Nampa mayoral race: Tom Dale

October 6, 2013 

Name: Tom Dale

Age: 62

Occupation: Mayor of the City of Nampa

Education: Master’s degree in Music Education, minor in Psychology, University of North Texas; bachelor’s degree in Music Education, NNU

Prior political experience: 12 years as mayor; six years on Nampa City Council. Past President of Association of Idaho Cities. Current Chairman of Association of Idaho Cities Legislative Committee. As a student, I served as president of the NNU Student National Education Association.

Civic involvement: Kiwanis Club, 1996-present; Nampa Salvation Army Board, 2002-present; Chairman of the CWI Citizen Advisory Board, 2009-present; Member of the NNU Business Advisory Board; Idaho Virtual Charter School, founding Board Member; high school and college basketball official, 1985-2005; high school football official, 1980-present; member of American Legion.

Years living in Nampa: 38

Family: Parents still live on the family ranch, two brothers, one sister and hundreds Nampa residents that have become the closest family anyone could ask for.

Website: www.tomdale.us

Social media accounts: Twitter: @TomDale2013; Facebook: Facebook.com/mayortomdale; Instragram: Instagram.com/MayorTomDale

1. What makes you a better choice for voters than your opponent(s)?

The record speaks for itself. I have been able to bring people together from all walks of life with the common vision of making our community a better place. Together we have lowered crime rates, solved transportation issues, and created a plan for building a new library. During my 12 years of service, I have kept a principle given to me by Helen Chenoweth foremost in my thoughts; "Always remember who you work for." The people of Nampa have provided the vision and inspiration, created the strategies, and determined the direction for Nampa. I believe in Nampa, its people and their heart. My administration has put together a strong team of hard working, service-minded people who know how to treat people right and get things done. I am running for reelection because the best is yet to come.

2. If elected, what are your top three priorities? How will you accomplish them? Please provide specifics.

The top priority for local government every year is to provide for the public safety. We have come through the recession without compromising that prime directive — crime rates in Nampa have continued to drop, even through the recession.

1. Ensure Police and Fire Departments are manned and equipped to do their jobs right.

2. Our team began a much more aggressive Economic Development strategy in August. We have met with State and other city leaders to create this model, and know it will bring industry and jobs to Nampa.

3. It’s been a long time since Nampa developed a new park. I would like to see a new park built within the next 4 years, because it makes no sense for kids to have to leave Nampa to play sports. More specifics on accomplishing these objectives can be found in the city's Comprehensive plan. Please see www.tomdale.us/comprehensive-plan.

3. What is the one thing your city should start doing to encourage economic development and create jobs?

The number one question industrial developers ask when considering location? Is this a place where people want to live? Thus, the one thing we can do to attract more jobs is ensure Nampa remains a place people enjoying living; a safe place with activities for people of all ages, where crime is low and opportunities are high, a place where people matter. The record shows the successes of the past 12 years. Economic recovery is happening in Nampa. In the last four years, eleven manufacturing companies have either opened up or expanded their operations in the Nampa area. In the last three months, multiple new businesses have moved to our industrial zones. These efforts will only get stronger as we partner with the Chamber of Commerce, the State Department of Commerce, and our local legislators.

4. How do you envision your city 10 to 20 years from now? How should it change?

My vision for the future is centered on the people of Nampa, and how we work together to better serve one another. The highest goal in my life is to serve God, and I seek to accomplish that by serving people. We have a vibrant faith community in Nampa that shares the same desire. Over the past 12 years, the many different church groups have come together to meet needs in the community. Laying aside differences, for the first time we have worked side by side, focusing on those principles and values we share, and have accomplished much good. I see Nampa continuing to grow, attracting new industry and good paying jobs. I see healthy families prospering in a city where people are always put first. I see Nampa stable, secure, and safe.

5. Are you concerned about public apathy and involvement in civic matters? How would you get more people involved? I have not experienced apathy in Nampa. Public apathy occurs when people feel their opinions don't matter. My administration has developed a model of public engagement that has been recognized statewide. Over the past 12 years our team has reached out to the public on every major issue we have faced. A large group of citizens helped develop plans for King’s Corner overpasses and the Garrity Boulevard rebuild. It was a group of more than 100 folks who studied strategies and funding options for revitalizing Downtown and building a new library for Nampa. The public also provided input on how best to address upgrades needed at our wastewater plant. Over 70 people were involved in live meetings, with over 500 participating in an on-line group. Public engagement is alive and well in Nampa, and I am grateful for engaged people who are helping shape the future of our community.

6. What are the top two issues facing Nampa, and how should they be addressed?

As the top priority of local government, public safety is continually on my mind. We must maintain low crime rates if we intend to continue to attract new businesses and new families. I will continue to lead and advocate for full funding for our Police and Fire departments, ensuring they have the manpower and equipment to keep the public safe.

The education of our children sets the course for our city. With this understanding, I have worked hard at strengthening relationships between the school districts and the city. Graduation rates are directly proportionate to crime rates and teen pregnancy rates. I understand how working together toward realistic solutions is imperative to maintaining the health and stability of Nampa’s kids. For this reason we hosted a dropout prevention summit, and are currently working with the school district on addressing childhood obesity through the High Five Grant program.

7. If tax revenues take an upswing in the next few years, which part of city government do you think most needs an infusion of cash, and why?

During the belt tightening of the last four years we have been addressing many capital issues on an emergent need basis. Due to this, we have deferred maintenance on areas such as roads, parking lots, and some buildings. In the Police Department, we have also delayed purchase of police cars, and cut back on operational supplies and training. Deferred capital needs don’t go away: They are only delayed for a future date. Any infusion of cash must go toward these critical maintenance and infrastructure needs, as well as addressing the operational needs throughout the city.

8. If more budget tightening is needed, where would you look first for cuts? Why?

We have continually looked for efficiencies and cut spending wherever we could. By partnering with private industry, like Idaho Power, we have initiated energy upgrades that have already saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, and will save Nampa taxpayers millions more in the coming years. We took advantage of low interest rates to refinance the GO bond and the water tower bond, saving taxpayers $2 million.

We have already reduced personnel and cut our operational and maintenance spending. There is not much else left to cut. The thought of cutting further should frighten all of us, because it will mean cutting essential services that affect our public safety. It would be reckless and irresponsible to strip our Police and Fire departments of personnel and vital equipment they need to deliver the services Nampa citizens have come to expect and deserve.

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