To the Editor and Readers of the Maryville Daily Forum:

My name is Matt Johnson and I am the newest member of the Maryville City Council. Last week I spoke with the Men’s Forum to talk about the reasons I chose to run for Maryville City Council, what that process looked like, and my impressions after serving on the Council for seven months. I would like to thank Rich Fulton for inviting me and the Men’s Forum for having me as I really enjoyed the conversation, the questions, and the fact that it forced me to reflect on those topics.

I would like to invite you to stop by City Hall Friday, 16 November, from 8:30 -10:30 a.m. to chat. I am sure many of you have specific questions or observations you would like to make about the City. I am sure some of you have questions you would like to ask but are unsure how to start. So, here is some information about my involvement last year which might spark some questions and/or observations from you, the citizens of Maryville.

I voted ‘yes’ on every decision put before the Council since April 9, 2018. I did not vote in favor of the building of the conference center at Mozingo. That said, I am committed to its success. I have some concerns about the pace of progress on the Public Safety facility. I always get concerned when the term ‘value-engineer’ gets thrown into the mix by architects as it raises the specter of ‘planned obsolescence” in my mind. I disagree with using funds designated to strengthen tourism for designing and building ‘Welcome to Maryville’ sign(s). I think money earmarked for tourism should be spent on attracting people to Maryville rather than telling people they have arrived at the destination that Google or Siri has told them they have arrived at. We should be using that money for marketing research, advertising, etc. to ensure the conference center is booked solid, that you had better call ahead if you want to eat at William Coy’s as it is booked solid.

I did vote in favor of the Hughes Field House and I want to make sure the City is being active in searching out opportunities to utilize that space with all deliberate speed. I supported and still support a ‘Use Tax’ for the City. While I support the activities of the Nodaway County Humane Society and the service it provides the City of Maryville, I am concerned with the disproportionate burden the taxpayers of Maryville bear in this arrangement. Given the condition of the soccer pitches and the volume of use they receive, I think the soccer pitches at Donaldson deserve an upgrade. If none of these items grab your attention, we can always talk about potholes and the taste of our water.

I encourage all of you to come to council meetings the second and fourth Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall. Each meeting begins with a call for citizens to speak their mind on any topic not on the agenda. Trust me, I know that sounds intimidating as my wife and I and a baby Hunter did exactly that about sixteen years ago to voice our opposition to the rezoning of lots adjacent to our home for apartments. The Council vote was split, the lots were not rezoned, and we now have great neighbors in the Funderburgs and Townsends. So please come to the council meetings in spite of the awkwardness, as our system does not function properly without its citizens and their input.

If that isn’t your thing and you can make it next Friday, stop by the main chamber and we can talk. I give you my word that I will listen to your perspective and always leave room for the possibility that what you have to say, may change my mind. I ask only that you return the courtesy.

I look forward to speaking with you.

–– Matt Johnson, Councilman

City of Maryville