Mark Walburg wants his old post back. Fran Mazanec isn't willing to give it up.
Both are running for election to the Rolla City Council in Ward Six. Walburg held that seat on the council for two terms, then did not run. Instead, Mazanec was elected. Now they're running against each other.
Here are their responses to the Rolla Daily News questionnaire:
1. Briefly describe your background, including education, current employment and work experience, voluntarism, public service and family.
WALBURG: I have lived in Rolla since 1996. I am a civil engineering graduate from Missouri S&T. I am currently employed both as a kitchen manager and at a local bookstore. I have worked as a carpenter and as a childcare worker. Currently I do not do any volunteer work, however in the past I have been highly involved with organizations to raise money for local charities like the Phelps County Community Partnership. I do currently give to GRACE through my utility bill. I have previously served two terms as a Ward 6 councilman. When I graduated I wasn't certain if I would stay in the area, so I did not run for a third term. Ms. Mazanec ran in my place unopposed. I also served four years on the Planning and Zoning Commission. My family is spread out across the country. My mother was a teacher, and my father an accountant.
MAZANEC: I am a retired City of Rolla employee. While employed I worked for the Fire and Park Departments, Municipal Court clerk and retired from the Finance Department. I later went back to work as Clerk in the Municipal Court for four more years. Prior to coming to Rolla some 27 years ago, I was a homemaker and later an assistant to a botanist at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Currently I volunteer at St. Patrick Church. I have in the past volunteered in various areas of the community. I am the proud mother of five, grandmother of nine and great grandmother of two. My husband is a retired pharmacist.
2. Why are you running for this office?
WALBURG: I am running for this office because I believe I am the best person for the job.
MAZANEC: I am running for City Council for the Sixth Ward because I want to continue to help make Rolla a progressive, vital city in the region. We are centrally located and have a great deal to offer retail and manufacturing
3. Why are you a better choice for the voters than your opponent?
WALBURG: I have more experience on the council. I have accomplished more for the ward. I will always vote for the civil liberties of the voters. I have an engineering background. That basis in science, math, and logic translate well into understanding the problems of a city and to finding solutions to those problems. I am a blue collar worker that understands the problems of the average citizen and their frustrations.
Page 2 of 3 - MAZANEC: My experience in city government gives me insight into government operations. During my first term on the Council, we made great strides in improving the economy of the area and I think I have gained the experience to continue the trend toward a better community for the citizens of Rolla.
4. Why should the city use tax increment financing to bring retail business to town?
WALBURG: Unfortunately the City's only other choice would be to watch the business go elsewhere. I do not like TIF, but for Rolla to continue to grow TIF is necessary. I do not support the use of eminent domain in TIF.
MAZANEC: Tax increment financing offers an attractive incentive for retail businesses to locate in Rolla. New business interest promotes more job availability in the area and an improved economy for the citizens of Rolla.
5. What's your solution to the funding of The Centre after the recreation sales tax ends Dec. 31 of this year?
WALBURG: The Centre needs to become self sustaining on user fees. Current management needs to decide how to make this happen. If fees need to be raised, raise them. If cuts need to be made, make them. If the current management is unable to make The Centre revenue neutral for the City then new management needs to be found. As far as what council can do when the budget discussions come around this summer, they need to limit the budget for The Centre's expenditures at the level of expected revenues. The general fund should not subsidize The Centre.
MAZANEC: With the merging of the Park Department and the Recreation Department (Centre) we are able to realize some savings in salaries and benefits due to having a single Department head as well as using some crossover employees. I do however think we need to increase memberships at the Centre to increase income as well as do more marketing of programs offered at the Centre. Ultimately, realistically there will probably need to be a tax proposed.
6. Do you want to loosen, rescind or leave untouched the workplace smoking ban?
WALBURG: Ideologically I would rescind the smoking ban. I think business owners should be allowed to decide for themselves. The people can make the choice to patronize businesses that cater to their needs and the market will decide the fate of the businesses. I would be willing to compromise and let individual businesses opt out if they can show financial hardship due to the ban.
MAZANEC: I prefer to leave the smoking ban untouched. I do however understand we may have to revisit the issue at some time in the future.
7. Should the city continue with the water fluoridation program?
WALBURG: At this point yes. I think it is foolish for governments to make knee-jerk reactions. I do think we need to keep an eye on the science coming out on fluoridation and if it becomes clear that it is harmful or simply not helpful then it should be discontinued.
Page 3 of 3 - MAZANEC: Unequivocally, yes.
8. Are there any departments that need drastic improvement in performance?
WALBURG: I don't think there are any departments that need drastic improvements. I think our employees do a good job. I do think we need to constantly strive to improve in all areas of all departments, The Centre finances would be the area where the most progress needs to be made.
MAZANEC: I feel that all department run efficiently. City employees are
conscientious and sincerely have the welfare of the citizens of Rolla at
9. Is John Butz doing a good job as city administrator?
WALBURG: Yes, John is a highly respected city administrator both locally and throughout Missouri. He knows his job, and was always very helpful to council.
MAZANEC: John Butz is an excellent administrator and doing a great job. He is well respected by leaders in the cities surrounding Rolla.
10. What question would you like to ask and answer?
WALBURG: I would ask all incumbents and persons with previous council experience what they had accomplished for their ward.
MAZANEC: Current issues seem to have been addressed in this questionnaire. I would invite any one to contact me if they have any questions not addressed.