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Erie Elections Q&A: Joe Carnival, trustee candidate


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Name: Joe Carnival

Relevant leadership or community experience:

I have many years of experience leading large teams of people and high profile projects. These experiences have taught me to set high expectations, lead by example, work as a team, and to create a clear vision. In addition to these experiences, I’ve led many high profile projects where effective communication and stakeholder management were critical elements to the completion of a project. Lastly, as a Workforce Analytics Consultant, I work with other leaders on a daily basis to help them better manage their workforce based upon the analysis of data. I believe my extensive experience in working with teams, analysis of data, project management, and people management will help me to be an effective trustee for the town of Erie.

What are the three top issues for Erie in the coming years? What will be your plan for fixing/solving/dealing with those issues?

1. The top issue facing Erie is to create sustainable sources of revenue. Through creating these sustainable sources of revenue we can bring more jobs to Erie. My plan to address this issue is to begin by improved the marketing of Erie’s current businesses, next is to develop the necessary infrastructure to attract new sources of revenue, third is to continue residential development so businesses can operate profitably in Erie.

2. The next issue facing Erie is the perceived divide between different parts of the town. While I realize that everyone will never agree on what the right solution is to a problem, I believe we need to strive to work together more and find equitable solutions to our problems. If elected, I will listen to and work with people on all sides of the issues. I will encourage people to work together and to find compromises to solve the issues facing our town.

3. The third issue facing our town is to manage change. Erie is a special place and has a unique character. Over the next decade the town will continue to grow. The challenge will be not losing touch with the things that make Erie what it is today. As a trustee, I will be an advocate for development which enhances the quality of life for Erie residents and will never make short-term decisions which will compromise our long-term values or quality of life.

What does future successful economic development look like in Erie? What is the board’s role in making that happen?

The keys to economic development in Erie are:
1. Erie must have enough consumers to make it profitable for retail developers to locate in Erie.

2. Erie must create the right infrastructure to attract businesses to the area. This includes water, sewer, and roads.

3. Erie must create an environment of being pro business with clear steps for developers to follow.

4. Erie must support its current businesses through increased marketing to Erie residents and the surrounding communities.

5. Erie should provide incentives to large retailers that will help us capture the sales tax revenue generated by them choosing to locate in Erie.

6. Continue sponsoring events which bring the town together. I believe these types of events help us to showcase what an amazing place Erie is and indirectly will help drive economic growth.

The board’s role is to create an environment where businesses can operate successfully and create jobs. This can be achieved through executing on the items above and through partnering with organization like the Erie Chamber of Commerce, EEDC, and the EAEDC.

What role should the town take in supporting and attracting business downtown? Do you believe the board should do more to support the business of Old Town area? If so, what?

I support the decision of the town’s current leaders to partner with private organizations like the EEDC to improve economic development in Erie. The town should continue these partnerships but never manage these types of organizations. Through these partnerships I believe we can better market the businesses in Erie including Old Town. I would also like to explore options to improve street access to Old Town businesses. Finally, I would like to continue to see our community events be shared between the new community center park and old town.

In terms of my overall philosophy, I believe in free enterprise and allowing businesses to be governed by supply and demand. If Erie creates a pro business environment, we will see increased revenues and job growth. Both of these things will lead to economic stability for our town. Government’s role should be to help optimize the environment which allows business to flourish and not to actively manage free enterprise.

What actions —if any—should the board take to make the town a stronger regional player?

As a student of history, I believe we need to learn from the past. History has shown us that if Erie does not pursue economic growth opportunities our neighboring communities will. I believe Erie must take steps to make itself attractive to business. These steps include marketing what the town has to offer and creating the right infrastructure for businesses to be successful. Erie has tremendous potential and could double in size over the next couple decades. With this amount of growth leaders will be challenged to maintain the high quality town we enjoy today.

With regard to becoming a stronger regional player, transportation is the key. Erie’s proximity to Denver, DIA, Boulder, and the planned north metro light rail line provide us with a unique opportunity to become the northern gateway to Metro Denver. Finally, we should maximize the economic potential of the Erie Airport. I believe the airport has tremendous potential and is a key part of our town future.

As far as the airport is concerned, what is your stance how the board has handled the recent situation? What are future steps the board should take?

I support the current town leaders and believe they work to make the best decisions for the town of Erie as a whole. I’m a strong believer in the potential of Erie’s airport. I believe the airport is a positive piece of our town and a key part of its economic future. As a trustee, I would work with and listen to citizens and experts who are knowledgeable regarding airport operations and development.

What is Erie’s biggest transportation need in the coming years?

Erie’s biggest transportation need in the immediate future is to create viable intersections to maximize the town’s growth opportunities. Erie’s biggest long term transportation need is to maximize the I-25 corridor including the north metro light rail line.

Give me your philosophy on growth in Erie? In your vision, what does future growth look like and how is it managed?

My philosophy is for Erie to create an environment where companies can easily do business in our town. Erie should leverage is proximity to become the northern gateway to Metro Denver. Growth within Erie should not be at the expense of losing our town’s history and character. We should manage growth from a long term perspective but not be afraid to take the rights steps in the short term. Finally, we need to attract more primary employers who will bring jobs to Erie. Primary employers will provide the tax revenue and jobs which will bring economic stability in the long term.

What action—if any—would you like to see the town take on waste collection or recycling?

I’m for free enterprise and letting businesses compete. However, I do realize that allowing several different trash companies work within the same neighborhood can damage roads and result in trash cans being out three or four days per week. I would support letting the HOA’s manage trash service within each neighborhood but am opposed to the town mandating a single trash service.

What’s your stance on the Bonanza Drive connection?

There is so much in misinformation on this hotly debated issue. First of all, voters should not cast their vote on 2E based on the signs throughout the town. If you listen to the people who are opposing this issue, they will lead you to believe we don’t understand the design, we don’t have a guarantee from a retailer, and the town may not be reimbursed for the cost.

Well here is what I think, if you look around the town and you will notice there are lots of roads, I have full confidence our town staff can determine how to connect two roads across a short span of dirt. Furthermore, all we are currently talking about is connecting two roads. The question of expanding it, lighting, and possible expansion are not answers we need to solve at this time. Those issues can be addressed when we have more clarity on possible development. I have read the agreement with the developer and have full confidence the town will be reimbursed for the cost of making the connection between Bonanza and Vista Parkway.

Ultimately, there are no guarantees in life and the stars never perfectly aligned. I have friends who say we are waiting for the right time to start our family. Guess what, there will never be a perfect time. Make no mistake there are risks in life and in town government. I ask you to put yourself in the shoes of a retailer looking to locate your next store along highway 7. It’s a very competitive marketplace and the economy is showing only slight signs of recovery. Your options are to work with Erie who wants all of the stars perfectly aligned and is unprepared for your development. Your other option is to talk to Broomfield who will welcome you with open arms in into one of its many areas ready for development. Having Bonanza Drive connected with Vista Parkway makes the decision much easier for a retailer to develop in Erie. Please note, I said easier and I freely admit there are no guarantees.

Our neighboring communities have proven they are not going to sit back and wait for the stars to align. Erie cannot afford to sit back and endlessly debate this issue. I want to bring retail to the highway 7 and Bonanza intersection. I believe by passing ballot issue 2-E Erie voters will enable Erie to better compete for tax revenue that will ultimately go somewhere. By capturing that revenue, we can better fund our police, community services, and town maintenance. If we do not increase our tax revenue, the money to fund these services will need to come from somewhere which ultimately could include raising taxes. I don’t want to see more Erie dollars drive tax revenue in our surrounding communities. I ask the voters to see through the hype and not wait for the stars to align. We must do what we can to compete for tax revenue and this opportunity will not always be around.

Once you are elected, how will you stay in tune with the ideas, issues, concerns and questions of your constituents?

If elected, I plan to stay in touch with constituents through attending periodic meetings with other town leaders and citizens. I would also leverage the use of electronic communication via online blogs, chat rooms, and email. I believe using electronic communication can maximize the use of my time and allow me to stay in touch with as many people as possible.


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