Mayor Brian Steele appointed Kendal Dingus to fill a previously vacant seat on the Nixa City Council until April 2020.
Five city council members approved the appointment and Nixa City Clerk Cindy Robbins swore Dingus into office after the mayor and council briefly interviewed him and three other applicants Aug. 12. Robbins said six persons originally filed applications, but one did not meet residency requirements and another withdrew Monday night because of a potential conflict of interest.
Dingus, who is a mortgage loan officer at Central Bank in Springfield, is well known in the Nixa business community.
“I have lived in Christian County my entire life,” he said. “My wife… is a kindergarten teacher in Nixa public schools. We have two sons. We are deeply involved in the Nixa community and love living here. “
Dingus served two years as president and board chair for the Nixa Chamber of Commerce and up until Monday night served as vice chairman of the Nixa Home Rule Commission. Being named to council required that he resign that position before being sworn into office. Dingus also served on planning and zoning and on the city council from April 2016 to April 2017.
Dingus replaces former Nixa Mayor Pro Tem Jimmy Ledbetter, who resigned from his position representing District 1 in order to relocate to Florida.
Dingus echoed the consensus from the other applicants that growth and fiscal responsibility were paramount for Nixa government.
“We are growing rapidly… something we need to focus on is business attraction and retention,” Dingus said. “I also have banking experience; a finance background for the past 14 years…we must remain fiscally responsible with our funds.”
Steele said Dingus’ previous experience on city council made him the best pick to fill the vacancy.
“I have always been able to follow the exact same requirements for the person I nominate,” Steele said referring to previous situations,” Steele said. “The thing I look for is someone who has previously served on city council.
“First thing is that they know what we do and why we do it, and… that they were once elected by voters. For those reasons I will nominate Mr. Dingus. We are getting someone (voters) chose in the past.”
The council approved Dingus’ appointment without objection.
District 2 Councilman Matt Barker thanked the other contenders saying each was well spoken and qualified.
“I think each and everyone of you could do this job,” Barker said.
The next order of business was the election of another mayor pro tem, since Ledbetter also carried that responsibility. Barker nominated and the council unanimously approved District 1 Councilman Scott Perryman for that position.
With those obligations accomplished, council approved an ordinance for small cell placement on city utility poles and other non-utility poles. According to information from City Attorney Timothy Ricker, he and Penny Speak, a consulting attorney with Healy Law, developed the ordinance to implement “regulations for the permitting, development, siting, installation, design, operation and maintenance of small wireless telecommunications facilities necessary to compliance with both state and federal law.”
The ordinance provides a uniform process to work with the various communication providers when they are ready to implement 5G wireless service improvements.
City council also lent support for the creation of an informal Nixa Public Art Committee.
“It is actually an idea that (Chris Russell, executive director of the Nixa Chamber of Commerce) came to the city with about forming a Nixa arts committee—which is a fantastic idea that I am extremely excited about,” said City Administrator Jimmy Liles. “It gives us the opportunity…to look at our city and how to improve the arts within our community.”
There are a group of individuals ready to serve on that committee, Liles said. The group would report back to city council with any recommendations.
“It is any art,” Russell said. “All we really want to do is form the committee and see what we can identify—murals, paintings, like that. Starts out with visual then performing. I want to see a partnership with the chamber and the city.”
Barker and District 3 Councilwoman Darlene Graham each expressed interest in serving on that committee.