Curtis Horton and James Wells, candidates for Carson City Supervisor Ward 3, discussed road and infrastructure maintenance at a Chamber of Commerce forum on Tuesday. The third candidate for the seat, Margaret Mello, did not attend.
Carson City is looking for a sustainable way to repair roads and infrastructure, but Curtis Horton and James Wells have different takes on how to address the problem. Both are candidates for Supervisor Ward 3 in the upcoming primary election.
They spoke at the Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum on Tuesday night. The third candidate for the seat, Margaret Mello, did not attend the forum.
Wells advocated for a steady funding source to boost maintenance, while Horton argued for more government efficiency with current funding.
“I think it’s incumbent upon us to create a funding source to repave the roads that need to be repaved and to maintain all of the assets that the city owns before they deteriorate to a point where it’s uneconomical to fix them,” Wells said.
He pointed to new housing developments on every side of town and said that it’s time to start setting aside more money for water, sewer, and road maintenance down the line. He also highlighted increasing water and sewer rates and said that the original fees did not have maintenance built into the budget.
“It’s really all about making sure that you have the resources dedicated and set aside for those assets that you know are going to have to be replaced,” he said.
On the other hand, Horton doubts that the city can create a new maintenance funding source.
“I can tell you from experience there’s not a lot that you can do with that problem other than find money,” he said. “Until somebody finds the money tree, we’re going to have this issue before us.”
He argued the more sustainable and immediate solution is government efficiency. He hopes the supervisors can create incentives within city departments to boost efficiency.
“We need to take the money that’s available right now and make sure that we’re using it properly,” he said.
Horton and Wells have lived in Carson City for almost 50 years, and both have experience working in government.
Horton served in the Carson City Public Works department for over 35 years, and he worked his way up the ranks until he retired as deputy director in 2020.
“I’m not afraid to make a tough decision. I’ve done it a lot,” he said.
Wells has over 30 years of experience in government finance and management for the State of Nevada. He retired as director of the Governor’s Finance Office in 2018.
“I believe residents deserve a responsive government that is conservative in spending public resources,” he said.
Horton, Wells, and Mello will all be on Carson City residents’ ballots at the June Primary Election. If one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, they will win the election without having to go to the General Election in November. Otherwise, the top two candidates will be on November ballots.
Early voting begins Saturday, May 28. Election Day is June 14.