Having lived in Belton since the 1970s, Lorrie Peek has seen quite a bit of change in Belton. She raised her family here and has been active in the community for much of that time. It was not until her retirement 5 years ago after 24 years with the St. Luke’s Health System, that she really became focused on the work of the City Council.
She was a director on the Municipal Park Board before she was voted into her current seat in April 2015. Though serving on the Park Board gave her some experience and she had knowledge of what happens in meetings, but that did not quite prepare her for just how involved the process of local government really is. “Belton is a City, but Belton is also a service,” explained Peek. From the first thing in the morning when the water comes out of the showerhead to the roads people use to get to work, citizens are utilizing the service that is the City of Belton. Many people do not realize that to provide the best service takes a huge amount of time and effort from a variety of departments within the City. Peek says she has really come to appreciate everything that the City takes care of on a day-to-day basis.
Peek really has a passion for making Belton the best city possible and to that end she does countless hours of research including attending a plethora of city meetings from Planning and Zoning to the Tree Board in order to make meaningful contributions to the Belton City Council. While she is the only woman currently serving on the Council, she is not intimidated by her male colleagues; quite the opposite in fact. “Each council member plus the Mayor brings their own thoughts and feelings to the discussions. I believe that we respect each other and understand that we can agree to disagree.”
She firmly believes in the leadership that this Council is providing for the City. “I believe we have a great group on the Council,” notes Peek. And Mayor Jeff Davis’ role? She is in full support of the Belton Chamber of Commerce’s awarding him the Person of the Year Award. She recognizes that Belton has grown to the point that it must have a full-time Mayor and Jeff Davis certainly puts in full-time hours for the City he loves.
Representing ward 3 which is the older part of Belton presents special challenges according to Peek. Having a strong sense of community can sometimes be difficult with property owners that are not physically present in Belton. Citizens who do not have ownership often do not feel as connected to their neighbors and the surrounding community. Peek knows that with the older age of her ward, upkeep on aging properties becomes a challenge especially among the elderly. She would like to see more of cooperative effort among the members of her ward to lend a helping hand to keep it a beautiful part of a growing city. She wants her constituents to know that she is always available to listen to their ideas and concerns. “I can’t promise that I can fix something, but I will certainly look into it. I can’t always make everyone happy. Sometimes there are ordinances, policies, etc. that come into play.” Peek knows that the infrastructure in her ward needs attention and she is working with city staff to find “creative ways to fund it” through grants and such. She would also like to see more businesses invest in Main Street and some interest taken in the possibilities that the railroad line provides for the area.
As for the City as a whole, she is thankful to be in this position at this moment in time. “My agenda is to have the opportunity to serve my community,” says Peek. She is grateful “to be given the privilege to serve Belton and to work with the residents, businesses and government to manage the City’s ongoing growth. But with growth comes change.” Some items that she would like to see improved during her term are the continued emphasis on safety and building a strong relationship between the school district and the city. Both items will take a cooperative effort from leaders and individuals to make that improvement a reality. For her part, Peek wants to “make sure that we have the police and fire department personnel and equipment that is needed for them to do their job.”
Peek is also excited to see the tremendous growth happening across the city both in the housing and business sectors. “Belton had a total of 104, single-family residential building permits for 2016. In Cass County we are second,” she beamed with pride. “The Cedar Tree Shopping Center is absolutely fantastic and I’m excited about the new construction and businesses, restaurants, and stores coming to Belton.”
When asked what she enjoys the most about being a Councilmember Peek replied simply, “Just being on the Council.” She likes the thought that her work on the Council is really making a difference and making things better for the residents of Belton. To that end she drives around the city and makes notes and “takes those things back to the right department” and brings something to their attention or asks a question. And her least favorite thing? That answer was alluded to earlier in saying that she cannot always solve a problem for a constituent despite her best efforts. But despite the outcome, she hopes that her willingness to listen and look into the problem shows how much she truly cares for the people of this city. If you have any questions or comments Lorrie Peek can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.