CEDAR CITY – The 2015 Cedar City Council municipal election brought about a couple of changes regarding the faces residents will see representing their community in the upcoming four years.
While incumbent Paul Cozzens will remain on the council for the next round, both of his council mates running for re-election, John Black and Don Marchant, lost their seats to newcomers Terri Hartley and Craig Isom.
Unofficial election returns place Hartley at the top with 1,788 votes (23.28 percent), followed by Isom at 1,298 votes (16.9 percent) and Cozzens with 1,253 votes (16.31 percent).
“The business of the city being run like a business took a front seat in this election,” Isom said, explaining that he believed voters may have chosen him because they understand the community is about to go through a major growth period, and he has valuable business experience he can utilize as a council member to help positively guide that growth.
It is important to look at creating partnerships with businesses that can and will establish well-paying jobs with benefits, Hartley said, to entice Southern Utah University graduates to stay in Cedar City to raise their families.
The city is set up fairly well to maintain tourism needs through the service industry, she said, but lacks in readily available professional workforce positions that would retain residents who would provide and maintain good stewardship in the community.
“We obviously can’t just focus on economic development; that’s not what it’s all about,” Hartley said. “But we do want to bring good jobs to Cedar City – good companies that provide good jobs with good benefits so people can stay here. Most of the graduates have to leave to go to other areas.”
Isom and Hartley agreed that supporting the existing infrastructure – while consciously building and growing other areas of the community – is essential moving forward in the coming years.
“We really need to get out in front of some things that are coming,” Isom said. “There’s growth coming. It’s obvious when you look at the numbers of increasing enrollment on campus, the building projects that are in process – they are all going to have a multiplicative effect on the economy.”
After four years working side by side with Marchant and Black, Cozzens said, it will be a bittersweet separation.
“When you work so long with certain people, you grow to love them and you develop personal relationships with them,” he said. “Serving with somebody for four years is a long time – you grow to respect them and their talents and abilities. I’m going to miss that.”
Even so, Cozzens said, he looks forward to getting to know Isom and Hartley better and moving forward to serve the community in the best way they can for the future.
“We have some serious issues facing us with our growth and water, and water’s number one,” he said. “We’ve got some wage increases we need to look at for city employees. … I think we’ve got some challenges ahead of us. I think the future is very bright – but we’ve got some challenges.”
According to the unofficial election results, overall voter turnout for Cedar City was 19.3 percent. The official numbers are subject to change as provisional and absentee ballots are counted and added to the official total.
The official tally will be presented to the Cedar City Council in an upcoming council meeting.
St. George News Senior Reporter Mori Kessler contributed to this report.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.