Wanted: concerned residents willing to work with others in a challenging and exciting position essential to making our city a better place to live.
Today, nominations open for the April election for the Joplin City Council. Five seats — more than half the seats on the nine-member body — will be filled through the vote of city residents then. At least two of the seats will be open, with no incumbent running — perhaps more.
Joplin is in a time of transition. Repairs and rebuilding projects and the recovery funds that made them possible in the wake of the 2011 tornado are largely done.
There are initiatives underway to shape an arts district and to connect trails across the city. Voters recently approved a sales tax that should put the city government on a more sound financial footing by dealing with a persistently underfunded pension plan for public safety workers.
The city confronts some financial challenges. It is faced with stagnant sales tax revenue as more shopping moves online and voters have declined to approve comparable use taxes for online purchases. The numerous tax increment financing districts in the area have added to that problem, and city leaders are appropriately reluctant to approve more while looking for ways to encourage economic growth.
Are you up to the challenge? Pick up a nomination form. Do you know people who would be perfect to fulfill this role? Urge them to serve.
Residents interested must pick up nominating petitions from the city clerk today through the Jan. 14 deadline. They must then gather 150 signatures of registered voters and be determined eligible to run in order to be confirmed as a candidate. Two of the seats for election are zone seats — Zone 2 and Zone 3 — and must be filled by a resident of the respective zone. For those seats, half of the 150 signatures must be from registered voters who live in the zone.
Council members serve four-year terms and commit to an oath of office, so this public service is a serious commitment. The city needs people of vision who are ready to answer the call.
Could that be you?