Nine Laramie councilors serve non-partisan four-year terms with no term limits; terms are staggered. There are three wards of three councilors each; only those living within a ward vote for their ward candidate(s). Salary is $120 for attending a meeting or a hearing held on a separate day. No benefits are provided. In 2014, there is one vacancy each in Wards 1 and 2. In Ward 1 the winner will join Vicki Henry and Paul Weaver, whose terms are not up; in Ward 2 the winner will join Joe Shumway and Jayne Pearce. In Ward 3 there are two vacancies; the winners will join Joe Vitale.
What reasons might voters have to place their confidence in you?
Brian LeJambre (Ward l): I am a long time resident of Laramie with a vested interest in my community. I have a financial background that will help to evaluate and optimize the city budget. I will fight to maximize our city services in a responsible and economical way. I will also work against the over reach of the government into our everyday lives, thus preventing unnecessary restrictions that hinder the prosperity of our community.
Andrea Summerville (Ward 1): I am willing to earn their confidence with actions and job performance, not words. Making time to listen and meet with community members regarding any problems or suggestions that they have is always a top priority. I have a proven track record of working with constituents until problems are solved. I take the awesome responsibility of representing Ward 1 seriously and always put 200 percent into all aspects of the job.
Oscar Lilley (Ward 2): I hate politics but love my country, my state, and our wonderful town. I am not running against Mayor Paulekas, but rather for the people of my ward. I vow to take as much advice as possible from diverse sources in order to make the best decision possible for the betterment of my ward and not of myself. Lastly, I vow to treat the citizens of Laramie like my boss rather than as petty supplicants.
Dave Paulekas (Ward 2): It is my goal as a city counselors to make Laramie a better place to live and to provide a better quality of life for all. It is very important that we listen to our constituents and respond accordingly. Economic development is also critical to creating a better quality of life within our community. I believe I have the experience and background to effectively represent the citizens of my ward.
Bern Haggerty (Ward 3): My experience and my ideas prepare me for service. I currently serve as a Deputy County Attorney, and I have served as a Senior Assistant Attorney General and a Domestic Violence Attorney. From Head Start to graduate school, I have received a thorough public education. My priorities on the council will include a comprehensive human rights ordinance, a restoration of glass recycling, and full implementation of the recreation master plan.
Klaus Hanson (Ward 3): I am completing my 12th year as a city council member, have also been vice mayor and mayor during that time, and am familiar with the operations and problems of the city. I always consider the benefit for the larger number of folks and I have no preconceived notions.
Karl McCraken (Ward 3): I have lived in Laramie for about 33 years and am aware of most of the growth during that time. I will listen. I want to be one of nine persons directing the city in a respectful, positive fashion while taking opposing viewpoints under consideration. If we disagree, call me I might change my mind or yours. The city is yours. I will be responsible for 1/9th of decisions. Call me. 760-3116
Bryan Shuster (Ward 3): I served on council two terms and only missed two meetings in eight years. I’m very conservative and will be very careful with the money entrusted with the city council. I hope to help attract new businesses to Laramie. I’m a long time resident of Laramie attending Slade, Junior, High School, and a college Graduate. My family and I have had businesses in Laramie for over 45 years. I hope to earn your trust.
Do you support renewing the optional Fifth-penny sales tax in Albany County? Explain.
Brian LeJambre (Ward l): I do support the Fifth-penny tax. It represents 7 percent of the general fund budget that provides many of the services we enjoy in Laramie. What appeals to me is that everyone purchasing products in the county contributes to this source of revenue. I would prefer that it be distributed independently instead of put in the general fund. This way, voters would have a better depiction of where the funds are going.
Andrea Summerville (Ward 1): Yes, I support the renewal of the Fifth-penny sales tax. It provides approximately 15 percent to 20 percent of the City’s general fund budget in any given year. It is responsible for providing continued infrastructure improvements, better public safety services, as well as giving the city the ability to reach out with financial support to our community partner organizations. It is critical element of maintaining the quality of life and level of services provided in Laramie.
Oscar Lilley (Ward 2): I support the Fifth-penny sales tax for two reasons: Firstly, I believe in a broad tax base that pays for services used by all. I have a low income and therefore most of my contribution to county and city services comes from the sales tax. More importantly, we must lessen our dependence on federal grants because the crippling national debt will soon cause this source of revenue to dry up completely.
Dave Paulekas (Ward 2): I support the renewal of our Fifth-penny sales tax. It provides our community approximately $4.5 million which is used to supplement our general fund. These dollars directly support our outside nonprofit agencies, police, fire, parks and rec, and all other departments. It contributes to our desirable quality of life. All of the proceeds of the fifth cent goes directly to our community.
Bern Haggerty (Ward 3): Yes. Many services necessary for a safe and healthy community would disappear without the fifth penny tax. My favorites include: Developmental Preschool, Interfaith Good Samaritan, Habitat for Humanity, Public Library, and SAFE Project. Many others receive funding from the tax, and the voters have repeatedly approved the tax for decades. I believe the city should solicit proposals for additional services, for example a supervised visitation exchange for children in custody disputes and protection proceedings.
Klaus Hanson (Ward 3): The optional Fifth-penny sales tax is essential for City and County. On the first four cents of local sales tax, the State returns about 32 cents of every dollar collected to the County and City, while on the Fifth penny the return is about 99 cents. Thus, the revenue on the Fifth penny is almost the same as on the first four! The County and especially the City cannot function without that tax.
Karl McCraken (Ward 3): I support renewing the Fifth-penny as it makes up a great percentage of the cities general fund. If you take the sales tax collections in the general fund and divide by the population, we are forced to be the most frugal community in Wyoming. This means we must get more services out of each dollar than anyone else. This can be accomplished through the budget process. Call me. 760-3116
Bryan Shuster (Ward 3): Yes I support it; a part of the city budget depends on it. If we don’t have this tax there would be a large amount of layoffs and a cut back on city services. I hope that people realize this is not a new tax just to keep an existing one. It would be very hard to decide what to cut in city services.
How would you address property owners’ concerns when zoning changes are proposed?
Brian LeJambre (Ward l): Ultimately, citizens have the right to do with their property, what they see fit. In turn, citizens have the responsibility to maintain the character of their neighborhoods. Zoning changes tend to be situational. I would like to see less restrictive zoning regulations to prevent constant changes of the code, while maintaining oversight to prevent unreasonable requests.
Andrea Summerville (Ward 1): Zoning changes can have long lasting effects on residents, neighborhoods and businesses and deserve absolute due diligence when brought forward. It is critical for council to take the time to reach out to the neighborhood, take in citizen input and analysis how making a change will affect residences, businesses and quality of life down the road. Ultimately an updated city zoning plan is needed to ensure that zoning changes are the exception, not normal business.
Oscar Lilley (Ward 2): The proposal for a dance studio is a recent example of how complicated and difficult zoning issues can be. Public city council meetings are too formal and not very conducive to a focused give-and-take discussion. Therefore, I would like to call on citizens to join me at times in an informal public setting to discuss important issues that come up. If you don’t voice your opinion before a vote, complaining after won’t help.
Dave Paulekas (Ward 2): Zoning changes within established neighborhoods need to be considered with caution. Property owners within the neighborhood need to be heard. Proposed changes can affect their life in a significant way. They have a right to expect consistency within their immediate neighborhood. We use zoning as a means to protect values and create predictability.
Bern Haggerty (Ward 3): Zoning provides protection and predictability for all residents. As a council member I will encourage owners to communicate with city staff, and their neighbors, about their plans. The staff serves both those wishing to develop land and those concerned about development. I would insist on compliance with established procedures for notice and opportunity for public participation. If presented to the council for a decision, I would consider the interests of the community as a whole.
Klaus Hanson (Ward 3): We must weigh the rights of individual property owners against the needs of the community to change, develop or expand. Whenever possible, zoning changes should certainly not violate individual property rights, but they should also allow neighbors to develop their property, while keeping a positive benefit for everyone in mind.
Bryan Shuster (Ward 3): Every case would be evaluated on its own merits. Right now there is a church in the south east part of town that is empty, they would like to put a dance studio in it, the zoning is R1, so do you do an occupancy change or rezone the entire neighborhood. My vote would be to change the occupancy and leave the neighborhood alone.
Karl McCraken (Ward 3): Many times zoning "CHANGES" are confused in development. In a true zone change, I would listen, ask questions, anticipate unintended consequences, weigh the impacts upon existing property owners, see if mitigating actions can be taken, knowing that both sides may be upset before things are over. After all that I would have to make a decision based upon code that I could discuss and explain to others even if we disagree. Be available. 760-3116