ENOCH — Enoch City Mayor Robert A. Rasmussen submitted his recognition earlier this year effective Dec. 31, cutting his 4-year term short two years early due to health issues, allowing the opportunity for a midterm election to find his replacement.
There are three candidates vying for the spot: Geoffrey L. Chesnut, Steven M. Clarke and Worth H. Grimshaw — each of who has a completely different take on what the city needs in a civic leader.
With primary elections right around the corner, St. George News asked each candidate to answer three questions:
- What is your purpose or goal in running for Enoch City Mayor and what qualifies you?
- Where do you see Enoch in the next 5 years? What is your vision?
- What ideas do you have to help build new sources of revenue, and how would you manage the current budget restraints?
Here are their responses (in alphabetical order):
Geoffrey L. Chesnut
1. I want to preserve a healthy, clean city for my children to be able to grow up in and be proud that they are from. I have concerns that there’s a potential for losing the gains and the advantages that we enjoy out here because of people’s attitudes that they are unwilling to attempt to try and either preserve them or even make them better.
I believe that it’s important for us to evaluate regularly those things that we have and make sure that we plan for — whether it’s growth, or infrastructure, or whatever it is — to continue to maintain the advantages that we enjoy. Enoch is a great city and it has good people, and if you look at the demographical information it’s a strong, growing community.
As far as qualifications, as an attorney I have a lot of experience dealing with conflict resolution in matters of importance and significance. I regularly work with corporations and families and people in contexts of dealing with problems regarding conflict resolution and disputes but also proper fiscal management.
I was just on the phone a little earlier with one of my partners and we were discussing a corporation up in Seattle that I am representing to help them find a way forward working through their books and their budgets to make the company once again profitable and move forward and continue to employ the people that they currently have and to maintain the product and the contribution that they bring to their community — those are the things I think I can bring to the table here.
2. I have been out and talking with people. I think a lot of people, one of their big concerns about proposed tax increase was the idea that it was a proposal just to maintain the status quo and not really giving anybody information as to why we needed such a significant increase just to maintain our current levels of operating expenses.
I agreed with that position. That was one of the things that got me interested. I couldn’t understand how that could be a message. Just to maintain, we need to have this high tax increase.
So, as far as my vision goes, I envision a city that where the issues of communication and fiscal management are much more transparent. That, if there are expenditures that the city is going to undertake … that those are discussions that the city has with its citizens — and that those meetings are more than just the public forum comment section. I envision being able to implement a meeting where myself as the mayor and the chief of police and the city manager, we have a public forum just for giving people an opportunity to come and express and understand and communicate with city officials.
I envision a stronger Enoch that’s based on participation and transparency that will allow citizens to keep a better handle on their stewards.
3. The current budget constraints are pretty serious. There are some statutory requirements that the city has to comply with in order to be in statutory compliance with the state code, and right now we’re treading really close to the line.
As far as additional sources of revenue, I wouldn’t be in favor of unilaterally raising taxes without a discussion … revenue is a tricky business because cities have to deal with taxes. That’s the way a city generates revenue if it’s going to have any, it’s going to have to be generated through a tax, and taxes are not popular … and, because they have the power to harm people, they should be undertaken very carefully.
Steven M. Clarke
1. My goal was to give the citizens another choice for Mayor. I have always thought that I was levelheaded and made good decisions and that would be a benefit to our Enoch Government.
I have had previous experience in the city. I know the different departments. I know the operation with the city manager, and the department heads and the workers, I know how that works and how the recorder works. So. I understand what’s going on. So, that’s a benefit.
2. My vision is to still see an Enoch in five years. I am just concerned about the way we’re headed. They’re having talk of being part of Cedar City, and I think it’s better to have our own city than being part of Cedar City.
3. Sources of revenue are very slight. We’ve had people previously working on grants, we’ve worked on fees, we’ve worked on economic development with trying to entice businesses into the city, and so all of those sources are things we need to do (and) that we need to continue doing. We’re just not getting the response from businesses that we need.
The hard thing (about the budget) is that we went through a really rich time in the city, with lots of building and everything else, and so we had lots of funds, and so we didn’t raise taxes and in the process, now we do not have all these revenues and we haven’t raised the necessary taxes. So the city was using their savings, and the state requires so much savings before they penalize you. I don’t know all of the current situations there.
Worth H. Grimshaw
1. My purpose is, I don’t like other people spending my money, and the people who have been there seem to want to. And it’s my philosophy that if you’re not willing to do something yourself, you have no right to complain. So, if I am going to complain, I better put myself where my mouth is and be willing to do something about it.
I have actually been the mayor (in Enoch) before. I’ve been the mayor three times.
2. My vision for the community is to be a nice, quiet, peaceful, safe, happy bedroom community and to leave Cedar City with all the problems.
I mean, there are some problems that come as more houses come in. You have more rooftops, driveways and streets for water to run off and cause flooding problems — which we already have.
But other than that, I would be extremely happy for Enoch to just get along and leave everybody alone.
3. Well, have you got five minutes?
Here’s my take on revenue. By and large, most businesses do not bring new revenue to a town. A business, which has a building, which provides a service — which is fine, I’m not opposed to that — but what does the town get from the revenue?
In other words, I have a business here, and my business is in Cedar City. But what does Cedar City get, because my business is here? The answer is, nothing from the business itself. The building I am in pays property tax, and the city gets a small percentage of that, 20 percent or so — but they get the same thing out of their residents.
There is no other revenue to Cedar City, other than that, and the fact that my business does bring in people from other towns who come here and spend their money at Wal-Mart and Lins and Smith’s and the clothing stores and sporting goods stores and whatever. And (with those) they pay sales tax to those people. Sales tax is where the revenue actually comes from, not from the buildings or jobs. The reason you want jobs is simply to increase the amount people have to spend at those outlets who pay the sales tax.
So, Enoch City has no reason for people to put a Smith’s food king or a Lins grocery store out there. The people who live out there work in Cedar City. They’re all out here every day or every other day. So, nobody’s going to stop out there, and nobody is going to put a supermarket out there.
My belief is that if Enoch had no businesses, they would be probably better off than they are going to be with what they have now. Not that I am trying to throw anybody out of town, but at the same time, I don’t want them particularly to go out and seek for a manufacturing plant to come to town. The only thing we would get out of that would be a lot of traffic.
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