Sherri Jorgensen is one of 13 candidates seeking a seat on City Council.
To help residents make an informed decision when casting their ballots, the Boulder City Review asked each candidate to answer three questions and invited them to record a video interview in lieu of a candidates’ forum, which could not be held due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Jorgensen’s response is below in her own words. They have been edited only for grammar, spelling and style.
Marital status: Married to Mark Jorgensen
Family: I have raised all four of my children in Boulder City. Alexis, Ashlyn, Aubrey and Preston. I also now have four grandchildren.
Education: I have bachelor’s degree in education. I also graduated from University of Nevada, Reno’s Partners in Policy Making.
Occupation: I’m a teacher by profession and a stay-at-home mom.
Length of Boulder City residency: I’ve lived in Boulder City 23 years.
Previous experience serving Boulder City (appointed, elected or volunteer positions): Served on numerous committees for the schools of Boulder City as all four of my children attended them. Some of these include the Learning Improvement Team; Parent Advisory Committee, which I was president for three years; the committee to help design Boulder City High School; and Boulder City High School’s School Organizational Team. Plus numerous hours as a volunteer in the classroom, at school events and as team mom.
I’m currently serving as the chairperson on the Boulder City Allotment Committee. I’ve been on this committee for three years.
I am currently serving as a board member of our homeowners association.
I love to volunteer at Meals on Wheels and help the community I love.
I am serving as a youth leader at church.
Previous experience serving other governmental agencies (appointed, elected or volunteer positions): Served as a member of the state committee for determining early intervention services for individuals with developmental delays from birth through 3 years of age.
I served as board member and treasurer on the Down Syndrome Organization of Southern Nevada.
Honors/awards/special qualifications: The greatest qualification I have is the fact that I live in Boulder City, have raised my family here and plan to retire here. I’ve had both honors and awards but I’m not sure they are applicable to running for City Council. Most have to do with my teaching career and service.
I would like to see transparency, communication and honesty take precedence when representing this city. I plan on hearing the voice of the people fairly and weighing that voice when making decisions for our great city. There is so much that is unique and good about this city, and I plan on working hard to keep it that way.
▶ What do you feel are the most pressing issues for Boulder City in the near future?
Aside from growth control, which is the topic of another question addressed below, historic preservation, small businesses, fiscal responsibility, civility in government and citizen participation are among the top issues facing our city at this critical juncture.
Historic preservation: A big part of what makes Boulder City so unique is our history. As the Town That Built Hoover Dam, we have an important story to tell. Our museums, nonprofits, and volunteers have done wonders to help preserve and spread this narrative. Successes include Boulder Theatre, the Browder Building, Boulder Dam Hotel and our city’s beautiful historic homes, to name a few. Boulder City High School was even remodeled with this history in mind.
But some historic buildings still lie in ruin, and many important stories remain untold. The main purpose of historic preservation is to help us all remember, better understand and ultimately learn and benefit from history. It’s not enough to have buildings labeled as historic while they continue to decay with their stories largely forgotten. Preservation is not deterioration. It’s not just burying our treasures in a time capsule.
Buildings, artifacts and stories are only truly preserved when we open them up, put them to good use, share them with others and give them a reason for being. We need to focus on our highest-priority projects and include the community in restoration and reuse processes so that we can continue to proudly share our treasured stories for generations to come.
Small business: The health of a city is measured by the well-being of all its moving parts. Strong businesses are among the most vital to Boulder City’s health. Perpetuating the same old “I win, you lose” mentality will never work. In the end, only win-win strategies prevail. We must step up and support our local businesses. And it’s crucial that they band together to help one another. All can succeed, but only together and only if city leaders and management honestly listen to the needs and concerns of our local businesses.
I have always been a careful listener and a doer. And I pledge to continue doing that as a council member. Only in that way will we help one another reach our fullest potential. We are blessed to have wonderful business owners who truly care about our city. So many of them call Boulder City home. If we work together as allies, understanding how each plays an integral part, we will simultaneously strengthen both our businesses community and our community at large. Then we can get down to details like streamlining licensing and permitting processes, easing cost-prohibitive start-up burdens, and marketing Boulder City to visitors in unified ways.
I’ve heard many Boulder City businesses crying out for help, and I’m ready to meet that challenge and champion their needs on council.
Fiscal responsibility: I know fiscal responsibility is a common buzz phrase parroted by almost every candidate running for office. But these aren’t just trite words. Being fiscally sound is critical to the long-term sustainability of any municipality. Living within our means. Paying off debt. Saving for a rainy day. Self-reliance. Being wise stewards. I understand these principles and will fight to protect your hard-earned dollars.
I’ll advocate for policies that allow businesses and private enterprise to succeed. As public servants, our first responsibility to citizens is to wisely use the money you entrust to our care for the greater good of Boulder City, and citizens can always count on me to take that charge seriously.
Civility in government and citizen participation: In government, we vigorously debate and often disagree, but that should never mean being disagreeable or treating others with hostility. There are times when hard decisions need to be made that won’t be ideal for everyone. But everyone’s input, facts and opinions need to be courteously heard and considered.
City Council members represent every citizen in our community and should value their input. Regardless of who you are or what you believe, I appreciate your hard work and contributions to our community. Your voice matters. Participation in government starts with voting, but it shouldn’t stop there. Our elected officials need to find time to hear our concerns and respond with respect. When elected, I promise to return phone calls and emails. I value everyone’s voice and pledge to set aside ample time to hear your concerns.
▶ What is your position on development in Boulder City? What type of developments do you think are appropriate and where should they be allowed? What types of developments do you think are inappropriate? Does the city have the necessary infrastructure to support any type of development?
Having served on the allotment committee for the past three years and as its current chair, I’ve become very familiar with Boulder City’s controlled growth ordinance. And I’m happy to report that it is still working extremely well for us. We’ve been well below our allowed allotments for the past 25 years. Our growth policies have kept us from becoming Henderson. I grew up in Henderson and know what can happen when the sky is the limit.
Many citizens don’t know that most of the Boulder City’s vast 200-plus square miles of land is undevelopable. Two-thirds of it is designated as a conservation area to protect natural resources and endangered species like the desert tortoise. Much of the rest is set aside for uses like recreation and solar energy generation.
Nevertheless, vigilance should always be our watchword. We can never become complacent when it comes to growth. Of course, we already have built-in safety nets to help protect us. For instance, the city is prohibited from selling more than an acre of land without first obtaining voter approval.
Consequently, the types of development that we deem appropriate, if any, should always be within the limits established by the growth ordinance, by the land management plan and by the voters. The land around Boulder Creek Golf Course was already approved for sale by the voters in 2010. So, any residential development should probably focus on that area first, but only if it makes economic sense, is done at a measured pace within the growth ordinance’s parameters, and it fits in terms of style and density with the surrounding areas, which of course would take into account public input.
Supporting infrastructure is almost never sufficient in newly developed areas like these, so the developers should be expected to contribute their fair share to install needed infrastructure as part of their agreed concessions.
In terms of industrial development, our solar fields have served us well and been a fortunate and much-needed source of revenue to our city in our characteristic clean, green fashion. However, even if we want to, there’s not much more space left to expand our solar projects unless technologies change or we get really creative.
Regardless, we all agree that one of the things that makes Boulder City so special is our small-town charm. Our current growth controls will keep us that way. It’s essential that we adhere to them.
▶ Traffic and parking appear to be problematic in the downtown area. Do you have any suggestions to improve the situation? Would allowing off-road vehicles on city streets help or hinder this issue?
To the extent they are problems, then traffic and parking in Boulder City’s downtown area are good ones to have. It means our businesses there are healthy and busy. I love driving or walking through our historic business district and seeing so many people bustling about, eating and drinking on the sidewalks and patios, listening to music, taking tours and enjoying our businesses. Typically, about half of the license plates are from out of state. This means our historic district is an attractive place to be. Plus, it’s so walkable and intimate. That adds immensely to our small-town charm, which is the main reason people seek us out. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As a side note, allowing off-road vehicles on city streets is an entirely separate issue and wouldn’t eliminate these traffic or parking issues in any case. If anything, they would only change the dynamic slightly and create similar but related challenges of their own.
Congestion is going to be an issue in an area that’s so full of lively activity. Our businesses want more visitors, not fewer, right? Crowds are a good thing as far as they’re concerned. So, traffic and parking will always be a challenge, especially in such a compact area as our historic district.
We’re obviously not going to tear down our historic buildings to make room for a high-rise parking garage. We also shouldn’t make the area less pedestrian-friendly by increasing speed limits or telling our visitors that they can’t walk about and enjoy their experience in a leisurely way. However, doing nothing and leaving things to chance isn’t a solution either. We need to continue looking for synergistic solutions. Side street parking helps, but that’s limited too.
Our business owners and citizens need to be heavily involved in decisions such as these. I’m a firm believer that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
One thing is certain — I’m a problem-solver and a consensus-builder. I’ll use my skills to build bridges of trust that will increase revenues and investment in Boulder City’s future. Together, we can find viable answers to tough problems like these.