Friday, October 31, 2014

Bellevue City Council

Q & A


Amber L. Avila did not respond to the questionnaire.

Education: High school graduate. She was attending college as a full-time student in 2011.

Public service history: Three years on Bellevue City Council. Avila has served on the Bellevue Library Board and as Bellevue distribution site leader, mentor and Hope Garden volunteer for The Hunger Coalition.

This biograhical information came from a previous submittal.


 

Bob Leahy

Age: 41

Occupation: Hardwood flooring contractor.

Public service history: I have assisted the Hunger Coalition with the ground-breaking at the Hope Garden and with pre-construction cleanup at their Bellevue warehouse, along with various other volunteer opportunities.

Education: Studied photography at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., and at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.

Why running: Because I don’t understand some of the decisions that have been made recently and I want to be more informed and involved in the decision-making process of Bellevue’s future. I believe in a positive future for Bellevue and want to be a part of making a difference in the community.

 

1) What is your vision for making Bellevue more economically vibrant? I will work with Bellevue citizens to promote smart, sustainable growth. I will encourage a Main Street location for new Bellevue business and work toward having grants and other financial outlets accessible. A vibrant Main Street will unify the residents, provide economic growth and encourage tourism in the South Valley.

 

2) Do you think the city handled correctly the recent reduction in the Strahorn subdivision annexation fee? I feel that the analysis could have been handled differently. By taking water and sewer out of the impact analysis, the council dropped the requirement for the developers to pay for needed street improvements, provide access to Toe-of-the Hill Trail, and upgrade Memorial Park.

 

3) How do you feel about the city not having a comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan as it faces a possible large annexation? A CIP allows a city to recognize all the projects that are currently in the works and to forecast expenses for future projects. I believe that a CIP is a key component for maintaining a comprehensive and sustainable city growth with proper planning and foresight.

 

4) Describe one city project that the city is not paying enough attention to.

I feel like the citizens of Bellevue are under-represented before the airport board. I would like to see a more involved City Council on this issue. The council is also not paying enough attention to rewriting the Comprehensive Plan in a thoughtful and responsible way.

 

5) What will be your top priority for action if elected? Bellevue has incredible potential. Work on revitalizing Main Street is a step in the right direction. Slowing down the annexation process, listening to public input, establishing more transparency are my top priorities.

 


 

 

Barbara Patterson

Age: 60

Occupation: Personal property manager.

Public service history: Four years Bellevue City Council and library liaison, several years volunteering for services in the community events.

Education: Graduate of Wood River High School, Boise State College of cosmetology.

Why running: For the love of Bellevue.

 

1) What is your vision for making Bellevue more economically vibrant?

I have a vision to see fewer empty buildings and make Bellevue more vibrant economically with new businesses, and to work with the Bellevue chamber on events.  To see more jobs in Bellevue like Safe Haven and keep supporting Bellevue’s existing businesses.

 

2) Do you think the city handled correctly the recent reduction in the Strahorn subdivision annexation fee? Yes. The adjusted annexation fee corrects an overstated fee which included a multi- million-dollar commitment by the city after the Rinker-Scherer annexations withdrew.  Our city could not meet that commitment, putting us a financial burden on our city and its citizens along with potential litigation.

 

3) How do you feel about the city not having a comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan as it faces a possible large annexation? Our city has a capital improvement plan for the most costly services, providing our water and sewer. Annexation agreements are very detailed in how annexation fees for capital improvements are assessed to specific properties covering all capital improvements.

 

4) Describe one city project that the city is not paying enough attention to. Challenges are daily in running a city. To pick one project is hard. We as a council pay attention to all projects and take action on them based on life, safety and health first.

 

5)  What will be your top priority for action if elected? To keep and maintain the city’s fiscal integrity. No hidden agendas. Continue research for available, affordable grants to improve our city’s infrastructure, providing the best services we can for life and safety of our citizens.      

 


 

 

Larry B. Plott

Occupation: 37 years of professional law enforcement, 25 years as POST academy director, senior police advisor and instructor in Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Sri Lanka, Poland. Reserve officer for Blaine County (boat patrol), reserve officer for Bellevue Marshal’s Office, part-time deputy and trainer for Elmore County.

Public service history: Family Plott Band performed at public events such as fairs, senior centers, scouts, Supreme Court;conducted charity and fund-raising auctions for special and private events, schools, seniors, scouts, gun- and traffic- safety presentations for schools and seniors around the state, underprivileged children  Christmas gifts  (shop with a cop) in Elmore Co.                  

Education: Graduate of criminology school, 110 credits toward B.A., Graduate of National FBI Academy, POST certificates held: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, Management, Instructor, Executive.   

Why running? I have been a public servant all my life. We brought Bellevue from near bankruptcy in 2011 to a solvent city. I want to see Bellevue continue to grow and become a city where families and children can make a living and remain in the valley.   

 

l. What is your vision for making Bellevue more economically vibrant?

My vision is not for strip malls and big-box stores, but for continued rehabilitation of the downtown core, which includes recent sale of five city lots. I support library expansion;  balancing the ratio of residential to business uses; partnering with Department of Commerce, DEQ, Idaho Rural Partners, ARCH, Habitat for Humanity.  

 

2. Do you think the city handled correctly the recent reduction in the Strahorn subdivision annexation fee? Absolutely. All city dealings must be lawful, fair and honest. Fees demanded by City Administrator Blanchard were exorbitant, if not illegal (think lawsuits for Tamarack and Old Cutters). Idaho Statute clearly states annexation assessments must be fair and reflective of actual impact cost. Legal potential lawsuit would’ve been severely damaging to Bellevue citizens. 

 

3. How do you feel about the city not having a comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan as it faces a possible large annexation?  This question is inaccurate.  The city does have a Capital Improvement Plan for the most critical services provided, water and sewer. However, when annexation is considered by the council, an annexation agreement is created at that time, which will cover the impact costs. 

 

4. Describe one city project that the city is not paying enough attention to. We are paying attention to all projects. Bringing Bellevue from near bankruptcy 2011 to its present state challenged us. With a limited budget, the city prioritized funds by upgrading the infrastructure benefiting all citizens and businesses. We inherited high water/sewer bills.  We are committed to stabilizing and lowering rates. 

 

5. What will be your top priority for action if elected? Reduce and stabilize high water/sewer fees, which affect all Bellevue citizens. $9,500,000 is the end cost on the sewer plant equipped to handle the additional hook-ups that didn’t materialize when developers Rinker and Scherer backed out. This increase unfortunately was passed on to all current water users.

 


 

James S. Stireman

Age: 50

Occupation: Retail sales A.C. Houston Lumber for 18 years.

Public service history:  U.S. Navy from 1982-1985, with honorable discharge. 

Education: Associates degree, Salt Lake City Community College.

Why running:  To help protect the small-town character of Bellevue, which is being threatened by the proposed Eccles annexation. I chose to build my home and raise my family in Bellevue because of its charm and I want to protect our downtown core from outside commercialization for future generations. 

 

 1) What is your vision for making Bellevue more economically vibrant? Bellevue must develop its downtown core by allowing the current businesses to prosper and by encouraging new ones.  We need to be a place where families want to move and tourists want to visit. The city needs to work with the business community to promote our town and its character.

 

2) Do you think the city handled correctly the recent reduction in the Strahorn subdivision annexation fee? No. the City Council gave taxpayer money and property to a developer without informing the public and without taking public input. The council let the developer off the hook for over a million dollars in street improvements needed to make the development safe. How can we trust them with Eccles?

 

3) How do you feel about the city not having a comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan as it faces a possible large annexation? This is another case of the City Council being short-sighted and not fiscally responsible. A good city government, like a good private business, takes thought and planning. Prior City Councils developed long-range capital improvement plans. This City Council thinks it is OK to fly blind when spending taxpayers’ money.

 

4) Describe one city project that the city is not paying enough attention to. The city has not done enough to support our small businesses in the historic downtown district. The city keeps pushing north and south while the 64 percent vacancy rate on Main Street makes our city look abandoned. Bellevue could be a thriving city within our current city limits.

 

5) What will be your top priority for action if elected?  My top priority if elected will be to stop this current proposed annexation and turn the council’s energy towards a more vibrant downtown core. Along with that, I have pledged to represent Bellevue at future airport board meetings. I will work towards a more open, inclusive city hall.


 

 

Craig Wolfrom 

Age: 39

Occupation: Photographer

Public service history: Served three-year term as Bellevue’s Parks and Trees Committee chairperson; established the nonprofit “Wood River Wave” to help promote the rehabilitation of the dangerous low-head dam and head gate found on the Big Wood River in Bellevue; longtime mentor to Wood River High School’s senior projects.

Education: B.A. in Media and Theater Arts (photography option); minor in creative writing.

Why running: My love of Bellevue and the Wood River Valley has a lot to do with the fact that our community has worked hard to maintain locally owned and operated businesses and simultaneously kept out national big-box stores. I enjoy the mountain lifestyle and recreational opportunities the Wood River Valley offers.

 

1)  What is your vision for making Bellevue more economically vibrant? Bellevue must concentrate on quality over quantity. As a councilman, I will make decisions to increase the livability of Bellevue’s parks, trailheads, youth programs, etc., which will make our city more attractive to families and businesses. I would also like to work with local building owners to create “incubator sites.”

 

2)  Do you think the city handled correctly the recent reduction in the Strahorn subdivision annexation fee? No. Bellevue had a valid contract with the Strahorn subdivision developer. No legal action was brought against Bellevue to reduce the annexation fee, with no public discussion on how our city might negotiate with the developer to find a mutual solution. City Council gave away too much too easily.

 

3)  How do you feel about the city not having a comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan as it faces a possible large annexation? It proves that the current council members are short-sighted and react to immediate problems instead of thinking for the long-term. A CIP must be in place so as to have guiding principles with which our city can consider the financial impacts of infrastructure improvements, annexations, etc.

 

4)  Describe one city project that the city is not paying enough attention to. Bellevue is not paying attention to increasing its livability. While streets, water lines and sewer systems are all important, it’s the parks, libraries, schools and other amenities that have the power to draw new citizens and businesses. Bellevue needs to improve its livability for children, families and businesses.

 

5)  What will be your top priority for action if elected? I will revisit the zoning of the proposed annexation and involve Bellevue’s citizens in the process and work with the community to develop a plan to revitalize the downtown core. I will also propose fundraisers, seek donations and write grants to fund projects that could attract potential residents and businesses.




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