Candidate Q&A Castle Rock Town Council District 5 - Caryn Johnson
Name: Caryn Johnson
Profession: Elected Official
Biography: I am currently the District 5 Councilmember and I’ve been a resident of Castle Rock since 2005. My background includes a bachelor's degree in administration, a master's degree in geography with a planning certification and I’ve worked for local and state governments, and nonprofits over my entire career. I have volunteered in numerous capacities in the local community, including as a commission member on the Parks and Recreation and Water Commissions, a Girl Scout Leader, a Master Gardener, and at local schools and the Philip S. Miller Library. I enjoy hiking, gardening, and riding a tandem bike with my husband.
Why are you running for council?
I’m running for a second term on Council to continue efforts to find a stable, reliable revenue source to fund Police and Fire. The Town relies largely on sales tax dollars to fund Police and Fire. When an economic downturn occurs our sales tax revenue takes a hit and means certain capitals projects get deferred to maintain appropriate staffing levels in Police and Fire. A stable revenue source for Police and Fire, would free up these sales tax dollars for capital projects. I will continue to pursue funding for additional open space acquisition.
What is your approach to governing growth?
I approach governing growth by asking tough questions of staff and developers regarding the development to better understand the impact my decision has on the Town’s citizens over the long-term. I work with Town staff to bring greater transparency and improve public access to information on development. I collaborated with staff to gain an increase in the distance developers are required to publicly notice regarding future development, from 300ft to 500ft. I study and work in partnership with Town staff to obtain quality projects and plans for Castle Rock that help everyone in our community.
What are your top priorities and how will they be addressed?
My top priority is to work with the Town Manager and Town staff to ensure the Town has a stable, reliable source of revenue in place to support Police and Fire operations so the Town isn’t as reliant on sales tax dollars to provide Public Safety (as stated previously). Securing these revenues will help with employee retention and recruitment of highly qualified Police Officers and Firefighters. My next priority is to assure a source of revenue to fund preservation of additional open space in our community, possibly through revenue from tobacco sales. Lastly, I will continue to prioritize Town transparency.
Metro issues are starting to impact Castle Rock and Douglas County as a whole - How would you address homelessness in Castle Rock?
I will continue to support Town and County programs currently in place to address homelessness in Castle Rock. The Town has a dedicated Police Officer who leads a team that meets with these individuals and works to secure resources available to help them get back on their feet. The team checks homeless individuals/sites weekly in our community and sends a cleanup team in when sites have been abandoned. Douglas County has a similar program, the HEART program, which runs in tandem with Castle Rock’s program and provides countywide assistance and check ins on homeless individuals/sites in unincorporated Douglas County.
What are the biggest challenges facing the town?
The biggest challenges facing the Town is finding a reliable source of funding to support the operations of our Police and Fire Departments. While developers/builders pay impact fees to the Town when they build in Castle Rock these fees can only be used to build capital projects – facilities/buildings, roads, etc. Impact fees “help” pay the costs for connecting to our existing infrastructure and contribute to the future capital costs (infrastructure costs) needed to build necessary additional infrastructure to serve them and our community. Another challenge for the Town is to find a means to fund acquisition of additional open space.
What are the biggest opportunities and good things happening in Castle Rock now?
One of the biggest opportunities Castle Rock has now is to decide the best balance of open space/parks, homes, and businesses for our community long-term while meeting our water and economic needs, and our wellbeing. Another big opportunity now is to find a stable, reliable source of revenue to meet our Police and Fire operational needs which I believe is the fiscally responsible thing to do for our community. The good that’s been happening in Castle Rock is the Town has been able to maintain an excellent level of service for our residents through recent rapid growth.
Crime is also a regional issue impacting the Denver metro area - What is Castle Rock doing right to address the issues? Where can Castle Rock improve?
Castle Rock’s has been addressing crime through several means, by increasing the number of officers that serve our Town, installing flock cameras which help CRPD locate stolen vehicles, continuing their regional collaboration on crime, and treating everyone with dignity and respect. Castle Rock can improve by ensuring our officers have the funding and training necessary to help them address any increase in crime that occurs in our region and impacts our Town.
Castle Rock asked voters to approve four tax measures in 2021 - The measures were aimed at improving public safety and addressing growing traffic concerns. As the population grows - What do you think Castle Rock should be doing to be proactive and stay on top of roads and infrastructure and the growing need for more firemen, officers and stations?
Council needs to look at the previous measures as well as at additional ideas which can be used to fund public safety and address growing traffic concerns; a funding mechanism most of our community will support. I don’t have the answer, I plan to collaborate with Council and staff to put in place a funding mechanism that is proactive and helps Castle Rock stay on top of funding for these needs.
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