IMPORTANT NOTICE!!! There is a typographical error on the ballot! You are entitled to vote for three (3) candidates for trustee. The typo on the ballot reads “Vote for one (3)”.
Paul D. Ogg for Erie Board of Trustees
Associate Teaching Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering Department, Colorado School of Mines.
BA Psychology (Albion College, Michigan)
PhD Molecular Biology (University of Iowa, Iowa).
Wife: Kristen, a small animal veterinarian.
Daughters: Kate (3 1/2), bookworm, “can’t get me” professional, and Superbus aficionado.
Ellie (almost 2), super-eater, copy-cat, and part-time crier.
Where were you born?
Oakland County, Michigan.
How long have you lived in Erie?
1. What are the biggest challenge facing the Town of Erie?
• Maintaining the small town feel while increasing commercial services and sales tax revenue.
• For each citizen to share a sense of belonging to the same community spirit.
2. What is Erie’s best course of action regarding commercial development?
Approximately 18 months ago, I learned about a unique economic development tool available to municipalities, called an Urban Renewal Authority (URA). URAs allow municipalities to tap into alternate pools of dollars in order to overcome development barriers. For example, an URA can pay the multi-million dollar road improvements that a developer would normally need to pay to support the development. Funds for these incentives are *not* generated through a new tax on existing citizens and the funds are *not* siphoned off of sales tax revenues generated by the new development. Erie citizens will not see an increase in property tax to pay for the improvements and sales tax dollars generated from the improvements will increase revenue into the Town coffers. After an intensive education, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved formation of an URA. Our ability to decrease the start-up cost of development has transformed our ability to attract commercial development in this down economy of little available capital.
3. What unique strengths do you currently bring to the position of Trustee?
• I have a track record of objectively assessing our challenges and opportunities and proposing creative solutions. Importantly, I’m humble enough to support the best solution presented, rather than holding fast to a solution of my own design.
• Over the past four years, I’ve come to a deeper understanding of when compromise to a middle ground should and should not be pursued. Many challenges the Town of Erie faces have a spectrum of solutions. In such a case, a middle ground between option 1, 2, 3 and 4 (say, option 2 and 3/4) might serve the citizens if Erie best. Other challenges are categorical. Either path A or path B can lead us to a desired destination, but a destination will not be reached if a middle ground is taken. There is no such thing as A and 1/2. Understanding that challenges can be spectral or categorical lets me know how to best serve the citizens of Erie, on a case-by-case basis; by either negotiating or by standing firm.
4. What are your primary election platform?
The Town of Erie is caught in a spiral of debt and development. We have issued a variety of bond debts to build infrastructure needed to support our anticipated development. We pay off these bonds by selling the building permits to developers. Along the way, the new development drives a need to issue more debt so we can build the infrastructure to service the new development. A mind that sees this spiral of dependance can extrapolate to see that the end of the spiral is every field in our planning area developed and no more building permits to issue.
I’m not sure that’s the Erie I want to live in. I like the idea of some remaining agriculture in Erie after built-out. If we continue on our current course, a future Board will never be able to consider undeveloped land in Erie as an option. Future Boards caught in the spiral will have to approve development on every open field in order to feed the ‘bond monster’. I don’t know if future Board members will value undeveloped land the way I do, but I’d like for them to at least have the choice.
My primary goal on the Board of Trustees is for the URA (see 2 above) to issue as many of our future bonds as possible. Because bonds payments from the URA come from a different pool of money, Town revenue from building permits will overcome our existing bond debt. It will take about 15 years, but whomever is sitting on the Board of Trustees at that time will actually be the first to have the choice. Do we really need this proposed neighborhood, or is there something of greater value that can be done with this land?
4. What are your secondary election platforms?
• Coordination of our open spaces, trail systems, and tree program can create community connections which draw our community together, in addition to being both beautiful and engaging.
• I would like the Town of Erie to embrace green development as we review the Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Code. Simple design changes can greatly reduce energy and water demand, with little out of pocket construction expense to the developer.
Popularity: 17% [?]