KUNR 2020 Voter Guide: Carson City Board Of Supervisors Ward 2

Oct 16, 2020

Like the rest of Northwestern Nevada, Carson City is facing many of the same challenges as its larger neighbors — rapid growth, a lack of affordable housing and homelessness. In Ward 2, two candidates look to replace Supervisor Brad Bonkowski, who is not seeking re-election. Stacy Wilke-McCulloch is currently a member of the Carson City School Board. She says she has the experience needed to help lead Nevada’s Capital City through the pandemic. Maurice White is a retired diesel mechanic who says he will bring a diverse viewpoint to the Board.

Carson City’s Ward 2 encompasses the city’s northeastern neighborhoods. Municipal races in Nevada are non-partisan.

For information on other races, visit our KUNR 2020 Voter Guide home page.

As a note: All responses in KUNR's 2020 Voter Guide have been submitted by the candidates. KUNR has not changed the answers other than to provide fact-checking as needed, indicated in the text with italics and parentheses.

Credit KUNR

Credit Courtesy of Maurice White

Name: Maurice “Mo” White
Occupation: Retired Diesel Mechanic

Why are you running for office?

The Board of Supervisors needs to be a diverse group. Mo brings a viewpoint not currently on the Board of Supervisors. Current board members have primarily administrative backgrounds with narrow fields of experience.  Aside from Mo’s managerial experience he has extensive "in field" experience. His background gives him the advantage of having worked in a broad range of the project fields Carson City operates. Mo’s in “the trenches” experience is needed to truly understand the projects city staff bring forward. Mo is the only candidate with the tools to diversify our Board of Supervisors.

For over ten years Mo has studied Carson City operations and worked with the various Boards and Commissions that report to the Board of Supervisors. He knows the background on most of the issues facing Carson City today and in the future. Mo is ready to go to work on day one. He has the time and energy to work full time for all the residents and businesses of Carson City.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing Carson City?

What must be a priority for Carson City are the health and safety items residents, businesses and visitors expect a local government to provide.  This priority is met by finalizing the Asset Management Program. Most of the asset assessment work is done. It is time to now prioritize and fund the needs of the massive current and future asset needs. 

Equally as important, Carson City has serious Homeless and Mental Heath needs that are putting pressure on our Fire and Sheriff departments. Mo is proposing that our MOST and FASTT programs that deal with mental health issues be bolstered by increasing personnel and types of services offered.

How would you rate Carson City’s response to the pandemic thus far?

Carson City has responded very well to this "pandemic". The budget has not been negatively impacted. In fact Carson City sales tax revenues finished the 2020 budget 5.2% ahead of projections. Other budget categories finished above projections as well. The main concern here is the Governor's $1.2 billion black hole deficit will turn into unfunded pushdown mandates to the various Cities and Counties. Individuals, families, and businesses have been severely impacted but the City Budget is intact for now. 

The City has loosened various regulations that will allow businesses the ability to stay in business. Mo advocates that we collaborate with the existing and new businesses to find a way to defer new business startup costs that could be paid later, after a revenue stream has been established by the new business.  Carson City offers programs to assist residents that are struggling to pay their utility bills.

As a member of the Carson City Board of Supervisors, what would be your top three priorities?

In no particular order of importance,

1.Provide the health and safety items our residents, businesses, and visitors expect a local government to provide. 

2. Finish building and funding the Asset Management Program. 

3.Bolster the MOST and FASTT programs. Insure highly functioning Fire and Sheriff departments are maintained.

It’s no secret Northern Nevada has issues with housing insecurity. What steps should the city take to address homelessness?

While Carson City does have a very evident homeless population there are myriad services to help with rental and utility costs along with mental health and educational services. As stated above Mo advocates for bolstering the MOST and FASTT programs.  Carson City directly and in collaboration with various nonprofit groups provides rental assistance and placement services.  Everyone who wants off the street has services available to them.

Carson City has had a continual relationship for many years with multiple agencies and nonprofit groups providing assistance to address this home insecurity.  Here is a link to those services.  https://www.carson.org/government/departments-a-f/community-development/planning-division/housing.

The Carson City School District offers assistance as well.

In that same vein, housing costs in Northern Nevada continue to climb — pricing many families out of the area. What should the Board of Supervisors do to increase the supply of affordable housing in Carson City?

Most housing projects in Carson City are presented as targeting the entry level market. The housing market in Carson City has no shortage of willing buyers and renters. Most buyers and new renters in Carson City are from out of the area. Carson City’s population continues to grow at a steady rate.

The City just recently approved a "low income" apartment complex on City owned property. 

Like nearly every municipality, Carson City's financial situation amid the pandemic is precarious, at best. Where would you look to balance the city’s budget if cuts are needed in the future?

As stated above the City Budget has not been negatively impacted by this "pandemic".  As it is illegal to run an unbalanced budget Carson City always has a balanced budget. Our City however does struggle to finance some of the things it needs to do.  Going forward we will need to reduce costs by working with our neighbors to consolidate and share services.  Finding ways to cancel or modify contracts that don’t work for Carson City is essential.  It is also time for our State and Federal partners to pay their fair share of the services they receive in Carson City.

Since the killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes, activists around the country have demanded police reform. That includes some calls to dramatically shift money away from police departments toward social services. Do you support/oppose such reforms?

Carson City is ahead of the curve with its MOST and FASTT programs.

Recognizing that the wash, rinse, and recycle approach doesn't work, the MOST program, using a licensed clinician and a specially trained deputy, can divert low level non-violent offenders away from jail, and when appropriate, into mental health programs. From inside the jail the FASTT program works to reconnect offenders with long term services, their families, and careers. Carson City supports myriad programs and non-profit groups, including churches, to help provide the social services needs in Carson City.

Learn more about Maurice White at MauriceForWard2.com.

Credit KUNR
Credit Committee to Elect Stacie Wilke-McCulloch

Name: Stacie Wilke-McCulloch
Occupation: Self-Employed

Why are you running for office?

Serving my community has always been an important part of my life. My experience on the Carson School Board will benefit Carson City, especially recovering from this pandemic. As a trustee, one learns to work with the other board members to do what's needed and wanted by its administrators, teachers, students, and constituents while being fiscally responsible. As a small business owner, I know the toll the pandemic is taking on our locally owned businesses. We need strong leaders to help our community get back on track. 

I am also uniquely qualified to be a city supervisor. I have strong experience in building and maintaining a balanced government budget, I have worked with collective bargaining units to reach agreements that both sides are happy with, I’ve made the tough calls on budget priorities during economic downturns and has a small business owner, I know first-hand the struggles our local businesses are facing during the pandemic.  

I am also passionate about keeping Carson City a great place to raise a family. I will be a strong advocate for maintaining and enhancing the things that make it so: our parks and recreational facilities, our abundant open space and trail systems, and our arts and cultural events around the city. 

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing Carson City?

The biggest challenges facing Carson City are those opportunities that come from recovering from the pandemic for residents and small business. Although many larger businesses like construction and auto dealerships remained stayed steady, small businesses such restaurants and their employees continue to suffer. My husband has a handyman business and our workload dropped by 50%. We are just now getting back to around 80%. Small businesses are part of our quality of life in Carson City. We need to partner with them to find paths to economic recovery.

The funding of roads is another big challenge. They were not properly funded in the past and trying to catch up now is a huge financial task. Voters also didn’t pass the last gas initiative. I know from my work on the school board that grants are a possible option, but they need a close look as there can be strings attached that make them no viable. I think the Board is going in the right direction by using a transportation district system, having new developments put money aside for 5-year maintenance on roads in their development that are not through city streets so the city doesn’t incur the cost at a later date.

How would you rate the city’s response to the pandemic, thus far?

I would rate the City’s response on a scale of 1 to 10, a 10. The Board immediately halted pending capital projects, instated a hiring freeze, and developed a budget with 15-20% cuts. They also took advantage of the CARES act funding, which has allowed minimum financial impact on the budget. The Board used this funding to help the entire city. They gave the school district $1.2 million for PPE and have over $1 million in PPE available for small businesses.  

As a City Councilmember, what would be your top three priorities?

My first priority is helping our local business and residents recover from the economic downturn due to the pandemic. The board members must work together to create an environment that fosters innovation, efficiency and productivity. We need to partner with our small businesses to help them survive and not impede their recovery. 

My second priority is to preserve and enhance the quality of life we have in Carson City. It’s a great place to raise a family and I want to make sure it stays that way. We must continue to maintain and improve upon our parks, recreational facilities, abundant open space and trails and our vibrant arts and culture communities. 

My third priority would be using the data from the asset management program to ensure a sustainable infrastructure. The program is now interfaced with other city programs, which means we can use the data to prioritize projects and expenditures. 

It’s no secret Northern Nevada has issues with housing insecurity. What steps should the city take to address homelessness?

For those already in this situation, the city should continue working with local nonprofits including FISH and The Ron Wood Center, and Carson City Sheriff’s Department’s Mobile Outreach Safety Team (MOST). MOST consists of a specially trained deputy and medical professional who can assess a person living on the street to get them the help they need. This is a cost savings for the city and much more helpful in the long run for these individuals who otherwise would be arrested or transported to the hospital. Our local nonprofits and some churches are better equipped to deal with this issue, and it’s in the city’s best interest to provide some funding so they can continue to do so. Additionally, it’s important we acknowledge and address mental health issues when looking at ways to reduce homelessness in our community. 

In that same vein, housing costs in Northern Nevada continue to climb — pricing many families out of the area. What should the Board of Supervisors do to increase the supply of affordable housing in Carson City?

The Board of Supervisors has already found two City-owned unused properties could be used for affordable housing. Right now, there are more than 200 HUD vouchers allotted for Carson City that can’t be used due to the lack of affordable housing. Using these properties could be a great way to get families in safe housing.  

Like nearly every municipality, Caron City’s financial situation amid the pandemic is precarious, at best. Where would you look to balance the city’s budget if cuts are needed in the future?

For the 11 years I have served on the school board working with governmental budgets. I understand that difficult decisions sometimes need to be made. The departments that I believe should continue to receive full funding if possible are utilities and public safety. Cuts made to other services need to be prioritized to reduce as much negative impact as possible, and this is where the city’s asset management program can prove helpful.

Budget allocation is a part of the supervisor’s job. My experience and training have prepared me to work with other board members to make necessary decisions. My goal is to preserve our resident’s quality of life while working within the difficulties of budget restrictions.

Since the death of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis who died while a white police officer knelt on his neck, activists around the country have demanded police reform. That includes some calls to dramatically shift money away from police departments towards social services. Do you support/oppose such reforms? 

No, I do not believe in defunding the police. Rather, I am committed to providing our law enforcement and other first responders the tools and resources they need to keep our families and residents safe.

Learn more about Stacie Wilke-McCulloch at electstacie.com.

For information on other races, visit our KUNR 2020 Voter Guide home page.