Windsor native Hunter Rivera is the latest candidate to run for Windsor City Council. He faces Julie Cline, an appointed incumbent, in the District 4 race.
Rivera has never held elected office, but has been involved in state partisan politics, having served as legislative adviser to Republican state legislator Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer and state representative Mike Lynch. He is also the chairman of the Northern Colorado Young Republicans and a member of the district committee of the Weld County Republican Party.
The Coloradoan sent questionnaires to each Windsor candidate to learn more about their priorities and why they are running for office. Your answers have been edited slightly for length and clarity.
Below are Rivera’s answers.
Election center:Everything you need to know about the April 2022 Elections in Windsor, Timnath, Wellington and Johnstown
Question: What qualifies you for a seat on Windsor City Council?
reply: I know that I have the necessary experience. I know I have the drive to do it. I know I have the time for this. I qualify because I care about my community. I’ll take care of Windsor. I am qualified because I will get the job done and accurately represent the people of District 4. I have served on the community advisory board for the North Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Windsor Water and Sewer Board and as a legislative adviser to the state capital, which allows me to understand issues such as transportation, water, local government, health care and education. I know what it means to govern and I know what it means to stand up and fight for your constituents.
Q: What are your top three priorities if elected?
Government transparency and accountability, public safety and responsible growth.
1. In 2020, the city granted emergency powers to the city manager. In 2021, the manager entered into a contract without city government approval that included a subsidy with a private company. This use of emergency powers did not meet the city’s definition of an emergency. When asked, the mayor responded by saying, stop talking about it and “we’re done.” How does this hold our government accountable?
2. Public Safety: Colorado has seen a rise in crime, including Windsor. Let’s keep Windsor safe by supporting the blues and making sure they have the resources they need.
3. Responsible Growth: Ensure Windsor allows for new growth without impacting current residents. Secure a long-term water future for Windsor. Ensuring that projects are in line with the thoughts and desires of the community. And let’s keep the small town feel of Windsor as we continue to grow.
Q: What are Windsor’s top three challenges and what would you do about them?
A: Water is by far the most important issue facing Colorado, and Windsor is no exception. I’m concerned that Windsor is over-relying on the Northern Integrated Supply Project, NISP (which, despite concerns, I fully support). I fear that this project will continue to be held up and delayed for years or may not materialize at all. I think Windsor should look for other solutions to secure that enduring water future. If you’re looking for a viable alternative, check out Greeley’s takeover of the Terry Bison Ranch.
I think growth is also a key issue for the city. We need to accommodate new residents while ensuring we have adequate infrastructure to support growth. For example, we need to make sure we have the necessary roads to support these residents, commercial development to support these residents, and an adequate amount of water. I believe Windsor will eventually shift our focus from a heavy reliance on residential tax revenues to a more sales tax and commercial revenue model. I believe that the Future Legends sports park can stimulate this change.
I think downtown parking and traffic is also a big problem for Windsor. Traffic has been a major problem for Main Street/Colorado Highway 392 for years. Several possible solutions have been proposed for nearly 40 years, and yet nothing has materialized. I’ve spoken to business owners who are upset about truck traffic and complain about how trucks are shaking their stores. It is time for the local council to find a solution to this problem. I believe a bypass north of Windsor Lake might be a viable solution.
Q: The planned Backlots project seems to divide the city, especially the business community. Where do you stand on the Backlots project and why?
A: Against. I see no way around this project to harm Windsor residents and business owners. I’ve spoken to former city leaders, residents of the proposed area, and business owners off Main Street, and I’m hearing the same thing. No. These business owners have valid concerns and we need to listen to them.
A resident brought in a petition with 1,500 signatures against the project in 2019-20. Yes, Tribe, the developer, has yet to come up with publicly available plans. However, we are aware of Brinkman’s plans (original backlot developer).
We also know that at a December 13 working session, the city was shown a presentation of a “height exception” area that would allow construction of buildings up to 75 feet tall. This area would include the exact site where the Backlots project would be built. It is also worth noting that the city was shown examples of what type of building would make this possible, and one of the examples was Brinkman’s plans for the lots. According to the city’s working session packages, this issue could come up again at the March 28 working session. This project will negatively impact business on Main Street. It will harm residents living adjacent to downtown Windsor. And it will hurt all residents trying to visit downtown Windsor or Windsor Lake. In this case, let’s put community above profit and say no to this project.
Q: According to most business owners, parking in downtown Windsor is a big problem. How would you tackle the downtown parking problem?
A: First of all, we do not allow the Backlots project. That would go a long way in putting those business owners’ minds at ease. As far as I know, the city is looking at different ways to find parking. The city needs to keep these options close to the main street and away from residential areas.
Parking cars in front of the place of residence is not a solution. I’ve also heard that the city is considering a multi-storey car park behind Windsor City Hall that would serve as a downtown car park. I don’t like this either, considering that this would be directly adjacent to several apartment buildings and would likely interfere with Main Park and basketball courts in that area.
I think we should look at the backlots area and seriously work on paving that parking lot or building a parking garage. I also want to bring the business world into the room and work with them to find a solution to this problem. There is quite a big gulf between some companies and the city government. Let’s work with them to start rebuilding those relationships. I also believe that downtown Windsor needs much better lighting to see pedestrians at night.
Q: Windsor is known as a business-friendly city and offers incentives in the form of fee waivers and tax refunds. What should the city do going forward to prepare for future residential and commercial growth?
A: The city is already doing everything it should be doing. I recently met with the city’s business development agency and other employees who are at the top of the game. Going forward, Windsor may need to rely more heavily on business tax revenue than housing tax revenue, but I believe that will come as Windsor grows. Many residents want a new grocery store and while I will not and cannot promise to establish one during my time on the board, I believe Windsor will have the population to eventually attract and introduce a new grocery store.
Q: If you would like to discuss other topics not mentioned in the questionnaire, please do so here:
A: I want to mention that I plan to be a strong fiscal conservative on the board. I will not support fee increases (tax increases) making Windsor less affordable.
I also support oil and gas 100%.
Finally, as a board member, I also vow to be as transparent as possible so I can be held accountable. I plan to meet and connect with the citizens of District 4 whenever I get the chance. I’m doing this because I believe in Windsor and I believe in the people of this city and District 4.