Feb. 1, 2019 – Editor’s note: this article continues a series to profile each candidate running for Excelsior Springs City Council and the Excelsior Springs Board of Education. 

Excelsior Springs residents Thomas Shue and Carl A. Harper filed to oppose incumbent Brent McElwee in his quest to retain his currently held seat of the City Council.

Challenger Kalyn Goode will oppose incumbents Darren McKown and Tray Harkins for the school board. The election will be held April 2.

One man decided to run for the Excelsior Springs City Council after seeing the large impact a small group of people can have on a community.

Thomas Shue said he began watching the impact some of the decisions have on Excelsior residents. Some of the decisions, he said could have been better.

Thomas Shue

“I see myself being able to add a lot to a small group of people who make big decisions and I want to be a part of those decisions,” he said. “That’s why I’m running, to help make better choices in our town.”

He said he sees himself as being the person who uses all available information to help make the best decisions for the community. Some of the information may be obtained by outside research, he said. He will also ask questions about the projects presented to the council.

Shue said he took a close look at Excelsior before deciding to run. He said he believes he can provide a fresh set of eyes to the decision-making process. He doesn’t identify with either major political party, he said. He doesn’t consider himself a politician. He said he simply wants people in office that will make the best decision for the city.

He plans to go door-to-door, he said, and invite people to ask questions. He said he wants to hold a special session each month where people can come and ask questions.

Shue said he sees issues with projects that have been performed by the city. One example, he said, included the improvements to the sewer plant. He said he believes when the city learned of the needed improvements, they could have completed them a different way.

“How about look at something that’s been going on since the 30’s on the West Coast,” he said. “What are they doing out on the West Coast where water is at a premium to process their water?”

He said the city could have looked at different, more sustainable technology. He said not all water needs to be treated as solid waste. Maybe the city should consider installing probes on toilets to determine how many gallons of water travel to the sewer, he said. The city could also use the data provided by the tax assessor to develop a tiered sewer charge based on the number of bathrooms within each home.

“City councils can make life really hard for people in town by passing regulations,” he said. “I don’t think we’re that far here yet, but I think there has been a lot of mismanagement of the programs put in place.”

The key in maintaining costs, he said, always comes down to staffing. Shue said he worked as a midwest regional manager of a major retailer and he knows how to maintain costs by hiring and training the best staff. 

He said he can look at the data and see the existing problems.

Shue said ultimately, he wants to help the community be more involved in the decision-making process. He said he plans to do this by asking the residents how they want their tax dollars to be spent.

“Would you like to say how your money is to be spent,” he said. “Do you want ‘yay, yay, yay,’ to everything or do you want somebody who’s going to look at all available information and make the best choice on your behalf?”

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