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Mayor candidates share their vision for city

Name: Warren Harhay

Age: 75.

Marital status: Married to Marcia Harhay for 52 years.

Family: Sons Marshall, Matthew and Mitchell; grandchildren Annison, Andy, Lilly and Brad.

Education: Graduate Cleveland State University, Kent State University, Wilmington National University. Holds a doctorate in electrical engineering.

Occupation: Councilman, Boulder City; retired businessman (Access Nevada, EVA).

Length of Boulder City residency: 37 years.

Club/organization affiliations: Sunrise Rotary Club past president, Romeos, Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, American Radio Relay League (ham radio), ad hoc utility committee.

Why do you feel you would be a good mayor for Boulder City?

I feel my diversified background can provide the best skill set to plan for the future while honoring our past. I am analytical by training but enjoy listening to, talking with and sharing our rich historic past and our lively present-day citywide cultural and social events.

I feel it is part of the job to have open discussions with citizens about any issue regarding the city. I enjoy my weekly Coffee With a Councilman sessions. I document the reasons for making major decisions in writing. I am persistent and happy to see my idea of a citizen’s advisory utility committee come to fruition.

I am action- and results-oriented and persistent.

What is your vision for Boulder City in 10 years?

I foresee only slight residential growth in compliance with our controlled-growth ordinance in order to keep the character of the city intact. I see equally modest growth in the business sector with companies such as Medolac locating here.

The complete streets project will create a more inviting environment for our present businesses as well as new small-business establishments.

A new railway museum will provide further reason to visit our town by tourists. I do not see mega-businesses in our future as that would destroy the very thing that makes this town what it is: a unique historic planned city built to build Hoover Dam.

People want to live here because it is a small town with an independent local government, police and fire departments and its own newspaper with residents sharing a fierce sense of community. These are the very things that made Boulder City my choice for my young family in a move and resettle from Cleveland, Ohio, 37 years ago. I now know I made the right decision in 1982.

What do you feel are the most pressing issues for Boulder City in the near future?

When I ran for council I saw among many folks a distrust in their local government. In my two years, I have worked diligently to gain back the peoples’ trust. I believe that as mayor I can set the priority for policy to achieve that goal.

Unfortunately, we perhaps have earned that mistrust and suspicious nature due to the missteps and miscues of the past. The major element in communication is not just broadcasting but listening. I believe we must do a better job of listening.

Name: Kiernan McManus

Age: 61.

Marital status: Single.

Family: No children.

Education: Graduate of Boulder City High School; bachelor of arts in political science, University of Nevada, Las Vegas and University of New Hampshire; associate in applied science in Cisco technology and associate in applied science in Microsoft technology, Maricopa Community College.

Occupation: Information technology.

Length of Boulder City residency: Boulder City native with combined residency of 35 years.

Club/organization affiliations: Member of Boulder City History &Arts Foundation; volunteer at Senior Center of Boulder City.

Why do you feel you would be a good mayor for Boulder City?

As a native of Boulder City I share the desire we, as residents, have to see Boulder City continue to be a small town with a rich quality of life. I have been active for several years in efforts to protect the attributes that contribute to that quality of life.

As vice chair of the city’s historic preservation committee, I moved forward with recommendations to preserve the architecture of our historic district. During the past two years on City Council I have worked to make our city government more transparent and responsive to residents.

By working with many different groups and individuals in our town I believe I have the perspective and understanding to guide our city toward a future where we continue to enjoy the community we call home. I will continue to work earnestly to research issues, know the facts and make decisions that benefit our residents.

What is your vision for Boulder City in 10 years?

We are fortunate to live in such a great town as Boulder City. The sacrifice and effort that was needed to construct Hoover Dam is reflected in the origins of Boulder City. The effort resulted in one of the first master-planned cities and provided us with one of the most-visited national parks in America.

Large areas of open land were deeded to the city that continue to bring both enjoyment for many and financial security. That security has been enhanced by the early decision to be conservative in the growth of the town. I believe in the benefits of conservative growth and will ensure those goals remain. There are opportunities for improving our existing community while maintaining the conservative growth. A larger portion of the revenue that is generated from the leasing of land will be budgeted toward such opportunities.

Projects such as the beautification of Boulder City Parkway and the possible expansion of the Nevada State Railroad Museum are planned to be financed by Clark County or the state. I believe our city has the opportunity to see our existing historic district become even more important in promoting small businesses and home values by retaining the architecture and improving on the qualities that already exist.

Utilizing our old airport property with a historic theme would be available to attract new businesses such as a much-desired second grocery store. We can expand our partnerships with the existing federal government agencies that provide the largest share of jobs. Our schools continue to be among the best in the state, and we will continue to share our resources to improve the quality of education here.

We enjoy a large source of income from the leasing of land for our main industry of energy production. It is a growing industry, and the revenue needs to be better focused on improving what we have and adding where we can without rapid growth.

My main effort will be to see that the small-town charm we enjoy is the guiding principal for the future of Boulder City.

What do you feel are the most pressing issues for Boulder City in the near future?

Our utilities infrastructure is in need of attention after so many years of neglect. Whether it is an aging electrical system or a municipal pool that is deteriorated, these are the largest costs we must deal with. But the cost must be reasonable and practical.

The city is still saddled with debt from ill-advised attempts in the past to grow more rapidly and that must continue to be paid over the next few years. Fortunately, the increases in money from the leasing of land for solar projects will allow for other projects to be considered.

Our fire department staffing has been improved by adding reserve personnel. Our police department continues to receive additional funding for personnel from the countywide “More Cops” sales tax. Both of these departments must be maintained for our public safety.

While I place a high priority on repairing our utilities, I do not share in the opinions of the other candidates that our utility rates should be judged on the basis of how high the rates in other cities may be. I will continue focusing on an evaluation of our utility rates in terms of our actual costs rather than whatever the market will bear. The advantage of low-cost power from Hoover Dam must continue to be passed onto our residents and not considered as a potential for profit. While the cost of necessary improvements is large we must also focus on what is reasonable.

The Interstate 11 bypass has had an impact on our city. Some of our longest-serving businesses have lost revenue. Thankfully, the loss has not been as devastating as some had predicted. I will continue to encourage businesses to develop new strategies and look for opportunities where city government can assist in the effort. I believe city government can best help in providing data and other information to the entire business community rather than direct taxpayer dollars. Better marketing of the many advantages Boulder City offers will help blunt the impact of the bypass opening.

We are a community with many great qualities. I believe focusing on what has made our community so great will return many more benefits than transforming our city into something we have never been. I will work for you to accomplish those goals. It is an honor to serve this community.

Name: Rod Woodbury

Age: 51.

Marital status: Married.

Family: I am a Southern Nevada native, including over 40 years in Boulder City since I was 11 years old. My wife, Leslie, and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary in May. We have seven children, who, like me, have all attended Boulder City schools. Our two oldest were Boulder City High School valedictorians. My son Joseph is co-founder of Neighbor, the Airbnb of storage. Leslie and I are now the proud grandparents of three with one more on the way.

I come from a family tradition of public service in Southern Nevada dating to the 1950s. My great-uncle Dr. Clare Woodbury served on the Clark County School Board for 24 years. My father, Bruce Woodbury, served as a Clark County commissioner for 28 years. My sister Melissa Woodbury served for 10 years as a state Assemblywoman in the Nevada Legislature. And now I’ve served on the City Council for eight years, including four as mayor, so that makes over 70 years of public service in all.

All of my siblings and their families still live in Southern Nevada, including three in Boulder City. We love living, working and raising our families here, which is why we work hard to maintain Boulder City’s small-town charm and traditional values.

Education: Boulder City High School (class of 1985), salutatorian; Brigham Young University (1992), bachelor of arts English, minor coaching; J. Reuben Clark Law School (1999), Juris Doctorate.

Occupation: Attorney; mayor.

Length of Boulder City residency: 40-plus years.

Club/organization affiliations: Woodbury Law, president and managing shareholder; Boulder City Museum and Historical Association, longtime member, supporter, donor and former vice president, secretary and board member; Boy Scouts of America, longtime supporter and donor, former Scoutmaster of Troop 213, and have three sons who achieved their Eagle Scout rank, with the fourth and fifth ones close as well; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nine years as a youth seminary teacher; Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, board member; Clark County Regional Flood Control District, board member; Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, board member; Southern Nevada Health District, former board member and two-time chairman; Crowne Professional Park at Stephanie Unit-Owners Association, president and board member; BCHS alumni.

Why do you feel you would be a good mayor for Boulder City?

I now have eight years of on-the-job experience as a City Council member, including four years as mayor, during which I’ve demonstrated remarkable success in moving city government to be more responsive in many ways. I’ve met with and listened carefully to thousands of Boulder City residents, consistently articulated a positive vision for our future, and earned the respect and support of other mayors, council members, policy makers and stakeholders not only across all of Southern Nevada but throughout the state.

I have served on numerous important regional boards and used my influence, relationships of trust and ability to find common ground for Boulder City’s benefit in countless ways, including persuading these agencies to allocate tens of millions of dollars for critical Boulder City projects and services.

A small sampling of my achievements includes: reducing the city’s debt service obligations from five debts to one, thereby saving the city over $60 million in the process, with the potential for millions more in savings as we move forward; maintaining the lowest tax rates in Southern Nevada at less than half of what Mesquite residents pay, only a third of what Henderson and Las Vegas residents pay, and less than a fourth of what North Las Vegas residents pay; maintaining the lowest utility rates in Southern Nevada, with other nearby jurisdictions paying at least one-third more than we pay for typical electricity usage and as much as 10 percent to 25 percent more overall; spearheading two landfill expansions since 2011 under my leadership on the health district, which extended our landfill’s life from less than 10 years to well over 100 years, thereby saving our residents tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars over the coming decades; securing $13 million to fund design and construction of our upcoming Boulder City Parkway complete streets project in connection with my role as RTC board member; increasing solar lease revenues from barely $3 million to approximately $10 million annually since I was elected in 2011; and getting solid financial and capital improvement plans in place, which have finally enabled us to begin replacing our aging utility infrastructure at the rate of approximately $8-plus million in projects annually. I am confident that you’ll agree that Boulder City’s financial house has never been in better shape than it is now.

What is your vision for Boulder City in 10 years?

My vision for Boulder City has always been to continue fostering and enhancing the same wonderful small-town environment that we’ve always enjoyed, a place with strong historic roots, a diverse mixture of seniors and younger families, and a thriving business sector. As mayor, my top priorities to achieve that vision have remained consistent and continue to make excellent progress. Those include: being more business-friendly; communicating with crystal clarity to enhance transparency; keeping our financial house in order; streamlining and reforming city government in multiple ways; and mobilizing families, churches and nonprofits to help our citizens in need.

What do you feel are the most pressing issues for Boulder City in the near future?

Our recent strategic planning process told us which issues are the most pressing for Boulder City in the near future. They aren’t surprising to me. But they also aren’t my ideas. Rather, they’re the priorities that our citizens said are most important to them. Based on community input, our top five strategic plan priorities are, and for the foreseeable future will be: continuing wise financial stewardship; investing in infrastructure; sustaining high-level public safety services; promoting historic preservation; and continuing to judiciously manage growth and development. We have broad-based consensus in our community that these need to remain our focal point over the next five years. And, under my leadership, that’s exactly what they will continue to be.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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