Carver’s growth is inevitable. What we can impact, however, is working to ensure it’s the right kind of development. By sticking to the “Design Carver” Comprehensive Plan we’ll be able to:
Plan for the infrastructure needs of our growing community.
Ensure a broad range of housing options.
Welcome commercial and industrial development, which will serve broaden our tax base and bring jobs to Carver.
Enjoy a walkable community, with plenty of recreational options.
We have something special in downtown Carver – a historic, true downtown that’s a little off the beaten path. Maintaining downtown’s charm, while encouraging commercial growth is key. It is also important to figure a solution for the Minnesota River flood levy so home ownership and business development in the flood plain isn’t hampered by the need for exorbitant flood insurance premiums.
In September 2017 I joined a group, including our City Administrator, Public Services Director and City Engineer, on a trip to Granite Falls to learn more about their levy and the process that has gone into getting it certified it with FEMA.
Fast forward to October 2018. City Council has authorized moving forward with professional design and consulting firm, WSB & Associates, on the next step towards certifying our levy. WSB has proposed a concept for levee certification that can be used as a tool to develop and secure funding opportunities for future phases of the project = figuring out the funding before we start future phases of this process, versus the other way around.
An engaged community is a prosperous one. When elected as Mayor I will continue to work hard to ensure residents, business owners and other constituent groups are both involved and well informed about what is going on within the City limits.
I have used my Facebook page to communicate news, events and other important information for the past two years, starting when I ran for City Council. I’ve also participated in Resident Advocate and Carver Business Council meetings. I am committed to our community and dedicated to its progress.
I will be a good steward of the taxpayer’s money as Mayor. I will work to seek out grants, public/private partnerships and any other means of cost sharing which will lower the City of Carver’s financial expenses.
I will continue with the same fiscally conservative practices I use both as a member of the Carver City Council and in my personal life. Here are just a few examples:
In August 2017, I was the ONLY councilmember to vote AGAINST choosing Kraus Anderson Construction Co. as the construction management firm for the Broadway City Hall project. This was because their bid was $45,000+ higher than the other bid we received, which was from Vos Construction Inc. Click here to read the Chaska Herald’s story.
Last September I was the ONLY councilmember to vote AGAINST pay raises for the Mayor and members of City Council. Click here to read the Chaska Herald’s coverage.
Chaska Herald’s Q&A with Carver mayor candidate Courtney Johnson
Previous experience that would prove helpful in position:
Council Member – City of Carver: 2017 – Present
City Council liaison to the Carver Business Council, Fire Board and Planning Commission.
Represented Carver at events at Chaska Middle School West, groundbreakings and a visit to Granite Falls to learn more about the process involved in certifying their levy.
Participated in walkthroughs for street improvement projects, the Fire Department's training for Council Members, Resident Advocate meetings and the Carver County Sheriff’s Office Citizen’s Academy.
Commissioner – City of Carver Planning Commission: 2014 – 2016
Volunteer – Steamboat Days Committee: 2012 – 2015
Board Member – City of Carver Park & Recreation Board (now known as the Parks Commission): 2011 – 2013
17+ years working in communications roles including journalism, media relations, public relations and both internal and external communications.
1. Why are you running for this position?
The Mayor we choose on Nov. 6 will have just one vote on City Council, but as our community continues to grow the importance of having a Mayor who will serve as Carver’s chief ambassador and proverbial bridge builder will become even more important. With my experience and level of engagement on City Council, I am well prepared to take on this role. I believe Carver is headed in the right direction and it’s important we continue our momentum.
I’m running for Mayor because I have a sincere interest in serving the City of Carver, its residents, business owners and others. Ever since moving to Carver 8 ½ years ago I’ve been involved. I am running because I have the experience, the dedication and I know I’m the best person to lead Carver through the next four years. I am committed to our community and dedicated to its progress.
2. Do you believe the city council should continue to give public subsidies through property tax breaks (such as Tax Increment Financing or tax abatement) to companies building or expanding in the city? Please explain.
The use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and tax abatement are powerful tools Carver can use as a means of encouraging commercial, industrial and some residential (i.e. senior housing) growth.
TIF is the process when the City captures the increased property tax revenue a new real estate development generates to finance costs of the development. While each situation is unique and requires careful consideration, if the project passes the “but-for” qualifier (i.e. the project would not take place without TIF AND that the market value of the TIF development will be higher that what would occur on the property if TIF were not used) I am open to considering TIF for future projects. At this stage in Carver’s development, I believe TIF serves an important role to attract and encourage development in the City.
3. Do you think the city council should cut spending to lower the proposed 2019 property tax rate? If so, what would you cut and how much?
I am comfortable with the most recent draft of the 2019 budget, which was presented at the Sept. 4 Council Meeting. I’m proud of the work our fantastic City staff has put into these draft budgets.
In March of this year we were told by our financial consultants the tax impact of the Broadway City Hall project ALONE would be $210/year on a $300,000 house. Because of Carver’s growth and the percent market change, the same home valued at $300,000 is projected to see a $79 TOTAL increase in their 2019 taxes. This is significantly lower than what was projected seven months ago, before we knew the impact of growth and market change.
I understand that nobody likes paying taxes, including me. However, I believe the Carver’s 2019 budget is fiscally responsible and has done a good job of prioritizing our “needs” and does not contain any unnecessary “wants.”
4. What, if anything, should the city do to spur commercial and/or industrial development?
As I’m out campaigning I’m hearing from a number of residents that they’re envious of the commercial offerings found in our neighboring communities. I share their desire to have additional amenities a bit closer to home.
In 2016 as part of my role on the City’s Planning Commission, I participated in the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Navigating Your Competitive Future workshop.According to the panel of experts in that session, we still don’t have the number of rooftops and daytime population in Carver, which developers examine when determining if the site is feasible and meets their needs.
In order to spur commercial and industrial development in Carver we need more residential growth and to continue to be a developer-friendly city. Using TIF will also serve to benefit Carver in the eyes of commercial and industrial developers. We’re getting closer, but we’re not there yet.
5. What, if anything, should be the council's role in promoting life cycle housing in the city?
Before being elected to City Council, I wasa member of the City’s Planning Commission, which in 2016 collaborated to determine guiding principles on the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the 920 Sixth Street West redevelopment. After hearing from residents, we decided a strong preferencetoward senior living would be our first guiding principle.
Two years later, we are getting closer to realizing the goal of having dedicated senior housing in Carver with Trident Development’s proposal for a 70-unit senior facility that will include a mix of assisted living and memory care on that site.
“Housing for all” is one of the guiding principles in the “Design Carver” Comprehensive Plan. Carver needs more quality housing to attract a wide range of individuals and families. I would like to see the city continue to work through RFPs and good planning to diversify housing stock and promote life cycle housing in Carver.
6. What are the top three issues you would face during your term?
Smart Development – We can work to ensure Carver’s inevitable growth is the right kind of development. By sticking to the “Design Carver” Comprehensive Plan we’ll be able to ensure a broad range of housing options; welcome commercial and industrial development, which will serve to broaden our tax base and bring jobs to Carver; AND enjoy a walkable community with plenty of recreational options.
Historic Downtown – Maintaining downtown’s charm, while encouraging commercial growth is key. It is also important to figure out solutions for the challenges faced by home and business owners in the historic district and floodplain, such as the need for expensive flood insurance premiums.
Community Engagement – An engaged community is a prosperous one. I will continue to work hard to ensure residents, business owners and other constituent groups are involved and informed about what is going on within the City.
7. Have you been charged in the past year, or ever been convicted, of a misdemeanor or higher, or been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy or foreclosure?