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City manager decision almost complete

The search for a new city manager is almost complete.

City Council recently selected Forrest H. Neuerburg and Taylour R.B. Tedder as the two finalists. Both have a variety of experience and would bring different perspectives and strengths to the job. To help the community get to know Neuerburg and Tedder, the Boulder City Review recently asked them questions about why they wanted to work in town, their thoughts on historic preservation and how they plan to work with the community.

The city hosted a meet-and-greet session with the two men in the gazebo at Bicentennial Park on Wednesday morning before their final interviews.

Council unanimously approved having the evaluations compiled and added to the agenda packet for the May 19 special meeting as well as adding a discussion about which finalist to hire. That meeting begins at 9 a.m. at City Hall.

Forrest Neuerburg

Why do you want to be the city manager of Boulder City?

I have been looking to relocate as a current major project comes to conclusion and when I saw the advertisement for Boulder City I remembered that it was near Nellis Air Force Base. When I was in the Marines I spent some time at Nellis and really loved the desert there. I grew up in a family that spent a lot of springtime trips to the desert and I love outdoor recreation, so Boulder City seems like a great fit.

What I learned as I researched the city government is that it appears to be a top-notch organization and the community controls growth, which is very important. I grew up on the front-range of Colorado and the unbridled expansion, which continues today, has truly taken away the joy of many of the smaller communities that have now been swallowed up by the metropolitan area.

What is your favorite part of Boulder City and its community?

I once worked in Jackson Hole (Teton County), Wyoming and I see many similarities to Boulder City. Boulder City is breathtakingly scenic as is Jackson, the residents enjoy recreation and the preservation of their small-town values, and the community is involved in local government and in social activities, which make it feel like home.

What suggestions or experience do you have with preserving historic buildings in a city?

It looks like the community has made some strong efforts at historic preservation. I have worked with Main Street programs and urban renewal authorities in my career and Boulder City appears to be headed down the right path. There are always new techniques that can be applied but what can be realized is often dependent upon the amount of available funding. Often it comes down to a balance of incentives and reality.

It might be possible that some intense stakeholder discussions through charities and outreach activities could create additional buy-in within the community where a cohesive vision for preservation could be formed and moved forward.

What is your opinion of community groups and organizations’ involvement and influence on local politics?

Community groups and people with certain points of view often want to shape the community/future into their perfect vision of the future. This is certainly useful for elected and appointed officials to hear the opinions of these groups and organizations with the caveat that the listener must also attempt to gain the widest variety of input in order to make balanced decisions. The needs of the larger community must be considered as an integral part of decision making.

How important are (recreational) amenities to a community? And what do you feel is the best way to fund them?

Recreational amenities are quite important to the quality of life in a community and where possible and economically feasible, meeting the recreational needs of a community is a great benefit to the residents. Recreational amenities can also, dependent on the type and nature, bring in tourism and outside users, which can also be economically beneficial.

Paying for amenities generally has to fall on the taxpayers to some extent. In many cases, actual user fees can supplement/offset the cost of the amenities, but unless there is a public/private partnership in the mix most amenities do not pay for themselves.

Communication and transparency are important to residents of the community. What do you feel are the best ways to communicate with them and to be transparent?

The city utilizes a lot of media options to communicate with the public such as a website and Facebook, which are very positive efforts at transparency. The live video streaming of meetings and the coverage from the newspaper are also very useful in getting the word out.

A number of other aspects post COVID, which might be worth trying, is coffee with the manager and mayor type meetings where citizens can have an informal forum. A bi-weekly column from the city could also be useful to have published in the paper, on the website and Facebook, which not only highlight events, but could also highlight employees, provide perspective on issues and challenges, and increase information all around.

Of course, my personal favorite is being available to talk to the citizens about what their concerns are. In other communities we have also utilized speaker’s bureaus to go to various clubs and organizations to talk about city issues and activities.

What quality do you most admire in a person? And what quality do you least admire in a person?

I most admire people with a strong point of view who have the courage of their convictions and the facts to back those up. I least admire those who fabricate information to bolster a false or demeaning position.

Taylour Tedder

Why do you want to be the city manager of Boulder City?

As a local government manager, I chose this profession through a desire to serve the public. I dedicate myself daily to the constant improvement of the quality of life for residents in the community. Through innovative approaches to projects, while holding onto the history and character of the community, the Boulder City team would continue to flourish and take the city as an organization to the next level.

Noticeably, the city of Boulder City includes a well-qualified staff. This is one of the major points that led to my desire to be the city manager of Boulder City. Effective city management relies on the accomplishments of the organization as a whole, not just a leader. Providing staff the tools and support they need to continue moving the organization to the next level is something I would enjoy daily while meeting goals for the city of Boulder City.

What is your favorite part of Boulder City and its community?

Boulder City captured the interest of myself and my wife when we visited a couple of years ago. Our first impression remains: Boulder City was exactly the type of city we’d love to make our home — a premier well-planned out, family-friendly community with a small-town atmosphere. The proximity to recreational amenities and benefits of the metropolitan area nearby provide everything a resident could desire, without the need to travel far.

The community itself is very involved and active, which I believe leads to success in local government. Hearing from residents that care about their community is very refreshing. Telling our story as an organization in a well-thought-out, deliberate way, helps create additional public trust and support behind initiatives of the city as a whole.

I also believe there are many similarities of Boulder City to the city of Leavenworth, Kansas, where I’m currently the assistant city manager, and the city of Derby, where I served as development manager and assistant to the city manager. While the geography is different in Southern Nevada than the Kansas City area, Boulder City’s approximately $75 million budget and $35 million general fund, 200 FTE’s (full-time employee equivalents), and all the aspects of being a full-service city are similar to those of the cities I’ve worked within. I believe the likenesses would allow me to hit the ground running on big-picture goals and projects without having to learn how an organization of this extent conducts business related to budgeting, capital projects, public safety, information technology systems and more.

What suggestions or experience do you have with preserving historic buildings in a city?

My experience with the “First City of Kansas,” incorporated in 1854, has allowed me to gain an immense breadth of experience in historic preservation. I constantly work with commercial and residential property owners and developers throughout Leavenworth’s 26-block historic downtown. I’m experienced with historic overlay zoning districts, national and state historic registered properties, federal historic preservation tax incentives, state historic tax credits, new market tax credits, Americans with Disability Act retrofitting, and other incentives and grant programs.

Leavenworth’s city-owned Riverfront Community Center, a source of pride within the community, was constructed in 1888 as a Union Pacific Railroad Depot. Through extensive upkeep and renovations, it serves the community in many capacities. Several other city buildings are historic, ranging from city hall to a theater, which allowed me to experience both sides of historic properties, as the property owner and assisting others.

Ensuring that distinctive historic properties and areas remain economically healthy, viable and attractive is paramount to my goals.

What is your opinion of community groups and organizations’ involvement and influence on local politics?

Focusing on relationships with intergovernmental agencies and community groups is a large part of local government. As the city manager, the position remains apolitical, yet that also means you must navigate the political environment with tact and ease.

I currently participate as a member of several committees and groups as part of my current position. For example, I am a part of a government affairs committee through our chamber of commerce that focuses on legislative issues that impact the community. In a past role, I served as a liaison for the city of Derby for a downtown merchants association.

Intent listening is another role of the city manager, and I believe hearing all voices at the table is a necessary approach.

How important are (recreational) amenities to a community? And what do you feel is the best way to fund them?

Recreational amenities are imperative to any community. Quality parks and recreation activities, well-kept and maintained public assets, and new offerings as the community grows should always be evaluated and kept in mind.

In my current community, we have committed to replacing aging playground equipment at a major park each year, formulating a plan for a splash pad, which has been a priority of residents with young children. We’re also working on increasing walkability through a “hike and bike” path plan for improving connectivity throughout the city.

Funding of capital projects has to fit in with the availability of funds in the capital improvement plan. Nevertheless, creative and out-of-the-box techniques can assist in getting projects completed quicker. A great example of this is the current plan for Boulder City’s proposed funding mechanism for the pool replacement project.

Communication and transparency are important to residents of the community. What do you feel are the best ways to communicate with them and to be transparent?

I believe a comprehensive strategic communication plan and full transparency have led to much of my success as a local government manager. I believe cities must be inclusive to all ages, incomes and abilities of residents. Communicating in a manner that allows each resident the opportunity to be well informed is paramount.

The quickest way to reach many residents is through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Nextdoor), while others prefer the city’s cable channel, a livestream of information online through YouTube, and others prefer reading the local paper or city newsletters (which I currently oversee quarterly, sent to each home).

The city of Boulder City does a fantastic job with transparency in financials through software and other repositories of information on their website. Through my research preparing for interviews with the City Council, it was most helpful. I believe user-friendly online information, organized efficiently for the public to access, aids in fuller transparency to residents.

What quality do you most admire in a person? And what quality do you least admire in a person?

I admire responsibility in others. People that finish what they have started and can be relied on are essential in city management. Trust provides a basis of safety to others and can be seen clearly by their actions.

I least admire untrustworthiness. Integrity centers on transparency — another major cornerstone of the work involved as the city manager or any city employee. The ability to trust people to follow through on what they say they will do is of high importance.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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