McPherson City Streets and Utilities candidates speak at forum Saturday

By Nick Gosnell
March 28, 2015
Nick Gosnell

The two candidates for McPherson City Commissioner of Streets and Utilities spoke at a Candidate Forum Saturday morning hosted by the McPherson Chamber of Commerce's Business and Membership committee at the Chamber office in McPherson.

Larry Wiens is the challenger in the race to unseat current Commissioner Mike Alkire.

When asked what goals he would have for his place on the City Commission outside of overseeing Streets and Utilities, Wiens said, "I'm concerned that we have lost some of our pride over the years in the City of McPherson, I would like to see the citizens of McPherson take more pride in their property. Whether they rent property, whether you're a property owner, whether you're a business owner wouldn't make any difference. Take pride in what you do and be proud of the town."

Answering the same question, Alkire said, "The housing that we have being built right now, we have a hundred units in two complexes, over a hundred units that are being built, plus houses. [That building rate} cannot keep up with the influx of workers into our community. So, we're striving very hard to subsidize, to do anything we can to help housing, more housing, being built in McPherson."

The Streets and Utilities commissioner has many duties that were outlined at the meeting. That commissioner oversees all the functions of the Public Works Department. That includes the street department, engineering, wastewater treatment, building inspectors, community development director. code enforcement officer and the planning and zoning commission. The commissioner also works with the Public Works director and City Administrator to make recommendations on capital improvements to streets,sidewalks, sanitary and storm sewers. That commissioner also makes policy recommendations and decisions as it relates to construction. That commissioner also works with staff on an annual budget for Public Works, but also has a say in the overall budget, as a member of the Commission board. The Streets and Utilities commissioner also helps, along with the rest of the Commission, to set policy direction for the City as a whole, and to act a liason between community members and City staff, where appropriate.

The election for City Commission seats is Tuesday, April 7. McPherson City Commissioner of Public Lands Robert Moore is also up for reelection. He does not have an opponent on the ballot, and did not attend Saturday's forum.