City Council election heating up

Kirksville City Council elections will take place Tuesday, April 6. There are four candidates running for one seat and a three-year term. 

The candidates are Kevin Alm, Kabir Bansal, John Gardner and Dana (Danny) McDowell. On March 16, the Kirksville Area Chamber of Commerce held a Virtual Candidate Forum on Facebook Live. Alm, Bansal and Gardner attended the event, but due to technical difficulties, Alm could not participate after opening statements. The candidate forum can be viewed online on the Kirksville Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page

At the forum, the candidates were asked three questions pertaining to their qualifications, what they want to do for the economy and how they want to improve infrastructure. They were also given the opportunity to give an opening statement. 

Alm has run for City Council in the past but has not been elected. 

Bansal has worked as a Deacon in his church, works in process improvement and analysis and works with different teams in his workplace. He is also a Truman State University Graduate with a degree in Business Management.

“Something that I believe is very important is looking at how we allocate funds for different maintenance activities for infrastructure in the City of Kirksville,” Bansal said. 

Bansal said he wants to reevaluate how the City is spending its money, as well as work to fix issues in neighborhoods and business areas. 

When looking at the economy, Bansal said he wants to work with local businesses to promote economic growth, have higher wage jobs and encourage more companies to come to Kirksville. Some specific types of businesses he mentioned include manufacturing jobs and family-oriented event centers. 

“We have to get out of the mindset that we are just a college town with retail stores and Mexican restaurants,” Bansal said. “That’s not all we are.”

Gardner also participated in the candidate forum. Gardner is the former Residence Life director at Truman, served on the board for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration, has experience with strategic planning and served as treasurer for AquaDogs. Gardner also currently works at A.T. Still University. 

Gardner said he believes his professional experience helps to make him qualified for City Council. 

“One thing that stands out for me is that I’ve overseen budgets in the millions of dollars and revenue generation in the tens of millions of dollars,” Gardner said. “I think that’s a unique experience that can be useful in running a city.”

Gardner said he wants to improve the roads and sidewalks in Kirksville, and also hopes to work on the water system, keeping the cost for water low and using block grants to improve the water systems in Kirksville. He also said he wants to work with internet providers to make sure citizens have access to higher quality internet. 

For the economy, Gardner said he wants to bring more higher-wage jobs to Kirksville and partner with outside entities to bring money and business to the City. He also said he wants to help provide incentives for these private companies to come to Kirksville. 

“You can see Kirksville in a couple of different ways, one can be a small town in Northeast Missouri, but I like to think of it as like the economic hub of Northeast Missouri and I think we have the opportunity to continue to grow that,” Gardner said.

McDowell is also running for City Council, but did not participate in the candidate forum. 

McDowell wrote on his Facebook page that he was born in Kirksville. He also posted that senior citizens need to be represented on the City Council, and he encouraged citizens to go vote.

“I want to see every citizen represented by our City Council,” McDowell said. 

Citizens who are registered to vote in Kirksville can vote in the election April 6. The polls will be open from 6 a.m to 7 p.m. Polling places can be found on the Adair County website or by calling the Adair County Clerk’s office. Sample ballots can also be found on the Adair County website.