Positive changes

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Change is not easy but it usually produces positive results. In the case of the City of Cassville, changes have occurred in recent weeks, and I believe those changes, though unexpected, will ultimately point the city in an even more progressive direction.

Tracy Holle has done a very good job in her first term as mayor, and I'm glad that she will be re-elected to her post next week. The fact that she is running unopposed is another confirmation that the citizens also believe she is doing a good job. What Mayor Holle has been able to accomplish is a renewed sense among the citizenry that the city truly cares about what the public thinks. She is also a consensus builder who has worked hard to bring together the city, the chamber, the IDC and other civic organizations toward a common goal.

This week the city officially begins its journey to develop a master plan for Cassville that will guide the city's growth and development. Representatives from Bucher, Willis and Ratliff (BWR) are in town to meet with members of the master plan committee appointed by Holle last week. The group is representative of the community, and additional public meetings will be held throughout the planning process to involve even more citizens.

This effort is being guided by Eugene and Lynette Dilbeck, the city's economic development team. The Dilbecks are a dynamic duo who have brought decades of experience and professionalism to Cassville. They, too, are committed to developing a master plan that is forward thinking but that also meets the unique needs of our community. The citizens are truly blessed to have the Dilbecks on board. In this economic climate their job is not an easy one, but by hiring an economic development team, the city is looking ahead and ensuring that Cassville will not be left behind when the economic situation brightens.

Next Tuesday, voters will have the opportunity to elect two city council members. This April, both incumbents have competition, and we believe it's important for local voters to get out and make their opinion known. When it comes to casting a ballot, we would like citizens to consider which candidates they believe would represent their interests best. It's important that the city be served by aldermen who are team builders and who respectfully consider citizens's concerns and perspectives. The ability to compromise and to communicate effectively with other council members and the public is key to an alderman's effectiveness. To be a good leader is to be a good listener, and usually the best council members, are those who think before they speak.

It's exciting to watch Cassville forge ahead and plan for a bright future. Next week, citizens have the chance to participate in city government by voting, and in the weeks to come, there will be additional opportunities to get involved during the upcoming public meetings to discuss components of the master plan. We will publicize these meetings in the newspaper, and we hope citizens will turn out in record numbers. Now is the perfect time to get involved, and remember, if you don't participate, you really don't have any grounds to complain later on.