February 8, 2016

Gardner voters to select a mayor

Gardner voters will have two choices on the ballot for Gardner mayor in the upcoming municipal elections on April 2.
Their choices will include incumbant Mayor Dave Drovetta and City Council Vice President Chris Morrow.
Recently, The Gardner News sent questionnaires to the duo. Their responses follow.

Why are you running for mayor?

Dave Drovetta:
Simply because I love the community that our family has called home since coming to Kansas in the summer of 1987. The passion I have for Gardner has sustained me through 18 years of service to our town.  I have served through the good times and the challenging times, always focused on ensuring that Gardner remains the best place to live and raise a family in Johnson County.  My dedication, leadership, and experience are the qualities needed in a mayor.  I pledge to continue working hard and passionately standing up for Gardner.

Chris Morrow:
I want to ensure that Gardner remains a great place to live and raise a family. This can be accomplished by maintaining the assets and amenities we already have and by targeting the types of growth residents want. Citizens are our greatest asset, and we need to keep them informed, be accessible to them and collaborate with them. We need to focus, together, on initiatives that will bring growth and good corporate partners to town that will benefit all our citizens.  I want Gardner to continue to thrive, for the benefit of all.

What are the three most important issues facing Gardner in the next four years?

1) Growth and its impact to our infrastructure and quality of life.  Management of growth ties directly to our citizens’ number one concern of traffic flow.
2) Prioritizing and implementing needed capital improvements that were delayed due to the recession, which include addressing our citizens’ number one priority of traffic flow.
3) Attracting commercial growth to help balance our tax base and lessen the impact on residential properties.

1) Providing our citizens a balanced budget that includes a reasonable and stable city property tax rate.
2)  Providing quality electric, water, and wastewater service to Gardner at an affordable cost and do so while properly maintaining our systems.
3) To inform and engage our citizens, while providing them accessibility to our leaders, and allowing their voices to be heard, inside city hall. Gardner’s citizens are our greatest resource, and they need to be treated as such.

How would you address the top issue?

We must update our comprehensive plan; that includes strategies for type of growth, location of new residential and new commercial areas, as well as a defined annexation strategy coupled with an annexation agreement with Edgerton. Another obvious element will be a strategy to capture spin-off commercial growth from the KC Logistics Park. This plan must be tied to a reasonable financial plan for the expansion and maintenance of the necessary infrastructure. We must build on our successful collaboration with other entities for example: USD231 – Celebration Park/Pioneer Ridge, Edgerton – sewer service to the southwest, Johnson County – repaving 159th St.

To address the budget properly we must first understand the wants and needs of our citizens and community stakeholders. This means collaborating with residents on a vision for Gardner to establish clear goals and objectives to guide our process. Next, we must evaluate previous budget performance with actual results, especially the previous fiscal year. Once a framework is established, city staff is challenged to create a budget that meets our needs while being mindful of the bottom line. Finally the staff and governing body, so challenged, can work to finalize a budget using established goals, creativity and discipline.

If you were to raise tax rates or fees, what specific taxes or fees would you raise and why?

Any intentional increase in revenue through taxes or fees must be tied to a specific objective or project. For example, if our citizens wanted road improvements to improve traffic flow.  The last mill levy increase was tied directly to debt service and nothing else. The sales tax increase approved by voters could only be used for Celebration Park and the Aquatic Center.

I don’t intend to raise taxes or fees. Any increase proposed will be sent back to the drawing board with a challenge to study more, estimate better and review expenditures. Our 26 percent tax increase in 2011 was unnecessary, and our former city administrator, if he had been challenged, could have presented a budget without an increase. We should have estimated more accurately the previous fiscal year’s finish, we should have requested more accurate revenue figures from county tax officials, and budgeted expenses more precisely.  No tax increase proposed will receive my approval without buy in from our citizens and agreement with the stated goal.


  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Same ole political drivel to try to get themselves elected and in the meantime, if you were paying attention to detail, every citizen would realize they are getting the knife put in their back by the politicians and bureaucrats.

    Just read more political drivel about the used car guy who got screwed by the city and these two politicians both say talking about the issue in a public forum is not the right way to address problems. They say contact your Mayor or Council members and they will LISTEN to your concerns – those buzzards haven’t listened to my concerns for YEARS and never will because they don’t work for me, an average citizen nor any other entity – they are working for themselves and their cronies and you have to look no further than reviewing that City Mgr. contact approved on March 4, 2013 or see how they handle Open Records requests or violate the Open Meetings Act.

    For years I tried to get that 183rd St. paved and a sidewalk put in for the citizens. For two years they told me they were putting that project into the budget but nothing got done but they did put a sign that said “Rough Road” like I wasn’t smart enough to realize that. Then they tell me they can’t put in the sidewalk because of the open culverts. Then a few more years go by and they beg some money from the County to pave 183rd St. and put in this sidewalk that they had said couldnl’t be done and in the meantime they have put the citizens in debt up to their eyeballs improving Moonlight and providing benefit districts for many thieves who aren’t even paying their taxes nor assessments and/or getting their slimy “farm” appraisals which totally financially rape average citizens.

    If citizens want to go along with all of this bull hockey and moral corruption, then that is your choice but myself, the jaybird politicians and bureaucrats at Gardner City Hall have broken the trust too many times for me to ever turn my back on them.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    Suburban Poverty – http://inplainsight.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/22/17404578-sprawling-and-struggling-poverty-hits-americas-suburbs?lite&ocid=msnhp&pos=1

    Sen. Roberts announced today he wants to cut the Food Stamp program by BILLIONS over the coming ten years and yet he says nothing about cutting the farm subsidy program he has supported for YEARS involving TRILLIONS of taxpayer dollars.

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    Living on Minimum Wage – http://inplainsight.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/06/17195815-by-the-grace-of-god-how-workers-survive-on-725-per-hour?lite

    Are the politicians and bureaucrats working for better jobs or just more of the same ole $10 an hour jobs that just create more social costs? Or are they working for the thieves who don’t want to pay any taxes or only a portion of their taxes or want you, average citizen, put yourself at risk by bankrolling them for their needs and wants with their benefit dists., etc. and many of the thieves won’t pay their assessments, taxes or get their slimy “farm” appraisals that almost eliminate their tax responsibilities and in the process transfer their tax burden to YOU, the average citizen? Are they working hard for programs to retrain or train citizens for better jobs or are they like Sen. Roberts who is working to eliminate training programs which he is endorsing in the program he is pushing to cut the Food Stamp program? How many politicians and bureaucrats are working hard every day figuring out ways to cut costs for education which, to me, is the only salvation for a poor person to get ahead?

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    Here are some Mission Hills thieves who deserve a few years in the slammer……….even if I do have to help pay for their stay…………http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2013/03/22/couple-who-ran-kansas-city-medical.html?ana=e_du_pub&s=article_du&ed=2013-03-22&u=pgKEvY62TYHFju1JUn3gBN4k8EZ

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