Name: Garret L. Nancolas
Occupation: Mayor, City of Caldwell
Education: Graduated Caldwell High School with Honors, 1974. Continuing Education: Certified Guild Gemologist through Diamond Council of America, 1977; Conflict resolution training, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University through the Association of Idaho Cities; Contract negotiations and arbitration training through the Labor Relations Information Systems, 2010-2012. Attended numerous conferences and training sessions on local government issues including budget, government finance, air quality, land use, zoning, conflict resolution, risk management and policy.
Prior political experience: Currently serving as mayor. I have had the honor and privilege of serving for 16 years. I also had the privilege of serving on the Caldwell City Council from January 1991 through July 1997. I served as council president for four years during that time. I also served on the Caldwell Planning and Zoning Commission for two years from January 1989 through December 1990.
Civic involvement: I was raised by wonderful parents who taught me the importance of service at a very early age. I learned to serve through church assignments, Boy Scouts of America and throughout school. I have continued that service throughout my life by serving as Scout Master of Troop 299, volunteering for service projects through the Church I attend. In order to serve the citizens of Caldwell and represent their interests, I currently serve on more than 30 boards and commissions, including the Canyon County Organization on Aging, the YMCA Advisory Board, Valley Regional Transit, Association of Idaho Cities, Compass, Treasure Valley Partnership, and Idaho Emergency Communications Commission.
Years living in Caldwell: 49 years
Family: Wife, Pamela; two children; two grandchildren
What makes you a better choice for voters than your opponent(s)?
I love the City of Caldwell and its citizens! I love the privilege of serving as mayor! I have given the energy and time necessary to fulfill the obligations and responsibilities associated with the position of mayor. I have treated this office with respect and integrity and will continue to do so. I have worked very hard to establish meaningful relationships of trust with the employees, citizens, Chamber of Commerce and business community. We have created partnerships with the development community, state and local government agencies, and education entities to move Caldwell forward. While serving as mayor, it has been my privilege to gain invaluable experience and knowledge regarding the many issues we face on a daily basis. But most importantly, there is no one who loves this community more than I do, nor anyone who cares more for the families of the great city of Caldwell.
2. If elected, what are your top three priorities? How will you accomplish them? Please provide specifics.
The three top priorities are the same now as they have been for the past several years. Economic development, providing a safe and family friendly city, and helping the downtown redevelop.
In the area of economic development, we have recently created a foreign trade zone around the industrial airport and upgraded the infrastructure in the area of Sky Ranch Business Park and airport. We have upgraded Exit 29, including widening of Highway 20/26 for better safety and business recruitment.
For families, we have continued to build parks and protect open space. We have improved the walkability of the city with new bike paths and pathways. We are the only city in the state that has created a youth master plan to help provide continued opportunities for our youth and families and it is working! We also need to continue our partnership with Caldwell and Vallivue School Districts as well as the College of Idaho and Treasure Valley Community College to provide a well-educated and trained workforce. Our crime rate continues to drop through efforts of our police department and safety service partners.
For downtown, we have developed Indian Creek, rehabilitated the Train Depot, upgraded Main Street and continue to provide wonderful activities to bring our families downtown.
3. What is the one thing your city should start doing to encourage economic development and create jobs?
We have created an exceptional economic development package to create jobs and expand existing business by partnering with the Caldwell Economic Development Council, existing landowners, the Urban Renewal Agency, Canyon County, the state of Idaho and city staff. This package includes low land prices, infrastructure, job creation grants, expedited permitting, and state and county tax incentives. We have also created a foreign trade zone that is attracting a lot of attention from the manufacturing community! We recognize that industry and business developers are looking for family friendly, safe, walkable and beautiful communities to bring their employees and families to live in; hence the many efforts to beautify our downtown, build parks, reduce crime and enhance educational opportunities!
4. How do you envision your city 10 to 20 years from now? How should it change?
It is my belief that the city will continue to grow and develop. The Sky Ranch Business Park and surrounding area will grow with manufacturing companies and industrial users. The airport will continue to grow and be a valuable tool in attracting business to Caldwell. The Exit 29 area will blossom with commercial and retail opportunities. Downtown will continue to blossom with more retail, food and mixed uses, including residential. The areas to the east and south will be the main areas for residential and neighborhood commercial growth. The Highway 20/26 and Highway 55 corridors will continue to develop and grow. Caldwell will continue to be a great place to live, work and raise a family and pursue an education!
5. Are you concerned about public apathy and involvement in civic matters? How would you get more people involved?
Unfortunately that is a problem in many communities. We have really made a conscious effort to involve the public in the decision making process in many ways. For example, we hold numerous workshops and city events, we sponsor the Chamber luncheons during the summer to take the budget workshops to the public and present the entire budget there. We involve the public by using many committees and working groups throughout the year. We include the members of the Mayors Youth Advisory Council on boards and commissions to involve them in the decision making process. We also include the public in hiring decisions for appointed officials and council appointments. We also provide information through our website, newsletters and public announcements.
6. What are the top two issues facing Caldwell, and how should they be addressed?
The top two issues are economic development/ business retention expansion and very difficult financial conditions due to the recent recession. The two are related in many ways. We are addressing the first through our economic development incentives package mentioned previously. We believe as we create more industrial and commercial growth it will be the long-term solution to economic stability.
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?
The citys assessed valuation dropped during the recession from nearly $1.5 billion, to under $1 billion, greatly reducing the revenue to the city for essential services. We have a long way to go to even catch up! However, as we grow and bring new industry and jobs to the city, the first area that needs attention is safety services. Both police and fire have taken large cuts in revenue over the past few years. We need to bolster those two departments in order to continue to keep crime low and provide the essential safety services that our citizens deserve. We also need to find a way to reward the wonderful employees who have continued to work hard without raises, and in some cases, a reduction in wages, while lowering the levy rate and drive down property taxes. It will take wise decisions and continued investment in economic development to make this happen!
8. If more budget tightening is needed, where would you look first for cuts? Why?
As mentioned, we have just managed this city through one of the most difficult economic recessions in the history of America. We did this by carefully watching every expenditure, delaying projects, reducing staff through attrition when possible, rebidding existing contracts, cross training and sharing resources between departments, partnering with other agencies to reduce redundant programs, working closely with department heads to create efficiencies in daily operations, and finally working closely with the city council to create sound fiscal policy.