Garden City mayoral race: John Evans

October 8, 2013 

Name: John G. Evans

Age: 65

Occupation: Mayor, Garden City; residential real estate developer with current projects in Canyon County.

Education: High school

Prior political experience: Ten years Garden City Council, eight years as mayor.

Civic involvement: Eight years on the Capital Investment Citizens Advisory Council for ACHD; past board member of the Family Medical Residency of Idaho; board member of the Idaho Council of Governments, COMPASS, Valley Regional Transit, Boise Metro Chamber Advisory Council and member of the Treasure Valley Partnership.

Years living in Garden City: 24

Family: Wife, Judy; and three grown sons

Website: none

Social media accounts: none

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

I am running unopposed.

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

The first priority is to maintain the levels of service that our citizens currently enjoy, namely an effective police department, an innovative library, efficient parks and development services functions and a conscientious administration. Next would be the continued renovation of the city’s utility systems and third is continuing our ongoing efforts to enhance business opportunities and provide quality amenities for our residents. These goals are accomplished by affectively managing the city’s financial resources.

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

The city should and has concentrated on doing things that encourage the private sector to invest in this community. Examples include regular scrutiny of the city’s development regulations and investment in infrastructure projects like the new water storage tank and booster station funded through urban renewal, which will enhance the city’s ability to provide fire flows to undeveloped or underdeveloped areas.

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

I think the city will be approaching build out in 20 years with development of the remaining green fields on the south side of the river. I think the area between the fairgrounds and the Riverside Hotel will see some significant redevelopment with an enhanced live, work, create district that compliments the emerging new business types like the wineries and the Visual Arts Collective. In my opinion the private sector will be the driving force behind how it should change.

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

My concerns about public apathy are more focused on county, state and federal involvement than in Garden City. Garden City enjoys a number of very active volunteers that get involved and make a difference in our library and police departments and our various commissions and committees. We have active relationships with homeowners associations and the growing Garden City Chamber of Commerce. People will get involved if they see value and an opportunity to make a difference.

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

Upgrading aging infrastructure to accommodate new business in the original town site area is an issue the city is currently attacking. Continuing to utilize the capability of the Garden City Urban Renewal Agency in partnership with the city’s public works efforts is providing a blueprint for the resolution of this issue. Another issue is simply keeping up with the impacts that the growth in the valley has on the city. The resolution to this issue is realized by maintaining internal diligence and engaging with the various other governments in the valley to address common problems. COMPASS, Valley Ride and the Treasure Valley Partnership are examples of multijurisdictional efforts to deal with challenges that impact every city in the valley.

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?

The poorly written, confusing initiative you have referenced is hardly a legitimate context for the question. The city council is elected to govern on the basis of the powers conferred by the state. The initiative was in direct conflict with a statutorily authorized function of the city. In this instance it wasn’t a question of the will of the council over the will of the electorate but rather a question of the council maintaining its ability to fulfill its obligations. The referenced initiative is an example of why the power to repeal an initiative has been preserved. Certainly an initiative should carry significant weight and repealing an initiative should be carefully evaluated before consideration. In this instance the council acted properly by maintaining the city’s ability to manage the city parks.

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

If the city maintains its current direction the quality of life and the opportunities for positive growth will continue increase. To illustrate this point one only needs to compare the Garden City of the past with what you see today. There is always room for improvement but we are on the right course. Our job is to stay the course.

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