by Alan McArthur
On April 8, voters will be faced with a rematch for the Platte City mayoral position. Former mayor Frank Offutt is facing off against current mayor Dave Brooks.
The two first opposed each other in 1998 when they were part of a three-person race to replace the outgoing Pearl Brown as mayor. Offutt won with 194 votes to 176 for Brooks and 115 for Shelle Browning.
In 2000, Offutt was reelected without opposition. In 2002, Brooks, then an alderman, challenged Offutt for mayor. Brooks won this time with 305 votes to 191 for Offutt.
Brooks was reelected without active opposition to a second term in 2004. In 2006 Brooks won a third term in a three person race over Kevin Robinson and Mike Walsh.
Brooks said he is focused on continuing quality growth in the Platte City area.
“I believe in quality growth, which is what we have done for six years,” said Brooks. “We have brought businesses into town like the medical clinic, community center, the new library, Bobcat, CVS and the new grocery store was brought in by us.”
Offutt said the major issue facing Platte City is the ongoing fighting between the board of aldermen and the mayor.
“I am concerned about the disunity and contention between the board and the mayor,” said Offutt. “I believe the board and mayor need to refocus on the ongoing maintenance issues facing every city.”
Brooks said the city was only listening to the citizens when it attempted involuntary annexation in 2007.
“When we did an independent survey in 2005 we asked questions of residents in Platte City,” said Brooks. “Almost 70 percent said the city should consider annexation. The board went by this and pursued annexation. The people south of town unfortunately did not agree. We all know how that turned out, so there's no need to rewrite history.
“The bad part was the people of Platte City never had the opportunity to vote so people could see the results,” said Brooks. “We have no immediate plans to pursue annexation south of town.”
Offutt said he will not pursue involuntary annexation of areas around Platte City.
“I disagree with how tax dollars have been spent in the past pursuing involuntary annexation,” said Offutt. “We need to discontinue using tax dollars for involuntary annexation and need to conduct all meetings in accordance with the Sunshine Law.
“I will respect property owners' concerns about involuntary annexation and their legal rights to defend their best interest,” said Offutt. “I am completely opposed to using taxpayer money to pursue involuntary annexation and I am completely opposed to using the taxpayers of Platte City's money in relation to lawsuits involving involuntary annexation.”
Brooks said that instead of annexation, the city is pursuing development of the land east of Interstate 29.
“We are pursuing what's east of I-29,” said Brooks. “Four years ago we met with the landowners who suggested we build a sewer line under I-29. Keith Moody (city administrator) and I pursued this four years ago and never heard a thing back from them. We've had the property annexed into the master plan for years, but we can't bring in development until the property owners sell.”
The area the city should focus on developing is east of Interstate 29, said Offutt.
“Platte City needs to focus on sustaining the commercial growth,” said Offutt. “We should identify and pursue the best method for expanding east of I-29.”
Brooks said he is the most qualified candidate because of the amount of time he can devote to being mayor.
“I am the one top qualified candidate. I spend 50 to 60 hours a week being mayor,” said Brooks. “You cannot be a part-time mayor in Platte City. If you don't, then you're not doing the job right.”
According to Offutt, he is qualified for the position of mayor because he has experience as an elected official in Platte City.
“I have past experience as an elected official and a proven track record of working with residents, administrators, and aldermen to get things done through cooperation and communication,” said Offutt.
Some of the accomplishments listed by Offutt during his tenure as an elected official are the purchase and renovation of the old high school into a community center; working with MoDOT to create larger and safer intersections along 92 Hgihway; improving alleys, lights, curbs, and storm sewers in Platte City; implementing the recycling program; negotiating nearly 200 acres of friendly annexation; and creating the historic conservation district in the community.
“I have always been for all people and I tell people the truth,” said Brooks. “Someone can't be a part time mayor in Platte City; if they do they're shortchanging the city. I only believe in doing something one way, and that is the right way.”
Check back with The Landmark next week for the full results and follow-up interviews from the April 8 election.