WASHINGTON – In every political race there are issues that both voters and candidates feel are a priority. St. George News asked each of the Washington City candidates what topics residents approached them with the most, and what the candidates themselves feel is the most pressing issue facing their city. Their answers are compiled below.
Note: There will be a meet-the-candidate event featuring Washington City Council and mayoral candidate at the Staheli Family Farm at 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 5. The Staheli Family Farm is located at 3400 South Washington Fields Road in Washington.
Bill Hudson – Washington City Council incumbent
“One concern that I have heard for the past four years is … public transportation,” Hudson said. He is in favor of finding a way to provide public transportation to the city. “I am currently working with our city administration to find a way that we can provide this valuable resource … We have a few ideas and are looking at all options.”
“I believe that our biggest issue is economic growth,” he said. While the city’s population is growing, the sales tax revenue isn’t. “As the need for services increase there will be tough choices about how to pay for those services if we don’t find a way to increase our sales tax revenue.”
Along with providing incentives for businesses to come to the city, Hudson also said residents have shown ideas that could also benefit the city. “I hope to be a member of a council that promotes the strengths of our residents and works with them to help solve this issue,” he said.
Sara Lang – Facebook campaign page
“The most common issue brought to me is property rights,” Lang said. “I think the first step in solving this – and many other problems – is communication and education. It is important to first know your own concerns and how they work with the laws and requirements of the city.”
It is equally important for citizens to communicate their concerns to those who are able to properly help work out a solution, she said. If no one in city government knows about the concerns to begin with, don’t count on them being addressed.
Lang also said the primary issue facing the city is communication. “I feel, as a city, we could do better at informing the citizens about all things Washington City. Our social media pages are used, but I feel like we could do better,” she said.
Peato Ena (no photo or website provided)
“(Residents) that spoke with me felt that their voice has not been heard in local government because many issues and concerns are dealt with without proper notification of the public,” Ena said.
He said there needs to be more transparency and communication via media and social media between the city and the residents in order to encourage more dialogue between the two.
“However, (residents) must also do their due diligence and get involved and not just sit around and complain,” Ena said.
“The most critical issue facing our city … is managing the available resources as our city experiences growth and expansion,” he said. “Careful planning and citizen participation in determining the allocation of diminishing resources (like water) as we grow is optimal. As elected officials, our mandate is to pass ordinances that benefit the citizens of our city and do what is best for them and not anyone’s own private agenda.”
Thad Seegmiller – Washington City Council incumbent
“The most commonly raised issue by citizens regards Washington City utility rates,” Seegmiller said. “I share the same concern. During my first term I advocated utility rebates/refunds and power department efficiency.”
Seegmiller said he plans to continue efforts to achieve greater power efficiency and stable rates. With careful management of the city’s expanding power needs, he said the city could enjoy another four years without power rate increases.
The primary issue facing the city resolves around preserving the close-knit community feel of the city while also dealing with the infrastructure needs that come with growth, Seegmiller said.
“City leaders must be proactive and sophisticated enough to manage growth in a way that the wonderful things that current citizens love about Washington City do not get overrun and overcome by growth,” he said.
Daylene Ure – Facebook Campaign page
Ure said she has been approached by Washington residents with three general concerns:
- Traffic flow and increased population. What are the plans to keep up with population growth?
- Zoning and property owners’ rights.
- City employees. “Do we have the right personnel in the right positions to best utilize their talents, skills and expertise?” Ure said. “And are we as a city providing those individuals with the proper tools and equipment to be successful in their jobs?
“I feel the primary issue is with the zoning regulations,” she said. “I do not feel the city should make decisions of what should and shouldn’t go based on whether they like it or not.”
Ure said the issue should be whether or not a zoning change may damage a neighborhood, and if the rights of property owners are acknowledged and protected.
Garth E. Nisson – Facebook campaign page
Nisson said residents have come to him about the “mistrust or indifference they feel from the City Government. They feel there is (a) disconnect, sometimes intentional, and lack of respect for their grievances and concerns in all areas of City Government. They want somebody to genuinely listen to them and explain and reason with them. “
Nisson said he would improve city-citizen relations by advocating better channels of communication, providing more transparency of city issues, and working for fairness and equality for all of Washington’s residents.
“I feel the primary issue Washington City is managing growth and many issues surrounding growth,” Nisson said. He added the city needs to be pragmatic and cautious in its approach to managing the city’s growth. Infrastructure must be maintained without putting too much stress on the taxpayers.
- William Way’s Political blog, featuring biographies and interviews with area candidates in St. George and Washington City. Ed. Note: William Way is also an opinion columnist with St. George News: “The WAY I see it” publishes weekly.
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