Frequently Asked Questions
One of the greatest things about living in a free country is having the ability to choose. I believe that everyone has the freedom to choose what is best for themselves and their families whether it is getting the COVID vaccine or not. Many people have asked if I am vaccinated. And I am. I am grateful that I had the choice for myself whether or not to vaccinate. I believe it is important that we respect people’s choices, on both sides of these issues. I also believe it is crucial that we keep our businesses open. I am a small business owner and know first-hand the pressure and worry that is caused when you are not able to open your business. Small-businesses are the backbone of our community and we need to ensure that they stay open so they can do their business and provide for their families.
First and foremost is we need to pay our officers more money, especially once they transition from training officers. Thru my discussions with the Police Chief and others, it has become apparent that many other departments in the valley are taking advantage of our lack of pay to our police force. They allow us to hire new police officers, pay for them to attend POST, train them, and then they come in and offer our best officers jobs in their departments with much higher pay. This is a double whammy. We must increase the pay for our police officers, especially for those officers that are advancing from training. If we have the money to continually pay for new officers to be trained, sent to POST, only to see them leave a year later, then we need to reallocate those funds to paying our officers more. I believe if we take that leap of faith and provide those funds for those raises, we will see immediate results in the retention of our more advanced police officers. This must be a top priority and done as soon as possible.
Indian Creek Plaza has been a huge boon for the city of Caldwell. It has brought numerous new businesses to downtown Caldwell and has made Caldwell the destination place for the valley. However, we cannot just sit back and admire all the hard work that went into Indian Creek Plaza and think that we are all done. My plan is to continue and extend the amazing pathway system that we have in downtown Caldwell. The city owns property north of the Plymouth Street bridge, that connects to Curtis Park. Many Caldwell citizens do not even realize that Curtis Park exists. My plan is to continue the pathway to Plymouth Street bridge and then onto Curtis Park, turning that area into a nature park. That way families can come to Indian Creek Plaza, get some fro-yo from The Good Spoon, grab a pizza from Extreme Pizza, then jump on their bikes for a trip up to our new nature park. They can spend the afternoon relaxing and walking/biking the trails out there, then head back to Indian Creek Plaza for some BBQ at The Chop Shop, grab a smoothie at Flying M and then head home after an incredible day spent in downtown Caldwell and beyond. There are numerous opportunities like this that we can take advantage of, and continue to grow and expand the wonders of downtown Caldwell.
This is a worry for most Caldwell residents, especially those retired and others on fixed incomes. This is a 2-fold issue. We need to work with our State elected officials to see if we can work on legislation to provide increases to the Home Owners Exemption and the Circuit Breaker that provides property tax relief to our citizens, especially those that are elderly. We also need to look inward and see what at the city level we can do to reduce our citizen’s tax burden. Continuing to attract industrial developments is a huge plus for this and can start to shift some of the tax burden from the residents to these businesses. We also need to improve efficiencies at the city, creating cost saving measures. Allowing our employees to work from home can free up valuable office space so that the city is not constantly purchasing new buildings to house additional employees. We also need to look into consolidating all of our city offices into one space. Right now, if you wanted to go pay your water bill, then visit the P&Z Department, then visit with the Fire Chief you would be visiting 3 separate buildings. We need to see what we can do to consolidate, not only to make it easier on the people visiting our city buildings, but also to reduce our tax burden.
Growth has become a major issue in Caldwell. With the incredible growth we have experienced, also comes other issues like traffic and congestion. I have 15+ year’s experience as a professional planner. This includes several years as a County Planner, as a Transportation Planner, and also as a City Planner. Growth is a good thing, and we need to continue to grow. This helps our local businesses, attracts new businesses and keeps our city thriving. However, we need to be smart about our growth. We also need to ensure that we are planning appropriately for our growth. We need to review and update our Comprehensive Plan Map. This is the road map to the future you could say, that helps citizens, builders, developers, and business owners to know how the city plans to grow in the future. This map has not been updated for many years. We need to do outreach to the citizens and get their input on how they want their city to grow. And then we need to follow that map and that plan.
Impact fees are a crucial part of ensuring that developers and builders are paying their fair share of growth. It is not appropriate, nor fair, for Caldwell citizens to be burdened with improvements that are due in part of the development process. The city currently has impact fees for the police, fire, and parks departments. These fees help to augment these departments, since it is the development itself that requires more police officers, fire fighters, and parks. However, the city does not currently have Traffic Impact Fees. Not having these fees can cause a shift of that burden from the developer, where it should be, to the Caldwell citizen, which is not appropriate. While the city does have a system in place to procure some fees from developers, the developer must meet certain thresholds for those to come in to play. All development and buildings should be required to have a traffic impact fee. These fees must be fair and show that they are directly correlated to the additional traffic that those developments will be adding to our transportation system. We can then use those traffic impact fees to expand our road networks, build new intersections, and install turn lanes where needed. With this in place, the cost of those improvements is then shifted to the developers, rather than onto the citizens.
I truly believe that Caldwell is at a crossroads right now that will determine our future. We have seen incredible growth throughout the city. From residential developments, to our thriving downtown, to our nearly full business parks. This has placed Caldwell in an incredible position for our future. It also creates the potential for a perfect storm where if not careful we may become a victim of our own success. Planning for our future is of the utmost importance. Having been a professional planner for the past 16 years puts me in a great position to lead our city into the future. I have spent the majority of my business life assisting cities and counties in planning for their future. This is not something that is learned overnight. Development is something that must be done right the first time, as it is very difficult, if not near impossible to fix or back track when mistakes are made. We need to be aware of our transportation system as traffic has become a significant issue in Caldwell. We need to amend our Comprehensive Plan Map and involve the citizens to find out how they want to grow and where. I have been a part of dozens of Comprehensive Plan updates and downtown development projects, including outreach to the community to ensure that their voices are heard and their input becomes a part of the new plan. I also worked for the city for six years. This has given me a unique perspective of how the city functions and where we can improve our processes to be more efficient and reduce waste and ultimately our tax burden on the citizens. I have also been an active volunteer, especially with the youth in our community coaching dozens of sports teams as my kids have grown up as well as volunteering with youth programs at my local church and schools. The mayor works very closely with the youth in our community and needs to demonstrate character and integrity so that he can be entrusted to lead them and be a role model for them.
While I have dedicated several hundred volunteer hours throughout my life helping Caldwell become a better place, more recently I was the only member of the City Council to vote to participate in the State lead CARES Act program that would have provided immediate tax relief to all of Caldwell’s citizens. Due to this proposal failing with a 5-1 vote, the money that could have come to Caldwell, instead was divided up among the other cities throughout the State that opted into this program, including our neighboring city Nampa. I also was part of the city’s Development Team, also known as the Red Carpet Team, that worked in the design and development of Indian Creek Plaza. Additionally, as the Senior Planner for the Planning & Zoning Department I was instrumental in instituting plan review fees that increased our departments revenues by over $200,000 shifting that tax burden off the shoulders of Caldwell citizens.