When Mission City Councilor Dave Shepard announced that he would not run for another term after more than 10 years on the council and a bid for mayor, he said it was easier to step away because of the candidate who has stepped forward to run for his seat.
That candidate is Ron Appletoft, who held the same council seat before Shepard took over. Appletoft had been on the Mission Planning Commission when he was appointed to fill two years of an unexpired term. He ran successfully for a full term, but one year into that cycle he took on a new job as the chief financial officer for WaterOne and resigned from the council. And in April of 2005, Shepard was appointed to fill out his term.
“I didn’t have enough hours to do what I wanted to do,” Appletoft says. He was coaching teams that his son was playing on and also had a special needs child at home. His son Quinn (who organized and MCs the Mission Pearl Harbor remembrances) has moved on to college now on a baseball scholarship. Appletoft is still CFO at WaterOne (and treasurer and director of finance), but now has 35 years at the water district and a decade in CFO job. “It was all about timing,” Appletoft says. “I love being involved in the community.”
Appletoft spent 15 years living in the former municipality of Countryside before moving just north across Shawnee Mission Parkway into Mission where his family has lived for the last 15 years. In Countryside, he was on the council for three years and the city’s treasurer for 15 years. The city even changed an ordinance so he could stay on as treasurer after he moved out. On the Countryside merger, Appletoft says that the small municipality could not keep up with street maintenance on its own. It already was contracting out all of its services.
Appletoft agrees with Shepard that Mission’s investment in infrastructure was needed. “Every major decision was to fix a problem,” he says. “We were cash rich and infrastructure poor.” Citizens would come to the same conclusions faced with the stormwater and flood plain decisions from years past he believes. “You can’t let the house crumble around you.”
Appletoft, who has a degree in accounting and a long work history in finance, also agrees with Shepard about the city’s debt. “The key is the type of debt and amount of debt,” he says. “Debt is an important instrument. You can’t pay cash for infrastructure. Debt is not inherently bad.”
Mission still has not decided how to adjust council terms to align with the state’s new election law mandates. Normally, Appletoft would be running for the term that begins next April.