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July 30, 2014

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Q&A with Boulder City Council candidate Peggy Leavitt

2011 MUNICIPAL PRIMARY


Boulder City's municipal primary election is April 5. The Sun interviewed all eight candidates seeking office -- two are running for mayor against incumbent Roger Tobler, who is seeking reelection, and five are running to fill two city council seats -- and asked them what they would bring to City Hall. You can find their answers, condensed and edited for clarity, in the links below.

MAYOR

CITY COUNCIL

Peggy Leavitt

Peggy Leavitt

Boulder City, like most cities, has some financial issues to address: $96 million in debt and decimated traditional revenues among them. What are some of your own solutions to the city’s financial problems? Can you name some specific areas where the city should save money?

The city manager has presented a debt management plan, and I think that addresses some of those concerns. Using that plan, we should be able to eliminate half of the debt in the next five years. We need to be fiscally responsible with our solar lease revenue. I think the temptation will be to spend it on other areas, but we have to stay focused on the debt.

Another thing to watch for in this economic environment is the state coming in and taking our revenues. That is a big concern to me. My personal feeling when looking at the budget is we need to be fair and look at everything.

How would you encourage economic growth and stability in Boulder City?

I’m a big supporter of our local businesses. I’ve talked to a lot of business owners. Some feel support. Others don’t. We have to do everything we can to make them successful.

I would want the city to partner with the Chamber of Commerce. We should be encouraging new business owners and taking them by hand through the process and navigating through the red tape. I think it’s doubly important once the bypass is built. By then, we have to be sure we’ve done everything to build a vibrant economy.

According to city records, the city has spent more than $130,000 in pursuing lawsuits against the petitioners of three ballot questions from November’s election, two of which were passed by the voters, as a means of challenging their legality. That course of action has upset a portion of the city’s populace, as demonstrated by the protest this week. What is your opinion on the decision to sue those petitioners?

One of the things that I would like to see implemented is community forums, where we get together in an informal setting and talk about these issues before they get to the ballot. I believe if we would have talked about this ahead of time, we could have come to a compromise or consensus. If we couldn’t come to some sort of agreement, then we could pursue that option.

The only way I would want to be involved in the suing of citizens is if something was obviously illegal or unconstitutional. We need to get more citizen involvement. I think there is a group of people who feel disenfranchised because of these lawsuits. I want to be a person who listens to all concerns.

Heated debate is part of politics, but it might be argued that Boulder City’s discussions are more hostile than most. The attempted recalls of council members Linda Strickland and Travis Chandler or the controversy over City Manger Vicki Mayes’s car registration could be used as examples. How would you encourage civil discourse in City Hall?

As I said before, I think we need to establish community forums where people can come together and talk about these issues before arguments start during council meetings. We need to involve the citizens more, and I think that would help to lessen some of the personal attacks.

Do you believe more could be done to fix Boulder City’s traffic problem since the opening of the Hoover Dam bypass bridge in October? What solutions would you propose that haven’t already been pursued?

Plans are already in place to build an additional lane on U.S. 93. I think we need to assess the traffic situation after that. But I do see the traffic out my kitchen window every day. It has been backed up to Henderson at times. I think we should consider extending Marina Street and paving it to give people in the Hemingway Valley another exit and entrance to the other side of the city.

I am also a supporter of toll roads, if that would get the bypass built sooner.

Finally, why are you the right candidate for City Council?

I think what uniquely qualifies me is 20 years of managerial experience, which would translate well. I’m used to working with budgets, handling employees and making tough decisions. I’ve been in a position where I’ve had to make policy, and I’ve been involved with strategic planning. That puts me at an advantage coming to City Council. I think I have some good ideas, like the community forums. We need to allocate resources based on citizen input.

As a manager, I’ve also discovered a talent for getting people of diverse opinions to come together and work on solutions for problems. We have to find ways that we do agree, get us talking to each other, so we can do that. I think that’s another thing I bring to the table.

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