The work session following Monday night’s board of aldermen meeting was the kind of meeting reporters loathe. It was two-plus hours of numbers and percentages and technobabble regulations which make actuaries and accountants swoon in delight, leaving most of the rest of us ready to play Russian Roulette with a nail gun.
If you are unsure exactly what type of language I refer to, here is a paragraph: “The City may condition approval and implementation of any project on performance measures such as job creation. In such cases, the Applicant shall agree to the creation of performance measures, which, if not satisfied will decrease the amount of economic development assistance provided by the City.” Now, remember, this diatribe ran on for well over an hour and then was followed up with provocative discourse about sewer lines and bond financing.
The meeting was good for me in many ways. I was able to study my emails and delete about 247 messages no longer of interest to me, I was able to ascertain my fingernails were of proper length and cleanliness and I no longer had to think about what I would have for dinner because my appetite was quickly evaporating.
I can think of very few things less interesting than listening to a bureaucrat bloviate about obscure minutia which has minimal interest to a captive audience dreaming of being anywhere but where they are.
With all due respect to Jim Clark, the Harrisonville economic development director, it was simply not an entertaining performance. I had much more fun scanning the board and members of the audience attempting to mind read exactly what they were daydreaming about as the presentation lagged on. But after a while, I began to zone back in and as I listened, I realized more and more this was the kind of discussion the city has been needing for some time.
One need only glance at social media to find the group of mindless zombies and whiney crackpots who inhabit Harrisonville-related sites and complain that the city’s government is corrupt; on the take; incompetent or doing nothing.
Unfortunately, for far too long, city government did indeed underperform. Some politicos lived by the idea that doing nothing and spending no money makes everyone happy. If you don’t help grow the city, you don’t have to worry about things like infrastructure, new housing, growing the business community and a more prosperous citizenry. It is simple to say “no new taxes,” “no breaks for business,” or “its not our fault the schools need money,” but those are the exact attitudes which has led to a multitude of serious issues in the city including flooding and crumbling infrastructure.
Many of those same clowns on social media say the mayor hasn’t accomplished much since taking office.
Actually, considering Mayor Judy Bowman has only been in office for a little over a year, a remarkable number of things have happened.
You can’t build a home without materials and a blueprint; you can’t grow progress and a plan. While many of us were daydreaming of something other than economic development, the adults were showing they are taking charge and creating a plan which will help the city grow and prosper. While I may not understand every detail, I do understand there have to rules in place for any business and we have the folks in place to develop those rules and create the conditions for our area to thrive. I can honestly say the discourse was not very exciting Monday night, but the prospect of where it can lead us is.
As an associated note: though the rumor flies on social media about once a month, there has been no change in the plan for Aldi’s coming to Harrisonville. The plan is for construction to start before the end of the year. Aldi’s is not contingent on a traffic signal at Mechanic and Westchester Drive. Even if it was, the intersection is the responsibility of the state, not the city.
There have been no secret deals with Price Chopper; or the mayor, or the city administrator, nor anyone else to stop the development of the new grocery store and the city is not attempting to thwart the project with undue rules or regulations. If you read the comments on social media, it is the same people who keep perpetuating the myths for seemingly no other reason than to undermine city hall.