Editor’s note: All responses from candidates are printed as received, with no editing.
What are your qualifications and experience for the position you seek? I am heading into my fourth year in this office and I have gained a lot of experience by jumping into local and community meetings of all types. It has been a great experience to attend NAIOP meetings and local Chamber events. This has given me a great understanding of how public / private partnerships are fostered and maintained. I have lived in this city for over 30 years and I don’t ever plan on moving! I have worked with residents to solve problems and get the resources that they need for over 10 years.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony or DWI? No.
If elected, what would you like to do or change in Rio Rancho, and how would you get money for those efforts? I believe that we have done a good job in the last 5 years tackling the major road projects that need to be done. The city staff has worked hard to identify these roads, but the voters have been amazing by approving several rounds of road bonds. This has allowed for Southern, Meadows, King, Rockaway, Unser, Westside, High Resort, Sara and several other major roadways to be redone recently. The point is, we are in a much better position than we were even 5 years ago, and I am optimistic about the next round of roads identified on this bond!
If elected, how will you address deteriorating strip malls in Rio Rancho? As cities go, we are a relatively young place. However, we do have certain areas that are in need of a facelift or an overhaul. I think that Southern Blvd. has examples of positive and negative strip malls. Elevate trampoline park came into an abandoned building and jump started (no pun intended) the entire strip mall and that energy spread to their surrounding area. I am confident that we can push legislation at a state level to encourage reinvestment into aging areas.
What is your plan for addressing the condition of neighborhood roads and how would you fund that plan? This is a huge concern and top priority now that our major thoroughfares are starting to receive the care that they’ve so desperately needed. Since we know that we have an increasing population this means extra revenue both in taxes and gross receipts so this breathing room can allow us to address the number of miles that we are able to do in residential road patching. This is a concern that can and should be addressed at this point.
How do you define economic development, and how would you address it? I believe that there are two important ways to get more economic development: 1) by increasing the actual number of businesses open in our city. 2) by increasing the amount of money that current residents spend in Rio Rancho city limits. The city has done a good job promoting “spend local” campaigns and we’ve seen the positive impacts. Streamlined procedures and a “business friendly” council and city staff go a long way towards signaling to businesses that we want them here and not down the hill. This is why you are seeing new growth all over the city.
If elected, how will you address water and sewer rates? It is true that our water is a bit more expensive than our neighbor to the south. I kindly ask you to hang in there and here’s why: we are in the middle of tackling old infrastructure across the city. This should have been maintained better in previous years, but it was truthfully somewhat neglected. What we are doing now is more responsible and sets up future generations for greater success. We have been able to CASH FUND utility repairs under roads that are being reconstructed all across the city. This was not possible before and this is a huge win! It is also important to remember that we do live in a desert and some things are more expensive than others, but we are doing the right thing with our future here.
How do you propose to increase city revenue to meet growing needs? You need to expand the revenue base. We do this by making Rio Rancho a more desirable place to live, work and play. Last year was the highest year for new residential construction since 2006. We are doing something right and people are taking note! People vote with their feet and Rio Rancho is getting a lot of votes.
What are your goals regarding public safety and the city’s police and fire departments? Our citizen survey showed overwhelming confidence in both departments. In fact, 93% stated that they feel safe in their home and police had an 84% positive rating and fire had a 94% positive rating. While these are clearly two areas in which we need to always strive to be better, I believe in our departments and I know they provide quality service to our residents.
How can people reach you if they have more questions? I am always ready to talk and you can reach me at 505-264-3752 or email me at [email protected].