Five-term alderwoman Stark stays busy serving community

bbashioum@demo-mo.comMarch 28, 2014 

Mayoral candidate Holly Stark, 43, wants to help the city of Peculiar maintain their small town charm.

But she also wants it to be a fiscally-thriving community for the next generation.

“I want Peculiar to be an economically-viable community for the future,” Stark said. “I don’t know that when my children grow up if they will want to live in Cass County or Peculiar. But if they do, I want to know that it is a community that doesn’t become like Greenwood – where they just become a part of Lee’s Summit because they’ve lost their identity and their ability to create a tax base. I want Peculiar to be able to maintain their identity.”

Stark, an independent insurance agent by trade, is also a familiar face in Peculiar’s local government. She is in her fifth consecutive term on the city’s Board of Aldermen, serving as mayor pro tem for the last four terms.

She is also passionate about serving her community in other areas, she said.

Stark has served on the Peculiar Planning Commission; as secretary of the Cass County Corporation for Economic Development; and vice president for the Cass County Coalition of Chambers.

She is also a member of the Harrisonville Chamber of Commerce, Peculiar Chamber of Commerce, ConnectCass Community Advisory Committee and the Peculiar Arts and Culture District Executive Board.

Alongside juggling work responsibilities, her days are filled with important meetings with city, county and state leaders – inquiring about issues such as access to local healthcare to legislation topics at the state’s capitol.

She also makes time in her week to ask for input to gauge interest on community issues that are being discussed at upcoming BOA meetings, attending chamber coffees and lunches, as well as planning community events, like the Coalition’s upcoming Taste of Cass County.

Stark also supports the efforts of the Raymore-Peculiar Band Boosters as her children are involved with the high school’s band.

“It’s very important to me that Peculiar doesn’t become stagnant,” she said. “We have so many opportunities right now with the 211th Street interchange, and DPACD being an active organization, we’re very lucky for a town our size.”

Having served on the BOA for nine years, Stark feels confident about leading her community into the future. She is lifelong Cass County resident and has lived in Peculiar for 21 years.

“Peculiar needs to have a strong and professional voice that will advocate for more state and federal dollars for roads and other infrastructure,” Stark said. “Our approach to this opportunity should be to bring awareness to this opportunity should be to bring businesses that have a regional draw. We should not compete with our surrounding cities to go after similar-types of businesses.”

Recently, Stark has been communicating her lack of support for a piece of Missouri legislation to her local representatives and senators.

The bill would require that after a local governmental body, such as the Peculiar BOA, adopts an ordinance, there would need to be a 10-day waiting period to allow public discussion to challenge it.

“I am all about involvement and letting the community speak, but there are sometimes we have to pass an ordinance ... right away,” Stark said.

She said it’s already a push for Peculiar leaders because it takes at least 14 days to get an ordinance through. She feels that two weeks is enough time for people to read about the issues in the newspaper and have the opportunity to voice opinions before a second reading.

“If we had to tack another 10 days on to that, it would slow down everything in the city’s business incredibly,” she said. “We’re elected to make decisions and do a job. In Peculiar, I think we do a good job at keeping it open and letting people make comments.”

With everything she is involved in with the city of Peculiar, Stark says she tries to not only look at what the impact will be tomorrow, but what impact her decisions will have for the next 10-20 years.

“That’s where my heart is in local government,” she said. “I want the community to be thriving and successful for years to come.”

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