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Overland Park Mayor

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  • Candidate picture

    Mike Czinege
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Curt Skoog
    (N)

Biographical Information

What do you believe are the three critical projects or initiatives that will move your city/district forward?

What skills, expertise, experience, or competencies qualify you for this position?

How will you address diversity issues in your city?

What specific actions should your city take or continue to insure affordable housing is available?

What do you believe is the ideal relationship between your city and the state government?

Do you support tax incentives in order to bring business to your city?

Personal Biography My family and I are 30+ year residents of Overland Park. My wife, Nancy, and I raised 3 children in OP and have 4 granddaughters. I retired from AMC Theatres after 13 years as the CIO. Prior to that I was the CIO at Applebee's, a partner at Ernst & Young, a partner at Gemini Consulting, marketing manager at IBM, and a consultant at Arthur Andersen. I have been a member of Nativity Parish for 30 years. I enjoy spending time with my family, cycling, exercising, water skiing, and hiking.
Campaign Phone (913) 735-4742
Campaign Email mike@mikeforopmayor.com
Education B.B.A. University of Cincinnati, Quantitative Analysis and Marketing M.B.A University of Cincinnati, Quantitative Analysis
Community/Public Service 2 years Finance Council - Nativity Parish 3 years School Council - Nativity Parish School 16 years Dean's Advisory Board - Helzberg School Rockhurst University 8 years Board of Directors and 3 years Board Chair - KVC Behavioral
Restoring the voice of residents to city government and being responsive to residents. Residents have been overridden by a city council and city staff addicted to “growth” at all costs and a fixation with trying to be an urban center while ignoring Overland Park’s longtime recipe for success – quality neighborhoods and a strong quality of life for families & seniors. 2. Dealing with rising crime. Police must be well funded and well trained to ensure we recruit and retain the best officers and are able to deploy the most effective means possible to ensure the safety of our residents, neighborhoods, schools and businesses. 3. Reforming city development incentives must be done to restore equity to the local tax burden. Every dollar abated is a dollar that comes directly from residents through an increasing residential tax burden. Residents must be restored as the top priority in development development planning, not developers.
I am a 30+ year resident of Overland Park and have raised our 3 children here. We moved to OP from Connecticut because we wanted to raise our children in one of the best cities in America with a good economy, good schools, and Midwestern values. I recently retired from a business career that included 13 years as CIO at AMC Theaters, 4 years as CIO at Applebee’s Restaurant, 8 years as a partner at Ernst & Young, 8 years as a partner at Gemini Consulting, 9 years in sales and marketing at IBM, and 3 years at Arthur Andersen & Co. I have managed complex businesses and solved complex business problems. Those same business problem solving skills are relevant to solving the problems and issues facing Overland Park, including rising crime, over taxation, overburdened infrastructure, and profitable economic and residential growth.
No matter their background, ethnicity or culture, people desire quality neighborhoods, quality schools and a quality of life that provides an opportunity for their families to thrive and prosper. That should be the focus of our city – quality of life for residents. Currently, the city’s tax burden prevents some from attaining home ownership. We simply must get our city’s economic house in order to attract and sustain new residents with stronger jobs to create long term investment in our community.
The city must restore equity to its tax approach. Residents should not be the victims of an unwarranted increasing tax burden that drives up the cost of housing. Second, it is not incumbent upon the city, nor its residents, to provide immediate gratification of “affordable” housing whether subsidized or through the current trend of diminished development standards and spot zoning. Affordability is a function of hard work and savings earned over time through initiative. It’s how most of our city was grown from its inception. People worked, sought greater advancement, saved, and invested as residents to avail themselves of a suburban quality of life. Patience, not pandering, proved highly effective. Currently, nearly the entire metro area is accessible to Overland Park within a 30-minute drive or utilizing public transportation. Within that accessible metro area already exists housing and opportunities attainable at all income levels – even within Overland Park itself.
The city of Overland must have an ongoing collaborative relationship with the Kansas State government. Overland Park is the economic engine that fuels Johnson County and the State of Kansas. The state has a vested interest in working closely with Overland Park to ensure we have the support to continue to grow and develop our business community, as well as, provide quality services to our residents. Overland Park needs to collaborate with state government to find a reasonable balance of city and state taxes, and the services those taxes provide. The Tax Foundation and Kiplinger’s rate Kansas as one of the highest states for state and local taxes and one of the worst states for taxes on retirees. We must address this together. The city must also hold the state accountable for taxes already collected and services provided, and ensure taxes collected by KDOT are used exclusively for highway improvements and not swept into the general fund to make up for state revenue shortfalls.
I support tax incentives for business development when used judiciously. Tax incentives should be used as the exception and not the rule, in areas that would not attract development on their own. Specifically, tax incentives should be used for blighted, high crime, or geographically undesirable locations and not prime real estate in desirable areas. Too often in Overland Park tax incentives are given away to developers in areas that would have attracted development without the incentives, increasing the tax burden on existing Overland Park residents. The Tax Foundation rated Kansas the worst state in the nation for taxes on mature business, partly because of the subsidies for new businesses. Meanwhile, property taxes in Overland Park have grown 320% since 1997 at 3.3 times the rate of inflation. We must reverse that trend. I will take a very close look at how your tax dollars are spent and I pledge to focus tax dollars on areas that have the most positive impact for our citizens.
Personal Biography Curt and Amy chose to make Overland Park their home over 25 years ago. Pregnant with their third child, they found a wonderful house and neighborhood to call home. In the last few years, they have enjoyed the return of young families to their neighborhood. Curt and Amy were high school sweethearts who grew up in Topeka, Kansas. Their children, Reed, Allison, and Will attended Shawnee Mission Schools and are now starting their own families including three wonderful grand children.
Campaign Phone (816) 679-0608
Campaign Email skoogformayor@gmail.com
Campaign Web Site http://curtskoog.com
Education Curt is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in Business Administration. He was selected for The Greater Kansas City Area Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program and The Kansas Chamber of Commerce Leadership Kansas Program.
Community/Public Service * Overland Park Ward 2 Council Member – 4 terms * Overland Park Council President – 2 Times * Overland Park Community Development Committee – Chair * Overland Park Public Safety Committee – Chair * Overland Park Solid Waste Taskforce – Chair * Mid-America Regional Council – Chair * Mid-America Regional Council – Creating Sustainable Places – Co-Chair * Metropolitan Culture District (Bi-State Commission) – Chair * Shawnee Mission School District – Elected Advisory Board Member * Leadership Kansas – Leadership Program * Greater KC Chamber – Centurions Leadership Program * Leawood United Methodist Church - Multiple leadership roles
As a proven, responsible leader that has consistently delivered for Overland Park, my priorities as Mayor are:

1. Supporting Strong, Safe Neighborhoods * Implementing Mental Health Taskforce recommendations * Implementing Infrastructure Advisory Board recommendations including Chip Seal * Reinvesting in neighborhood parks to enhance gathering places.

2. Growing Jobs * Smart Economic Development * Creating Gathering Places to attract talented workers to Overland Park (including our children and grandchildren)

3. Nurturing our Excellent Schools * Smart development creates much needed revenue for all four school districts. * Expanding partnerships with pre-k through post-secondary education maintain a strong education to workforce pipeline.
Being Mayor of Overland Park, a city of more than 190,000 people, is a complex job. I am the only candidate for Mayor with a track record of success for Overland Park and the Kansas City Region. The primary role is to build consensus among the residents and the city council to keep moving Overland Park forward.

Activities that prepare me to be Mayor on day one:

* Overland Park Ward 2 Council Member – 4 terms * Overland Park Council President – 2 Times * Overland Park Community Development Committee – Chair * Overland Park Public Safety Committee – Chair * Overland Park Solid Waste Taskforce – Chair * Mid-America Regional Council – Chair * Mid-America Regional Council – Creating Sustainable Places – Co-Chair * Metropolitan Culture District (Bi-State Commission) – Chair * Shawnee Mission School District – Elected Advisory Board Member * Leadership Kansas – Leadership Program * Greater KC Chamber – Centurions Leadership Program * Leawood United Methodist Church - Multiple Roles
Forward OP, the city-wide community visioning process, identified as goal number one to make Overland Park a welcoming place for all people. As Mayor, I will lead the community in taking actions to implement this goal starting with next years update of the Overland Park Comprehensive Plan. For the first time, the city will have an extensive public process to build a consensus on a plan to move Overland Park forward into the next 10 years. One of the work groups will be focused on improving Overland Park as a welcoming community.

I was proud to lead the council in passing a non-discrimination ordinance while Chairman of the Community Development Committee. This action resulted in a 7 point increase (93 out of 100) in Overland Park’s Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equity Index Score.

For years Overland Park has been making strong progress in developing a diverse workforce.

As your next Mayor I will redouble our efforts to make Overland Park a welcoming place for everyone.
I am proud to say that new attainable housing is being built in Overland Park. The conversion of a former motel and two former extended stay hotels into attainable housing is a first step in expanding these housing options. Repurposing existing structures allows for significantly lower upfront costs that is then reflected in lower monthly rent. In addition, at 87th and Farley I worked with neighbors to gain support for a project that will provide new attainable housing at a higher density.

Starting next year, Overland Park will start the process of updating its comprehensive plan. It has been decades since it was last thoroughly reviewed. For the first time, it will involve an extensive public process. One of the work groups will be focused on housing. As Mayor I will lead this important community discussion utilizing the new Johnson County Housing Study as a guide. Together we will find a consensus to keep moving Overland Park forward.
The City of Overland Park is the creation of Kansas state government. Cities were created to allow groupings of people that reside within a defined area to govern themselves within defined legal boundaries.

I believe local government best serves its residents and the state when it is given the authority needed to make key decisions that are in the interest of the city’s residents. In Kansas this is called home rule. It is difficult for state legislators from across the state to understand the diverse interests of far-flung cities.

As Mayor I will work with our state legislators to fight for local control. The more power we lose locally the less ability we have to keep Overland Park moving forward.
Tax incentives or public investments are just one of the many tools in Overland Park’s toolbox to deliver what residents want, high quality jobs and gathering places. As Mayor I will lead the city in playing a major role in this very competitive area. My proven track record on the city council clearly demonstrates my support for growing local business and recruiting new companies to Overland Park.

Attracting and growing companies with high paying jobs is a very competitive activity. With office vacancy rates of around 15% there is limited existing space in Overland Park. Working with building owners to construct new office space is critical to Overland Park’s success. The new office buildings must be part of a dynamic place. For example, the Edison Building in downtown Overland Park, is adjacent to restaurants and open space, which allows workers an exciting place to live, work and play in a walkable neighborhood.