I've campaigned through the neighborhoods, I've gotten a huge response on that. The first thing I want do is try to look at ways to cut costs to try and save money for the people paying the bills. I have a few ideas, but I'd like to do some more research on it. I believe in fiscal responsibility. You can't spend more than you take in, and when small business or families have to cut back so does the government.

Keck: We're regulated by our loan structure what we must charge for water and sewer rates. The reserve money is dictated by lenders through USDA Rural Development. [While sewer reserve funds were used to purchase city hall,] the reserves are still there in assets. We're repaying the loan from the sewer reserve through rent. We can't use it to lower rates. We do careful analysis at least annually, and this year we plan to do it quarterly, to make sure things are being done efficiently. Not to say there isn't room for minor adjustments from time to time, but I think the city is functioning very well. The work [of the public works department for sewer and water and for other jobs] is tracked and separated appropriately. I think if people look at their bills versus other communities in the area, they'll find our bills are comparatively low and reasonably priced.

5. What do you think of planning and zoning restrictions?

Fahrer: I'd like to decrease some of the restrictions we put on new business. There are
some things within planning and zoning I think we could change to make it less restrictive.

Keck: I don't think planning and zoning inhibits business in any way. If we thought it was, we would make adjustments, and there have been some. I think planning and zoning is flexible and should be reviewed on a continuing basis, making adjustments where necessary.

6.  Final thoughts: 

Fahrer: There's no animosity on my part for the people in office. It's a disagreement over policies. It's not personal. And for residents and business, I want them to know I'm available to take questions or concerns anytime. I welcome any kind of suggestions people might have.

Keck: I'd like to emphasize that the city is being run very well. Our staff is very efficient and well experienced. We're trying to make the city a better place for citizens and businesses to thrive and grow.