Barrette unseats Shirk; Bonkowski wins second term
Carson City Supervisor Brad Bonkowski won re-election Tuesday while newcomer John Barrette defeated incumbent Jim Shirk in Ward 4.
Bonkowski, the incumbent supervisor in Ward 2, received 12,935 votes, or 59 percent, while his opponent, Maurice White, garnered 8,910 votes or 41 percent.
“Thank you very much to the citizens of Carson City and I really look forward to continuing the work the board has accomplished over the last few years,” Bonkowski said at an election party at Silver Oak Golf Course also attended by Barrette and re-elected Mayor Bob Crowell.
White ran on a platform of controlling spending, retiring debt, and restructuring the city’s capital improvement and maintenance policies.
“I want to thank all my supporters who fought the good fight. We ran a clean race and it’s just unfortunate that it’s full steam ahead on mismanagement and wasting taxpayer money,” said White. “I’ll dust off my fishing pole and have a nice day.”
White is a retired diesel mechanic who worked for Douglas County and is the treasurer for the Carson City Airport Authority and a member of the Board of Directors of the Nevada State Prison Preservation Society.
Barrette, a former reporter at the Nevada Appeal, received 11,139 votes or 51 percent while incumbent Shirk received 10,750 or 49 percent of the vote.
“I’m gratified by the support the Carson City voters have given me,” said Barrette.
Shirk sought reelection after serving one term on the board.
“I want to thank all the people who voted for me and I wish the best to my opponent and to Carson City,” Shirk said after the final tallies were in.
During the campaign, Bonkowski said he was running on his record, which included voting in 2014 for the one-eighth of a percent sales tax hike that funded the city’s new animal shelter, Multi-Purpose Athletic Center facility and the just-completed downtown corridor project.
Shirk voted against the tax increase, although he supported building the animal shelter, as well as the five-year, phased-in increase in sewer and water rates used to fund the $30 million maintenance project now underway at the Water Resource Recovery Facility on 5th Street.
“Voting is not a popularity contest of going along to get along, it is the most substantial decision an elected official makes,” Shirk said in the Nevada Appeal’s election guide.
He also advocated for certain changes, including putting citizens on the Regional Transportation Commission and giving supervisors a minimum number of agenda items to put forth.
Barrette said his top priority was tackling the city’s streets repair and deferred maintenance problems.
“I said we needed the entire city budget to fix the streets in a timely manner,” Barrette said at the recent Carson City Chamber of Commerce lunch for the candidates. “Construction costs go up two to three times the rate of inflation. If we let the roads deteriorate we’re going to be in big trouble.”
Barrette outlined several ideas for workforce development in the newspaper’s election guide, including dedicating a city employee part-time to working with industry and education on job creation, and bringing in more money to boost STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) curriculum.
“As with the affordable housing issue, government can help but some of the burden must rely on the private sector. Government must enable, not intrude or dictate,” he said.