It’s experience versus experience in Tuesday’s elections for the Grain Valley Board of Aldermen.

Two of the three races will feature incumbents against former aldermen.

It’s experience versus experience in Tuesday’s elections for the Grain Valley Board of Aldermen.

Two of the three races will feature incumbents against former aldermen.

In Ward 1, incumbent Scott Shafer is facing former alderman Terry Beebe. Former alderman Chuck Johnston is taking on incumbent Nancy Totton in Ward 2. And Lynne Berend, who has run for office before, is challenging incumbent Mike Scully for the Ward 3 seat.

Shafer lost to Beebe in the 2010 election before defeating fellow Ward 1 alderman Dale Arnold in 2011 (Arnold beat Joe Panza in 2012 to win his seat).

Shafer, who has lived in Grain Valley for the last 20 years and works in construction management, says he has been aggressive in his support of the growth of Grain Valley, working on the Public Works and Planning and Zoning committees. He says his background in construction helps the city during a growth period and that he was instrumental in getting the upgrades at the Interstate 70/U.S. 40/Main Street interchange started.

“Since being on the board the last two years, I have not missed one meeting. I feel if you’re elected you should do ever thing possible to attend all meetings,” Shafer said.
“Over the last year working with fellow board members and staff, we were able to finally get the I-70 and 40 Highway interchange going. … With the growth we are experiencing now and are going to in the future with my background as a foreman for the past 18 years along with 15 years in the field of construction, I can put this to good use with some of the decisions that the board will be facing as the city grows.”

Shafer said that is just one of the many issues facing Ward 1 and the city.

“We have several things to me that are just important as the other,” he said. “For example, our tax levy, street and curb repair bring in new business, trying to maintain a balanced budget, but yet replace some of our worn-out trucks and equipment and move the city forward, but not put us in more debt.”

Beebe says she’s running against Shafer because she wanted to be active in her city’s government again.

“I enjoyed being alderman and I want to be involved in the city,” Beebe said. “There are so many huge issues, but I’d like to get transportation for seniors, like OATS, going, and I’d like to see more recycling facilities available to our residents. I’d also like to get the city more interactive with the Chamber of Commerce and with the school district.
There hasn't been as much cooperation there as there needs to be. They never know what the other is doing.”

Totton defeated Johnston for the Ward 2 seat in 2011. She had been appointed to a Ward 2 seat when Linda Johnson vacated the seat in October 2010. She abandoned that seat to run against Johnston for the other Ward 2 seat in 2011, allowing Yolanda West to run opposed for the seat Totton previously held.

Johnston, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Mike Todd last year, said he is running again because he sees problems with the current representation.

“I am very concerned with the course the city has taken over the past year and a half,” Johnston said. “The city is spending to much on things they either don't need or could get at more reasonable costs. The current board has given unwarranted pay raises to staff that are costing taxpayers more than is justified.

“Alderman Totton has shown that she has very little understanding of what is actually going on within the city and has become no more than a follower.”

Totton, who has attended Board of Aldermen meetings for many of the 17-plus years she has lived in Grain Valley, says she is an active participant.

“I have an advantage because I’m retired and can spend my time helping the people of this city,” Totton said. “I think I’m connected better with the everyday people here. They all know they can call me or come by and see me. I try to have an open door with people and they know that. Several people have told me concerns and I have gotten things done to help fix them. Doing little things is how you get big things done.”

Scully, who has served 16 years as an alderman in Grain Valley, ran unopposed in 2011, but he is facing a former candidate in Berend for his Ward 3 seat. Berend was defeated by Bob Headley in 2012 for the other Ward 3 seat.

Scully said his priority for his next term would be to “finish the improvements to the I-70 and U.S.40 and Main Street and then the economic development of the land around the interchange.”

Berend, who is retired, has lived in Grain Valley for more than 35 years. She volunteers at the senior citizens luncheons at the Grain Valley Community Center and at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Blue Springs. She could not be reached for comment.