The position of mayor for the city of Independence is open and Greg Kurtz is running for re-election unopposed. The mayor makes $110,000 a year and is eligible for the same medical insurance provided to city employees. Kurtz will serve a four-year term.
Following are questions posed to Kurtz by Independence Today magazine. Below are his unedited responses.
- What do you hope to accomplish in your next term that you didn’t in your most recent term?
Kurtz: In the next term, two higher level priorities will be safety and long-term business development. Residents, visitors and employees should always feel safe in their homes, on the streets and in their places of business. Thankfully, in Independence they do, because my administration focuses on officer training, employing hi-tech equipment and a police presence to deter criminal activity. We have been quite successful. Public safety constantly evolves and demands strategic attention, analysis and planning. I will continue to be vigilant, work with local officials and prioritize safety.
I will also continue to devote the time and attention required to ensure business development is consistent with or compliments the area, fits within the master plan, benefits the community and adds to the tax duplicate. Each project has a new set of new stakeholders and interested parties with unique priorities and goals. My administration collaborates with all interested parties to address city priorities and concerns. The process is often complicated and requires multiple steps over many months, even years. However, to ensure the best outcome for the community, the city must remain engaged throughout the process.
- How will you ensure transparency in the administration’s decisions?
Kurtz: The city is a public institution. Most decisions are made, debated and held in public forums. Residents are able to attend meetings and obtain meeting minutes. Local elected officials, including myself, are available to the public to address questions and concerns. I live and work in Independence. While every matter before the city is unique, most of my decisions start with a simply framing, “what is best for the city?” If you want to know my motivation, that is where it starts.
- The city’s downtown development plan has been years in the making. How do you plan on making the vision a reality?
Kurtz: Coalesce around a plan and then implement the plan. I intend to think big, plan, plan more, then implement slowly. It is often complicated and change can be difficult, so we must move incrementally. ∞
Gregory P. Kurtz
Occupation: Business owner/public official