City Council Hosts Candidate Forum

There are two Kirksville City Council seats open for election this year with three candidates — incumbent Jerry Mills, incumbent Rick Steele and local Kirksville citizen Kevin Alm.

Mills is the owner of property management company Northeast Missouri Properties. He was first elected to City Council in 2011, reelected in 2014 and currently serving as City Mayor of Kirksville. He was born and raised in Kirksville.

Steele was first elected to serve as a Kirksville councilman in 2014. He is an active member of the NEMO Resource Conservation and Development Council and serves as the city representative for the Affordable Housing Board.

Alm is currently unemployed but has previously done mechanic work. Alm says he has run for City Council 18 times but has never been elected.

The Kirksville Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee hosted a candidate forum on March 21 at the IEP Building at A.T. Still University. Steele and Alm sat at the front of the room and answered questions concerning the condition of streets, maintenance of economic growth and the new half cent tax proposal, which would go toward benefiting the Kirksville Parks and Recreation department. Mills was unable to attend the meeting.

In their opening statements, Steele and Alm shared information regarding their past and current employment.

“I presently serve on City Council and would like to have a second term,” Steele says. “I am a product of Kirksville public schools through college. I am the head of security for Thousand Hills Rotary Club and was a stockbroker for seven years, then went to work with Chariton Valley and have been there for 17 and a half years and am still there currently.”

Alm says this is his 18th time running for City Council, and he is from Illinois but has been in Kirksville since he was 15.

The forum members stated the condition/maintenance of the streets are a popular concern for the city and asked the candidates their opinions on how to improve them.

“The streets need fixing,” Steele says. “The city has done a comprehensive study of the streets … we know all the conditions of the streets. We also did a study to see what’s under the streets, so when we fix them it will last.”

The forum also inquired about maintenance of economic growth.

Steele says it is going to be a great time for Kirksville.

Alm says he likes to see small and independent businesses, and intends to better uphold regulations concerning in-house businesses.

The forum asked the candidates their opinion on the half cent sales tax proposal that will go toward Kirksville’s Parks and Recreation.

Alm says he is against it and wants to see how the voters react.

“We’re paying so much tax, and we need to slow down on the taxes,” Alm says.

Steele disagrees with Alm and is in favor of the tax that would benefit Kirksville parks.

“… We could really improve our parks,” Steele says. “We need a new pool badly. We need money to attract people. We’re losing people. We could refurbish the old pool … there are several things I personally would like to live to see in the Parks and Recreation department. For example, we need a toilet at the kid’s ballpark. Right now, we are using porta-potties. A universal pool would be a great thing. [We would have] swim meets in Kirksville, adding money to the city.”

In their closing statements, each candidate thanked the audience. Steele says he would like to be representative again and is open to comments. Alm says he knows Kirksville is going through a lot and is listening to the community.

Jerry Mills said in an interview with the Kirksville Daily Express that if he gets reelected, he will see to it that the city’s economic growth continues. He also said he hopes Kirksville will expand and put an emphasis upon fixing the streets.

The Municipal election will be April 4 and will include voting for the next city school board, the half cent sales tax and city council members.