Fernley City Council Ward 4 candidates

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Editor’s note: With the unlikelihood that there will be public campaign forums during the lead up to this year’s primary election, The Fernley Reporter has submitted a questionnaire to candidates for offices that represent Fernley.

All candidates were asked the same questions, with the freedom to answer in whatever manner they choose. Responses to those questionnaires will be grouped by each office they are running for, and will be published as they are received. All responses have been edited only for spelling and punctuation, and no content has been changed. In addition, all candidates are responsible for their own comments, and any false or misleading statements are the responsibility of the candidate and not The Fernley Reporter.

Candidates will be listed alphabetically, as their names will be listed on the ballot.

Bill Burrows

1. Describe who you are and where you’re from, your background, work history, experience, community service, etc.

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I am a 67 year old retiree, originally from Illinois. My family moved to Alaska in 1963 when I was 10, first to Anchorage then on to Fairbanks, where I went to high school and attended classes at the University of Alaska. I began a career in broadcasting while still a student which took me back to Anchorage in 1973. I moved back to Fairbanks in 1974 and stayed until 2005. During that time, I moved into sales, management and television, anchoring the news on the CBS affiliate. I got married in 1978 to Susan and we are still going strong after 42 years. We have three grown children and six grandchildren. We founded Burrows Advertising in 1984–a full service ad agency and TV production company–which we operated until 2006. I concurrently continued anchoring TV news. My wife and I were always very involved in our schools and community through PTA, Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce and church groups. I sang in my church choir and performed regularly in community theatre–mostly musicals and light opera. I co-founded an ad hoc group called Schools First, to address serious overcrowding in the public schools. This led to my running for school board where I served four, three-year terms–this for a 15,000 student district the size of the state of New Jersey with a budget in excess of $130 million. I was chosen by my peers to serve as board president four times. We left Fairbanks and moved to the Phoenix area in 2006 to be near our oldest daughter who was starting a family. Our other daughter got married and moved down to be near us, and, in no time at all (or so it seemed) we had four grandchildren! In Arizona, I went back to school and earned an associates degree in golf course management and instruction. But then the recession hit and I wound up owning a Farm Bureau insurance agency for seven years! I started with nothing and ended up with around 600 clients and a $1.2 million book of business. Our son had settled in Reno, (where both of our daughters had attended college) and, after getting married, produced grandchild number five! It was now his turn to have mom and dad close. So, I retired, we sold our house, and here we are! We chose Fernley because of lower housing prices than Reno/Sparks–and because we wanted to get back to small town living. Our son has since added grandchild number six! Needless to say, we drive into Reno a lot!

2. State why you are running and what qualifies you for the office you are running for.
I may be retired, but I feel I still have a lot to offer, with a lot of experience in both public service and business. I know what it’s like to make difficult decisions under intense scrutiny. In Fairbanks, our board meetings were broadcast on both radio and television and it was not unusual for it to be standing room only with over a hundred people in attendance! I’m also running so that the residents of Ward Four have a choice. My opponent was not elected, but appointed and must now stand for election to keep his seat. I didn’t think it was a good idea that he run unopposed.

3. What are some of the main issues you believe the board you are running for faces, and what are some of your solutions?

The main issue right now, that the entire country is facing, is the pandemic. None of us know how this will affect our community. We were looking at a very bright future with many new businesses and corresponding residential growth. How will the pandemic affect that? We just don’t know. But I’m hoping, when we get past the worst of the health crises and businesses can re-open, we can get back on track. Assuming we can, the biggest challenge is managing that growth. Again, this is something with which I have some experience. Fairbanks went through something similar with development of the oil resources on the North Slope of Alaska and building of the trans-Alaska pipeline. Fairbanks literally exploded! It took us twenty years to catch up with one of the biggest impacts being on the schools. During my tenure on the school board, we fought for and got nearly $150 million from the state and passed school bonds for a required 30% local match for desparately needed new schools and school renovation. The city of Fernley has already produced and approved a comprehensive master plan and water usage plan. So we have a road map. But there will be plenty of challenges as we race to meet the increasing demand for services and infrastructure with tax and fee revenues that will not keep pace: the cap on annual assessment increases and the state tax abatement law all but guarantees that. There are no easy answers. But, I will work hard, with my colleagues and our excellent city staff–and Fernley residents—to try and find solutions. And, I will insist that developers pay their fair share of the impact their projects will have on our infrastructure. What I can offer is this: my prior public service speaks to my judgement and integrity as well as my ability to listen and communicate. If I was lacking in any of those areas, I wouldn’t have been re-elected three times and repeatedly chosen to serve as board president.

4. What else would you like voters to know about you and what you would try to accomplish if you are elected?

I haven’t been here as long as many of you, but that can be a good thing. It means I have no ulterior motives, no connections to any special interest groups. And, being retired, I have plenty of time to devote to the job. I think my advertising background could be a big asset–in an unusual way. Having written and produced literally thousands of commercials, I am very good at reducing complex issues into bite-sized, easier to understand chunks. I used to joke with my clients, saying that, I think I’m a good listener, but the problem is, what I like to listen to most is the sound of my own voice! But that just shows that I am aware of my shortcomings and will do my best to just shut up and listen. And not just at council meetings! I am more than willing to come to where you are–visiting club meetings or other gatherings to listen to your concerns. Take a good look at my picture so you’ll recognize me. And then, don’t be shy about saying hello when you see me out and about

Albert D. Torres

1. Describe who you are and where you’re from, your background, work history, experience, community service, etc.
Albert Torres

50 years old

Wife- Julie Torres, Daughter- Kelsie Torres, Son- Shane Kelso

I am a 3rd generation Nevadan, raised in Lyon County, and I have lived in Fernley for 17 years.

I am the current Ward 4 Fernley City Councilman, appointed in August of 2019. I am currently a substitute teacher at Fernley Intermediate School, and a supervisor at Greater Nevada Field. Retired Lyon County Undersheriff, with over 25 years in law enforcement.

25 years of law enforcement experience working with many different Federal, State, County and City entities. I have also served on and chaired several Boards.

Involved with the Fernley Convention and Tourism Authority, City of Fernley Water Resource Team, Fernley Legislative Team, Northern Nevada Development Authority,  Founding Board member of the Fernley Boys and Girls Club, Founding Board member and 1st Chair of the Lyon County Mental Health Board, Fernley High Desert Little League, Fernley Chamber of Commerce, Nevada League of Cities, Nevada Chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness, Nevada Sheriff’s and Chiefs Association, FBI National Academy Alumni, Fraternal Order of Police, Western States Sheriff’s Association, Volunteer at Fernley Senior Center Annual Thanksgiving Dinner, Fernley High School Booster Club, Volunteer at the 2019 Fernley Clean-up, Volunteer at Fernley Mayor’s Clean Sweep, Lyon County Debt Management Commission, Dayton Historical Society, Fernley Order of the Moose, Regional Transportation Commission. Volunteer for Animal Rescue Group of Northern Nevada fundraisers, Annual Fernley Shop with a Sheriff.

2. State why you are running and what qualifies you for the office you are running for.

I have worked in the government process for over 25 years. I have extensive experience working with Federal, State, County, and City entities including the U.S. Military, FEMA, Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the State of Nevada Fusion Center and the U.S. Marshall’s Service. I have always been involved in the safety and security of our schools and children. Through cooperation with the Lyon County School District I implemented Lyon County’s first school lockdown drills and active shooter safety plans and worked directly with the State and other Counties in Nevada to assist them in implementing these safety plans for their children and schools. I understand the budgeting process at the State, County, and City level and have been personally involved in budget negotiations at the County and City levels. As the Undersheriff I was responsible for the day to day operations at the Sheriff’s Office. This responsibility included personnel decisions, equipment and vehicle purchasing, resource management, contract negotiations, budget hearings, jail and inmate services, training requirements, court services, outside agency cooperation, and the safety and customer services to the citizens. I have taken a very active role in my current position as the Fernley City Councilman for Ward 4, serving on the City Water Team to help ensure our water resources are protected, Vice-Chair on the Fernley Convention and Tourism Authority to assist in bringing additional tourism to our great city and encourage our local groups to hold events by giving grant money to them to help offset the costs of their event. I am also on the City Legislative Team in order to help with lobbying for the concerns of our citizens, and a member of the Northern Nevada Development Association, in order to bring needed businesses and good paying, sustainable employment to Fernley.

I am a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, which specializes in leadership, management, and organizational skills, and has enabled me to have a global network of resources. Less than 1% of all applicants are accepted to attend. I have three educational degrees, one in Criminal Justice, one in Business and the third in Management. I was fortunate to attend several thousand hours of training during my career ranging from basic policing to resource management, logistics, budgeting, leadership, multi-agency cooperation, and team building and earned Nevada’s highest POST certification with an Executive Certificate.

3. What are some of the main issues you believe the board you are running for faces, and what are some of your solutions?

I think the Fernley City Council has two huge challenges directly in front of us. The first is the unknown impact the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine are going to have on our local and national economy. Are we going to get our people back to work soon, what businesses are going to suffer the most or even close, are the developers and investors willing to still take risks needed to keep growing, what are our revenue sources going to look like and how hard will they be hit? It’s a huge problem for everyone with very few answers right now as we are only in the middle of April. The second challenge the Council is facing when the economy recovers and people are back to work: do developers and investors want to still come to Fernley, is the ability to keep the growth and resource management balanced with one another and with what the citizens want to see for the City. I know that through hard work, local knowledge of the issues, and good communication, we can find that balance and become the city we wish to be. Although I am the Councilman for the 4th Ward, my responsibility is to the entire City of Fernley. 

4. What else would you like voters to know about you and what you would try to accomplish if you are elected?

I will always make decisions that are best for the citizens of Fernley, and I have and will continue to speak with and listen to the citizens of Fernley about what they want and need. I will continue to seek their advice and be open for suggestions. I have lived in Fernley for 17 years and I feel that the people here in Fernley are not just constituents but are my friends and family and it is my job as the 4th Ward Councilman to look out for their best interests and give all of them a voice in our government process. The goals I would like to accomplish are protect our precious water and sewer resources, continually improve our infrastructure such as the connector between Highway 50A and the I-80 exit 50, roads with bike paths and sidewalks, continued lift station improvements, and underground utilities, continued improvements on our great parks, ensure and grow our public safety resources with the continued cooperation of the NLCFPD and the LCSO, and the future possibility of a City Marshalls Office, and to have well planned, controlled growth now and in the future in order to keep our rural feel and keep our identity that we are proud of. I would like Fernley to have a balance of growth in the future where we have an area of multi-family dwelling, with low-density single-family housing throughout the city while keeping our rural, agricultural areas with working farms and ranches. I know Fernley can become a Top-ranked city.

2 thoughts on “Fernley City Council Ward 4 candidates

  • April 20, 2020 at 11:37 am
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    On question number 3. Is it Board or Council? My understanding is Board is appointed, Council is elected

    Reply
    • April 20, 2020 at 2:10 pm
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      Not so. The City Council is elected, so is the North Lyon County Fire Protection District Board, and the Swimming Pool GID Board.

      Reply

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