Calling himself “a new voice for a growing Roswell,” Ed Heldenbrand, the chief financial officer for the Krumland Auto Group, is making a bid for city council.
Heldenbrand is one of three candidates vying for the Ward 2 seat in the March 3 municipal elections. Former councilor Jason Perry and political newcomer Bonnie Bitzer are also campaigning for the seat now held by Steve Henderson, who has opted not to seek re-election.
Heldenbrand said he had been contemplating a run for some time. A desire to ensure that the city government remains on sound fiscal ground, a desire to see Roswell benefit as a whole and an opening on the council is what he said prompted him to run.
“So not wanting to sit in the back row of the room at a city council meeting, why not get in the front row and do something about it?” he asked.
For decades, Heldenbrand has worked in accounting and business, pouring over budgets, financial statements and identifying waste. He believes that would benefit the city as a whole.
“As a CFO, I have always looked after other people’s money and I would bring that expertise to the council as well, looking after the citizen’s money,” he said.
Having been a certified public accountant, Heldenbrand said he has a history of working with officials at the city, county and state level.
Aside from the city’s fiscal situation, Heldenbrand said he thinks the city needs to look at ways to not only draw new businesses here, but look at how to assist existing ones, and how to remedy the shortage of affordable housing.
Though he does not know what developers need, Heldenbrand said that maybe the city could look at ways to make their fee structure more helpful.
In keeping with a platform of fiscal conservatism, Heldenbrand said he would oppose any tax increase for capital improvement projects unless they are approved by the public at the ballot box.
The people, he said, need to have a voice in the decision.
In addition to races for city council and municipal judge, a measure for a general obligation bond for a $35 million public safety complex will be decided March 3. The complex would house the Roswell Fire Department and Fire Station 2, Roswell Emergency Operations and Roswell Municipal Court under one roof.
A 3.53 mill increase would need to be paid if voters approve the complex, working out to about a $118 per year increase in property taxes for a home valued at $100,000.
The obligation would then start to drop off after two years as the city retires other debt. Debt for the project would be paid off after 18 years.
Heldenbrand said he is neutral on the project, and said he will go along with what the voters decide.
“I will make my decision as a private citizen when I go to the polls,” he said
He said when talking to taxpayers about a bond issue for a capital improvement project, elected officials need to present voters with the real facts and let them make up their minds.
One issue Heldenbrand said he would support is a possible increase in the budget of the police department. He said that he thinks the department might need more resources to deal with a shortage of police officers.
“I want to be able to go to sleep at night and not worry about someone breaking into my house because there are more officers visible,” he said.
Raised in Wichita, Kansas, Heldenbrand moved to Albuquerque in 1970, where his father was transferred for work. Heldenbrand graduated from the University of Albuquerque in 1975 with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a major in accounting.
He began his career as an accounting officer with the SunBell Corporation, a jewelry manufacturer. Later, he would serve as CFO for the Larry Mahan Boot Company and work as personal CFO for the businessman Robert O. Anderson. Heldenbrand has worked for Krumland Auto Group since 2015.
Heldenbrand was married to his wife of 38 years, who died in 2010. He has three children and four grandchildren who live in Florida. He is engaged to Angela Bankston.
In addition to his work in finance, Heldenbrand is a past president and treasurer of Noon Optimist Little League. He is also active in the Roswell Rotary Club and Assumption Catholic Church.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.