ST. GEORGE — An interesting tidbit from the August primary election for mayor of Apple Valley can be found in the campaign finance report: Louie Ford donated $3.75 to candidate Robert S. Campbell. It’s not the amount that makes it noteworthy, but the fact that Ford himself was also a candidate for mayor. Imagine Hilary Clinton donating to Donald Trump.
Campbell chuckled when asked about the donation, saying it was for lettering on a campaign sign put up by Ford that also included Campbell’s name.
Alas, Ford was the odd man out in the three-horse race, as Campbell, a town councilman, and incumbent Mayor Richard Moser will face off in the general election Nov. 7. Meanwhile, Michael R. McLaughlin, Debbie Kopp, Trevor Black and Judith Davis emerged from a field of five candidates for Town Council and are vying for two open seats. The latter two are incumbents.
St. George News asked all six candidates to identify the issues they feel are important to Apple Valley and its residents, what their proposed solutions are and why they are qualified to implement them. Moser, Kopp, Davis and Campbell responded to the request, McLaughlin and Black did not.
Below are the responses provided by the candidates, lightly edited for style.
Apple Valley is a hidden gem. The views are amazing and Apple Valley is at its early stages of being discovered in Southern Utah.
Growth planning is a priority. It must protect the integrity of our neighborhoods in Apple Valley. As residents, we have the opportunity to direct and mold the town. A General Plan revision is a priority with a vision for the community. With that being said, what is happening regionally with Zion National Park visitor increases, local tourism increases, local and regional growth, State Route 59 increased traffic and safety must all be inclusive and paramount in our decisions.
I envision Apple Valley with community events that will bring residents together.
All of these topics and more need to be accessible and communicated with the platforms being used now revisited. Communication will play a major role. My initiatives are: listening to our residents, putting people first and building a more cohesive community with vision for the future. I am committed to working with the community and finding solutions to achieve our collective goals.
I believe in helping people and understand that youth are our future.
My background includes:
- Apple Valley Town Council member – Current four-year term started 2016.
- Master’s degree – Business Administration.
- Utah small business owner.
- Boy Scouts of America scoutmaster in Apple Valley.
- Coached multiple sports, youth through high school ages.
The water infrastructure in town is at a crucial point in its history; we have the ability to purchase the last privately owned water company. It is imperative to the community that we expand the infrastructure to connect all three of the systems together for redundancy and the ability to move water from one end of the community to the other, along with adding additional capacity.
The growth facing the community: How to balance the growth in both commercial and residential areas of the community, with the need of infrastructure and the huge influx of tourism that seems to be coming into the area. The growth is manageable if we take a proactive stance and control how it is done, for the best benefit of all the community. The infrastructure is the hardest thing. A small town does not have a lot to offer to businesses by way of infrastructure, so it’s important to listen, meet and discuss on a regular basis with potential developers that plan to build, in order to find ways to share the cost to bring more needed services into the community, without creating a black hole that will eat us up.
Providing additional improvements to the community such as more paved roads, walking, biking and ATV trails and improvements to such things as the park and city cemetery.
The town has currently been asked to participate in an income survey that is being done in conjunction with rural development. This survey will help the town figure out what it can afford to spend on the crucial infrastructure with the Big Plains Water and Sewer District. When it is complete the district will have an idea as to what can be done, create a priorities list and complete projects.
The problem with growth: It will be essential to make the time to meet with developers and residents, as questions and concerns arise and to keep open lines of communication, be open, and to understand the wants and needs as they are explained.
Providing additional improvements will require funding with matching grants to complete some of these projects. There are a number of programs out there that can help if you know the right places to look and have the diligence and persistence to follow through with them. I believe I can accomplish these with my knowledge and background.
I have served in the community in a number of capacities over the last 14 years. I have served as chairman of the Smithsonian Fire District prior to the incorporation of the town. I served as a town councilman for four years. I served as mayor pro tem for a period of two years and followed the previous mayor around learning her job prior to running for mayor. I have served as mayor for the last eight years.
I served on the planning commission from 2005 until 2008 and served as its chairman for two-and-a-half years as well. I helped create the Big Plains Water and Sewer Special Service District and have served on that board for the last 6 years. I have worked with a number of state and local agencies in the past 10 plus years to bring funding and grants to the Apple Valley Community. I have worked in conjunction with the county commissioners to make improvements in our town and to complete projects that are important for all residents of the county.
I have a full-time job that allows me to be available and flexible to meet the town needs when they arise. I believe I have the knowledge and the ability to help take our community the next step in its maturity.
I feel that one of the biggest issues here in the town is how residents feel there is a division in the town and how hard it is to get information.
I would like to see the community get together as a town again and not acting as separate subdivisions. I want to help get information out to residents so when they come to meetings they can properly understand what is going on.
I have excellent people skills and over 30 years in customer service experience. I volunteer for every event that the town has – I am one of the people – they know who I am and what I stand for and they respect me.
Apple Valley is a very young, small town. Only 13 years ago, a small group of residents protected their land and founded the community. Other residents objected and filed twice for disincorporation. The town is rural and residential, and has one gas station/convenience center, and one town building that houses the fire station and town offices. The only entrance to part of the town had a crumbling, narrow bridge over the wash and two of the privately owned water companies were noncompliant with state and health regulations.
Apple Valley is no longer a rural, forgotten area of Washington County. We are in a very beautiful tourist area that deserves to be seen. But, obviously, growth is a very contentious issue and hotly debated by some. I want to see our town grow without spoiling our beautiful night sky, without clogging our open spaces with tall buildings, and maintaining homes where cows, chickens, horses, gardens and orchards are an option, not an extinction. The current mayor has been involved in many ways since the early years and has worked diligently to guide the towns improvements without raising taxes, being in debt, maintaining a balanced budget while not overburdening residents with regulations.
I have been a homeowner here for almost 12 years, was very involved in quelling the second disincorporation attempt, and have served on the town council for the past four years. My background is in health care management, development, regulations and service. Having dealt with government and corporate policies on large scales, small town growth has been rewarding for me. To be part of the oversight of change and development has had many trials and change is always difficult, but the only thing constant is change.
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