Big issues loom for the Garden City Commission.
When local voters go to the polls Tuesday, they'll have an opportunity to choose candidates they see as best equipped to address issues ranging from a lingering shortage of housing to how the city's retail scene unfolds.
Three seats are up for grabs, and there are five candidates: incumbents Chris Law and Melvin Dale (selected to replace former city commissioner John Doll, who headed off to represent Garden City in the Kansas House), along with hopefuls Janet Doll, Harold Starr and Troy Unruh.
As the city commission moves forward, it must address issues in a community in position to grow, but still challenged by a shortage of affordable housing.
When it comes to growing the tax base, the commission also must be mindful of ways to bring in new businesses. They'll face issues related to the burgeoning new retail development dubbed Schulman Crossing, but cannot overlook a need to support efforts to strengthen the historic downtown district, and other retail ventures in town.
With that in mind, Doll would be a welcome addition to the city commission. A business owner in downtown Garden City, she would bring the valuable perspective of a small business operator and knowledge of the downtown district to the discussion. Plus, she has a keen understanding of initiatives needed to fuel new housing in the community.
Unruh's energy and wide-ranging experience working with business and educational entities, as well as the local health coalition, would help him make solid contributions to the governing body.
The two incumbents seeking a return to the commission — Dale and Law — understand the importance of responsible spending by the city. Dale has impressed with his willingness to dig into issues and speak out, so we'd give him a slight edge.
It's still up to voters, and they have solid choices in Dale, Doll, Unruh and Law.
Of course, voters only may choose three. Local residents shouldn't overlook the opportunity to engage in the process of selecting commissioners who they believe will help guide the city to a positive future.