Garden City Council: Elfreda Higgins

October 7, 2013 

Name: Elfreda Higgins

Age: 68

Occupation: Retired

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Business Management, University of Phoenix; Associate of Science in Business, Santa Barbara City College; Certificate in Mediation, Loyola University

Prior Political Experience: Garden City Council Member, January 2006 to December 2010; Garden City Council President, 2006; Idaho State Representative District 16, January 2009 to December 2012

Civic involvement: Assistance League of Boise, 2000-2012; Soroptimist International of Garden City, 2010-2011; Daughters of the American Revolution Pioneer Chapter, 2007-2013; Foundation for Ada/Canyon Trail System board member, 2006-2010 and 2012-2013; Garden City Planning and Zoning Committee, 2005-2006 and 2012-2013; Garden City Library Foundation Board, 2004-2006 and 2012-2013; Garden City Police volunteer, 2005; Garden City Comprehensive Plan Committee, 2005-2006

Years living in Garden City: 13

Family: Husband, Paul Higgins, three children and four grandchildren

Website: N/A

Social Media: Facebook

1. What makes you a better choice for voters than your opponents?

My unique perspective and experience after serving five years on the City Council and four years in the Idaho State Legislature makes me a better choice. I have a passion for public service and a strong sense of community. I am actively involved and engaged in the life of Garden City. I served in the past and currently serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Library Foundation Board. I served on the City’s Comprehensive Plan Committee, helping to shape the future of Garden City. I was also a Police Department Volunteer and the Editor of the “Garden City News,” an informative newsletter to the residents of Garden City. I have over 30 years of complex business experience in the private sector.

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

1. Public safety is always the first priority. All major crimes in the city have gone down from 40 percent to 50 percent in the past 10 years. Garden City has a top-notch police force. I will make certain that continues by funding the training and equipment that is necessary.

2. Review and change, if necessary, the Garden City codes and the City’s 2006 comprehensive plan to reflect current ideals and standards. This will make the city more attractive to developers and businesses and secure more tax revenues, thus ensuring the financial stability of the city.

3. Change the “old image” of Garden City to one that portrays the current character of the city and all the amenities it has to offer. All residents of Garden City live within one mile of the Boise River. We have a fantastic Library, which has become a Community Center. There are numerous artisans, wineries, breweries, restaurants and recreational opportunities.

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

Involve residents and business owners to help develop and implement an economic development plan for Garden City. Garden City is on the cusp of becoming a developmental boomtown. I want to make certain that it grows in a positive way.

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

I envision Garden City becoming a “destination location” with outdoor recreational opportunities abounding. It will also be a place where citizens may visit art galleries, art studios, restaurants, wineries and breweries. Garden City will be a vibrant, artesian community with people clamoring to live or visit the city. Development of parts of southeast Garden City and Chinden Blvd. will be key in accomplishing this.

5. Are you concerned about public apathy and involvement in civic matters? How would you get more people involved?

I am concerned that the public has become apathetic regarding civic matters. It is easy to leave it to “someone else.” Residents should be recruited and encouraged to participate in committees and commissions within the city.

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

1. Crime. Although crime has decreased dramatically, Garden City still has a higher crime rate per capita than other cities in Idaho. The police department has done an admirable job in lowering the crime rate. Crime will continue to decrease in the future as Garden City develops and redevelops.

2. Infrastructure of the southeastern part of the city. As aging water and sewer pipes are replaced, there will be opportunities to develop and redevelop that area of town. The Urban Renewal Commission will help fund some projects in the future.

7. Last year, Garden City repealed a voter-approved initiative on uses of the nature path. Do you believe the will of the council should supersede the will of the people?

I would normally say that the will of the majority of the people should rule. In this case, the Initiative B passed by only a slim margin. The Idaho Statesman stated in an editorial on Oct. 16, 2012, that Initiative B should be opposed because it was cumbersome, poorly written and confusing. If enacted, the initiative would have precluded the city from closing the Greenbelt for any reason, including routine maintenance, without taking it to a vote. This would deny the city regulatory authority afforded by the Idaho Constitution.

8. What more can Garden City leaders do to make the city a place where people want to live, work and play?

Encourage the development of underutilized properties to provide new homes, townhomes, apartments and businesses. Provide more parks and recreational opportunities for residents. Also work with Idaho Transportation Department and Ada County Highway District to provide sidewalks on city streets and pedestrian and bicycle overpasses on Chinden Boulevard and Glenwood Street. Market the fact that Garden City is a fantastic place to live, work and play.

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