Butler County Times Gazette
  • Mayor candidates discuss issues affecting city

  • The four candidates for mayor got to share their thoughts and opinions on a variety of issues affecting the city during a mayoral candidate forum Friday evening sponsored by the El Dorado Times and El Dorado Chamber of Commerce.
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  • The four candidates for mayor got to share their thoughts and opinions on a variety of issues affecting the city during a mayoral candidate forum Friday evening sponsored by the El Dorado Times and El Dorado Chamber of Commerce.
    To begin the debate, each of the candidates made an opening statement, beginning with Jeff Masters.
    He began by commenting on some questions recently asked of the candidates by other media. One of those questions, which he missed, was why he wanted to be mayor.
    "I'm a young entrepreneur that has a lot of experience on about a little bit of everything," he said. "I would like to look for ways to save the taxpayers money by shopping around."
    He wants to get bids from local contractors from El Dorado, then allow them to do all of their type of work in order to keep the prices down.
    "I have been in the city for 30 years and I have seen things happen in this town that most people would shoot themselves over and some of them have," Masters said. "The city is not right from the police department all the way up to the judges. They are just not running the city right. I want to be a full-time mayor. I do not wear a suit and do not wear a tie because I believe in rolling up my sleeves and getting right in the middle of it."
    The second candidate was David Chapin. He said there were two good reasons he was there, and first introduced his parents.
    "They are the biggest reason I am here today," Chapin said. "I think El Dorado, in the last six years, has proven to be quite a different town than it was six years ago. We have gotten a lot of things done. We have kept taxes in line. We have city employees happy to come to work and who do a great job."
    He said that was different from years prior. He went on to say there will always be something in town that is not right for everybody.
    "I would say we live in a very unique town, a prospering town," Chapin continued.
    He pointed out the new schools, BG Products, Barton Solvents, and said the business park is filling up.
    "I think things are looking up on the industrial side," he said. "The reason those things have happened is because we have our eyes open. We have looked outside the box.
    "So everyone understands, the mayor is equal to all the commissioners," he concluded.
    The third candidate was John Grange.
    Grange is a life-long resident of El Dorado except nine years when he was in the service, serving a year in Vietnam and three in Germany.
    Page 2 of 14 - "I began my public service on the City Planning Commission in the early 80s," he said. "In '85 I had a group ask me to run for the Board of Trustees at Butler Community College."
    After four years on the Trustees he took a break, then spent four years on the school board before serving eight years at the state legislature.
    "What I am doing tonight is applying for the job," Grange said. "I think you will hear four different approaches and viewpoints on how things should be run. I think there are a lot of things the city does good and some it could do better. The big thing is communication. Even when we don't agree, we have listened to you and we inform you of what is going on. In times past, very few folks came to city meeting and when I asked them why it is because they feel disconnected. I want to get them reconnected."
    The fourth candidate was Mike Fagg.
    "I was born at Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital, my wife Debbie and I of 37 years are lifetime residents," Fagg said. "We raised three daughters here."
    He also has a 40-year career in local banking and is a graduate of El Dorado High School, Butler County Community College, Wichita State University and graduate school of banking at the University of Wisconsin. He has served as president of the Chamber of Commerce, United Way and the Lions Club; been chair of Mid-Kansas Community Action and the Bluestem Chapter of the American Red Cross; was in the first class of Leadership Butler; and started Walnut River Festival, among other involvements.
    Looking at city activities, he was a commissioner for four years, the chair of the Planning Commission and Sales Tax Committee, and an original member of the Mayors Downtown Task Force.
    "I took a bunch of leadership courses while I was commissioner," he said.
    Those included courses on ethics, nuisance abatement, municipal finance, guiding a municipal organization and more.
    "I truly care about our community," Fagg said. "I have no special interest groups, no axes to grind. This campaign is about moving forward."
    The candidates then began answering questions about city issues, with the first being: The City of El Dorado currently supplies water to the City of Augusta, Potwin, and seven rural water districts. What factors would you take into consideration for selling water to other prospective entities? The candidates rotated who answered first, with the first to answer being given a chance to respond at the end.
    Chapin was the first to answer.
    "We've been in the business of selling water since we got the lake," he said. "Currently we are using three of four zones of water we can sell. The opportunity to sell the rest is out there for the market. We do not have a buyer at this moment.
    Page 3 of 14 - "We are going to have to look at what is in it for the citizens."
    He said the biggest thing would be the positive impact, with the second being if they were going to delete their water supply down too much by selling water.
    Grange thought one of the issues they had was the fact there is a finite amount of water.
    "If you were around in the '50s and '60s when we ran out, you can understand how farsighted our city fathers were then that made the decision (of partnering with the corp of engineers for the lake)."
    He wants to look into the benefits of selling water, how much it would cost the city, who is going to ask for it, what the Corp says, how it would be transported and who would pay for that, and if they could shut it off if it was getting too low.
    Fagg said they could talk about this for a week. He started by addressing the lake debt, saying it started at $24 million and as of this year he has it figured to be $48 million.
    "I'm concerned about the debt that is out there," he said. "I have seen projections if the rates are 5, 6, 7 percent, but they are not, they are lower."
    He wanted to take care of El Dorado first, including potential long-term growth, then looking at the county, then outside the county.
    Masters did not believe he would consider selling water.
    "We are in a pretty good drought," he said. "If anyone went out to the lake and looked at it, the lake is pretty low. The Corp owns a certain level down. El Dorado only owns from a certain level to that level the Corp owns. The Corp can shut us off of getting water any time they choose. Wichita wants to buy water, but wants a guarantee they can get water even if it means El Dorado won't get any. I am 100 percent opposed to selling to Wichita and pretty much anyone else."
    Given a chance to reply, Chapin said on the issue of the debt, the Corp was just fine with how the city is handling it and said it was now a 50-year debt.
    "If it was an issue, the Corp would be telling us something," he said. "It is being handled and it is OK and we can't change anything that is OK. As far as selling the water, we don't have a contract with anybody so I can't tell you how it's going to get done or when. We have done groundwork to get all of those questions taken care of on cost and transportation."
    Page 4 of 14 - The second question asked: How will you balance the need for city services while keeping property taxes reasonable?
    Grange answered first.
    "In these tough budget times it is going to depend on how much we think we can afford and what's really important to folks," he said.
    "Part of the engagement process is it brings individuals in from different parts of the community and discuss what cuts mean for them."
    He said the state has to work on how property taxes are evaluated, saying valuations are going up.
    Fagg answered next.
    "I'd like to change our budget process," he said. "This time of year we get actuals from last year and start a whole different process. You get in July and August and it gets rammed at you at the last minute. I set down one night with my daughters in Wichita and looked at their tax bill and ours and ours was 30 percent higher."
    He was glad the sales tax was there to help with streets.
    "The city is robbing the sales tax for their expenditures," Fagg said. "If we ever hit a point in time we don't do sales tax, watch what your tax rates do."
    Masters responded next.
    "I've been doing a lot of homework since I started this," he said. "I'm not into politics at all. I looked at $2.7 million for a golf course which I think is a joke. We already had it, why did we need to buy it?"
    He went on to mention the $4 million the city is paying for a new water line to the new middle school north of town.
    "The land on Topeka was given to us," he said, adding that the land was not contaminated. "We could have put the school right there and saved $4 million."
    He said he couldn't find out how much the city paid for the airport because no one would tell him.
    "Because of the people who live north, we went north," Masters said.
    He said the comprehensive plan said to go south, but they didn't do that.
    Chapin addressed the issue next.
    "It is easy for everyone on the outside looking in saying you could save money here and there," he said. "The truth of the matter is we could save money, but the people also deserve things."
    He said Thursday was a perfect example with the snow.
    "Six years ago we would have been driving around on snow packed roads," he said. "We bought four more plows to put on dump trucks and another dump truck, if you think it just gets blown and want to throw out scary numbers. Unfortunately, with a $20-some million budget we are spending millions."
    Page 5 of 14 - Grange then responded again.
    "What you've heard has a lot to deal with what could be borderline micro managing by the Commission," he said. "The City Commission hires a city manager and he hires staff. Those folks present the city budget and we take up review of it. The mayor directs the discussion during the budgeting process. We rely on the folks out there to tell us what they need and balance that with what consumers want. I think we have some real excellent staff that understands the issue of being a true steward of our money."
    The third question addressed economic development, asking: El Dorado has a recent record of success in Economic Development and job creation. How do you see the City's involvement in continuing that effort?
    "You must be very careful about economic development and marketing money from city taxpayers," Fagg said, "because eventually how effective is that money? I think this mayor job is for two years and I think we have done enough out there. Over time we have spent enough money in economic development. I think the great American way is free enterprise. I think back off and look at housing and other areas of the budget."
    Masters said, "I personally don't think we spent anything on it. I don't think there are any new jobs; I don't think there are any jobs out there. We should try to start new jobs. I wish people knew what we really spent. If we could stop doing that, I think El Dorado should fund some new young entrepreneurs willing to get a businesses started in our town that will employee at least five to six people. We help them because they are willing to put that many more people to work. There are people out there who want to work, but can't because they can't finance their own business."
    Chapin responded next, saying economic development goes on 24-7 and takes many years to go from a dream to real employable buildings.
    "It took six years to get BG to open their doors and will take years to get the next company in there," he said. "You have people in town who work hard to attract people to town. Success comes in how you present yourself as a town."
    Grange felt economic development was an important aspect and said as a state legislator he got to break loose some federal money that led to a railroad spur that led to investments by BG and Barton Solvents. He encouraged partnerships with private investors and individuals.
    "We have to look outside of El Dorado only if the folks inside El Dorado can't produce the jobs we want," he said. "It's very important and we need to keep up."
    Page 6 of 14 - Fagg then responded again.
    "We're a town of 13,000 people," he said. "The schools are an important component of economic development."
    He said looking at the hospital, refinery, BG and others, there is a diverse group.
    "We need to look at where these people live at," he said. "We are a bedroom community. Get up at six in the morning and see how many people are going to Wichita to work and that is OK. We need to look at how when we bring people in how it affects existing industry. We need to take care of our own first."
    The fourth question asked: Do you believe there is more that the City of El Dorado should do for roads and infrastructure? If so, what improvements would you make and how would you pay for them?
    "We've pretty much covered most of the roads," Masters said. "If we were going to fix Towanda and Main and a few of the other streets, we need to get a local contractor that does asphalt and overlay and say if we give you all of our asphalt work would you do it for a low price. I think you would find they would. We do have the businesses here to do it."
    Chapin responded that, "As we all know, sales tax is coming up. That's a big part of our road improvement. Towanda Street, I've got a little bulls eye on it. We need to get it done, how I don't know. Half is in the county and half is in the city. At least we're going to make an attempt to get it done in a fair, equitable way to citizens. I think the streets look better today than they ever have in the history of El Dorado."
    He pointed out West Central with the curb and guttering, Boyer Road, Main and Sixth, and the truck route.
    Grange responded, "I think we probably have a pretty good funding mechanism for the roads and infrastructure we have. Sales tax is one of the best things to have because it is not only the citizens of El Dorado but travelers coming through help do that. We need to maintain what we have and move on. I think we have a great street crew and they do the best they can.
    "I might first try to get someone to take out that median in front of Oil Hill School," he concluded.
    Fagg answered next.
    "When sales tax came about we only had $80,000 to work with," he said. "I think we could spend more on our streets out of the sales tax money. They say the engineering department can't handle it, but I think they can. Some communities have a one cent sales tax only for street improvements. We've got 100 policies in this town and how many times have we come up and set down and reviewed policies? That's the important thing we do up here."
    Page 7 of 14 - He went on to talk about a road on the other side of Pioneer Balloon.
    "Look at that road," he said. "It is a road to no where and we could have fixed Towanda with that money."
    Masters had a chance to reply.
    "I think, honestly if we would stop spending so much money on golf courses that exist," he said. "I went out and asked and they said they had 30 people a weekend. The way I figure $6,000 a month is what we make off the golf course. It is going to take a long time to get our money back. If we stop spending on foolish stuff like that we would have more than enough for roads. I would like to know what we gave for the airport."
    He said he was told the contract was lost.
    The fifth question asked: What, if anything, do you feel the City should do to improve the housing situation in El Dorado?
    Chapin answered first.
    "Right now we're working on putting together quite a few different ideas and plans to one, kick start and two, rejuvenate the older housing stock we have in town," he said. "That is a very, very tough question to get answered in a minute because there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle. Having another housing addition to build new houses in is a first place we need to start. We need to get a developer to develop land and once you have a place to build houses, people will come, but that is the private sector."
    Grange responded by saying, "I think the role of the city is to encourage developers to come or to grow our own internally. I know in times past the city hasn't been real good partners for people who want to do development. Look at the people who have the wherewithal in our own community after we determine what level of housing we need and what type of housing."
    Fagg said, "I went to a meeting one time where the League of Municipalities and all of the cities come together."
    He said one community had done a housing stock survey.
    "I think that's where you really start," Fagg said. "I would try to do everything we could to build in the existing areas. We already have roads and infrastructure in place. I think we need to look at existing things we have around here, let's work on that first."
    He said he read about Pittsburg, Kan., taking a block of old houses out and 12 new houses went in.
    Masters said he agreed 100 percent with Fagg.
    "I think we should take some of the old houses we have and fix them, restore them," he said. "We already have streets and gutters. These guys are wanting to take and go on the north end. We spent $124,000 for this plan. It is the future land use of El Dorado, Kan. It says we need to go south. Everybody is playing God and going north. They are just abandoning this plan. They built a school a mile and half out of town, now they're going to be building $3 to $5 million houses that no one is going to be able to buy."
    Page 8 of 14 - Chapin then responded.
    "The role of government is not to tell citizens how and what to do with homes, but to help them," he said. "It is not the roll of government to eminent domain a whole city block to rebuild. You have to remember the housing issue is really a personal issue with the person who owns the house."
    The final question before the break asked: How would you propose to continue improving the quality of life in El Dorado?
    "I think it has to be citizen directed," Grange said. "Whether establish a panel or group or invite people in to commission work sessions."
    He thought the bike path, swimming pool and splash park were all good quality of life things, as well as a good library, good roads and infrastructure. He said El Dorado did have limited retail.
    "I would go back to what are things that make you want to stay here," he said. "We have good churches, we have good schools. I think we just need to continue upon what we already have."
    Fagg said quality of life was the reason he lives here, including schools, museums, parks and volunteerism.
    "I think we do the best job of the state," he said. "I would say that we need to make it affordable. We need to understand that when people are working at these new places what would make them move here. To say what money do we spend on that, I think we have to be careful what money we spend and make sure it is cost effective."
    Masters wanted to see more for the kids, such as a go kart track, paintball, comedy club or other entertainment.
    "Right now there is nothing to do," he said. "I think we need some new entertainment for the kids. I have a lot more to say about that, but I don't have the time to talk about it right now, but I will be talking about it more."
    Chapin believed they provide quite a few different things, including the bike paths, swimming pool, lake, spray park and "a real nice golf course."
    "The quality of life is really left up to the individual and the individual is going to have to decide if they want to live here and be happy and enjoy all the different things of a smaller community where we all know each other," Chapin said. "I think El Dorado is made up of a lot of very unique people; it offers a lot."
    Grange said he thought they had heard some great ideas.
    "I think maybe what we ought to do is we get out of the way and let our developers do what they do," he said. "I don't think it's our place to get involved with that particular issue."
    Page 9 of 14 - He gave the example of the kids who created the bicycle jump.
    Following a short break, the candidates returned for the final questions posed by the audience.
    The first question was: What do you view as the biggest issue facing El Dorado and what would you do about it?
    "I would say taxing," Fagg said. "When we look at our town today, how much money do we spend on taxes? When you look at a budget of 27 million, that is a lot of money for 13,000 people. That, plus water is a big deal. We also have a debt service. I don't care what Dave says, the government will come take your lake. I'm saying we have to be careful with that. Why do we not want to pay our debts?"
    "I think the water is an issue," Masters said, "but I do not believe it is as big of an issue as the kids we have. The kids have nothing to do in town except get caught up and put in jail. I would put some ideas on the table, see what we could come up with – maybe some paintball, laser tag, go karts."
    He also suggested getting kids to work with the elderly to repaint their homes or fix guttering.
    "I do believe the biggest issue is our children," Masters continued. "They are the future of our city. [We need to] keep them out of jail because right now I believe we will need to build more prisons."
    Chapin said at this moment, he can't think of one super big thing we need to tackle.
    "One we need to tackle all the time is prosperity, for economic growth of this town is key," Chapin said. "Without economic growth we stay stagnant. If we stay stagnant, the things Jeff wants won't come. Those come with prosperity in the business park and industrial park. I'm not going to say your taxes will go through the roof if we don't get everything through. Our lake debt is under control."
    Grange thought if you asked everyone there that question you would get 74 different answers.
    "I agree, I think debt needs addressed," he said. "As long as we service principal and interest, there are other things we cannot buy. We also need to be aware the demographics of our population is changing. Our population is aging."
    He said the aging population will want different things than the younger workers coming in.
    "We need to engage other entities such as the County Commission, schools, refinery and see what can we all do working together to get to the end product we all want," Grange said.
    Page 10 of 14 - Fagg then responded again by going back to the tax part of it.
    He pointed out $295,000 is spent on economic development, $497,000 on Prairie Trails and $825,000 on data processing.
    "There are a lot of things; I think somebody needs to sit down and look into those things to see if there is a better way to handle those," Fagg said. "When we start at $24 million (lake debt) and now are at $48 million, that's an issue for me."
    The next question asked: Some indicate poverty is an issue in El Dorado. What do you see the city's role in providing services and assistance to the working poor and others in need.
    Masters answered first.
    "Personally, I think we need to look at a way to finance some young entrepreneurs," he said. "If they step forward and say 'I've been wanting to start this, can I get some help? I say El Dorado helps them. I say El Dorado gets a portion of their return. That will put a lot of people to work. I don't like people driving to Wichita to go to work in the morning. I want them to stay right here. We have a wonderful little town, but we need more jobs big time."
    Chapin said they have several programs economically challenged people can apply for.
    "We do what we can," he said. "A lot of money is set aside to help in those things in the sense money is set aside to fix houses, money is set aside to help the poor with their water bills, sewer bills and trash bills. We've gone out of our way to try and help the people who need help. I'm always open-minded to their problems and concerns."
    Grange said he didn't know how large of a problem there is.
    He said there were programs available, such as good services the churches provide.
    "Trying to do things to improve the quality of life for people already here may be a grant to go back to school or for winterization of houses," he said. "I know my business gives people a break on their bills. I don't want to be an enabler for people who for one reason or another are happy with their lot in life and don't want to work any harder than they are. we need to help make people more self-sufficient."
    Fagg said there was no question there is a problem, stating there are 50 percent free lunches at school.
    "I have seen a deal in the Wichita area saying the southeast quadrant of El dorado is the poorest in anything around Wichita," Fagg said. "Help needs to come from churches and schools. The big thing about your city government is exactly what are they supposed to do? I always felt it was to stick to the basics of streets and water. United Way is the way to take care of problems. I think through volunteerism we can help that kind of thing."
    Page 11 of 14 - Masters then responded again.
    "I don't think that we should," he said. "I'm really not about that. I'm about teaching somebody to fish and they can fish. I'm about stop spending stupidly and foolishly."
    He quoted the new park on Main Street, saying it cost $165,000.
    "I think it's a joke," he said. "I'm a general contractor and I guarantee you that park could have been built for $8,000. That is not a $165,000 park. I heard there is not even a filtering system on it and that will be one of the first things I investigate because there is disease to be spread."
    The next question asked: How does your education and experience prepare you to be mayor?
    "I've got an education in life," Chapin said. "I have been self-employed since I was 18 with two different companies. I started my last company in 1984 and am still with them. I have been a city commissioner for six years. While I've been here, I've always used an open mind and common sense to get a real answer to a real problem. That is how I will be mayor in the future."
    "Like a lot, I come through the school of hard knocks," Grange said.
    That included learning to deal with difficult people in his military experience. He said he graduated from Butler County Community College and has 35 years experience making payroll.
    "What I bring to the table is a common sense approach, fiscal responsibility and bringing folks in to discuss issues with us," he said. "We need to incorporate thoughts from other folks."
    He also mentioned his experience with the state legislature, school board and others.
    Fagg responded next, saying, "I feel like I have been through a period of time that I was commissioner I did my homework. There was some tough decisions to make and I made them. You've got to be able to go home and look in the mirror and say 'Did I do the right thing?' We need to listen to everybody. We don't know the answers to this stuff."
    Masters said he moved to El Dorado when he was 15 with everything he owned in the back of a 1973 Monte Carlo.
    "I became who I am, what I am on my own," he said. "The city doesn't like me, never have. No one in the city likes me. When I take two steps forward, they drag me three steps back. I built a $4 million house outside El Dorado, believe me I know how to get good deals for the city. I believe there is no such thing as a part-time mayor. The city board ought to decide a paycheck for that man."
    Page 12 of 14 - Chapin said, "I think what all of us has said up here plays into the roll of being mayor. Being mayor, you are leading the meetings, signing the papers and you have the same vote as your four commissioners. So depending on your other four, that will be the decisions being made. Mayor is not a position that makes daily decisions on when the roads get plowed or don't or who goes to work or who doesn't go to work. Mayor is about taking care of city business up here and letting city staff handle their jobs."
    The next question was: How would you partner with local organizations to ensure youth have a positive, beneficial and consistent sports experience?
    Grange answered first.
    "Growing up here we always had summer league and people took charge doing that," he said. "We didn't have the Internet and all the things that keep kids away from doing outdoor sports. We need to engage the kids at an early age to get outdoors to do things."
    He gave the example of partnering with the school district to put together a short course called Archery in the Classroom.
    "Look at the programs we have and coaches and the folks willing to support those, and review them on an annual basis," Grange said.
    Fagg said this would be part of an all-encompassing thing on his mind, which was to have a listening tour.
    "We need to set down with the schools and parents and let them develop a plan," he said. "We need parents out there teaching that type of thing. I think schools need to be involved with that. I think we look around at other towns and if we see something exciting about what they are doing, bring it home and try to incorporate it."
    Masters said, "I don't believe we should worry about the kids and sports. I believe the kids that come to this town that want to play sports are coming to Butler County. They get sports in school automatically. I believe we should get a program together to teach a 12th grade girl when she gets out of school to be a mother. I think we should put classes together like that. I don't think everybody is going to take on sports. I think we need to teach young women of this town how to make a living not in sports."
    Chapin said the city has partnered with the YMCA to do some work.
    "Also just recently we have taken back a few of the sports from the Y and made them city again," he said. "We added two ball parks out at the lake for a baseball park. There is a lot of reorganization going on now with a rec director in the city. As far as getting down to exact programs we have got going, we have a lot of programs available. We are addressing it and I think we are going to be better at it."
    Page 13 of 14 - The final question asked: The city maintains a number of recreational facilities and parks, including a bike path, pool and two spray parks. How do you view those amenities and how would you propose to continue the improvement of the quality of life in El Dorado?
    The question first went to Fagg.
    "This is about looking forward and not looking back," Fagg said. "We have all those things you just mentioned. We need to look at how often they are used, understand keeping them up and maintenance costs. It is important to know what we are spending and who is actually using it."
    Masters said he thought all of those things are wonderful.
    "It just really upsets me how we got them," he said. "The water park shouldn't have been done that way. There is no filtering system on the spray park on Main Street."
    He said there are things he could not find out.
    "When I become mayor I will tell you a whole lot more," he said. "I don't believe a mayor is just to open meetings and not get involved in the city. I believe that the mayor is the boss of the city. Anything that comes in front of me that I don't think will help this city and citizens, I will veto it."
    Chapin answered by saying, "I think the city has done a pretty good job in bringing things back up to par, the swimming pool, the spray parks I think have been the biggest hit of young kids. People that are passing through town, I have seen them filling up with gas and overhear conversations on how unique the town is to have water parks. If I had my way, and sales tax dollars are left over, I would put in another one in another part of the town. That was a city-built project by city employees that saved the taxpayers many thousands of dollars."
    Grange said, "We have a lot of nice things going on. I would like to see an extension of the bike path that goes around to the college. That would give folks safe access to the lake. It also will allow folks in the southern part of the town to be able to go out to the lake on their bicycles or walk. Those things may last a long time. They are heavily used today. I think it's very important. Splash parks, ball parks are great things. The skateboard park may or may not be used as much as we hoped it would have been."
    Fagg said they are big quality of life issues.
    "A prime example, when we put the new ball diamonds out at the lake, it will be interesting to see how much usage they get," he said. "It just doesn't seem like as much going on as there used to be, but in building more parks we need to be cost effective and serve the people."
    Page 14 of 14 - To conclude the event, the candidates each got to make a closing statement, starting with Masters.
    "The city did do the spray park and it cost us exactly $165,000," he said. "I have a written statement. I would like to be the mayor of this city, but I do not want to be a part-time city mayor. I want to be a full-time mayor. I would like a paycheck for doing it though. We are a class one city. We have almost 14,000 residents. I would love to be the mayor of El Dorado and I would like to put a price on it for him or her whoever becomes the mayor. The person being mayor now is not being mayor, they are going to work. Every mayor who has been here has done so."
    Next was Chapin.
    "I have got six years as commissioner," he said. "I've tried to do what I thought was right. I was asked to run as mayor; Tom was stepping down. I've stepped up to take on the responsibilities of being a mayor. I look forward to it. I would like your support and I've always kept the taxpayer in mind whether I'm spending money or trying to save money to do the right thing. Please get out and vote Tuesday the 26th."
    Grange also gave his closing statement.
    "I'm applying for the job," he said. "I understand what it is, to facilitate the meetings. I asked the Kansas League of Municipalities what the job description was and there was a long silence. They don't really have one. they gave some guidelines. Being a moderator of meetings is one thing.
    "I'm just amazed this many people showed up. I appreciate you being here. I want you to go home and call five other people and get them to vote."
    Fagg spoke next.
    "I will work hard for all the citizens of El Dorado," he said. "I know I can provide you a good check and balance with the current governing body. I do appreciate the work of city employees. Elections are about the future. You can't do anything about the past."
    He wants to focus on housing, lake debt repayment, updating and reviewing policies and a new budget process.
    "I will keep city government accountable to the citizens," he said. "I will do my best to help you feel pride in calling El Dorado your home. Working together, this campaign is about the future, a future we can all afford."
    The primary election will be held Tuesday, Feb. 26.

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