Following the Blue Springs City Council meeting Tuesday, mayoral candidate Michael Freeman sent an email to Mayor Carson Ross asking if he would be interested in attending an evening forum.

Following the Blue Springs City Council meeting Tuesday, mayoral candidate Michael Freeman sent an email to Mayor Carson Ross asking if he would be interested in attending an evening forum.


While Freeman is committed to the scheduled March 15 forum sponsored by the Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce and The Examiner, he feels an evening debate would be a good time for working citizens and, yes, even Freeman himself to voice his concerns and his goals.


“If we could get an evening forum, that would be great,” Freeman said Wednesday. “It would be helpful for people who have jobs during the day.”


That one candidate – Freeman – works a full-time job and the other – Ross – is retired makes for a significant issue as both candidates prepare for the April 3 election. Ross has said his retirement status works to his and the city’s advantage because he can devote himself to the office full-time.


“I’ve said it’s a full-time job with part-time pay,” Ross said. “That’s an issue for (Freeman).”


Freeman, however, said it’s not an issue. In fact, he said other Blue Springs mayors, notably Greg Grounds and Steve Steiner, were employed full-time when they were in office.


“They made it work, and they had productive terms,” Freeman said, adding that if he is elected there’s a strong possibility that he’ll be able to reduce his work hours with his employer, Integrated Systems.


“My employer understands where I’m at and what I’m trying to do,” Freeman said. “He supports it.”


Freeman said he’s preparing for a hard campaign. This weekend will be the first time since he ran for District 3 that he’ll go door to door. He has no specific route in mind, but he said he’ll most likely start with his neighbors.


Since he announced his candidacy in January, Freeman has been surprised that many people have shown support. He has a good base, he said, and people have told him that the man in office isn’t the man they voted for.


“They say to me, ‘Carson Ross isn’t who I thought he’d be,’” Freeman said.


During Tuesday’s meeting, the city received glowing reviews concerning its latest audit. However, one council member remarked that the debt is growing at an alarming rate. Freeman, who has attended all the regular meetings so far this year, said he, too, was alarmed when he heard it mentioned.


“A 200 percent increase is alarming. I was flabbergasted,” he said.


Ross downplayed the concern on Wednesday.


“Blue Springs isn’t the same city it was in 2005,” he said, affirming what City Administrator Eric Johnson said Tuesday when he replied that the debt comes from general obligation bonds.


“We have to issue those bonds to get improvements done, like Woods Chapel Road and the interchange,” Ross said. “I don’t think he understands that.”


For Ross, the campaign has already begun.


“I see people every day. I see them at Target, at Walmart,” he said, adding that he plans on attending the March 15 debate at Adams Pointe Conference Center because it’s tradition.


Beyond that, he said, he’ll let his career in Blue Springs and in Jefferson City, as well as his existing relationships with surrounding mayors and communities, speak for itself.


The evening forum Freeman suggested won’t happen anytime soon, Ross said.


“Not interested,” Ross said. “If (Freeman) wants to hold one, he can do what he thinks is right to get with the people.”