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Q & A with North Platte Mayor candidate Brandon Kelliher

(KNOP)
Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 11:37 AM CDT
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Below is our Q & A with North Platte Mayor candidate Brandon Kelliher. We did not edit the candidate's responses.
What's the first thing you would do to enhance North Platte's profile in attracting economic development?

First, improve North Platte’s online Internet reviews and social media presence. Second, revise the City of North Platte’s project approval system by streamlining the requirements for new projects into a simultaneous approval process. Establish a process where city department heads gather weekly to meet with project/business developers to resolve development issues at the meeting to facilitate development applications entering the rapid approval process. In short, work with City of NP staff and developers to create a fast project approval process that meets the needs of all parties.

What kind of business/industry would you pursue? How?

North Platte must capitalize on the skillsets and knowledge our community members have today. High end agriculture development and transportation are two opportunities we may not have previously considered because the UPRR provided many jobs in our community. High end agriculture businesses may include ag processing facilities such as seed cleaning or soybean processing for livestock feed. North Platte is ideally suited for transportation businesses similar to the Walmart Distribution center. One possibility is an agricultural equipment distribution and repair center. The community needs more retail stores as well, these businesses will open when we have more well paying jobs.

How? – We will carefully use business recruitment tools such as the quality growth fund and tax increment financing to attract established businesses offering well paying jobs and entrepreneurs to North Platte. Our community needs to use some ingenuity and mid-western work ethic to create solutions for businesses that could locate in North Platte and then use the solutions to convince those firms to move here.

What kind of role should the Mayor have in finding new businesses for the city?

North Platte’s Mayor must create an environment that is welcoming to businesses. One that provides great housing, jobs for spouses, good schools and entertainment. Working with the Chamber, the Development Corporation, and city departments the Mayor should foster growth in the community by enforcing ordinances to create a safe environment, a stable community infrastructure, and reasonable taxation.

What kind of priorities or funding would you give Downtown's new Canteen District?

Great downtowns are economic improvement engines for every community. When high quality housing, businesses, and entertainment are in a downtown ideas and opportunity expand. New business owners work with established businesses because new relationships present new opportunities. Property values and tax revenue improve, in downtowns, without substantial taxpayer expenses because infrastructure (water, sewer, streets, sidewalks) are already in place. I will give downtown improvement funding a high priority in my administration as long as the funding will create opportunity.

What would be your plans for a new Rec Center and enhancing recreational facilities and trails?

Currently, our community has a number of people working on options for a new or expanded recreation complex and I support these efforts just as I support the efforts of the trails committee to expand North Platte’s network of trails. The greatest challenge may be how to pay for a new recreation complex that is sustainable on its own operations and still provide an appropriate facility everyone can afford. I believe this need is a perfect opportunity to explore public/private funding options. Using grants, some public funding, and private funding our community can create a great recreation complex that meets many community needs. In the 1970’s, the last time North Platte grew significantly, the Recreation Complex was an attractive amenity. A new recreation complex will be an attraction in the 2020’s just as the complex was in the 1970’s.

How are you going to build a team and implement your vision for a better North Platte with a new city administrator, city attorney and city engineer?

The best teams work towards common goals. I plan to have the most qualified people at each position. Qualified staff possess the right qualifications and fit the culture set by administration. My plan is to work with the team, citizens, and city council to create a strategic plan that moves our community forward and then work everyday to execute the strategy.

What is your position on the expiring Quality Growth Fund and if it should be renewed in terms of economic development?

The quality growth fund must be renewed as the fund is one of a few tools available to our community to attract business opportunities.

What do you think the city's role should be in the operation or retention of the Iron Eagle Golf Course?

I believe our community needs to move past the challenges surrounding Iron Eagle golf course. The most expedient route is to move the course into private ownership as soon as possible.

Do you support the actions taken by local government officials to combat the spread of COVID-19? What, if any, changes would you propose?

I support the actions taken by local government officials to combat the spread of COVID-19 as of 4/6/2020. A daily message from city or county officials on multiple media outlets may have been helpful for many as the rate changes has made accurate information difficult to follow.

How will you support the economy now and after social distancing requirements end?

On a personal level I will continue to buy local when possible and of course support North Platte’s restaurants. As the Mayor of North Platte I recognize the actions to support a growing economy will likely be different over time. I plan to encourage the citizens of North Platte to buy local. Promote local businesses as an ambassador for our community. In every case I will invite opportunity to North Platte.

Why should North Platte voters choose you as Mayor? What separates you from the other candidates?

I want a North Platte where our kids and grandkids find good jobs and raise families.

My experience operating a large organization, my ability to bring people together around complex issues, my experience delivering results, and my willingness to openly show results on a public scorecard separates me from other candidates.

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