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Election Preview | Wilmore City Council

Below are questions The Jessamine Journal asked each candidate and these are their responses.

Why do you want to serve on the Wilmore City Counci?

Daniel Lewis : I ran six years ago and proposed some new ideas, many of which I still see, if enacted, would improve our city. I live east of the railroad tracks and feel as though our neighborhood does not have geographic representation on the Council.  Although we do not have official districts, I believe that each area in our city should have someone in their neighborhood that wakes up in that neighborhood knowing their specific needs and representing them week in and week out.  Wilmore is a great small city in the Commonwealth with so much potential to become so much more. I believe I can add fresh energy to the council.  believe in civic service and I think everyone should serve some way.  I have served for the past three years on the City/County joint Board of Adjustments. I am a natural relational bridge builder and aggregator, and see so much potential synergy between non-profits (there are 140 of them) and for-profits (there are 70 of them) that are already in Wilmore, but in many ways are currently in the shadows. I believe that this is a unique moment in history for Wilmore that will require a Council that can navigate inevitable change and steward both the history and uniqueness of our small town and the opportunity for appropriate growth. Over the past eight years, I have spent a lot of time helping organizations both stay the course and avoid mission drift and realize their potential by growing to full sustainable capacity. I believe that I can use some of what I have learned in the context of City Council.

David R. Riel: I care a lot about this town, and have much leadership experience that I think would benefit the residents.  Many people have encouraged me to run, in part, because we have had the same city council for the last three elections, and almost any organization can benefit from having new ideas every once in a while.  I have many years of training and experience in collaboration, communication, and problem solving.

Jeff Baier: I graduated from Asbury University and then stayed because of the charm of the town and the relationships my family developed over the years. It has been an honor and privilege serving the people of Wilmore over the last 10 years on the City Council.  I serve to represent, plan and protect the quality and standard of life that makes Wilmore such a special place.

Jeff James: I love Wilmore…and this is the best way to understand our needs and have a hand in our progress.

Jim Brumfield: As a life-long resident of Wilmore, I have always been and will be personally invested in the well-being of our community. There are exciting opportunities and challenges coming for the city, and I want to bring sound decision making for our future.

Kim Deyer: I bring experience and knowledge to the City Council to help manage the projects the City of Wilmore has undertaken.  To continue to communicate and serve in a leadership role for my family and constituents is important to me.

Lynn Cooper: I have been pleased with the work of the Council during my service the past six years.  We have kept tax rates low, assumed ownership of the Wilmore Cemetery, and may see the construction of the Legacy Point golf course.  I would like to continue that work on behalf of our citizens.

What do you perceive as the three most important upcoming concerns facing Wilmore?

Daniel Lewis: 1) Engaging all residents to serve and contribute: our city has a unique opportunity to engage citizenship at all levels (undergrad students, graduate students, veterans, seniors, businesses and long- term residents) to come together and all participate in both civic duty and service and in paying for the services that we all use (which would subsequently reduce property taxes and city income taxes).

2) Unrealized Potential: Main Street is one of the places in Wilmore that has incredible potential for change and growth and with a plan to both aggregate and serve for-profits and not–for-profits.  I have talked to investors, entrepreneurs and business people who desire to bring business or grow their business in Wilmore but have either felt resistance or could not find suitable building conditions to accommodate them.  We have a tremendous opportunity to help property owners on Main Street to improve and upgrade downtown business locations, which would bring both for profits and not for profits out of the shadows and into a renewed downtown. In addition, Wilmore is located in between Lexington and the Kentucky/Dix River, I am concerned that we haven’t found a solution to improve connectivity for walking and biking so that Wilmore can be an important stop on the journey.

3) An Aging Representative Government: I am concerned that Wilmore has an aging council, many whom have served the city selflessly for a very long time. I believe there is a need for intentional succession planning for many potential younger candidates to eventually fill the positions that Harold and Leonard currently hold. They have tirelessly served our community for over 40 years and are both now in their 70’s. I believe they should both continue to serve as long as they are able and willing to do so and I plan on voting for Leonard again!. But we also need to bring some younger individuals onto the Council.

David R. Riel 1.  Controlled growth that fits into our strategic plan and directly benefits the residents.

2.  Effective management of our resources.  I include in resources, money, time, employees, volunteers, and land.

3.  Being certain that we maintain a high level of safety and security for our residents that also includes quality of life issues.

Jeff Baier: Balancing the budget. Balancing the budget. Balancing the budget.

Jeff James: Budget.  Budget.  Budget.  Without a reasonable plan for the future, our current quality of life can slip away.  The civic spirit of Wilmore will endure changes in national and state politics; but our ability to deliver services and maintain our City-owned spaces, with rising costs and constricting resources, is our standing challenge.

Jim Brumfield: 1. The Legacy Point Jack Nicklaus golf course

2. The construction of the sewer plant expansion

3. Improving current services within a limited budget.

Kim Deyer: Important concerns in Wilmore continue to be how growth will be handled, bringing economic development ideas to the table and continued support for our Police and Fire Departments.

Lynn Cooper: The Council will need to carefully consider the best use of the old Crouse Concrete and Brumfield Granary buildings. We also should study the possibility of lowering current property tax rates, which may become possible as the new golf course is completed.

How do you plan to address those concerns as a council member?

David R. Riel: City Council members need to be active in the community.  I plan to attend community events, continue to shop at local businesses, and go out of my way to be certain that I have an accurate sense of what is on the minds of our residents.  I would love to see additional ways for our residents to easily provide input.  Possibilities might include public forums, suggestion boxes located strategically in the community, newsletters (printed and email), Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, etc.

Jeff Baier: The most important effort needs to be supporting the businesses and institutions that are already the financial backbone of our community.  And then we need to focus on initiatives that add jobs and cultivate a friendly business environment.

Jeff James: The current Council has deep history here–led by Harold and Leonard.  I have experienced a dedicated, collegial, and concerned group. Our most important goal, as a group, is to maintain positive dialogue and stay well-informed of the many realities that affect Wilmore’s collective life.

When we operate that way, the mechanics of city management generally turn out well. My “plan” is to keep those traits as long as the community trusts me to do it.

Jim Brumfield 1. Legacy Point will bring new tax revenues to the city while demanding expanded services. I will strive to ensure that our new residents’ needs are met without reducing services for our current residents.

2. The sewer plant expansion bids have come in higher than we expected, causing us to take on more debt. Especially given those circumstances, I am dedicated to good oversight of the project to make sure we finish on-budget. 

3. All of our services, such as fire, police and public works, have aging equipment, and I want to find creative approaches to keep them equipped with what they need within the budgetary limitations that exist.

Kim Deyer: As an experienced Council member being responsible of taxpayers’ money and by making the right decisions for our community as it relates to growth and economic development is important.  Also, supporting our men and women in Wilmore who serve as first responders 24/7 is very important to us all.

Lynn Cooper: The setting of tax rates is the responsibility of City Council. I am confident that they will fulfill that role in a way that is best for our community and its individual citizens.  I favor appointing a committee of Council members and citizens to make recommendations to the full council concerning the future use of the two previously mentioned buildings.