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Merriam Mayor

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  • Angel Lopez III
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Bob Pape
    (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?

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Personal Biography I have lived in Merriam since 1966 and attended Crestview, Hocker Grove, Shawnee Mission North, JCCC and KU. I became a Merriam Firefighter in 1976 and worked my way through the ranks to the positions of Fire Marshal and Fire Chief when I retired in 2014. I then became a City Councilmember in 2015 and I am serving in my second term in Ward 4. I am currently the Merriam City Council President.
Campaign Address 6536 Burnham
Campaign Phone (913) 707-9316
Campaign Email bpape@kc.rr.com
Campaign Web Site http://bobpapemerriam.com
Education SMN - 1974 JCCC- 1977 (AA degree) JCCC - 1979 (Fire Science) KU - 1985 (BGS - Personnel Admin) KU - 1993 (MPA - Public Admin)
Community/Public Service Merriam Firefighter (38 years) Merriam City Council (6 years) Kiwanis (32 years)
1. Currently our Downtown is located within a Flood plain. This unfortunately has cost our business increased insurance premiums and it has hampered their ability to expand their operations. It is my intent to continue seeking funds from the Corp of Engineers to remove this area from the flood plain. We have an Ad-hoc committee established to look at ways to revitalize Downtown Merriam and assist these business.

2. The old K-Mart property has been vacant for over ten years. This area has become blighted and needs to be re-developed. We have turned this site into a TIF (Tax Increment Finance) district. It is my hope that part of this development will include a grocery store.

3. Johnson County Library will be building a new library on our Merriam Community Center campus. This will allow their current site at Antioch to be redeveloped. I would like to see the entire Shawnee Mission Corridor redeveloped from Antioch to I-35. Thriving business help us to keep our property tax rate low.
I have spent my entire Adult life serving the citizens of Merriam. I have always sought out leadership positions. (Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Fire Chief, Fire Marshal and Fire Chief) All of these positions have demonstrated my ability to lead. I have been a member of Kiwanis (a service organization) for 32 years. I served as the President of Merriam Kiwanis for several years. I have been a Merriam Councilmember for 6 years. I served as Council Vice President for four years and I am currently serving as Council President. I have a Bachelor Degree with a Major in Personnel Administration and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. Both degrees were obtained at the University of Kansas (KU).
I have always been concerned with ensuring that our Fire Department work force in Merriam was reflective of our Community. As such, I sought to hire women, Hispanic and African Americans onto the Fire Department. I will continue to encourage this practice through out all departments in our city. I have been supportive of our efforts to ensure that LBGTQ+ are not discriminated against in both housing and in the workforce.
I would like to begin by saying Merriam is one of the most affordable places to live in Johnson County. We have a wide range of housing opportunities ranging from apartments, duplex's, tri-plex's, four-plex's, and single family. We recently assisted in getting Senior Villas to locate in Merriam. This is a new affordable housing community for seniors and is located at 71st and Switzer. I think that there may be additional opportunities that we can explore; especially if it is involved in a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district.
I think that the City and State government need to co-exist in a mutually beneficial way. It takes cooperation for both entities to be successful. I think that Cities need to be able to utilize "Home Rule" in determining certain operations. Not all cities are the same and they need some autonomy in how they govern. We all have schools, bridges and highways running through our cities and these need to be funded by the state. We need to work closely with our State Senator and State Representative to ensure that Merriam's needs are represented at the State level.
Yes, I do support tax incentives under certain conditions. Each project must be evaluated to determine it's cost and benefit. There are specific things that can be paid for in a TIF district. We have utilized this method to attract numerous auto dealerships, IKEA and the business located at Merriam Town Center. All of these business bring in Millions of dollars in revenue. Over 51% of our revenue is generated by sales tax. This allows us to keep our property tax at a reasonable level. We have not had to raise the Tax Mill rate for over ten years. I would like to see a grocery store locate in Merriam and would entertain the idea of TIF; if it does not become cost prohibitive.