As Carthage Mayor Jim Woestman enters the final weeks of his four-year term, he said he learned many things from his service and encouraged others to think about public service.


As Carthage Mayor Jim Woestman enters the final weeks of his four-year term, he said he learned many things from his service and encouraged others to think about public service.

Woestman, who was elected mayor in 2006 decided not to run for reelection after four years as mayor and five years as a member of the Carthage City Council.

“I have a building downtown here and I have model trains upstairs and I have cars downstairs and a motor home and I’m going to get lost every once in a while,” Woestman said. “I have lots of plans. To start off, I’m not going to get real active with anything. I’m going to smell the roses for a while and if something comes up or people ask me to do something I’ll consider it and go from there. Right now I just want to back off.”

Woestman said he won’t take credit for anything that happened on his term, but he remembered two of what he called successes that have happened in Carthage in the past four years,
The most important thing that’s happened is RES decided to pull out of town,” Woestman said. “That was a major headache. I made half a dozen trips out of town to go to meetings. Of course that’s on my own time, in fact I didn’t even charge the city for that time, I did it on my own.

“We didn’t want to spend that money, it wasn’t in our budget but it took that and the powers that be and the DNR people in this area knew us. I’d go to these meetings and they’d know who I was and that was what I was after.

“If you don’t make any noise, people just go ahead and forget about you and do what they want to.”

The second success happened in January when the council dumped paper information packets for emailed information and information displayed on digital screens in the council chambers.

“Tonight, this paperless council is really a big thing,” Woestman said after the council meeting on Jan. 12 when the system was introduced. “We’re saving trees because now everything will be emailed to the council people. Now everyone in the audience can see the paperwork and they’re not having to guess, they can see exactly what’s going on.”

He also talked about what he considers the biggest thing that didn’t happen in Carthage in his term.

That happened in April 2009 when voters rejected a proposal to raise sales taxes in Carthage to raise money to buy land south of town for an industrial park.

“Six percent of the people in this town decided we don’t want to grow, we want to stay stagnant and that’s very sad,” Woestman said. “If a big company wants to come into Carthage right now and said we need x number of acres, we have to send them to Webb City, we can’t take care of you, or we have to call Neosho because Carthage can’t take care of you.”

Woestman said the biggest thing for him right now is just to take a break from everything.

“I am 74 years old,” Woestman said. “I get tired. There’s a slight medical problem, it’s not serious but the doctors ask me when my term is up. They are well aware of my situation. It’s nothing serious but I don’t need the stress and the older you get the less stress you can handle.

“After a while, if I’m asked I might get involved with something,” Woestman said. “I have no idea, they may or may not want me. I’m not going to go running to anyone’s doorstep but if after a while someone thinks I can be useful, I’ll definitely consider it.”