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Three New Joplin City Council Members-Elect Discuss Challenges A - KOAM TV 7

Three New Joplin City Council Members-Elect Discuss Challenges Ahead

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Joplin, MO -

Joplin's City Council will soon have three new members after yesterday's elections.  We talked with each of them about some important decisions that are now ahead of them.

Diane Reid Adams' plan for talking to City Hall staff about questions from her constituents...

"You've got two weeks.  Get me the information on this.  I have a constituent who wants to know," says Reid Adams.

Reid Adams and Joshua Bard say they both want a specific change in Joplin politics.

"The duration it has taken the City to figure out what to do with the Joplin police and fire departments.  I think that would be the biggest thorn in my side," says Bard.

Joplin's police and fire unions have said noncompetitive pay has lead to low retention rates.

"We have to have additional sources of revenue," says Reid Adams.  "We have to study the use tax, lodging tax, other forms of revenue we can bring to the City, hopefully through tourism dollars."

"The use tax.  If we would earmark or let the public know this percentage of funds is going to go towards the police and fire departments, I think the public would be behind it," says Bard.

We asked Bard if he supports using money from other City departments.

"Yes.  But other departments don't have retention problems," says Bard.

Doug Lawson has a different approach to his future term as City councilman.

"When I first considered running, somebody came up to me and asked, who are you mad at?  I said I'm not mad at anybody.  I don't have an axe to grind.  The pay for the police and fire departments, that wasn't on my list," says Lawson.

But Lawson says he will do more research into the ongoing dispute.

He also says there's one area that the City could possibly improve economic development.

"Code enforcement.  I think a lot of small businesses hesitate to build in Joplin because the City has a reputation for, well, 'this is what you need,' then about half way through the project, 'oh, well you need this as well.'  When I mention that, people resonate with that," says Lawson.

All three council members-elect say critical decisions are ahead, but they're ready.

The council members-elect will be sworn into office at a City Council meeting next Monday.  A new mayor will also be voted on by the new City Council members.

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