Included in the discussion are Judith Neels and Keith Vance (Ward 1) and Dale Hicks and Larry Giampa (Ward II).

As elections draw nearer, candidates for the Lake Ozark Aldermen positions took time to discuss their positions on a number of issues including street issues, motivations for running for the position and more. 

Included in the discussion are Judith Neels and Keith Vance (Ward 1) and Dale Hicks and Larry Giampa (Ward II). 

Vernon Jaycox is running unopposed in Ward III.

 

Vance

1.  I am running for Ward 1 Alderman because I have a love for my community, the City of Lake Ozark, and for community service.  Numerous  people in the community and in Ward 1 have asked me to run for the office, so that they will feel well-represented.  I have a lifetime of community service, working with people and with difficult problems.  I am able to make sound decisions, support my decisions with facts, then stand by the decisions made, while remaining open-minded to the opinions and needs of others.

2.  I believe the three most challenging issues for Lake Ozark are stability, growth and accountability, as they are for most communities in our country.  By providing ethical, honest governance and management, Lake Ozark will prosper.  As in all things, I will address every issue with integrity, which is the foundation of good government.

3.  Road conditions are a concern for residents everywhere.  Budgets have to be maintained, for financial stability.  Options to explore are collaborations with developers, street contractors who may be doing work near Lake Ozark, and, of course, a bond or loan to finance road repair.  A thoughtful combination of these, as well as other viable ideas, should be examined.

4.  The Bagnell Dam Strip has been an area attraction since the opening of the Dam.  It has seen many changes since 1931 and should remain an integral part of the City of Lake Ozark, as well as the Lake community.  Collaboration with the private property owners to develop parking should be considered.  I believe it is important to strengthen the good image of the Strip, as a safe place to visit, dine and shop.

5.  I am in favor of Tax Increment Financing Districts, as long as the needs of the City are considered equally with the desires of the developer.  It is a useful tool for attracting managed development.

6.  I support efforts to grow the City of Lake Ozark through annexation, as long as the benefits for the City outweigh any negatives.  If annexation of an area would place a financial burden on the City, then it would not be in the best interests of the City. 

7.  Middle-income, working-class housing is needed in Lake Ozark and the region.  Our hard working residents need the opportunity to own a home, if ownership is what they desire.  By encouraging business development, we will encourage housing development.  By maintaining a strong, stable infrastructure, which includes all City services, developers of both businesses and housing will find Lake Ozark an attractive investment. 

8.  As a governing body, Aldermen are tasked by the voters to provide service and care of and for the City.  Aldermen do not have authority as individuals-they have responsibility as a team, working together.  With maturity and integrity, the aldermen can work together as a team.  I approach everything I do as a team member.  A strong team will always work well together.

9.  Transparency in government is something I believe in, absolutely.  I will establish an email that I will use only for City business, and will explore the option of a voicemail at City Hall, to be used by any resident who wants to speak with me.  I will always release any information that is legally and by City Policy available for release.  I expect that of any elected official, at any level of government.

 

Neels

My name is Judy Neels and I'm running for the position of Ward 1 Alderman. I have had the honor of representing citizens and businesses in Lake Ozark since 2007. I grew up in St. Louis and have a background in Early Childhood and Special Education. My husband Jim and I have been married forty eight years and have two grown daughters,son-in-law,and grandson. We were part-time residents of the lake area from 1971 until 1984 and Lake Ozark residents from 1984 until present. 

My approach to the position of Alderman is one of experience, fairness, and complete transparency.

1. What was the motivation for you to run for office and what sets you apart as a candidate from your opposition?

I will continue supporting crucial issues promoting progress and growth. My approach to the position of Alderman is one of experience, fairness, and complete transparency.

2. What do you feel are the 3 most challenging issues in Lake Ozark and how do you plan to address them? 

a)  Devise a plan for street maintenance and road improvements. 

b) Periodically review the pay plan to ensure we are closing the gap in wages. 

c) Continue working with major developers and encourage local investors.

3. The city recently released a report detailing the condition of streets along with projected costs to improve the roadway system within Lake Ozark. What are your recommendations to  fix the city’s street system taking into account  the Lake Ozark budget? 

Hold a public hearing after a citizen committee evaluates the transportation study for future road project financing. 

4. The Bagnell Dam Strip is a major tourist attraction not only for the city but the lake area in general. What do you see as the future of the Strip and what would be your priorities to increase the visibility and appeal of the the Strip to visitors? 

Encourage investors to develop and promote family friendly projects.

5. What is your position on using tools such as Tax Increment Financing Districts to promote economic development within the city? 

TIF’s should only be used to promote developments from acres of “blighted” undeveloped land.

6. Would you support efforts to voluntarily or involuntarily annex areas currently outside the geographic boundaries of Lake Ozark to grow the city? 

I support voluntary annexation.

7. What can the city do to encourage more affordable housing projects? 

The city should be open to a variety of approaches to affordable housing. 

8.  How do you plan to work together with your fellow alderman to ensure a responsible and effective city government? 

Mutual respect and communication is essential for board members to continue restoring trust and confidence in Lake Ozark that our citizens deserve. 

9.  How can you as an elected city official ensure transparency and improve communication with the public? 

I always respond to constituent’s issues and concerns. I value their opinions. 

 

Hicks

Hi, my name is Dale Hicks and I am running for the office of Alderman for Ward II in the city of Lake Ozark. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself. I grew up in Southeast Missouri on our family farm raising corn, cotton, soybeans, grain sorghum, rice, and popcorn. I graduated from Sikeston High School and the University of Missouri, Columbia. I’m also a graduate of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.

1. What was the motivation for you to run for office and what sets you apart as a candidate from your opposition? 

I have been a resident of Lake Ozark since 2005 and I've witnessed how poorly the wrong elected officials can run a city. I decided that I would try to help the city to the best of my ability instead of sit on the sidelines and complain. I have brought to the city my knowledge as a former Federal Administrative Judge, loan manager, and farmer with the vision of fairness and good business practices.

2. What do you feel are the 3 most challenging issues in Lake Ozark and how do you plan to address them? 

The three challenges I would like to correct are city street improvements, police officer retention, and employee salary iincreases. All issues are budget dependent. The real challenge is to continue to keep spending under control while increasing tax revenues for the city. During my tenure with the city, I have observed a steady, but small improvement in tax revenue. Like any budget. the city's is dependent on the overall economy of the United States and Missouri. I will continue to encourage and seek local entrepreneurs that are willing to open their businessbusinesses in Lake Ozark.

3. The city recently released a report detailing the condition of streets along with projected costs to improve the roadway system within Lake Ozark. What are your recommendations to fix the city’s street system taking into account the Lake Ozark budget? 

I have been working on improving streets since I assumed office 2 years ago. I pressed for the road report which is now available for public review. The city has only approximately $75,000 for street repairs. Had the Missouri fuel tax passed last year, I have been told that the city would only have seen approximately $30,000 to $40,000 per year, which is just a small fraction of the money the city needs. I have been told there is no foreseeable street funding from either the Federal, State, or County Government, so the city will have to take care of itself. Our only option, unless I learn of something new, is to pass a bond referendum followed by some sort of tax to pay for the bonds.

4. The Bagnell Dam Strip is a major tourist attraction not only for the city but the lake area in general. What do you see as the future of the Strip and what would be your priorities to increase the visibility and appeal of the the Strip to visitors? 

I believe that Government provides a level playing field for entrepreneurs. With that being said, I would encourage business owners to diversify the enterprises they offer to the public. Like a good investment portfolio, strategists know that a good portfolio has more than one investment. I would encourage more family friendly businesses whether it be restaurants, activities, or arts. I am more than willing to help those entrepreneurs reach theIr diversified business goals.

5. What is your position on using tools such as Tax Increment Financing Districts to promote economic development within the city? 

There is no doubt TIFs have helped the City of Lake Ozark. However, all of the TIF developments in the city have been stagnant for years. Some are over a dozen years old that have never started. Some TIFs promise the city not one dime of income until the year 2039. So while I think TIFs have a potential for the city's future, the actual details agreed to by the city has not been a windfall for the Lake Ozark City's coffers.

6. Would you support efforts to voluntarily or involuntarily annex areas currently outside the geographic boundaries of Lake Ozark to grow the city? 

I would have to careful examine any request for annexation because the cost of the city to provide city infrastructure could be cost prohibitive. Just because an individual or a company wants the city to annex does not make the request a positive enhancement to the city's bottom line.

7. What can the city do to encourage more affordable housing projects? 

The city should work with investors that have an interest in lower cost housing for its citizens. There are loan programs with the Federal Rural Development Agency that can assist developers in this type of project.

8. How do you plan to work together with your fellow alderman to ensure a responsible and effective city government? I have had the pleasure of working with the current Board of Aldermen and Mayor in achieving the goals of the city. We have made great strides in managing the resources the city has and we have been fiscally responsible with the city's finances. I hope I'm reelected, so that I can continue to help facilitate the implementation of our plans to improve the infrastructure of our city.

9. How can you as an elected city official ensure transparency and improve communication with the public? All of the work and business completed by the Board of Aldermen and the Mayor is available to any citizen by simply making a request or by attending our bimonthly board meetings. I would like to see the local news organizations meet with our mayor or board members and publish our achievements or news on a regular basis. The city is currently revising its website and I hope the new format will provide a good source of information for its citizens.

 

Giampa

Born in Chicago, lived in Northern Illinois till I retired. Decided to retire to this area over 11 years ago. Went to Holy Cross High School, graduated in 1969, and Lea College, graduated in 1973. Became a flooring rep at 23 years old and retired 41 years later. Was heavily involved in The Chicago Floorcovering Association, became President in 2005 and then became the Executive Director till 2015, then I moved to Lake Ozark. Bought Blondies Burger Bar in 2017 and currently own it today.

1. What was the motivation for you to run for office and what sets you apart as a candidate from your opposition?

I have 12 years on as an alderman in Illinois and another 8 years on the planning commission. My experience can bring new thoughts.

2. What do you feel are the 3 most challenging issues in Lake Ozark and how do you plan to address them? 

Three challenges are roads.   Getting enough funds to complete the work is not possible, we need to seek other areas for funding, there are places to look, I have worked on this before and have great ideas. Motor Fuel Tax is a strong idea. 0.17 of every gallon goes to this now.

3. The city recently released a report detailing the condition of streets along with projected costs to improve the roadway system within Lake Ozark. What are your recommendations to  fix the city’s street system taking into account  the Lake Ozark budget? 

Same as above. 

4. The Bagnell Dam Strip is a major tourist attraction not only for the city but the lake area in general. What do you see as the future of the Strip and what would be your priorities to increase the visibility and appeal of the the Strip to visitors? 

We need to make the Strip more family friendly and more appealing to the eyes.

5. What is your position on using tools such as Tax Increment Financing Districts to promote economic development within the city? 

T I F is a great tool, in Illinois we used it to bring in Home Depot and Menards.

6. Would you support efforts to voluntarily or involuntarily annex areas currently outside the geographic boundaries of Lake Ozark to grow the city? 

I think any area that wants to be annexed, only needs to be annexed because they need something, we have enough of our own concerns.

7. What can the city do to encourage more affordable housing projects? 

Affordable Housing is a strong tool, we need to make housing available so our employees can live and afford to stay here. 

8.  How do you plan to work together with your fellow alderman to ensure a responsible and effective city government? 

We are all here because our hearts are in the best for the city. We will be a team with the same goal . 

9.  How can you as an elected city official ensure transparency and improve communication with the public? 

Everything a Board does should be out in the open. The residents should know and understand everything that is being done.