Q&A with candidates for Carson City Supervisor, Ward 2
Shelly Aldean: 48, is president of the Glenbrook Co., a Nevada development corporation, and vice president/corporate broker for Eden Managements, a Nevada property management company. She lives in Carson City with her husband, Jay, and their 17-year-old son.
Rebecca Beisenstein: 45, is a customer service technician in the Water Division of the Carson City Public Works Department. She lives in Carson City with her 17-year-old son.
Why are you running for office?
Aldean: I am running to carry on the work that I began when appointed to the Carson City Board of Supervisors in January of 2003. Carson City is at an important crossroads in its development as a community. It is facing unprecedented competition for retail sales tax dollars. We must work to re-establish Carson City as a center of commerce for retailing and manufacturing by promoting a business-friendly image and, where appropriate, participating with local business organizations in active recruitment efforts.
We must look for cost-effective ways of reducing traffic congestion, for even with the completion of the freeway, traffic will continue to be an issue due to growth in surrounding jurisdictions. We must capitalize on our historic resources by completing the reconstruction of the V&T Railroad and by promoting other forms of cultural tourism. As Carson City’s representative on the TRPA Governing Board I will continue to promote the importance of balancing the environmental needs of the Basin with the socioeconomic needs of the region.
Beisenstein: I felt that the board and the citizens could afford the perspective of a 26-year resident, longtime community volunteer, a working person paying a mortgage and investing for retirement.
How do you manage growth expected to spring up along the new freeway development?
Aldean: Carson City has begun the process of updating its master plan, in part, to determine where and how the community should grow – where future residential, commercial and industrial development should occur and at what densities. It is through this master-planning process that the challenges and opportunities presented by the freeway will be considered and appropriate strategies developed. Although it is important that we allow landowners to capitalize on the new development opportunities that will accompany the construction of the freeway interchanges, it is equally important that we respect established uses in these areas and avoid the creation of additional land-use conflicts.
Beisenstein: With eventual completion of the north half of our freeway, commercial and retail growth should be expected, welcomed and embraced by the whole community. Such growth will bring tax revenue for the city coffers, jobs for citizens and new retail experiences for consumers.
What are the water supply problems faced by the city and what does the city need to do to solve them?
Aldean: Presently, the increase in our water usage as a community exceeds the increase in our population as a city. Although this increase in consumption may, in part, be related to the continued drought, it is also symptomatic of the fact that not everyone in Carson City has embraced the need to conserve. When implemented in June of 2005, the new restrictions, which were adopted by the Board earlier this year, will result in a water savings of 4 million to 5 million gallon per week which can be diverted to storage.
Although it is estimated that Carson City has sufficient “water rights” to meet the needs of the community through build-out, it is the “availability” of the water that poses the greatest challenge. To meet this challenge we must improve our infrastructure by sinking new wells and rehabilitating others; by investing in upgrades to the Marlette/Hobart water system; by increasing our storage capacity; by expanding our use of reclaimed water; by expanding our groundwater recharge program; and by exploring and developing other regional water sources. The objective of the foregoing strategy is to increase the overall yield within the system while addressing the new arsenic standards which may result in the abandonment of certain wells, the blending of water from other wells and the development of new sources to replace lost capacity.
Beisenstein: If we want our city to prosper, we really need to accept the fact that money will be required to expand and upgrade our water system. I would like to see slow, incremental increases in our utility bills over a period of years. I look to Development Services to provide their expertise in this area. I also think conservation of water by all citizens will get us by in the meantime. We do live in the high desert in the midst of a deep drought.
The city is highly dependent on sales tax. What should the city do to stabilize its sales tax revenue and economy?
Aldean: One way of decreasing the city’s vulnerability is by encouraging further economic diversification. While our economy is already one of the most diverse in Nevada, it is important that we continue to encourage new and innovative industries to locate in Carson City. By lessening our dependence on any one type of business we can better protect ourselves from economic downturns and regional market shifts. Although year-to-date taxable sales are up in Carson City, we must keep a close watch on those categories that show signs of weakness and look for ways of assisting the private sector in filling the market niches that are vacant and bolstering up the ones that are under-performing.
Beisenstein: The city should provide every opportunity for investors who want to come to Carson City to invest in the future of our town. We also need to provide consumers with the kinds of retail and entertainment experiences that keep them coming back.
The latest Roop Street widening project was scrapped. What do we do about it in the meantime?
Aldean: We need to look for another, more cost-effective alternative, which in this case appears to be the extension of Stewart Street north to Roop and south to Curry. This project, which has already been initiated by the acquisition of the First Christian Church at the end of Stewart Street, will provide another important north/south connection and will provide us with an alternate route of travel should the city decide to widen Roop Street at some future date.
Beisenstein: Recently, I asked what’s to be done about the horrible traffic on Carson City streets. City staff assured me that they have contingency plans regarding the scrapped Roop Street project. I also know that it’s in the works to start a regularly scheduled public bus system. In the meantime, besides being patient, I plan to manage by driving carefully, courteously and obeying all traffic rules, and walking when I can.
Why are you a better choice for supervisor than your opponent?
Aldean: I have served as a member of the Board of Supervisors now for over 18 months. My familiarity with the issues and the inner workings of the city enables me to be more efficient than someone who has never served in this capacity before. Being a civically active businessperson as well as a public official gives me a unique perspective, enabling me to reconcile the needs of government with the needs of the community at large. I am a problem solver and a consensus builder with a very solution-oriented outlook on life.
Beisenstein: I think I’m the better choice because of my willingness to sacrifice my current position at the Water Utility Operations Division of Carson City Public Works. In order to better serve the citizens of Carson City, I think it’s in their best interest that I come to the job unencumbered by other obligations.