Jim Shirk: Government for the people needs to be by the people

Editor’s note: The Nevada Appeal presented the Carson City Board of Supervisors, the mayor and city manager an opportunity for a column.

Many believe government is increasingly responding to the agenda of special interests and not acting for the common good. I’m holding steadfast our local government needs to be of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Carson City operates under the Board of Supervisors/City Manager form of city government. The board is the legislative body who makes decisions for the community and also appoints the city manager.

According to the city’s website: “The Board is charged with providing orderly government and safeguarding the general health, welfare, and safety of its citizens.”

Points of interest —

1. Carson City’s economic recovery is not dependent upon decreasing taxes or fees (although it would be nice). Improving our educational system needs to be a key component for economic survival in Carson. For higher educational availability, we need to support and maintain a sound working relationship with Western Nevada College. Expanding access to higher education could contribute to economic strength and make for a more vibrant community. We need incentives and opportunities for permanent employment of our college graduates. Carson City would then become a magnet for investment and create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

2. Carson City has launched a program called #CarsonProud. This is a multi-media publicity campaign “designed to keep residents up-to-date on projects, and share our love for the city.” With a plus or minus $100,000 budget, currently managed by Public Works, this should be reviewed, as the city’s IT department is the more appropriate department to run this and would likely do so more efficiently.

3. During the last Legislative session, Senate Bill 29 passed and granted Carson City limited functional “Home Rule.” How this will be implemented is still unknown. This is an in-depth and lengthy topic, so please contact me for details.

4. Another major election year (2016) approaches and both national and state elections are going to demand our attention. However, your efforts in making any real change for you and yours in Carson City begin locally, as 2016 is also an election year for Carson City Board of Supervisors. Ward Two (currently held by Brad Bonkowski) and Ward Four (currently held by me) as well as the Mayor’s seat (currently held by Bob Crowell), are all on the ballot.

5. Also on the November 2016 ballot — Carson City voters will approve or disapprove “Gas Tax Indexing.” This tax amount is yet to be determined and would be added to the current per gallon gas price. All funds collected through this new tax would go toward street maintenance within the community.

6. The Downtown Revitalization Project, including the narrowing of Carson Street between William and Fifth streets from four lanes to two and the removal of all center median landscaping, will begin next year. Widening of the sidewalks and many other aesthetic upgrades will hopefully brighten the area for tourism and growth. The plans are available for review at City Hall, or feel free to contact me for more information. This project has many great qualities; however, I did vote “no” for this project and did so, as citizens should have been given the opportunity to vote on this issue.

We have three other corridors that also will be revitalized (with the one-eighth-of-a-cent sales tax), which are the north, east and south “entrances” to Carson City. I encourage everyone to attend the public meetings that are going to be held in the near future where plans for these projects are going to be discussed. Many citizens are still shocked and upset at the final results of the Downtown Revitalization Project, but there was much public notice and discussion prior to this phase of the conceptual drawings.

Remember: Participation by the many yields great results on the decisions made by the few. If you don’t know which ward you live in or which board member represents your ward, call the Clerk’s office at 775-887-2087.

Wishing you all safe and happy holidays, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Jim Shirk is Carson City Board of Supervisor, Ward 4. He can be reached at 775-720-5761 or JShirk@carson.org.


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