Two Crocker council candidates share different visions for the community
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Saturday, April 3, 2010 11:53 pm
CROCKER, Mo. (April 3, 2010) — Crocker is one of only three cities this year to have a contested race for its city council, and only voters in Ward II will have a race.
The choice in Crocker’s second ward is between incumbent Alderman Charles Stroburg and challenger Denise York. Crocker voters will also have a four-way race for the school board between incumbents Kris York and Don Mayhew and challengers Mark D. Sasfy and Kelly Newcomb.
The only other city council races are in St. Robert, where Ward I Alderman Ralph Cook faces candidate Charles Slider, Jr., and in Richland, where the Ward III incumbent is not running for re-election and three candidates, Ronny Leonard, Jason Lobland and Paul F. Geddes, Jr., are seeking the seat. St. Robert also has a municipal judge race between incumbent Municipal Judge Thomas Julian, Sr., and two challengers, Gerald R. Marker and Kenneth E. Hawley.
Stroburg works for the Central Ozark Private Industry Council and has lived in Crocker since 2000. He handles numerous duties for that Rolla-based organization, including classroom occupational training and administering the federal Workforce Investment Act for six counties.
“Basically we help people find jobs and train them for other jobs,” Stroburg said.
He’s been on the city council four years and if re-elected this year said he’ll focus on financial and street issues.
“I’ve got things that aren’t done. I’d like to see the streets repaired, I’d like to see the sidewalk, repaired, and I’d like to see more business and infrastructure in the city,” Stroburg said. “I’ve been on the council for four years and with a position like that I think experience helps.”
York, a lifelong Crocker resident and graduate of Crocker High School, works as a billing clerk for Lake Ozark Home Health. This is her first bid for public office, but she serves on the Crocker Pool Board and is a former treasurer of that organization. She’s also a member of Hilltop Christian Union Church, volunteer coordinator for the Pulaski County Health Department, and secretary of the Crocker Booster Club.
“I’ve been here as a resident of this town and I’ve seen the different things that have happened in the town over the years and I’d like to have my input in it,” York said. “With all the issues that have been in the city in the past, I just think maybe we need different people in to help change things.”
York agreed with Stroburg’s emphasis on the need for better streets and sidewalks, and also added several priorities of her own.
“I would like to get more money to fix the streets and maintain them,” York said. “I’d like to see a doctor’s office and a pharmacy come here. I’d like to see more communication between the people of the town and work together as a team.”
Another area on which both candidates agree is the need for community beautification.
“We basically just need to clean up the town — clean up people’s yards and have people take pride in the city,” Stroburg said. “I’d like to see better streets, better activities for the children in the area, and maybe a community center. I think we’re getting the park fixed up and need new equipment for it. I’d just like to see a lot more businesses and places for people to work.”
York agreed with that approach.
“I want to be on the same page as them because they’re already working on that,” York said. “I think, as do the other council members, that it would be good to clean up and beautify the town … I want to see the parks made better and they’re already working on that.”
However, York declined to specify areas of the community that need to be cleaned up which the current council members haven’t yet succeded to getting cleaned up.
“I don’t want to make anybody mad,” York said.
For now, Stroburg said the city’s main priority, and therefore the main focus of the aldermen, needs to be dealing with its own financial problems which predated but have been made worse by the national economic downturn.
“Basically we do a little bit of everything but we keep an eye on the budget and spending; at this point right now, finances are the big issue,” Stroburg said. “Probably in the future when we get our budget straightened out it probably won’t be such a priority.”
York agreed that finances are a problem but said improving communication between the city council and city residents is also crucial.
“I would like to see more growth in the town. I would like to see the citizens of Crocker and the city work together as a team to try to get things better in this tough economy,” York said. “(Our role as aldermen is) working for the community, supporting the city employees and trying to work with the community to better it. The city council and the community need to work together.”
Both candidates also said they want to preserve the small-town atmosphere that kept York in Crocker when she grew up and persuaded Stroburg to move to the community a decade ago.
“I like the friendly people, the small town atmosphere, and there’s not a lot of crime and violence here,” Stroburg said.
York, who now has a son in the high school from which she graduated, concurred.
“It’s a small close-knit community. Everybody knows everybody and I think it’s been a good place to raise our children,” York said. “I’ve been here all my life; I think people can feel comfortable talking to me. I put people before myself and I’ve done that my whole life.”
“Right now (the biggest issue faces by the city is) the economy and dealing with trying to get enough money to do what we need to do for the city,” York said. “I’ve never done this before, but I want to give it a try.”