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Priorities, Ideas: Florissant Candidates Discuss What They Bring to Table

Candidates give thoughts on their priorities and what ideas can be brought to the council.

What would your priorities be for your ward?

Mark Behlmann, Ward 3: First, a charter review. This constitution drives everything about the city and its administration. Secondly, is the city budget, suspending all unnecessary spending and holding to the approved budget. Thirdly, property values, which have a broad range of priority facets, i.e., neighborhood policing, abandoned properties and maintenance, enforcement of property maintenance code and absentee landlords. All of these deficiencies must be addressed and a firm, united plan set in place. These plans must then be disseminated throughout the community quickly, efficiently and enforced.  

Joe Eagan, Ward 3: My No. 1 priority will be the safety of the citizens of Florissant. The No. 1 priority of all of the council members should be to support our top-notch police department. Florissant has been fortunate to be consistently among the safest cities of our size in the nation. I chose a career in law enforcement that puts me in harm’s way, and, in fact, I was wounded in the line of duty recently, so I know firsthand the challenges that our police officers face and the resources that they need to do their job. The community where I was at the time when I was wounded was once a solid, working-class community that unfortunately has suffered some decline. As a councilman with a full-time career in uniform, I would be in a unique position to advocate for the best law enforcement our department can provide. I will encourage more residents of Ward 3 to join Neighborhood Watch to help the surveillance to watch out for our neighborhoods. Simply, we all need to do our part in cooperation with the police in keeping the community safe.

Elizabeth O’Fallon, Ward 3: If I am elected to serve as councilwoman for Ward 3, I would like to see some traffic and street issues addressed, as well as improved communication between residents and local government. I would work hard to decrease costs for residents.

Steve Purgahn, Ward 6: One of my priorities for Ward 6 would be the completion of the MSD curb improvement project. Currently, the streets of Old Town have a mix of nicely edged curbsides, which drain into underground storm sewers and open ditches that eventually drain into the storm sewers. The completed streets have provided an aesthetically appealing look, more on street parking because of the increased street width and better water control to reduce infiltration into yards and residences. An additional priority would be the development of St. Francois street into a destination point. There are several vacant locations which could attract more local businesses such as , and  Florist and the . Each of these are unique to Florissant, and similar types of businesses could draw patrons from within and out of Florissant. Another priority is the continued safety of the Ward 6 residents. Our police force is by far one of the best in the St Louis metropolitan area, and I would look for ways to continue their great service to Ward 6 residents.

Pat Stinnett, Ward 6:

1) Promote safe, secure neighborhoods

2) Maintain senior services

3) Preserve property values

4) Maintain parks and recreation facilities

5) Preserve the Old Town neighborhood

6) Help local businesses to prosper

7) Support open and transparent government 

What unique ideas/plans can you bring to the city council to enhance it?

Mark Behlmann, Ward 3: First and foremost, I believe that the vast majority, preferably all, of the city council members should become united as a total unified body. This can be achieved through cooperative learning and communications. A united body of people who are all focused in the same plan design. Together with a unified effort provides stability within its council leadership.

Joe Eagan, Ward 3: Not answered 

Elizabeth O’Fallon, Ward 3: As the youngest candidate on the ballot, I would like to see the city council reach out to the younger generation of Florissant residents. This might include utilizing social media to keep the public informed about city politics and happenings.  This is an inexpensive way to reach a large audience and provide greater access to anyone seeking more information regarding our city. While technology may encourage the younger residents to keep up on their civic duty, I believe personal, face-to-face communication is still a vital part of a healthy relationship between the public and their elected representatives.

I would also support a measure to add an opening prayer to council meeting proceedings. Our United States Congress opens their sessions with a prayer, and I think it would remind those in attendance that we are all servants of our neighbors and of a higher power.

Steve Purgahn, Ward 6: I believe the use of technology during council sessions can benefit the city council and the city budget.  Currently each council member has a city-provided laptop computer, but rarely are they used during council sessions. Each council member receives a printed copy of the proposed ordinance, communications, etc. These are also provided by the city clerk in electronic format. If the council members would discontinue the use of the paper copies and either self-train or receive outside training on the use of their laptops, both an economic as well as an environmental benefit may be achieved. The city charter establishes that the council meetings are to follow Robert’s Rules of Order. For many years, the council had moved away from these guidelines. I believe if the council can return to following those rules the council meetings will be more productive and professional. 

Pat Stinnett, Ward 6: As an active retiree, I intend to bring a full-time schedule to what in the past has been a part-time position. I will have scheduled office hours weekly for the citizens of the Sixth Ward to visit and express their views.

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