Name: Jeff Kirkman
Occupation: 12 years with the Idaho Department of Corrections; current position, program manager.
Education: B.A. Political Science from Boise State University; Secondary Education Teaching Certification from BSU; Paralegal certification from BSU. Will graduate as a Certified Public Manager in December 2013.
Prior political experience: None, other than working on Jim Risch and Wendy Ungritch campaigns in my youth.
Civic involvement: None provided
Years living in Nampa: 25
Family: Wife, Gretchen; son, Jordan, 16; daughter, Quincey, 10; daughter, Campbell, 8; daughter, Sophia, 6; and son, Noah, 4.
1. What makes you a better choice for voters than your opponent(s)?
Leadership. I have been a public servant for the last 12 years. I know how to develop partnerships and work collaboratively with people, other departments, various private and government agencies and organizations. I understand and recognize that there is always more than one side to an issue. I am running to be elected as a representative of everyone in Nampa both businesses and residents and I have no agenda that would be contrary. The interests of the business community are of utmost importance and imperative for us as city government to nurture growth and prosperity in the business community. However, the citizens of Nampa are just as important and I will make sure that they too are well represented.
2. If elected, what are your top three priorities? How will you accomplish them? Please provide specifics.
How can we reduce the current tax levy rate. Just saying that we need to lower taxes because we pay more than other cities in Idaho is, I think, irresponsible. We have obligations to the citizens of Nampa for one public safety. We must ensure critical services are not sacrificed.
We must help current businesses stay competitive, become more successful and continue to seek out companies and businesses to relocate to Nampa by maximizing incentive programs from the state, county and city. Jobs with higher wages will improve the demand for higher value homes and increase our quality of life. Since so much of our tax revenue is dependent on property taxes, increasing values in homes and property will benefit the city without raising taxes.
Ensure that any significant public debt that may be considered is put to a vote by the citizens of Nampa. I believe that the police station and the library needed to be taken directly to the voters.
3. What is the one thing your city should start doing to encourage economic development and create jobs?
Lower the tax burden as much as possible in a responsible way. Lower taxes will provide the incentive for businesses to look at Nampa as a competitive place to do business. Business growth will increase the tax base.
4. How do you envision your city 10 to 20 years from now?
A vibrant downtown; increased commercial development; a solid and sustained infrastructure that supports the growth; lower taxes; and an adequately funded school district.
How should it change?
Methodically and incrementally. Nampa has adopted a comprehensive plan that we should . Use regarding zoning and development. We need to be responsible and complete when looking at reducing taxes.
5. Are you concerned about public apathy and involvement in civic matters?
Yes. People need to get involved especially in their local community. Of all levels of government, local government is the one that people tend to trust the most, about 70 percent according to the Pew Research Center. That right there should encourage people to become more involved in order to develop and maintain that trust. Local leaders are within ear shot of the public and easy to reach out to.
How would you get more people involved?
Take issues directly to the voters. When voters start to realize the impact issues have on their everyday life in an immediate way, they will start to take notice more and more.
6. What are the top two issues facing Nampa, and how should they be addressed?
Taxes. Next years budget discussions should perhaps include citizen involvement in the form of a budget commission. Nampa has many commissions from planning and zoning to aging to golf. The commission would provide citizen input on how best to address tax rates and budget issues.
Urban development. This is a complicated subject that evokes strong emotion from both sides. Urban development, if used appropriately and timely, can be a boon to economic development. Having large areas with many taxable properties puts more of a burden on the taxpayers than does a smaller area with one or two taxing properties.
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?
Public works. Unfortunately, our streets and roads have taken a back seat to other pressing issues. If our roads and streets are not funded properly then pretty soon it becomes a critical situation and ends up costing the city more to replace or repair it than it would have been to maintain it. The almost 400 miles of streets are really the lifeblood to the city. All activity in to, out of and within the city depends on the ability to get around.
The other area of public works is wastewater. With increasingly restrictive federal standards coming our way, we need to make sure our treatment plant is able to meet those standards by imposed deadlines. We need to ensure that the plant continues to meet the needs of a growing city that includes many diverse industries.
8. If more budget tightening is needed, where would you look first for cuts? Why?
Contracts, which includes the Idaho Center. We need to make sure that there is contract compliance with all contractors and the city. Failure to do so erodes public trust and wastes public funds. Unfortunately, if further budget tightening becomes a necessity, services to the citizens of Nampa will need to be closely scrutinized. If this were to come to fruition, the Budget Commission would be an invaluable asset for expert advice.