CHRIS CARVER – CANDIDATE FOR CARSON CITY MAYOR
The Carson City Mayor’s race is non-partisan and is a four-year term
There are four candidates in this non-partisan race. Three responded to this request for an interview – Incumbent Bob Crowell, Chris Carver and Jerry Cinani – Kurt Meyer did not respond. The two candidates receiving the most Primary votes will appear on the General Election ballot.
Provide a brief summary of your background/resume, including how long you have lived in Carson City:
I am a 24 year veteran of the US Army, initially serving as an enlisted soldier in law enforcement and intelligence. After graduating from the Special Forces Qualification Course (Green Berets), I earned a commission through Officers Candidate School (OCS) in 1988. I subsequently served in a variety of assignments with increasing responsibility while executing national security policy decisions in the “Cold War,” the Global War on Terrorism, counter-insurgency, counterdrug operations, and “nation building.” I am a Distinguished Graduate of OCS, a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, and numerous leadership and management schools. I retired as a Major in 2002 following a severe injury that kept me from further operational activities.
Following my military retirement, I continued to serve the nation in the federal government, initially with the Department of Defense and ultimately with the Department of Homeland Security which led to my assignment to Carson City in 2010. I retired from federal service in 2012.
I hold a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York and a Master of Science degree in Strategic Intelligence.
I have lived in Carson City for six years.
2. Why do you think you are more qualified than your opponents to serve in this position?
My extensive background in national security organizations has provided me with large range of skills including management of multi-million dollar budgets, strategic planning, human-resources management, and most importantly, leadership of large organizations responsible for critical issues in demanding circumstances. My skills, education, and experience will provide our city with the much-needed strategic policy making and resource management that have been absent from city policy for too long. Additionally, I have no personal agenda to protect and I have no alliances with special interests. Consequently, I intend to provide ethical and transparent representation for the majority of the residents of Carson City.
3. As a challenger in this race, define what you believe would be your 3-4 primary goals during your time in office?
As a newly elected Mayor, I would expect our citizens to hold me accountable for the issues in my campaign platform. Consequently, they should expect that I will:
Work with the Board of Supervisors to return democracy to the conduct of city government. I intend to empower our individual Board members to truly represent the constituents fairly and fully. I also intend to reduce the influence of city staff and Board members on the conduct of the citizen advisory boards while adopting best-practices to promote citizen involvement in the city’s decision making, especially for discretionary spending.
Work with the City Manager and the Board of Supervisors to refocus our government operations towards resolving the longstanding water/sewer issues and addressing a viable plan to substantially improve our road maintenance and public safety without imposing tax increases. These essential services are critical to our future and we need a real strategic plan to prevent the constant Band-Aid solutions we now use.
Work with the Board of Supervisors to reduce government involvement in private enterprise and level the playing field for businesses within the city. This means we need to re-evaluate redevelopment expenditures using real performance objectives and reduce the government involvement in ventures that do not offer a realistic return on our investment in either revenue or quality of life. We can incentivize responsible growth without giving money away.
Work with the Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors Bureau to recapture our historic identity while enabling opportunities for responsible growth. We need to enable tourism and preserve and enhance our image as Nevada’s historic capitol city. However, this is not the center of our economy and we cannot neglect the larger part of our city where our citizens live, go to school, and work.
4. If the Carson City water fund does not generate enough money to pay for needed upgrades, what are your recommendations in regards to this issue?
Analysis of past and current budget plans reveals significant opportunities to achieve savings without raising taxes. For both the water/sewer issues and deferred maintenance, we need to reprogram existing monies, ensure all rate and fee payers are paying their fair share, and focus our efforts on a long-range solution. Going to the taxpayers for more money should be the last resort; especially as revenue projections remain high. Unfortunately, the past few years have led to a re-inflation of the city bureaucracy instead of resourcing critical essential services.
5. Carson City has ongoing unfunded capital needs, what are your recommendations and priorities?
Having been forced to accept the downtown project, our immediate priority is to restore the downtown. What should have been a conservative effort to repair infrastructure and address blight has turned into a multi-million dollar debt that has no relation to the revenue streams that support our economy. We have to fix the downtown first because our representatives failed us. Our first priority must be to restore democracy to the Board of Supervisors. Following this, I would slow the remaining corridor plans and focus our resources on our critical issues: existing roads, storm water runoff in the south east part of town, and emplacing a long-range, transparent and sustainable water and sewer plan. All of this will require a fundamental change in management culture from the current “tax and spend” attitude to incentivizing conservative solutions. Our objective should be to restore our identity and culture as the small town, capitol city of the state of Nevada and that means taking care of our people and neighborhoods first.
6. What are your goals for the city after the completion of the downtown renovation project?
As I said previously, we must get the downtown fixed. The current plan has no milestones for actual completion. This has led to the downtown being in a constant state of redevelopment and a drain on our financial resources for decades. We need to re-look the Redevelopment effort and scale back on non-essential expenditures to allow for desperately needed maintenance and improvements in our neighborhoods and arterial roadways. We need to shore up deferred obligations in public safety and health. We need to get the city out of competition with private enterprise. These are essential services provided by the government and paid for with your tax dollars but we need to change the culture of our bureaucracy to one of service instead of promoting rapid development and non-essential expenditures.
7. What is your view in regards to raising the minimum wage for Carson City workers?
I believe this is the wrong approach to addressing the problem of low income wage earners. Following the recession, our cost of living has risen almost 10 percent per year. Raising the minimum wage will drive that cost of living higher and force low-income earners to pay more for basic needs.
8. Do you foresee the need for future tax increases? Elaborate.
I do not see a near term need for tax increases. However, we need real change in our elected representatives and the organizational culture of our city staff. Our current budget proposal is over $137 million per year with 4 percent projected growth. The current expenditure plan will continue to grow the size of city staff and provide increased funding to non-essential services. The voters must decide this June and November what they want the future of Carson City to be and how much they want to pay for that future. I, and two candidates for the Board of Supervisors, represent the majority of Carson City residents who want more responsible fiscal management of your tax dollars. We can’t bring that change to our city unless you vote for us to represent you. If the incumbents are re-elected and we do not see a change in Ward 2, I believe tax and rate increases are inevitable.
9. If there is an issue(s) not noted above that you would like to elaborate on, this is your opportunity:
We are at a watershed moment in our city’s history. The citizens were deliberately denied the right to vote on the downtown, the scale and purpose of the Multipurpose Athletic Center, and the animal shelter. We have increases in our water and sewer rates for at least the next two years. We have over $62 million in long-term debt to pass to younger generations and no effort to reduce spending or the growth of city government. I don’t believe this is what the majority of our city wants; it is certainly not what my supporters tell me they want. They, and I, want real representation and a government that works for them. We have to overcome voter apathy if we are to get the representation we deserve.
EDITOR: This is one in a series of online interviews with Republican candidates. All Republican candidates with Primary races were contacted – US Senate, US Congress, State Senate, State Assembly, Carson City Mayor and Lyon County Commissioner. The responses are posted as the candidates presented them to me – no editing. These interviews will be posted in no particular order and, obviously, all races are not of interest in everyone’s particular district; however, NewsDesk readership (www.ndbynd.com) is spread throughout the state so all responses will be posted. You are welcome to repost any of the interviews as long as proper credit is given to NewsDesk.
Primary election day is Tuesday, June 14, 2016. If the candidates in a particular Primary all belong to the same party, the winner will be determined in the Primary and go to the General Election ballot unopposed.
Dates to remember:
- May 14 – Last day to register to vote by mail
- May 24 – Last day to register to vote in the Primary
- May 28-June 19 – Early voting
- June 14 – Primary Election