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Experience, leadership comprise platform for Alderman Ward 3 race

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

Two seats on the Platte City Board of Aldermen will be challenged at the April 2 general election. The race in Ward 3 pits incumbent John Kurtz against challenger Gary W. Brown (information on candidates in Ward 2 can be found in Section B of this issue of The Landmark)

Kurtz, who will be running for his third term, said he enjoys being a part of the board.

"I like being involved in the community and being a representative in this community," stated Kurtz.

The 16-year resident of Platte City serves on the city's public works committee, personnel committee and serves as the aldermen's liaison to the Platte City Parks and Recreation Board.

Kurtz stated if elected to a third term, he would like to see the city work toward many goals over the next year.

"One goal of mine is to make our recycling program more of a success," stated Kurtz.

"I would like to strive towards an increase from our current 33 percent participation by the community, and educate the public on the importance of the program."

Kurtz also stated he sees the importance of improving relationships between the City of Platte City and other entities in the community, such as the fire department, school district as well as others.

"We've created and established a good relationship with the sheriff's department and now I'd like to see that extend to other entities. Those kinds of relationships make government work well," explained Kurtz.

Kurtz stated he also feels it's important to welcome commercial growth to the community because it can be beneficial to the community.

"It would be nice to draw in a commercial business base to bring in an increase in tax revenue to the city," explained Kurtz.

Overall, Kurtz stated he feels he's ready for another term at the city level.

"I will listen to their concerns and problems. I want to be somebody they can call, I feel like that's a part of my job," said Kurtz. "I've been dedicated to my position and would enjoy serving another term for Platte City."

Kurtz is married to his wife Julie and the couple will be expecting their first child in July. He currently works for Bill Hoskins Builders of Platte City.

For challenger Gary Brown, a main objective in his run for the seat on the board is to establish strong leadership at the city level.

Brown points to the leadership shown by Superintendent Dr. Mark Harpst of the Platte County R-3 School District as an example.

"Our school district is very advanced and well run. Harpst is a real promoter and leader, and I don't feel the city comes close to being in the same leadership category as the school district," explained Brown.

"The way to gain that leadership is by creating strong leadership at city hall, working hard, looking down the road and doing things correctly.

"When it comes to leadership at city hall we need to do more than looking good but we have to be good."

According to Brown, through his attendance of board meetings over the past year, he feels there are areas where his strengths would be beneficial.

"The board needs more strength in certain areas than I've seen there and I feel I can contribute in the business perspectives of budgeting, accounting and data processing."

One of Brown's main objectives is making sure commercial growth heads in the right direction.

"I think the city needs to be more responsive to developers and business people that want to come into town," said Brown. "From what I've heard from developers, they've run into a lot of resistance and dead-ends at city hall. I want it to be a more friendly board so people can feel like they can be heard and responded to instead of just being heard with no input back."

Other issues Brown touched on include the need for the city to take the initiative to find grants from the Missouri Department of Transportation to help in beautifying the city.

He also stated that the city needs to learn from their past flooding experiences in the city.

"I feel the city has dropped the ball on the flooding issue in Platte City. We didn't take the initiative to look forward and prepare for the outcome, like the stormwater run off.

"I'm a very outfront person and will speak out and stand up for what I believe is right and won't be a puppet of anyone. In my opinion, I think there's some on the board currently that aren't real strong and are being led around," stated Brown.

Brown, a seven-year-resident of Platte City, is married to Patricia Ann (Horseman) Brown and has seven children and 10 grandchildren. He has been involved with the parks department for two years, worked ten years as director of management information services, 15 years as manager of data processing and six years as a business entrepreneur.

"I feel my credentials are strong and very good for this position and I think the city needs that strength on their board," said Brown.