"I come from a proud hard working family that is no stranger to public service and I want to work for you. With 37 years of local business experience, a vast amount of community involvement, and years of government involvement, I know what it takes to find solutions, navigate complicated governmental agencies, and get things done."
LET'S GET IT DONE
I have been a Real Estate Broker since 1982 and have served as a director on the Omaha Board of Realtors and the Great Plains Multiple Listing Service along with serving on many other real estate committees. I also served on the Bellevue Planning Commission, was a Sarpy County Commissioner from 2008 to 2012, and currently serve on the Sarpy County Personnel Policy Board. Along with those duties I also served on the Nebraska Association of County Officials Board and the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency Board. I have been an active member of the Bellevue and Sarpy County Chambers and am past Chairman of the Greater Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce. I have spent my entire adult life providing my clients and fellow residents professional services with a high degree of integrity.
One of the things I am very well versed in is housing and the vulnerability it has, given outside forces. There was a time, unlike the current time, when the base personnel, government contractors, public school employees, and employees of local businesses wouldn't think of moving outside of Bellevue. Unless we improve our road and utility infrastructures, bring needed retail development, create new job opportunities, offer recreational options that our surrounding communities keep improving on, it will make it ever more difficult to keep our employed citizens here. If something isn't done soon our property values will diminish, public services will decline, and our property taxes will go through the roof. We also need to make it easier for developers to develop new housing subdivisions and welcome them, and builders, when they want to invest here. WE CAN TURN THIS AROUND.
Employment is key to making any community successful. We need to offer a wide range of both skilled and non-skilled jobs throughout our community. Bellevue is in a fantastic position to attract employers to our area with the ease of access via Kennedy Freeway, Hwy 370, and the Hwy 34/Interstate 29 connector. We also need to keep our existing workers here, create jobs for our high school graduates, and expand on our educational opportunities to help transition work forces from one skill to another. We have a diverse group of people in our community which is a great resource for employers to draw from.
Bellevue is a river town with a beautiful view - hence the name. The potential recreational uses of the river are plentiful and there needs to be attention given to developing the riverfront into everything it can be. Sure there are challenges with flooding and drought, but it's a river. That is the mystique and beauty of such a powerful body of water. Making the entrance from Olde Towne to the river more inviting will also attract people to both areas. We have a great attraction with Fontenelle Forest as well and these two resources should work hand in hand. I will encourage private investment along the river and work hard to help those investors be successful.
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE
Bellevue is a military town and we embrace that. We are fortunate to be the host city for the base and the economic impact of over 1.4 billion dollars it has on the entire metro area (http://www.offutt.af.mil/). With the base comes challenges that our city must meet on an ever-changing basis. Development around the base can be difficult but it is not impossible. We need to work together on the best plan that will bring success to both entities well into the future. Land owned by the base is tax exempt which impacts our local services like road maintenance, law enforcement, and other regulatory departments. There is a delicate balance between Bellevue and Offutt which we need to be very aware of when making future plans. I will aggressively advocate for development around the base while being cautious not to impair the viability of the base.
RETAIL AND SERVICES
Given the development restrictions caused by flood plains, AICUZ (air installation compatible use zone), railroad lines, and past infrastructure planning, Bellevue retail centers are spread out over a large area with considerable distances between them. Planning for better connectivity through road design and transportation will help improve the viability of our retail and service centers. We need more retail to serve our population and keep more of our local dollars here in town. Bellevue already has some of the best restaurants in the metro-area but still could fill a couple voids in that area as well. Our planning for potential commercial locations needs to be well thought out and protected for proper development. By getting the city council, planning commission, and planning department on the same page, we can make it happen.
Mission Avenue was once the center of the city with a grocery store, movie theatre, shoe store, hardware store, soda fountain, city hall, and so much more. Now we find a true community center, being Olde Towne, with 10,000 residents that are underserved and needing attention. With the city offices vacating much of Mission Avenue we have an outstanding opportunity to re-establish our "Main Street". When you look around towns in middle America that have lost their "Main Street" you will see they have all but lost there town. I have and will continue to work hard to revitalize our "Main Street" and bring aboard new growth and services.
ROADS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Given the terrain we have to work with, planning thoroughfares are not easy but we must do better. 36th street and Fort Crook road are our only through streets and they both need attention. 36th street is a congested headache, has been for years and will only get worse if we don't widen and/or improve from Platteview Road to Harrison Street. Fort Crook Road is a great connector but has lousy accessibility to adjacent commercial properties. Improvement along these roads will bring new business and residential opportunities and will provide the needed connectivity and services from north Bellevue to south Bellevue. Sidewalks and pedestrian friendly improvements also need to be improved throughout the city.
If the government needs to provide anything, it is public safety. One of the biggest challenges we have is providing proper funding for our fire department. The city decided to move forward with a paid fire department and now we have to properly fund it. That doesn't mean we have to throw tons of money at it but we do have to start budgeting to get the funding where it needs to be. Just like the fire department, the police department needs to be able to not only keep us safe but keep our firefighters and officers safe at the same time. This can only be done by having the necessary tools and training. I will do my best to get them up to date while keeping the budget for those departments affordable and within reason.
FORT CROOK ROAD CORRIDOR
This is 6 lanes of access to existing and potential business sites and a major north south connector. Little if anything has been done to improve this major city asset. Businesses have struggled due to poor access with lack of median cuts, confusing and dangerous bike lanes, and a general lack of planning follow-thru. Those businesses that have invested along this corridor and the residents around it deserve to see improvements. With a solid improvement plan, inexpensive modifications, and a little marketing, this area can succeed and play a major role in bringing needed jobs and services to Bellevue.
LB 840 (http://www.bellevue.net/economic-development/lb-840-program) is an important tool that allows the city to fund for economic development in the area south of Offutt AFB, east of Kennedy Freeway, and to the rivers. The voters put this in place and agreed to allow up to $750,000 of city revenue to be placed in this fund per year. This money will prove to be very helpful when providing utilities and roads for large and small scale industry style companies that want to locate to this approximately 5,000 acre land mass. This area alone has the potential to add hundreds of millions of dollars to our tax base which in turn will relieve some of the burden that is placed on our residential properties let alone provide thousands of jobs. This won't happen overnight but I will be preparing for it and stressing the importance of fully funding LB 840.
Quality of life is key to keeping our residents here. Our parks, sports facilities, and public pools need to be available and well maintained. This is a budgetary challenge like all others. We need to combine some of these facilities and get a lot more efficient when maintaining them. Our parks need to be mowed and maintained so our residents and those who visit us can utilize them and feel safe. We cannot expect our citizens to feel pride in our city if we don't keep our facilities maintained, nor can we afford to leave a bad impression on those visiting from other areas. I will work hard to consolidate these assets and keep them maintained, all the while controlling if not cutting costs.
KENNEDY FRWY/HWY 34/PLATTEVIEW RD
I consider the new Hwy 34 bridge and Kennedy Freeway expansion as a gift that most, if not all, cities in the nation would be lucky to have. We have it and we need to carefully and aggressively market not only the Hwy 34 corridor but the Kennedy Freeway/Hwy 34 interchange as well. This interchange currently has access to utilities on much of it, and it is considered shovel ready. The corridor includes that of Platteview Road as well. Platteview Road lines up with Hwy 34 and runs east to Interstate 80. I will work hard to capture traffic at Harlan Lewis Rd, Kennedy Freeway, 27th St, and 36th St, and make those entrances inviting enough to bring traffic north into Bellevue.
There are many things that need attention in our city that I will work very hard on to improve. As this mayoral campaign moves forward I will add additional content to this page and additional details to each category.
Just like in my business, I will require accountability from my administration on down. The only way we can achieve anything I am talking about is to expect everyone to do there job well, treat everyone with respect, have a positive "can do" attitude, and keep communications open. Our city council, mayor, and administration needs to be able to work together, agree to disagree, and work towards solutions that are in the best possible interests for our community.