Name: Robb James
Candidate website: james4trustee.com
Relevant leadership or community experience:
• Business owner, entrepreneur.
• Most successful endeavor included start-up with 31 locations inside a grocery store chain. I was the founder. Sold this business after 3 years in business.
• Land Development – Worked in many cities. Learned from staff and other developers in many cities about what works most successfully to draw development and jobs with balanced and sustainable growth.
• Worked for several technology companies and took one public.
• Worked with many professional teams on worldwide infrastructure projects where I managed global deployments.
• Have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for projects. These successful raises where accomplished by developing solid business plans to justify investment.
• Knows how to present and propose to future Erie investors.
• Arts Coalition of Erie Board Member. Invested and helped raise funds for the arts here in Erie.
• Co-Chair EAEDC – Erie Airport Economic Development Council.
• Chair of AWG board formed by prior board.
• Member of Erie Optimists.
• Member Arts Coalition of Erie.
• Life member of Spirit of Flight Museum in Erie. Very active in supporting this local museum.
• Have Supported Erie High School Booster Club.
• I Have Advertised in Erie High School Event’s programs to support School programs.
• Participation with Erie Chamber of Commerce and Chamber Events.
• Participated at EEDC Meetings and with Erie Economic Development Leaders.
• Have had Numerous Meetings w/ Local Front Range Developers Interested in future investments in Erie.
• Participated in Yellow Scene anniversary party to celebrate their contribution to our community.
What are the top three issues for Erie in the coming years? What is your plan for fixing/dealing with those issues?
1. REAL. Economic Development. We need to proactively pursue job creation and ongoing revenue opportunities for Erie to help pay for current and future town amenities. We cannot build rooftops and hope great things happen. We need to advertise and development a reputation for being flexible and service oriented with future Erie investors. We need our best team who can promote Erie and who understands how to work with developers and other future Erie investors.
2. Create positive leadership and positive atmosphere that residents, businesses, town staff and future Erie investors are fond of. We can do this by representing ALL of Erie resident interests while maintaining healthy yet respectful conversations in the open for all to see.
3. Maintain ‘Simple’ Balanced Budgets – This concept is as simple as making sure expenses do not exceed revenue. We should also, together, understand what our reserves really are. Our reserves are actually far lower than many know and our debt levels are much higher than many know. In addition, we cannot simply spend future development impact fees that we have not yet collected and we need to understand that a large portion of these impact fees are one time fees. We need to find ongoing revenue to help support our current and future infrastructure and amenities that we call enjoy.
Are you concerned about health impacts of hydraulic fracturing in Erie? If so, what would you do about it as a trustee? Yes, I think we should always be cognizant of safety concerns for all residents. As a trustee I believe we should ask for the most advanced technology and the most advanced monitoring equipment to make sure our air and water is safe. We can then pursue grants to buy our own monitoring equipment to have another layer of checks for safety and to capture data overtime. We can lead the state in this effort.
Where should old town Erie fit in the town’s economic development efforts? I think old town has great potential. As with any town asset, I think we should leverage upside to maximize its value and with old town’s history, arts, character and charm, I think it has all the ingredients to be a great asset that can thrive and we should pursue this opportunity.
Specifically, what should the trustees do to ensure old town and its businesses thrive? I think the Town of Erie should work to maintain streets, sidewalks and pursue anything else possible to make old town looks its best. With the Bridgewater subdivision coming by the high-school, I think we should promote old town and should provide incentives and pursue grants to help old town flourish. We only need a few more dominos to fall and I believe old town will really take off. Thank you so much to the busiensses who have invested and are helping to make the potential success in old town possible.
Where do you stand on subsidization of the Erie municipal airport? First the Erie Municipal Airport has never been subsidized by the Town of Erie. In fact it would be illegal to subsidize the airport so anybody making this claim is accusing staff or otherwise of breaking the law. The individuals making these claims are not trying to maximize value with this town asset but instead or trying to spin citizens into thinking that the airport is being subsidized. I find this type of hidden agenda politics reprehensible and believe this is an indication that these people cannot be trusted with the keys to represent ALL Erie residents, businesses and ALL of the town assets. It is common to loan money between funds. In fact, the Erie Municipal Airport loaned the town’s general fund $200,000 in 2001 and these monies were not paid back to the airport fund until 2006. This helped the town with funding parks and the rec center. In 2011, the town returned the favor by loaning the Erie Municipal Airport $40,000 and that loan was already paid back. The airport provides $12M in economic activity to the local economy according the CDOT and there are large sales tax and property tax dollars that end up benefiting the Town of Erie’s general fund in a large way to benefit the police station and other critical services.
What are two outcomes you would work toward in your first/next term as a trustee?
1. I would like to set our town on a course to maintain a simple balanced budget while supporting our current and future amenities. We absolutely need a new police station and we need to maintain our current parks and future skate park and hopefully more. To accomplish this, I would like to help provide positive leadership on our board to help lead respectful, healthy debate while maintaining a professional image and outcome for our town. I think this will help our town in many ways. The positive PR and cooperativeness will be very visible and apparent for our future investors and this will help our town staff build confidence and trust in our leadership.
2. We need to organize and maximize our promotion of the Town of Erie. We need to be as competitive or more competitive as our neighboring cities and towns. We need to aggressively pursue the type of job creation and other commercial development that we collectively wish to pursue and we need our best team to represent the town to propose and present why Erie is the place to be. Personally I would like to see a Whole Foods, and King Supers, and large commercial on I-25 the outskirts and a ‘Trader Joe’s’ and other boutique retail in town.