Rhonda Sue Myers will succeed William Lindgren on the Rolla City Council in Ward One.
Lindgren did not file for another term, and Myers was the only candidate to file.
Myers’s name is likely familiar to those who follow the council action. She has been active for several years in her neighborhood, working with the Rolla Police Department to clean out drug dealers and with other departments to clean up burned-out and abandoned houses.
Although she is running unopposed, Myers responded with answers to the questionnaire sent to all candidates for the council because she wanted to communicate with her constituents. Here are her responses:
1. Briefly describe your background, including education, current employment and work experience, voluntarism, public service and family.
MYERS: I earned dual degrees in business administration and early childhood education. I am the mother of five grown children and I was a small business owner for 30 years. I have a lifetime of service to my community. I am the co-founder of the group that reduced the crime rate in a high-risk neighborhood by 95 percent in less than two years. I’ve held leadership positions in the Optimist Club, the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. I am currently the vice president of the Rolla Community Garden Project and I volunteer at the Community Partnership.
2. Why are you running for this office?
MYERS: I am running for this office to advance the interests of the neighborhoods by addressing housing, crime and infrastructure issues in Ward One.
3. Why are you a better choice for the voters than your opponent?
MYERS: Although I am running unopposed I would like voters to know that I believe I am a good choice for this position because I have a very firm grasp on exactly what my job is — to assess, protect and represent the interests, needs and desires of my neighbors in Ward One to the city while working collegially with members of the council and administration.
4. Why should the city use tax increment financing to bring retail business to town?
MYERS: I don’t believe we should use tax increment financing to bring retail business to town. It creates an unfair playing field for smaller local businesses who can’t receive the tax breaks. The given excuse for using TIF is that every community around us is participating in this free for all money grab competition between communities that misuse of the TIF has created and if we don’t do it, we can’t compete. A 2011 study of St. Louis and St. Charles counties concluded that, while TIF created about 5,000 new jobs regionally, each job cost taxpayers over $300,000. Not a good trade off. If we are going to continue to use TIF, it requires careful scrutiny by public bodies so that it does not become welfare for the developers or unfair competition for existing businesses.
Page 2 of 2 - 5. What’s your solution to the funding of The Centre after the recreation sales tax ends Dec. 31 of this year?
MYERS: I do not have the solution to the funding of The Centre after the recreation sales tax ends Dec. 31 of this year. I do realize that, if The Centre is not self-supporting after all of these years, if the citizens of Rolla want The Centre to continue to operate, then the city will probably have to accept the fact that it needs to be subsidized. It is time to resolve this matter.
6. Do you want to loosen, rescind or leave untouched the workplace smoking ban?
MYERS: I am not prepared to make a public statement on the smoking issue. I am open to discussion with any Ward One resident who would like to share their views with me.
7. Should the city continue with the water fluoridation program?
MYERS: Clearly fluoridation contributes significantly to the dental health of everyone. The benefits far outweigh any risks. Yes, the program should continue.
8. Are there any departments that need drastic improvement in performance?
MYERS: The City of Rolla in general works incredibly well. Our neighborhood, just north of Ber Juan Park, has a wonderful working relationship with the police department and the environmental services department just to name two. We should not take our many blesses for granted.
9. Is John Butz doing a good job as city administrator?
MYERS: John Butz deserves great credit for leading Rolla for all of these years. Equally impressive to me personally is that I have often found Mr. Butz out in the community distributing food at the commodities distribution site, taking yards and cleaning up trash in neighborhood cleanups, etc. He truly has the needs of ALL of the residents of Rolla at heart and I hope he stays with us for a long time.
10. What question would you like to ask and answer?
MYERS: Does the city need an occupancy permit system? I believe we do. There are landlords, who may well be in the minority, who simply take advantage of their renters and their neighborhoods. We see the results of their neglect every day in our neighborhood.