2015 City Council Candidates
Election Day Nov. 3, 2015*
There are eight candidates running for five seats on the Loveland City Council. There are two representatives for each City Council seat, serving four-year terms, and the two seats per ward are up for election on alternating years.
Click on the candidate's name below for each individual's photo and ANSWERS to the City Council Candidate Prequestionaire:
- Do you support the city using incentives for job creation? Why or why not? And if you do, when or what kind of situations would you support using them?
- What are the most important issues (up to three) the council needs to address in the next year and/or up to five years? What solutions would you recommend?
- If you could enact one ordinance or adopt one policy, what would it be?
- What specific ideas would you introduce to reduce City ‘red tape’ as it relates to business and doing business in Loveland?
- With the expected population growth over the next 10 years this creates infrastructure issues (i.e., Water, Power, Transportation, Broadband, etc.) that need to be addressed. What are your plans to deal with these infrastructure issues? What kind of development, if any, does Loveland need to accommodate its growing population? Why? If you believe Loveland needs development, where and what would your plan be to manifest it? Please include how you would fund your plan.
- What kind of collaborative partnerships should Loveland initiate with surrounding communities?
- What is the most important transportation issue(s) (up to three) affecting Loveland? What solutions do you recommend and how would you fund these solutions?
City Council, Ward I (currently held by Chauncey Taylor):
- Richard Ball: A Loveland native and attorney. Ball plans, if elected, to work on issues dealing with economic development, transportation, continue Loveland's strong financial position, bring municipal broadband to the city and continue growth and momentum in downtown Loveland.
- Pat McFall: A Planning Commission member and IT technology industry employee. McFall, a resident of 25 years, plans, if elected, to work on issues of job growth, changes to city's capital expansion fees and City Council's role in development projects.
City Council, Ward II (currently held by Phil Farley):
- Leah Johnson: A Loveland native and business owner. Farley has endorsed Johnson, who plans, if elected, to tackle issues related to regional transportation, land-use planning, affordable housing and water.
- Buddy Meyers: Former Loveland Planning Commission chairman (and current member) and business owner. Meyers, a resident of 23 years, said his top three issues are the west side of town, downtown and fiscal management in the city.
City Council, Ward IV (currently held by Ralph Trenary):
- Don Overcash: A business owner and Chamber of Commerce board member. Overcash, a resident of 10 years, said he believes city government's role is to serve the community through five main functions and plans to work on those, if elected: public safety, transportation, utilities, business environment and public amenities.
- Incumbent Ralph Trenary: A management consultant and resident of nine years. Trenary, plans, if elected, to continue work on downtown development, the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport and surrounding areas development, the city's "strong financial traditions" and the development of the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology and Centerra.
City Council, Ward III (currently held by John Fogle):
- Incumbent John Fogle: running uncontested. Fogle, a resident of 44 years, is a business owner. Fogle wants to continue work on issues of downtown development, downtown historic district designation, funding mechanism for the arts and historic districts, broadband Internet, transportation and job growth.
Mayoral race (Cecil Gutierrez's seat):
- Incumbent Cecil Gutierrez: running uncontested for a fourth term as mayor. Gutierrez, a resident for 39 years, is retired and said his list of tasks for the next term include downtown development, the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport's strategic plans and transportation infrastructure.
* This information was taken from the Reporter Herald on 8/25/15
CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE PREQUESTIONNAIRE
2015 CITY COUNCIL ELECTION CYCLE
- Yes. Companies expect cities to court them and offer incentives. The question is how much, in what manner and to whom. Each case is different and although our city staff has a procedure and policies it is hard to adhere to them. Betsy Hale, Mike Scholl and Marcie Erion do a good job of bringing the “best ones” to our City Manager. At that point it is a decision for the Council to make as our elected leaders.
- * Supporting a Broadband initiative if approved by the voters.
* Completing The South Catalyst project in downtown. This will hopefully include a relocated County Building with a parking garage to service the entire project. It would be great to lure a small Hotel chain to build in the downtown area.
* Concentrating on intergovernmental cooperation on expanding I-25 and begin in earnest to acquire the needed right of way and funding to expand 402.
- Working to implement Quiet Zones on several of our R.R. crossings.
- Builders and Developers have always complained about delays and the lack of cooperation with City staff on permitting issues. These are real concerns that must be kept in the forefront by our City manager. Perception is often realty and If there is the perception of a lack of cooperation then the administration needs to correct the problems. I have fought for better review procedures and Code revisions since the 1970’s and it must be a continuing process.
- The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado has on prior occasions help Fund forums on “where is our City going.” One of these became the catalyst for the expansion of the Rialto Theater and the Next Door complex. Bill Hudnut who brought the Colts to Indianapolis came to speak and gave us a great start. Several hundred leaders and citizens attended the event. We need to think out of the box and utilize the expertise that other communities have in these areas. We would be lacking if we just sat back and let the growth occur without some public/private dialogue on how to accommodate it.
- My answer above involves the Community Foundation for collaboration. Another area would be to convene Estes Park and Loveland leaders and elected officials with the Larimer County Sheriff’s department to develop a comprehensive Big Thompson River Flood relief plan. We have not seen the last Big Thompson flood and should work now to learn from our recent and past experiences.
- Highway 34 and our east west systems. We are burdened by 3 large north south Lakes which greatly limit and restrict our east west flow of traffic. The 402 corridor needs to be improved to compensate for highway 34’s limitations. Additional rights of way on 34 between 287 and Sam’s Club would be a big help.
- If the incentives are well thought out and bring primary jobs to Loveland then I believe the use of incentives is a great tool for Loveland to use. One example of that is Agrium Industries and Crop Production Services. They wanted to consolidate their corporate office and Loveland traded jobs coming to town for an incentive. That is a great use of an incentive to relocate a $6B corporation to our city. Which has also helped the Loveland Chorale as well as the United Way and many other charities that are good for Loveland and Loveland’s image to other companies? I believe a city in most instances should help a company:
* Find a location
* Help smooth the way through our processes
* Work with water and power to ensure the company has all the resources they need to start doing business.
* Bring primary jobs to our city. We can work with known entities like EWI a non-profit and the Loveland based non-profit Warehouse Business Accelerator to work with business in selling Loveland as a spot for their growth and then help those business that start move through the different stages of success.
* Bring in more affordable housing. We can do this by looking at our Capital Expansion Fees that are not providing for growth and adjust those to lower the cost to a builder for doing business in our town. Currently a builder has to pay over 30K in fees prior to driving the first nail. This is then passed on to the homebuyer.
* Get the city out of the real estate speculation business.
- Why should we enact new legislation or, create a new policy? This only creates larger government. We should look at getting rid of or revising the policies and ordinance that encumber growth or, are no longer needed and that do not help our citizens.
- We have some of the best city staff anywhere. We need to seriously change the perception businesses have of our city staff and management to be more inclusive of business and people wanting to do business with the city. The current perception of our city staff, especially in the building division is the culture of ‘No”, that we are in the “regulation” business rather than the “customer service” business. To do this we need to ensure that this change is managed from the top down and that our City Manager inspects what he expects of our staff and their communication to the public.
- We must first make sure that we have what our business and citizens need. Our first need is a reliable water supply, the city currently has enough water to meet marginal future demand but we must complete Chimney Hollow Reservoir and make sure that we can store our Windy Gap water. Second we have to do everything we can to make sure that we can continue to use one of the cleanest coal burning power plants in the country at Rawhide and provide inexpensive, locally controlled power to our residents and businesses.
- Northern Colorado is more than just the individual cities, it is a region with a unique identity and will accomplish more as a group than we can alone. The airport is a good example of how we can collaborate with Fort Collins to have a regional economic engine. With the collapse of the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corporation (NCEDC) we should do everything we can to help with the success of the Northern Colorado Economic Alliance.
* Fix 1-25, with all of the Loveland residents that commute to Denver and the surrounding region the commute on 1-25 is one of their biggest problems. We need to address and be part of the solution to this problem before many of our citizens elect to just move to the Denver area for pure convenience.
* Fix 125, how can we expect a company to relocate to Loveland when they must endure the commute and see the headaches that their logistics will have to go through to get in to our town.
* Fix 1-25, if we want our airport and town to be the highlighted as the “hub” of Northern Colorado we will need to address the limitation on people coming here to move back and forth.
To address this issue I believe we (Loveland) needs to apply pressure to our US House and Senate representatives to fund the I-25 fixes. We can also put pressure on the state to float some of their bond issues. We can also leverage the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization (NFRMPO) for assistance.
- I believe that the Economic Development Incentive policy that the City of Loveland has in place is working well. We have a strict policy that businesses have to go through to ensure they are investing in our community and creating jobs. Between 2003 and 2013 the City invested approximately $3 million in Economic Development incentives to twenty-four businesses from the small coffee shop downtown to large corporations. This investment warranted $144 million in private investment and created 1,100 jobs. It is clear to me that in order to compete in Northern Colorado and beyond we have to provide incentives, and I believe the policies of the City are creating great return on taxpayers’ investments.
- Achievable housing market- as a community we need to work to create more inventory in the achievable housing market, this means looking at the whole development package, potential policy changes that would encourage more condo development.
Exploring Broadband opportunities for our community. High speed Internet is one more tool that the City of Loveland can put in its toolbox to encourage good paying jobs in our community.
Implementing Hwy 287 Strategic Plan to encourage more infill development on our main corridors to better represent the unique character and charm of Loveland
- I would be in favor of passing a city ordinance superseding the state construction defects legislation that would encourage more condo development in Loveland.
- If Loveland is going to be competitive within the region we have to streamline processes for business to develop and locate to Loveland period. We need to take a close look at and evaluate the systems currently in place that are a barrier for development plans and business. I think the key way though is to engage the current City Staff. We have very competent people working in our community and I think that opposed to new city council members coming in and dictating what should be changed, we should work closely with the city staff to challenge them to identify the inefficacies. Then elevate them and provide the resources to ensure that Loveland continues to be a top city to do business with and in.
- As a community we are always going to have to make sure we are paying for growth in a responsible manner. Loveland needs grow at a pace that maintains the quality of life we know today. While the costs of this should not lay squarely on the shoulders of any one party, finding opportunities to leverage public and private partnerships to create the infrastructure and services that make Loveland’s quality of life what it is seems to be a great opportunity to use government, and taxpayers’, dollars. I believe we can start to find creative ways to pay for growth using public private partnerships similar to what the City of Loveland did to create the Rialto Theater Center Expansion. Loveland taxpayers’ dollars can leverage with outside investment and also create a competitive package that attracts the right kind of development. I believe it is these creative financing packages are how we as a community are going to pay for growth and ensure we continue to have the tremendous quality of life.
- Loveland as a community cannot live in a vacuum. We have to participate; if not take strong leadership roles in the region to ensure that as we grow as a region there are strong relationships that will help navigate these difficult challenges. As these are multi-dimensional problems, and having strong relationships with our neighbors will ensure that we are all negotiating in good faith. Leadership from the private sector is already arising with programs like Leadership Northern Colorado, the Fix I-25 Coalition, Economic Development initiatives, as a city Councilwoman, I would encourage strong City participation in these programs and initiatives to encourage continued collaboration and growth with in the region to address some of our greatest challenges.
- Expanding I-25 is one of the greatest transportation challenges facing Northern Colorado. If we are going to be competitive and attract new jobs to the region, we have to have the ability to get to Denver and the international airport in a timely manor. Additionally, East-West transportation in and out of Loveland is key - I believe highway 402 is a key component of that overall plan. As a city, we need to make sure we are creating strong plans to leverage state and national matching funds to ensure that our roads are keeping up with the number of people that are choosing to move to Northern Colorado.
Buddy Meyers - Candidate for City Council – Ward 2
- I not only support but encourage using incentives from the city to bring and retain good primary employment opportunities and tax revenue creation. The reason for my support is one of necessity. Businesses have multiple choices in the evolving economic climate where to locate or whether to stay where they are and expand. City government has to adapt and compete to attract and retain businesses of all sizes in this environment. Incentives can be of a direct financial and a non-financial construct to be leveraged if the opportunity merits such assistance. Incentives must be based on solid business cases, a relationship and performance management structure and mutual success.
One situation is to assist a heritage business that is expanding that with job opportunities and/or tax revenues for the city. Our heritage businesses have invested in Loveland and should get the same support and opportunities as a new business. The second situation is to attract a new business that will bring new primary jobs ($60K/yr. Loveland’s living wage) and/or other opportunities to the area. Regardless if these jobs are of a blue or white collar in nature. We are competing for businesses, jobs and tax revenues with other municipalities in the regional area but also with those of similar amenities, infrastructure, cost of living, work force availability and business friendliness in other states. Incentives have to be leveraged to drive a choice in Loveland’s favor.
- Transportation network maintenance and development. We need to improve the condition of the arterials and streets throughout the city. We have surface degradation, sidewalk inaccessibility and some “streets to nowhere.” We have to size our road network to handle the volumes we currently are experiencing and for those in the future. We are losing balance and velocity in the network that is leading to longer travel times, inhibiting commerce and the loss of revenue opportunities. Partner with other NOCO government agencies to alleviate the physical and bureaucratic congestion to solve the improvements in the state and federal highways in the area.
Oversee the transformation of a culture in the city government that is business and citizen enablers. Our city government has a stigma that it is very inwardly focused not outwardly towards the community and to businesses. The Council must set a strategic imperative to change the way the city functions, how it perceives its clients and the way it measures success in that effort. It is a top down driven initiative that must come from the city council to the city manager as direction to act.
Fiscal management to provide for the broad community’s needs at the best value. Fiscal management has to gain the highest level of value for every dollar spent regardless of purpose for the expenditure. All parties in government should scrutinize every expense and dollars spent by asking the question “is this the best or most effective use of these monies?”. A more conservative method of spending is needed.
- When doing strategic planning and the related tactical execution plans they are of a broad holistic view of the benefits and needs of the entire city, not in a single area.
- Empower staff members to make decisions paired with flexibility and responsibility for their actions. The title of manager or director does not always mean the only decision making skilled person in the team and can be a road block in getting things done quickly.
* Eliminate inter-departmental rivalries and territorial fights. This is part of the culture change requirement for the city. All areas should be focused on the success of the clients.
* Eliminate the number of redundant and low value reviews of plans, ideas and concepts. For example in the development review process.
* Make more self-service options available for those needs that do not require appointments, phone calls, excessive reviews and documentation.
* Create a high performance service oriented organization to support and meet the needs of its clients as a result of the changes.
- Water. We need to be procuring water now for the future. We have to increase our holdings and control in the Windy Gap project. We should be supporting the NISP efforts to increase any potential we have to access its resources or to differ the risk to our water by facilitating other users to utilize NISP water over our water assets. Our processing capacity and delivery systems need to continue to upgrade and be prepared for the demand. Encourage xeriscape and low water use landscape now to preserve what we have, change the municipal code to support not penalize the use of these techniques and not create confusing requirements that while we encourage water saving, yet mandate planting of high water use greenery.
Power. We need to be assured that our engineered solutions for the future has the transmission and delivery capability for both residential, commercial and industrial demand that is forecasted for our area. Generation Capacity - We have to assess alternative generation sources beyond PRPA as part of our due diligence. We may need to consider franchising or selling certain service areas to perhaps Tri-State or Xcel Energy to assure demand need is met for the benefit of our businesses and citizens
Transportation. Please see the challenges and solution strategies in the Question 2.
Development. Residential – in order to meet the demand in our community and the surrounding area we need new housing units. This is a combination of single family and multi-family units both owner and tenant occupied structures.. Development of rental units is a higher risk for a developer as the potential exist for a downward trend in occupancy. This risk can be mitigated by a diverse economic base in our city with a mix of businesses and employment opportunities. Commercial and Industrial - we have a vast array of commercial and industrial land-use opportunities available. Some maybe more desirable from an infrastructure readiness, minimal local area impacts and non-competing land uses nearby for development. We should promote development of these sites to existing and in-coming business opportunities. Consideration and incentives for site selection could be done to encourage development in focus areas. The goal being the build-out of a section of the city to the benefit of the business community and the city. City resources can be focused in an area to meet need rather than spreading out widely, if and only if it meets the needs of the businesses and property owners.
- Roads we share together and have to solution together. We have a mutual vested interest in the design, maintenance and traffic management across the network. We must work together to drive resolving our shared pain on I-25, US-34 and not in the so distant future CO 402 with the state and federal government. There is power in numbers. We can work together on large enterprise opportunities to attract them to the region with a combined team from all the Economic Development departments. We can all share in making an opportunity come to fruition and share in that success for our regional citizens. No one municipality can be all things to anyone, but as a collaborative team we can bring the capabilities of the whole to the table.
- We have to size our road network to handle the volumes we currently are experiencing and those in the future. We are losing balance and velocity in the network that is leading to longer travel times, inhibiting commerce and the loss of revenue opportunities for businesses and the city to other municipalities due to frustrations. City funding can be accomplished using a combination of our existing street fee collection, special assessments and bond issues, if needed, and capital expansion fee allocations. For I-25 a combination of federal, state and even private fund options for toll lanes or even alternative by-ways need to be considered. Creativity of thinking and funding based upon our hyper-growth is necessary to solve the I-25 matter.
Maintenance within the city. We have to do a better job of maintaining our roadways and streets internal to the city.
The Airport. We need to transform our airport to provide additional capabilities for freight and person transport along with supply chain service providers. It is a severally under-utilized asset of the area. The Airport could be a significant infrastructure asset when paired with industry support organizations like the Edison Welding Institute (EWI) and support industries. These types of pairing could create a juggernaut in the enablement and attraction of business activity for businesses in our area. The Airport would be a differentiator as to why choose Loveland and Northern Colorado. Funding would be a combination of governmental and private investments.
- I have spent a career being a job creator and strongly support efforts by the city to attract jobs, especially those created by primary employers. I do support the use of incentives such as fee waivers, infrastructure and utility improvements to do so. By attracting employers we are creating a larger economic engine for Loveland. In addition to providing jobs, the tax base is strengthened as well further reducing pressure on home owners. When used the city should be able to provide a justifiable ROI rationale to the taxpayers.
The second type of incentive the city can provide is simply work to get out of the way and remove obstacles. I know of a company that has been waiting over 6-weeks for a sign permit. Really?
I am not a supporter of cash incentives or ones with strings tied to them dictating to the business how it should conduct business, including hiring. Jobs are a lagging indicator of financial success. I find the Sprouts venture approved by the current city council an inappropriate use of tax payer dollars,
What I believe we should be doing is creating a community where businesses and families want to locate because it is in their best interests to do so. We can do this by providing an outstanding level of service in key areas including; public safety, streets/roads, utilities (water, power, broadband), education, permitting/fees and public amenities.
Achievable Housing---The city can do its part in the development of entry level homes by reducing City "red tape' and associated fees. Home ownership is an important part of societal structure and best addressed by the private sector. We can also work to have the Construction Defect Action Reform Act repealed at the state level and until then address the excessive litigation threat with municipal action as other cities have done that requires arbitration prior to court. This act has become a gravy train for some law firms while builders find it virtually impossible to build condominiums as they are unable to acquire liability insurance.
Permitting Process, Fees and Incentives--- We need to work to become a real pro-business (pro-jobs) community. I disagree with our Mayor and several councilors who claim we are pro-business while our permitting/development process and fees/incentives are clearly not aligned with being pro-jobs. Having interviewed a good number of primary and non-primary employers who have gone through our process during the last 4 years has revealed that Loveland is developing a reputation as having a difficult and expensive development process.
City Services--- I have become increasingly concerned about a number of areas within our city services. The June 2015 Fraternal Order of Police survey is quite disturbing and I believe one that needs to be looked into. Anytime there is such a gulf between rank and file and management, leadership should be concerned.
There has also been a drain of experience from other areas of city services that causes me concern and again something to be looked into more deeply.
- If it were possible, I would REPEAL the Colorado Construction Defect Action Reform Act. I know, it is a state law, but the questions was "if". It is very disappointing to see the situation where many of our kids simply cannot find affordable housing to own in Loveland. It also makes it tough to recruit primary employer jobs without w wide range of housing options.
- It starts with a change in culture. We need leadership to inspire the staff to simply commit to fixing a broken process. We need staff, along with representatives from the business community, to take ownership in wanting the process to be virtually painless for businesses and city employees. We should develop a process that stands out as a model to other communities. If not, we will continue to lose opportunities to surrounding communities which will impact our tax base as well as our quality of life.
Over the past year I have spoken to a number of businesses (manufacturing, retail, service) and their experiences have one thing in common, it is too hard to get up and running in Loveland and it is too expensive. In addition to fixing the process, the Capital Expense Fee structure must be addressed. My opponent likes CEFs and claims they keep homeowner tax rates down, I claim they are keeping businesses out of Loveland putting our tax base at even greater risk and costing us jobs. I have spent 40 years addressing business challenges and "fixing" broken business processes. If elected to the council, this is an issue I will focus on until it is successfully addressed.
- First, three statements:
Fix what is not working well.
Plan what comes next.
Don’t overburden the citizens with fees, taxes, burdensome code.
The city manager should be tasked with identifying the long term challenges in each of the areas of infrastructure listed, present potential solutions with budget/funding and a city-wide prioritization plan. Then working with council finalizes and implements a 5 year and a 10 year capital spending plan. I prefer a pay as you go model versus debt.
- FIX I-25 now, not decades from now. This is the number one issue that impacts families and businesses in Northern Colorado.
End the feud with Johnstown!
- Roads: Fix I-25, Fix I-25, Fix I-25
For our economic well being and safety, we simply must get I-25 expanded as well as Highway 34, both east and west of 287. Additionally, our surface street network must be expanded and properly maintained.
Airport: I do not understand why for the past 4 years the city has not been able to capitalize on the tremendous asset we possess in the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal airport. This asset should be a business magnet for the area. Then again, if we don’t address I-25 then we won’t have a substantial need for the airport.
Regarding funding, once we agree on a plan and budget, it is going to take some creativity and commitment to make things happen from a funding perspective. I am confident that if we make things a priority, we will find a way incorporating both private and public funding mechanisms.
- Loveland has an exceptional Economic Development policy that brings
only the highest quality incentive proposals to the City Council. With hundreds of new and expanding businesses each year in Loveland, only a few apply for such high levels of scrutiny and public disclosure. Each must stand on its own merits, high standards for job creation and value to the Community. Economic Development and the connected incentives are vital tools for business expansion and new business attraction. I am committed to supporting policies that keep Loveland competitive and giving all business opportunities fair consideration for City funded incentives.
- Protecting Loveland's conservative and accountable financial policies are a foundation of the success of our community. Gimmicks that transfer the cost for growth to taxpayers are high-risk and unfair to current residents. The City Council must ensure that current residents are not subsiding growth, while maintaining high service standards as that growth naturally occurs. Two high priority areas for business and economic expansion are downtown and the airport. Realizing the Regional Tourism Authority brings a new spotlight of destination tourism to Loveland, along with a new revenue source. All of these will test the resolve of the City Council.
- The citizens of Loveland are anxious to see commitments to transportation improvements. The past few years' focus on safety must now expand to expanding capacity. Loveland deserves a multi-modal solution that goes beyond "rush-hour" relief. It is time to complete the entirely affordable needs of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. Those costs are minimal and present a significant quality of life benefit. The City Council must leverage City funding to get the best possible solution for congestion on US 34 (Eisenhower) and move forward on the delayed CO Hwy 402 plan.
- Loveland must focus on the truth of doing business today, not the legends of past decades. Too often the old stories have a disproportionate impact on any and all positive program developments. I am committed to realizing the highest possible efficiencies at the One-Stop Development Center. This builds on years of accepting computerized development plans. The construction inspection and code enforcement teams are under-staffed. This has a negative impact on all building, development and services. Recent streamlined services programs for sales tax collection, permits and fees and online payments are all doing business the right way.
- Loveland must hold to its successful fiscal traditions. The impacts of growth must remain the responsibility of the free-market interests bringing that expansion to our community. That is the reality of the cost of doing business in Loveland: pay your way. The worst choice is to unfairly shift those costs to current taxpayers and utility customers. Loveland has not asked voters to raise tax rates since 1984. Loveland taxpayers have repeatedly entrusted their City with the TABOR revenue surpluses. Prioritizing these needs and opportunities, while leveraging all resources for long-range capital construction is a challenge that I welcome.
- Loveland is in the right position with regional partnerships. Our City Council and staff are at the table where all of the community will realize great benefit. The emergence of the US 287 Coalition is an valuable recognition of the positive impact of that transportation and commercial corridor. We must keep a close watch on the emerging US 34 group, and ensure that Loveland's vital interests are realized. Seven times in the past 10-years the City Council and School Board have held combined meetings. I have attended all of them, and I am committed to enhancing and expanding that example.
- Loveland must bring an acceptable amount of matching funds to attract the best highway construction projects to our community. This is an unwavering benefit of protecting our sound fiscal traditions. At the same time we must be diligent that we protect Loveland taxpayers from subsidizing regional road projects with little or no gain to our community. This is a delicate balance to achieve in highly complex plans and financial programs. The hard realities of East-West movement in Loveland require expensive solutions to getting around the lakes. I wanted a Highway 402 plan to start in 2012. No more delays.
- Absolutely. Northern Colorado, our State and the rest of the region is an extremely competitive area. Incentives, while distasteful at times, have become a large part of competing for employers of all sizes. As long as this competition rages, Loveland needs to do whatever is possible to compete and win – lest we revert back to a bedroom community. I support using incentives whenever needed to capture positive growth for our community. Each ‘deal’ in unique and has to be individually evaluated.
- Growth. We live in one of the most attractive areas of the U.S. Our unique combination of lifestyle, weather and employment opportunities will sustain our growth for many years to come. The challenge is making sure we have the proper mix of Retail, manufacturing and residential to keep taxes as low as possible. As we reach ‘build out’, this becomes doubly important to have the revenue sources to maintain our lifestyles and infrastructure without MAJOR tax increases.
Infrastructure. When looking at a map of our area – one problem stands out above most others. HWY 34 is our only major E/W arterial – and bodies of water block our other possible access points to I25. The solution is two-fold. We need to begin the process of developing Hwy 402, while simultaneously focusing on widening HWY 34 to meet our current traffic levels. Council has added $5 Million to this effort and construction will begin in 2016/2017. This is just the start and we need to remain focused on this issue for the coming decade.
- The Arts Community in Loveland has long been a driving force for our economy – and our ‘Spirit’. Loveland is world renowned for our commitment to the ARTS, but we have no funding mechanism in place to support this ‘machine’ for the future. The SCFD (Scientific, Cultural Funding District) program currently available in Colorado Law allows a mechanism to provide perpetual operating funds for programs such as museums, cultural districts and the like. Given the opportunity – I would add a .1 cent sales tax in Loveland to support this effort. (i.e. that is one tenth of a penny per dollar spent). At our current sales levels – this would provide $1 Million per year that could be used in funding operating budgets for the Rialto, the Museum and several other worthwhile programs that are growth constrained with current funding levels.
- I believe our Development Services (building permits, etc.) needs a complete overhaul. The physical part has begun, with a remodel that is underway to bring all ‘arms’ of this department under a single roof. While this will help with the physical separation and ‘running around’ that applicants currently experience, a philosophical change is also necessary to compliment this process. I believe we need to have a consulting group re-evaluate our development services department in its entirety, with a focus toward community input.
- Balanced Development. The Gallagher amendment at the State level had an un-expected effect. By lowering personal property tax and placing the bulk of the tax burden on businesses – that bill created a competitive mandate on cities to grow at the commercial/industrial level to maintain a healthy tax base – just to pay the bills. Bedroom communities are simply unsustainable and are struggling – which forces them to raise taxes to uncomfortable levels. Loveland has been fortunate to have dodged this problem, largely due to the huge retail developments on our Eastern edge – thank you McWhinney’s!
* We need to chase (and catch!) as much business development as we can find – the residential will take care of itself.
* By maintaining a healthy balance of business vs residential development – we can set Loveland on a path of reasonable taxes forever.
* Our current CEF program has served the city well for 20+ years and will continue for years to come – if left alone. With only minor adjustments, this program provides for infrastructure, water, transportation in a way that lets growth pay for itself.
* All changes to this program need to be examined with an emphasis on how they would benefit the citizens at a street level.
* I.E. would lowering CEF’s on apartments actually lower rents – or just increase the profits for developers?
- Partnerships are a difficult area. My competitive spirit will always want to place Loveland in the winning position. Recent collaborative efforts such NCEDC that sought to regionalize economic development left Loveland at the short end of the ‘deal’ on most occasions – I will not accept this in the future.
- Transportation is one area where regional programs are necessary and useful. I am “All About Loveland.”
* HWY 34 -- As growth continues transportation will remain a continual problem. HWY 34 is the most immediate need and Council has addressed this need by funding an additional $5 million into next year’s budget process to begin widening and improvement. These dollars are being funded from the TABOR excess revenues the city has collected and the taxpayers have earmarked for Transportation, Safety and Parks.
* I-25 also needs widening. While this affects us all daily, cities have only a small amount of input into the process at the State level. We need to stand ready to remit our ‘match’ dollars on whatever initiatives come from the State, as well as staying diligent in our lobbying for this critical section of the state system.
* Train noise – while Northern Colorado cities have long been lobbying for the re-opening of this issue at the federal level – little progress has been made, and the issue remains ‘closed’ at the federal level. We need to remain vigilant in keeping this issue in front of our congressmen with continuous lobbying through our elected officials and associations.