The 2018 city election filing period opened Tuesday, and several people, including four current City Council members and two Jefferson City residents, plan to run for the Jefferson City Council.
Residents Jim Crabtree and Jon Hensley filed for the 5th Ward seat after councilman Larry Henry announced he would not seek re-election in 2018 due to his career expanding.
Crabtree, vice president of Central Bancompany, has lived in the 5th Ward for 26 years and has been involved in several groups like the the Old Town Revitalization Company Board, Jefferson City Ad Hoc Steering Committee for Building Code Review, the Jefferson City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and Cole County Historical Society Board.
He said he wants to be on the City Council so he can be more involved in the community. He added recent health issues pushed him to strive for more community services.
"I just decided time was precious and I needed to do those things that are important in life sooner rather than later," he said. "I think we have a responsibility to be involved in our community and I try to do that. With the nudging from quite a few friends who have been in politics, I just went ahead and registered as a candidate to serve the community in a slightly different capacity than I have in the past."
Crabtree said he has worked in the private, public and corporate sectors, giving him a wide background when addressing issues. He added he would like to continue to be "responsible and judicious in the direction we're going and following that path."
"We're making good momentum in progressive yet not invasive development," he said. "I'm a proponent of long-range planning and moving slowly but surely toward a better goal."
Hensley, general counsel at the Missouri State Treasure's Office, represented the state in court and has experience working on budgets and legislative proposals for state agencies. He used to be Assistant Missouri Attorney General and Deputy Director of Missouri's Division of Workers' Compensation.
He said these experiences helped him understand what residents want in city representatives.
"It really taught me how important it is for public officials to be responsive and be accountable to the people they serve and be transparent, so those are three basic building blocks that I would bring into office if I'm elected," he said. "At any level, it's important to listen to the concerns of the people you serve and to know that they will hold you accountable and to perform your tasks in an open and transparent way — I think it's fundamental to democracy."
Hensley said he wants to be a voice for 5th Ward residents, along with his own family, while addressing different development and infrastructure concerns like stormwater, streets and sidewalks.
"The decisions that are made here, the policy that is made, the development that occurs, these are all things that are going to be affecting my family for many years to come so I thought it was my responsibility to get involved now and speak up and to volunteer to be a voice for my neighbors," he said. "I'm excited at the opportunity to be a voice for the families in the 5th Ward."
Current Councilman Ron Fitzwater filed for re-election to his 4th Ward seat.
Earlier this year, Fitzwater was elected to complete the last year of former Councilman Glen Costales' term after Costales resigned late last year due to family reasons.
Fitzwater said he wants to continue serving the community and believes since he has one year of experience and background knowledge on several topics, he can be a better representative for the Ward 4.
"There's a lot of exciting things going on in the community that I think I could come into with a much better understanding and ready to address the issues and be a resource rather than just absorbing the information that you have to when you first come onto council," Fitzwater said. "I've tried to spend this first year doing a lot of listening, talking, asking questions and just trying to find out what the important issues are and the things we need to have a breath of knowledge. With some of the experience I've gathered over these six or seven months I've been on council, I think I could be a much better representative as we push forward because I've got a little bit of a background in those issues now."
Earlier this year, Fitzwater ran on promoting economic development in the community and finding new ways to serve the city, along with improving public safety. He said he plans to continue improving those goals through projects like redeveloping the 32 city-owned acres of the Missouri State Penitentiary, improving stormwater issues and constructing the new Fire Station No. 2.
Ward 1 Councilman Rick Prather will run for his fourth and final term on the City Council.
Between his past experiences on the council and owning Fred Vogel Insurance in Jefferson City, Prather said he can provide financial guidance. While the city is currently in a good financial position, he said, he thinks there may be some issues in the future.
"We might have some obstacles coming up so I would like to be there to help out and continue using what I've learned from my own business to watch those budgets and expenses that they don't get out of hand, as well as find ways to enhance our revenues," he said. "I see some other potential bumps in the road such as the money we're now collecting on vehicles, which will end unless we pass the use tax, but we just have to make sure we anticipate things like that and with my experience with not only being a council member but a business owner will add to the city."
Along with working with the city's finances, Prather said he is excited to see the improvements on East Capitol Avenue and redevelopment of the Missouri State Penitentiary.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what we get done in the city and hopefully bring in some more businesses and being able to contribute to some of these projects," he said. "It's an exciting time for Jefferson City, and I'm looking forward to being a part of that."
Ward 3 Councilwoman Erin Wiseman filed Tuesday for her second term on the City Council.
Wiseman told the News Tribune last week she wanted to focus on stormwater issues, along with nuisance and property code issues in the city. Jefferson City had more than 3,000 property code violations in the 2017 fiscal year, city staff said.
"We need to continue focusing on those to make sure properties are being well kept and people aren't doing things to reduce values of the homes in the neighborhood or obstruct other people's uses in the neighborhood," she said.
Along with Prather, Ward 2 Councilman Rick Mihalevich will also seek re-election for his final term. Mihalevich serves as the Jefferson City Finance Committee and the city's Budget Committee chairman.
Mihalevich could not be reached for comment by publication time.
The 2018 election filing period for the City Council runs 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through Jan. 16.
Candidates need three endorsements from registered voters in the ward they want to serve before filing. They also need to fill out a Missouri Department of Revenue Form 5120, which must be signed before a notary and filed with the Department of Revenue. A candidate needs to provide a copy of the form to the city before filing for office.
After endorsements are verified, candidates need to complete a declaration of candidacy form at City Hall, 320 E. McCarty St.