BRIAN CARRIER

Occupation: Retired postmaster and manager of postal operations

Brian Carrier

Education: Chickasha High School, Chickasha, OK; three years University of Oklahoma, political science and law enforcement

Family: Wife, Candice; children Travis and Hannah; two grandchildren

Political experience: Member of the Auburn Planning Board; past member of the Auburn Zoning Board of Appeals; member of the mayor’s ad-hoc committee on agriculture, member of the Auburn Strategic Planning Committee; regular attendance at airport board meetings.

Q: Why do you think you’re the most qualified, or best candidate for this seat?

A: As a longtime resident of Ward 4 in Auburn I have kept track of city action involving our area. I have for years attended City Council meetings. Two years ago I started attending City Council and other city board meetings consistently to familiarize myself with issues facing the city and listening to citizen feedback for them. Having served on the Zoning Board of Appeals and now as a Planning Board member I have looked at the inner workings of the city and how issues are addressed. That, with my 37-plus years combined in law enforcement and managing U.S. Postal Service issues, gives me a strong base in working in a collaborative manner with stakeholders to achieve successful outcomes. Through my experience as a manager in the Postal Service I am used to working with large-scale budgets involving large numbers of personnel and their unions, vehicles, and facilities — budgets that require constant attention and review to maintain success. All of this is why I believe I am the best qualified for this position.

Q: Please name three issues that you believe are critical to Auburn’s future and how you would address them.

A: I believe that the three most important issues right now are the tax rate and budget for the city, the economic development and land usage for the city, and finally the school budget and educational issues.
For the budget and tax rate issue I believe that the council needs to do a more thorough review of budget items and dig deep to see where there are areas of savings, improvement and removal. Auburn, having a tax rate that is a bit higher than other areas, needs to make sure that every dollar is accounted for and is well spent. People have to be able to afford to live here and people on fixed incomes are finding that harder and harder.

Second, the council should look at the economic development program to see that Auburn is able to afford the infrastructure and services that companies are looking for to come to this area. This includes looking at the ordinances regarding the zones and looking at needed changes that could be made to ease development while protecting our resources and developing according to the Comprehensive Plan.

Finally, working with the school board to assure they have what they need to develop our children and prepare them for futures that may include college or vocational training for skilled labor careers. Support not only in new facilities but with quality education in the buildings. Careers that offer good pay with local companies so they don’t have to leave the area.

Q: What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like?

A: Of course I like that the increase was kept to a minimum and that there was a review of the cost related to the budget. What I disliked was the fact that we relied on money from revenue-sharing to make sure that the increase was down. I believe that a deeper dive needs to be made on the cost incurred by the city and tax money being spent for those costs. Citizen tax dollars are a finite commodity and their use should be scrutinized closely. As my grandmother used to say, “Don’t want what you don’t need unless you’re willing to pay for it.” Auburn citizens are paying for it.

RHYANNA LAROSE

Occupation: Occupational health and safety nurse, RN-BSN

Rhyanna Larose

Education: Nursing degree from CMTC 2003, occupational health and safety degree from CMCC 2008, and Bachelor of Science from USM, 2009.

Family: 23-year-old daughter

Political experience: None

Q: Why do you think you’re the most qualified, or best candidate for this seat?

A: As a lifelong Auburn resident, I have spent over 30 years actively volunteering in the community. I sit on numerous boards and committees, including the Auburn Conservation Commission, L/A Community Forest Board, Auburn Strategic Planning Committee, Friends of Mt. Apatite and LA Trails. I have helped with citizen initiatives, local programs, diabetes fairs, and various groups, including community gardens and youth summer camps. I have extensive experience collaborating, brainstorming, problem-solving, often thinking outside the box, with fresh, visionary ideas. I work tirelessly each day, listening, learning, advocating and weighing differences of opinions while moving forward through obstacles and challenges, both professionally as a nurse, and in the community. I truly love all things Auburn. I can bring the voices and perspective of residents to the table through unbiased communication and collaboration.

Q: Please name three issues that you believe are critical to Auburn’s future, and how you would address them?

A: Property taxes are too high. Year over year, taxes have increased to unsustainable levels. The mill rate in Auburn increased 32% from just 2008-2018 alone. Mill rates need to come down to support the Auburn taxpayers and attract more growth and new residents. I would work hard collaborating on ways to cut spending and increase revenue in the city before looking at any further increase in property taxes. I would look harder at the budget to cut wasteful spending, look for redundant and overlapping services, renegotiate contracts when possible, look at cheaper utility and city service plans, collaborate with outside entities more. We should be out there shopping around and comparing costs for best market rates on an annual basis.

We need to better support local businesses. I am saddened each time I hear of another local business or store closing. These are often small family-owned shops that have been around for decades. Local businesses help support the local economy in countless ways by keeping more of our taxpayers’ money here at home, providing locally sourced goods and crafts, supporting local jobs, encouraging entrepreneurship, celebrating the uniqueness of Auburn, and making it a destination for others. I would like to create a more inviting atmosphere to attract small business and keep those here thriving and alive.

We need to attract more citizens to live, work and play in Auburn. I would like to see the downtown core better developed with well-thought-out plans. Our downtown district buildings need some TLC. With supportive investment, remodeling and renovations, these old historic buildings would be great for new affordable housing. I would work to widen the sidewalks where possible, to make it safer for pedestrians and motorized wheelchairs. I would work to improve the walkability in and around local businesses, parks and open spaces. I would work to improve the aging infrastructure and balance the economic development with beautifying the surrounding neighborhoods, curbsides while, supporting the Arts District and adding more community gardens.

Q: What do you like about the city budget passed this year, and what don’t you like?

A: Overall, I think the City Council worked hard trying to keep the mill rate from increasing too much, but it could have been much better, and should have been lower. Auburn taxpayers need a break. Spending is out of control and not sustainable at these levels. We keep increasing the city budget by millions of dollars a year, borrowing or redistributing money we don’t have, and then making promises to the taxpayers of Auburn we cannot keep, often to get costly things passed. The Norway Savings Arena is a prime example of where money could have been better allocated.


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