The election to replace Mission Mayor Laura McConwell has two veterans of the city council with different approaches to how the city needs to move forward.
Dave Shepard is a sitting council member from Ward 4 and current council president. He has been on the council since 2005 and spent four years as chairman of the finance and administration committee during a period when a number of projects were under way or getting started.
Steve Schowengerdt spent seven years on the council representing Ward 2 until four years ago. Schowengerdt says the city has been overspending and there are retired people in Mission who cannot afford anymore taxes or fees. He organized opposition to the Transportation Utility Fee (TUF), often known as the ‘driveway tax’ and he is opposed to the storm water utility fee.
On his campaign website, Shepard writes that the TUF was “forward thinking that created a new revenue stream to address our crumbling road system that had been ignored for the better part of three decades.” Shepard also writes about the storm water fees and the need to act on stormwater after federal authorities redrew the flood plain in Mission to include several million dollars of commercial property.
Making the storm water improvements was a necessary step to prevent blight from taking over the downtown corridor, according to Shepard. He advocates encouraging responsible development and at times using public-private partnerships for challenging in-fill development.
Schowengerdt says the fees may now be necessary to service city debt, which he contends is due to overspending. He made his mind up to run only Tuesday morning before filing closed, he said, in part because some business owners had asked him.
Schowengerdt has lived in Mission for 50 years and has his own remodeling company. He and his wife, Mary, who is a hospice nurse, have 10 children and 28 grandchildren. He is a 1969 graduate of Bishop Miege.
Shepard has lived in Mission since 2003. He graduated from Sumner Academy in KCK in 1988. He has a bachelor’s from Kansas State and a master’s degree from Wichita State. He began his professional career with Nike and now is senior vice president of national sales for iHigh Marketing.
Shepard is on the board for Consolidated Fire District No. 2 and has served on the Northeast Animal Control Commission, the Johnson County Airport Commission and the Fairway City Council. Shepard and his wife, Karla, a tax attorney, have three school-age children, two at St. Ann and one at Santa Fe Trail.