BOB CROWELL – CANDIDATE FOR CARSON CITY MAYOR
The Carson City Mayor’s race is non-partisan and is a four-year term.
There are four candidates for this non-partisan position. Three of the four candidates responded – Chris Carver, Jerry Cinani, Incumbent Bob Crowell. Kurt Meyer did not respond.
1. Provide a brief summary of your background/resume, including how long you have lived in Carson City:
Robert L. “Bob” Crowell is a native Nevadan born in the mining town of Tonopah and raised in Carson City. An attorney by profession, Bob is a Vietnam Veteran and retired Navy Captain. He has been a resident of Carson City for the past 61 years.
Bob was elected Mayor of Carson City in 2008 and assumed his duties as Mayor on January 5, 2009. Prior to being elected Mayor, Bob served 11 years on Carson City School Board of Trustees. He has twice served as School Board president.
In his capacity as Mayor, Bob serves as Carson City’s representative on the Nevada Association of Counties Board of Directors. He is also the Board’s representative on the Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railroad, the Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Agency and the Regional Transportation Commission. He also serves as vice-chairperson of the Carson City Board of Health and is a member of the Carson City Redevelopment Authority. He chairs the Partnership Carson City Advisory Committee. He is the recipient of 2015 DeBoer Award for Distinguished Leadership by an Elected Official from the Nevada Chapter of the American Planning Association for his role in Carson City’s Downtown Urban Design Streetscape Project.
Bob is a retired stockholder partner in the statewide law firm, Kaempfer Crowell, with offices in Carson City, Reno and Las Vegas. Prior to retirement, Bob’s practice emphasized government relations including legislative affairs, administrative/regulatory matters, ethics in government as well as election and initiative petition law. He is the recipient of the State Bar of Nevada Presidential Award recognizing a member whose conduct, honesty and integrity represents the highest standards of the legal profession.
Active in his community, Bob has served on the Board of Directors for the Carson Area Chamber of Commerce and is a Past President of that organization. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Northern Nevada Development Authority and is past president of the Rotary Club of Carson City. Currently, he serves as a director of the Capital City Circles Initiative, an organization of business and religious leaders seeking to address poverty in Carson City.
Active in his State, Bob is past president of the State Bar of Nevada having served on its Board of Governors for seven years. He has chaired the Nevada Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board, which oversees Nevada’s continuing legal education program under the direction of the Supreme Court of Nevada and was recently elected to the Nevada Legal Services Board of Directors. Bob has also served as a member of the Colorado River Commission (a gubernatorial appointment) and has held the position of Chairman of that agency. The Colorado River Commission is responsible for overseeing Nevada’s allocation of water and power from the Colorado River.
Bob is a life member of Vietnam Veterans of America and a member of that organization’s local Chapter 388. He was honored to be selected to be part of the “first in the country” Honor Flight for Vietnam Veterans by Honor Flight Nevada, as well as a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, VFW, American Legion and the Carson City Council of the Navy League where he served as charter president.
Bob earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University in 1967 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Hastings College of the Law in 1973. He was admitted to the State Bar of Nevada in 1973. He is a member of the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and included in Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Government Relations and Energy Law for the past twenty years. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He is married to his wife of 45 years, Susan. They have four children and two grandchildren.
2. Why do you think you are more qualified than your opponents to serve in this position?
I was born in Tonopah, Nevada and raised in Carson City. I attended Carson City schools. I have seen Carson City grow from some 4,000 residents to its population of today. Carson City and the State of Nevada have provided both me and my family a great quality of life for which I am grateful. In turn, throughout my life, I have done my best to give back to the state of my birth and the city where I was raised. I have held numerous leadership positions both in Carson City and the State of Nevada. Those positions have given me the opportunity to learn how to work through complex issues with dignity and the understanding that while people may have different points of view, each person is entitled to be heard and his or her opinion respected. I believe my background demonstrates my ability to continue serving as Mayor of the greatest city in Nevada.
In my profession as an attorney-at-law I hold an AV (highest) rating from Martindale-Hubbell. I have held the position of President of the State Bar of Nevada, a position my father held some forty years before me. Under the auspices of the Nevada Supreme Court, the State Bar of Nevada oversees a fifteen member Board of Governors and the activities of attorneys and the legal profession in Nevada.
I have received six gubernatorial appointments to the Colorado River Commission of Nevada, a state agency that overseas Nevada’s allotment of water and power from the Colorado River. Additionally, the Commission was instrumental in the development of the town of Laughlin, Nevada. I served as chairman of the Commission when the Southern Nevada Water Authority was created and helped create the Authority from my position as chairman.
I was appointed by Governor Sandoval to serve as chairperson of the Greater Sage Grouse Advisory Committee that unanimously established the framework for the development of Nevada’s efforts to preserve the sage grouse while not damaging the economy of our state.
Locally I served on the Carson City Board of School Trustees for 11 years and twice held the position of president of the Board. While I was President, the Board received the 2006 School Board of the Year award from the Nevada Association of School Boards.
I was first elected Mayor in 2008 and took office in 2009. I witnessed first hand the hardships our community went through as the Great Recession took hold. Through the efforts of our community and its citizens we were able to not only maintain our quality of life and our credit rating but invest in several infrastructure projects necessary for the long term sustainability of our community. For example:
- We are in the process of rehabilitating and upgrading of our aging sanitary sewer treatment facilities and sewer lines to avoid potential failure.
- This past December we opened the doors on the Multi-Use Athletic Center or MAC promised to our community some twenty years ago. Its usage has exceeded expectations.
- We will soon see the opening of our new animal shelter replacing our existing shelter built in the 1960’s.
- The last leg of the freeway by-pass, a project that has been on the drawing boards for several decades, is scheduled to be completed in the first half of next year.
- The clay sewer lines in our downtown area are being replaced and along with that project we are making streetscape improvements designed to make the core of our community more attractive and pedestrian friendly as a place to go to–as opposed to through– and done in a manner that will preserve and promote our history.
- Through a public/private partnership, Third Street between Curry and Carson Streets will become an outdoor plaza for everyone, young and old alike, to enjoy.
- Our nearly 11.5 square miles of open space and world class trail system are unmatched anywhere and will be used to host Epic Rides this summer.
We are also improving the transparency and efficiency of our city government through the better use of data sharing. Our city checkbook is now online in a searchable format. Our city meetings are being video recorded and archived in a searchable format. The mobile application Carson City Connect allows our residents to communicate and alert the appropriate city department of issues in our community that need attention. We have recently included a link on our city website that shows the real time status of critical events occurring in our community.
I would be remiss if I did not also mention that my service in the United States Naval Reserve provided me with unique leadership opportunities. I am proud to be a Vietnam Veteran and retired Captain in the United States Navy.
I have not and will not seek any political party endorsement. I adhere to both the letter and the spirit of Nevada law that provides for the non-partisan election of Mayor in our community.
Nevada and in particular, northern Nevada, is undergoing an economic diversification not heretofore seen. I believe it is important for our state capital to represent all the great things that our state has to offer as we move into this century. Our City motto says it all: “Proud of its Past, Confident in its Future”.
3. As the incumbent, what do you feel are your 3-4 greatest accomplishments?
- Completing the regional water system ensuring an ample supply of clean water sufficient to meet the benchmarks set out in our growth management ordinance. This also avoided the necessity of constructing a costly water treatment facility. This effort demonstrates the economies of scale that can be achieved when counties work together to improve their infrastructure facilities.
- Rehabilitation and upgrading of our aging sewer treatment facilities and sewer lines to avoid potential failure.
- Completing the Multi-Athletic Center (MAC) promised to our residents 20 years ago.
- Building a state of the art animal shelter replacing our existing shelter built in the 1960’s
- Maintaining our quality of life and credit worthiness through the Great Recession by: 1. Implementing a $10 million reduction in our General Fund by adopting 145 cost saving measures unanimously agreed to by management and labor alike; 2. Maintaining good fiscal policies ensuring the efficient and transparent use of taxpayer funds.
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?
In 2013 the Board of Supervisors recognized the need to invest in a sustainable utility system for present and future requirements and implemented a five year rate plan for both the Water and Sewer Systems. As part of that process the City developed or updated long-range Capital Improvement Plans to ensure system capacity for current and anticipate growth. The Utility Financial Oversight Committee was formed and chartered to specifically ensure that the City met specific policy goals in terms of Operating Reserves, Capital Project Reserves, Emergency Reserves, Debt Proceed Reserves and System Replacement Reserves.
It is my view that the five year rate plan adopted by the Board is sufficient to meet the goals established in 2013 and overseen by the Utility Financial Oversight Committee. If necessary, I am comfortable with extending the time to reach those goals in place of raising rates. Even with reduced usage levels, the City will continue to be able to maintain the system and do needed capital improvements.
5. Carson City has ongoing unfunded capital needs. What are your recommendations and priorities?
Five cents per hundred dollars of property taxes are statutorily earmarked for capital improvements. While helpful, that amount does not begin to cover the on-going capital needs of a city of our size. State law has requirement that a municipality must maintain an ending fund balance (sometimes called a rainy day fund) of at least 4 percent. Carson City has a goal of maintaining an ending fund balance of 8 percent. In the past we have kept the general fund balance at 5 percent and placed any excess funds towards capital improvements—for example, last year we moved some $300,000 from the general fund to streets. In my view it is important to have at least one month’s operating capital or “rainy day fund” of 8 percent. That said, we need to balance capital improvement needs with our ending fund balance goal. As part of the budget process we annually review our capital improvement needs and establish funding priorities.
6. What are your goals ffor the area after the completion of the downtown renovation project?
The statutorily required Plan of Expenditure that supports the 1/8 of a percent sales tax increase provides for the following projects:
- Animal Shelter
- Downtown StreetscapE
- Curry Street improvements
- Entry corridor improvements
- Community Center
We should complete those projects as outlined in the Plan of Expenditure.
Additionally we should continue to focus on community sustainability in areas such as:
- Investments in our streets and walkways with the input from a citizen advisory board;
- Investments in our public safety needs;
- Improvements in waste disposal and recycling;
- Supporting Nevada’s entrepreneurial initiatives and economic diversification;
- Preserving and enhancing our unique quality of life;
- Continuing to demonstrate pride in our community as the capital of our state.
7. What is your view in regards to raising the minimum wage for Carson City workers?
I don’t believe Carson City has or should have the ability as a municipality to mandate wage criteria for private enterprise. With respect to municipal workers, we recently completed the Pontifex study on wages and classifications. I don’t foresee that study being changed. It is worth noting that the current average wage in Carson City is $20.75 as published by the Nevada Commission on Economic Development.
8. Do you foresee the need for future tax increases? Elaborate.
I do not foresee the need for future tax increases.
9. If there is an issue(s) not noted above that you would like to elaborate on, this is your opportunity:
This is an exciting time to live in Carson City. We have challenges, to be sure, but the opportunities are exciting. The City’s nearly two-decade long investment in Open Space has really begun to pay dividends for residents and visitors alike. The City will soon host a highly attended mountain bike race through some of the most scenic terrain in the Lake Tahoe Region. Our outdoor recreation resources and our downtown improvements coupled together will enhance the City, already voted America’s most travel-worthy State Capital. For the first time in over 70 years we once again have Navy ship named after us, the USNS CARSON CITY (T-EPF-7). What a great time to live, work and play in Carson City.
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