St. George mayoral candidates, record vs. change

Mayoral candidate Jon Pike addressing the Dixie Republican Forum, St. George, Utah, Sept. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George

ST. GEORGE – Incumbent Mayor Dan McArthur and challenging City Councilman Jon Pike appeared at the Dixie Republican Forum luncheon Tuesday to share their reasons why forum members should vote for them while also answering various questions.

After introducing themselves, both men shared their vision for St. George’s future.

Pike emphasized listening to the people and having a strategic plan for the city’s future, while McArthur focused on the continued growth of the city’s parks and recreational base, as well as continuing to work closely with the many county, state, and federal agencies that have hands in the city’s future.

Pike outlined the three primary points of his campaign: Listening, planning and business.

I want to listen to you,” Pike said. “I believe there is a lot more listening we can do as public officials.”

As part of Pike’s move to encourage more community input, he said he would have an open door policy so citizens could more easily speak to their mayor. He also said he supports the idea of volunteer advisory boards that can provide the mayor and city council with input and ideas.

St. George currently lacks a mission statement, Pike said, and that is something he will change if elected. The city will have short-term and long-term strategic plans.

As for business, he said he would work to review city codes and ordinances that may be adverse to business growth.

McArthur said he has maintained an open door policy and continues to do so. He is often in his city office Thursday afternoons and will meet with anyone who has any issues or concerns they wish to discuss. If needed, he can be reached at his welding business as well.

Both Pike and McArthur said they have shared their phone numbers with the public and will continue to do so as part of an open door effort.

The mayor emphasized he has been able to work with many different agencies from the municipal to federal level. He said this ability to work closely with these agencies is needed for St. George’s future as a large portion of the land surrounding the city is managed by this or that state or federal agency.

Working with these agencies in the past has allowed the city to grow in the area of parks and recreation, which McArthur said are a major draw for the city. 

The No. 1 thing we have in our community here are parks and recreation,” McArthur said. Both residents and visitors take advantage of the city’s trail system and its many recreational facilities. He said he would like to see this continue and to give the citizens the things they want in this regard.

McArthur said working with the other agencies and institutions has also helped lead to the creation of the Town Square and the construction of the St. George Municipal Airport.

He said he supports business in St. George, being a small business owner himself. McArthur also supports having businesses check their employees’ status on E-Verify in order to make sure they are legal residents.

Questions from the forum members came next. The first question focused on water and how the candidates would manage the resource. Both Pike and McArthur agreed water is a big issue and that it must be handled with great care.

McArthur, who is a member of the board of trustees for the Washington County Water Conservancy District, said the district continually addresses this very issue. The City of St. George is doing what it can to reuse water and conserve, though more could be done, McArthur said. He supports the need for the Lake Powell Pipeline, and said new growth should be what pays for the project.

Pike agreed that the pipeline may likely be needed in the future, though added he supports the idea of the citizenry having the option to vote on the matter. He also said he believes more conservation could be done as well.

What is the city doing about the Dixie Sunbowl?

My pledge is to do what is best for the city,” McArthur said. The city will do whatever it needs to enable the Lion’s Club to continue holding the Round Up Rodeo, even if the venue changes.

Pike said he didn’t like the idea of tearing the Sunbowl down and wanted to exhaust all the options available to preserve the structure. If the structure can’t be saved, then what about rebuilding on the same spot?

Both men remarked the issue of the Sunbowl is an emotionally-heightened one for many St. George residents.

Another question focused on city regulation and licensing. Specifically – if a single person owns multiple businesses, then why does that person have to obtain multiple business licenses?

Sometimes St. George is not an easy place to do business,” Pike said, relating that he has heard that statement many times in the past.

If voted into office, Pike said he would appoint city councilmen Gil Almquist and Jimmie Hughes, along with others, to a commission focused on reviewing the city codes and ordinances. The ones that hamper rather than help will most likely be tossed, he said.

I can see both sides of the issues,” McArthur said. He has had to deal with city ordinances concerning this own businesses, he said.

McArthur said many cities, not just St. George, require people with multiple businesses to have business licenses for each so the cities can keep track of those businesses for sales tax purposes. Sales tax can make up a substantial part of a city’s budget.

The issue of the city requiring landlords renting property to acquire a business license was also brought up. McArthur said it is to make sure there is a local agent managing the property and just not an out-of-area landlord who may not be readily available should issues with the property arise.

Some regulation is necessary,” McArthur said.

As the luncheon concluded, Pike said he was very concerned about the city’s future and that it needs a plan.

He added he was 18 when McArthur was first elected to the St. George City Council in the mid 1980s (McArthur became mayor in 1994) and that it is time for a change. It is not to be a change from something bad to good, he said, but rather a change that would continue to build on the foundation McArthur and other city officials have helped created.

We can start with a fantastic perspective and move forward,” Pike said.

I think we’ve done some great things,” McArthur said. “I stand by my record.”

The mayor added people shouldn’t vote for change simply for that reason, saying that on the national scale, people who had voted for change a few years ago had gotten what they voted for, and it wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

 

Incumbent Mayor Dan McArthur addressing the Dixie Republican Forum, St. George, Utah, Sept. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George
Incumbent Mayor Dan McArthur addressing the Dixie Republican Forum, St. George, Utah, Sept. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Mayoral candidate Jon Pike addressing the Dixie Republican Forum, St. George, Utah, Sept. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George
Mayoral candidate Jon Pike addressing the Dixie Republican Forum, St. George, Utah, Sept. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George

 

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5 Comments

  • Deke September 18, 2013 at 12:33 am

    an old-time party hack vs a younger hack-wannabe. just another election where I vote against rather than for.

  • philiplo September 18, 2013 at 8:45 am

    “The mayor added people shouldn’t vote for change simply for that reason, saying that on the national scale, people who had voted for change a few years ago had gotten what they voted for, and it wasn’t necessarily a good thing.”

    Yes, when you don’t have ideas you can always bash our president. That’s the republican way these days.
    .
    .
    By the way, I voted for change a few years ago, and I believe we’re FAR better off than we would have been with the alternative (in either election). Now if we could just get congress functioning… (yeah, good luck with that).

  • DoubleTap September 18, 2013 at 9:08 am

    “I think we’ve done some great things…, McArthur said, “I stand by my record”.

    Lets see, some of the “great things”:

    A) The “great” city animal shelter.
    B) The “great” $300,000.00 Town Square Carousel. (virtually approved, purchased and installed within about 2-3 weeks). WITHOUT any public input.
    C) The “great” $900,000.00 purchase of a vintage theater that currently sits empty.
    D) The “great” scar of the hill that was approved by the city; now McArthur wants community support (funds) to get it repaired.
    E)The “great” new airport, out in the middle of nowhere, that only goes to SLC and Denver.

    These are a few of those “great things” that McArthur is so proud of. He should be ashamed of this record he stands by. McArthur should just save himself some embarrassment and withdraw from the Mayoral race NOW! Can’t even say he would save himself some money by withdrawing, as donations is what finances his campaign…not even his own money. Put your money where your mouth is McArthur.

  • starboss September 19, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Did the reporter neglect to mention, or was AGAIN a complete lack of comments concerning, veteran issues? It’s going to be a huge mistake to forget this nearly 50% of the eligible voting population that is beginning to gear up to select who wins elections…

    • DouybleTap September 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

      If the “veterans issues” benefit McArthur, then yes, he will support them. If no benefit to him, sorry , you’re on your own. It’s the McArthur way.

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