Candidate responses are posted exactly as we received them and have not been edited.
Question 1: Why are you running for office?
James Carman: I enjoy serving my community
Cynthia Gutschenritter: I am interested in running for City Council (ward 3) since I've attended most all of the council meetings for the last 18 years. I am the programmer for the local government access television channel 180 and have broadcast and posted these meetings to the City of North Platte's web page for many years now. I feel qualified to run based on my knowledge of current and past issues and how the City Council works. I feel it would be advantageous to have some new ideas and fresh faces on council.
Question 2: What experience do you bring to the office?
Carman: Two terms as a Ward Three councilman
Gutschenritter: As I stated previously, I feel qualified to run based on my knowledge of current and past issues and how the City Council works and because I've been to most every council meeting for the last 18 years.
Question 3: What makes you the best candidate?
Carman: I do not engage in group think
Gutschenritter: You mean besides being a woman? Just joking, but it wouldn't hurt to have a woman's viewpoint on our all male council. My competitor and current councilman has slapped me on the back and told me "may the best MAN win" which makes me want to replace him even more! Seriously though, it's time for some new ideas and representation on our council.
Question 4: What changes do you wish to see if you are elected?
Carman: Stop wasteful spending
Gutschenritter: I would like to see our council actually represent the populace, the people who elected them! I've been disappointed with them voting in favor of things that the public obviously has objection to (and vice versa) and have voiced their opinions or desires only to have it fall on deaf ears.
Question 5: How do we address the housing shortage issues in the city?
Carman: Through free enterprise and sound business practices by builders who do not seek handouts of tax dollars
Gutschenritter: I can tell you it's NOT by building $225 -250,000 houses and cramming them into a tiny residential neighborhood that is R1 residential! Who is going to buy these houses? They are way too expensive and overcrowded on tiny lots. Housing is needed so building there is a good idea for adding housing but make it fit the existing neighborhood, R1.
Question 6: How does the city manage the Iron Eagle Golf Course to make it profitable?
Carman: We should stop municipal golf
Gutschenritter: I have watched this issue, frustratingly, over the last 20+ years. Sometimes you need to cut your losses. I've had to do this in my own business with my husband; We have run a successful optometric office here in North Platte for the last 27 years. Having a city owned golf course that competes with privately owned courses was a bad idea from the start, in my opinion.
Question 7: How do we encourage more downtown business to the area and revitalize it?
Carman: Keep doing what we no are.
Gutschenritter: If I had unlimited funds and could do downtown however I wanted I would like to see it become a tourist attraction like in Crested Butte CO, or some of the other small towns there. Our whole attractiveness is based on the old western history and rail road. If the shops downtown could reflect that history people would be more inclined to stop in to see it. I've paid to stop in places to see their old western towns and would again. I love our old buildings and would love to see them fixed up.
Question 8: How should we attract young people to live and stay in North Platte?
Carman: Young people leave to see the world. Old people on fixed incomes leave because they are unwilling to pay our high real-estate taxes
Gutschenritter: It all begins at home. We raised 4 daughters who ventured out into the world, attended colleges, got married, had children; They didn't STAY here; But 3 of the 4 moved BACK to raise their families in a smaller town environment as they were raised. If they enjoyed their childhood here they will want the same advantages for their children only a small town can provide, and to be close to family and grandma of course! One is employed at the hospital, one at the railroad, one is a farm family.
Question 9: What should the city do to enhance the sports and outdoor activities in the city?
Carman: Keep doing what are doing now
Gutschenritter: Passing the 308-BMX is a start! Let's not make it so difficult for people who want to give of their time to improve upon a piece of unused land the city has! This is something families can do together and it's bicycles so it's not noisy. It's great exercise, gets kids outside! Why say no to such an opportunity?
Question 10: What are your thoughts about using TIF financing for economic development? Should we use it?
Carman: No. It creates a hostile business environment for builders who do not expect handouts
Gutschenritter: TIF is a great tool when used appropriately. Lately it seems people want to use TIF when construction would happen anyway without it, which is unnecessary in my opinion. If you can attract a big business that would employ lots of people and they won't build here otherwise, then I'd say it's a good tool to use, such as the Walmart distribution center. It's a difficult situation if there is an existing tax paying business in town and the new one would be competition, giving them advantage
Question 11: What role do you see technology-based industries playing in the future growth of North Platte?
Carman: It would be a good thing to bring in any new business enterprise
Gutschenritter:The application of new technologies are important sources of competitive advantage if they can be attracted to locate here. The way technology is advancing, the ability to live in a small town but work for a large company based anywhere in the world could attract families to move here. I know my son-in-law moved back here from Virginia Beach, VA to do IT work for the hospital.