2015 Candidate questionnaire: Eric Freeman, Bonner Springs City Council Ward 4
Eric Freeman is seeking re-election to his Ward 4 Bonner Springs City Council seat against challenger Mark Kipp. The following are Freeman's responses to The Chieftain's candidate questionnaire.
Occupation: Patrol Sgt., Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office
Family: Wife, Vicki; three children and two grandchildren
Years lived in the city: 16 years
Previous political experience: Four years representing Ward 4
Campaign website (if applicable): N/A
What made you decide to run for office?
I decided to run for re-election because I have learned a great deal about city government during the past four years. I consider it a privilege to serve on the city council. I believe in being objective and conscientious when voting on city matters not only for the benefit of my ward but for the entire city.
What special qualifications would you bring to this office?
As a servant in the public safety field, I am personally aware of the priority we place on our police, fire and EMS personnel as is reflected in our annual city budget.
How do you plan to stay in touch with constituents if you are elected?
I prefer a personal phone call but would be happy to meet any resident at their home or place of business. My cell number is 913-523-5523. Additionally I would encourage residents to bring their concerns before the council as there is a specific time during each council meeting for this purpose.
The council recently gave a resolution of support for the Westgate project, a $64 million mixed-use development at 118th and State Ave. that would require the city to provide many development incentives. Do you support this development? Why or why not?
I did and do support the Westgate project. I believe our city is prepared for the gradual and timely growth that this project represents. Initially, I questioned the incentives, but after conversations with some knowledgeable professional individuals, I do not believe the incentives to be excessive.
Funding for future phases of the I-70/K-7 interchange is unknown, but the city will eventually face construction of an interchange at K-7 and Kansas Ave. What should the city do to prepare for this, especially in regard to its street network?
According to our last meeting with KDOT officials there is a solid foundation and practical dialogue concerning street preparations prior to actual construction, especially in the Kansas Avenue area. Minimizing the negative effects of construction on our community will continue to be my/our priority, even thought actual construction could still be years away.
As you have been campaigning, what issue have you found is most important for constituents in your ward? How would you address this issue?
Street improvements are always a concern for our city, Ward 4 has seen some much-needed improvements this past year, however Riverview Avenue and 122nd Street are two of my main targets when the matter comes up for discussion this spring. Additionally, sound arguments have been made concerning the rising fees of new development, and certainly the K-7 construction is a concern in Ward 4.
In your own opinion, what are the three most important issues facing the city? If you did not do so in a previous answer, please share how you would address these issues.
Recently the city approved the decision to move forward with a $2 million loan for utility improvement on Nettleton Ave. This is a major project. Hopefully with the proper accountability, this will proceed smoothly.
My second priority would be to ensure that we stay within our budget and spend the taxpayers' money wisely. Although I understand that at times "change orders" are required and unavoidable redoing street projects or having to allocate additional funds for projects that were half again as much as the original estimate, in my opinion, it is not acceptable.
My third priority would be the support of development of additional commercial business on the east side of K-7, north of Kansas Avenue. Development in this area would benefit our residents and make our community more inviting to visitors. Incentives are the usual route taken to entice new development.