1. Please describe your background and why you are seeking a seat on the Summit County Council.
I have lived and worked in Park City for 25 years, and have an understanding of the County and the way it has evolved. I have been involved in a number of community organizations including the Summit County Mosquito Abatement Committee, State and County Delegate, the PTA, Our HOA, and helped advance several youth skiing initiatives in Park City. Like many County residents, I came here for the skiing and stayed for the wonderful lifestyle.
The County Council will be my full time priority and commitment. I will collaborate to bring a clear vision of budgetary priorities to the Summit County Council. A decisive plan in a positive direction with strong leadership will eliminate arbitrary decision making and put Summit County back on track to a responsible, sustainable budget and responsible development. In the past four years we have over spent the budget by 2.6 million dollars and costly litigations.
2. How do you plan to balance the county's budget while maintaining the level of services residents have come to expect, such as well-maintained roads, public safety and planning? For instance, would you consider raising taxes or do you think there are still ways to cut expenses without jeopardizing services?
A balanced, sustainable budget is of the utmost importance and the services that are the responsibility of the county such as public safety, roads, and planning must be our priority. We must be exceptional at those tasks and have a secondary list of priorities in a robust economy. We must have monthly or quarterly budgetary reviews to assure we are on budget. Any excessive line items should identified sooner than later. With careful review, spending can be pared and efficiencies found. If we constantly monitor the budget, forecast future expenses and seek to get the maximum value for our taxpayer dollars we can easily avoid the crisis management we have had in our County Budget in the past four years without any reduction in services.
3. In light of the fact that the county's previous affordable housing plan has been revoked, do you believe it is the county's responsibility to encourage the construction of affordable housing through development incentives or should the market dictate what types of units are built? If affordable housing is important to the county, how would you propose ensuring it is built?
The County has a detailed General Plan that includes affordable housing guidelines implemented after the last needs assessment. The challenge is that the Council has not followed its recommendations. As a member of the County Council, I will not vote for anything that changes guidelines on an ad-hoc basis. If a change is needed, we should address that need and amend policy. As an example, I pass the Tech Park practically every day and feel we would have had a better outcome if my opponent, as a member of the Planning Department when it was proposed, and also as a member of the County Council when it was approved, had not varied from our written guidelines. Affordable housing goals require a balance of market and needs based policies. They must be clearly articulated and followed after the Council receives input from County residents.
4. Are the needs of the East and West sides of Summit County being equally addressed, if not what would you do to remedy that? If elected what specific issues would you target in order to cater to their diverse interests?
Many Counties have a diverse demographic like Summit County, where the rural interests of the East County seem to be at odds with the tourism and lifestyle interests of the West County. In my career, I had the opportunity to travel the world to see how other places have balanced these issues. I have also lived in Park City for 25 years, and have a home in Oakley so I understand the different sides of the County as a resident and as a property owner. It is the role of the County Government to balance those interests in a fair and positive way. The Council has established a County Economic Development Task force to bring the stakeholders together and discuss the issues. I think more needs to be done to develop a holistic approach for the residents that is clearly articulated and implemented in an impartial way.
5. What role, if any, should the county play in the acquisition and preservation of open space?
Park City has a long history of successful acquisitions of open space. The county should play the role in whatever the majority of its constituents want it to play. In the past this has been implemented through donations, and open space bonds that the citizens have voted in. The County Council must insure responsible purchases of quality open space utilizing your money and in strict accordance to the conditions of the bond.
6. The county was recently involved in a controversy about the development of a film studio at Quinn's Junction. In that instance, the developer tried to get around local land use regulations by asking the state Legislature to create a special zone to accommodate his development. The county ended up compromising its stand through a legal settlement with the landowner. How do you feel about the way that issue was handled? What would you have done differently?
The Quinn's Junction film studio was a debacle from the get go. Not being privy to the intricacies of the history back to MIDA, I can say the final stages with the state Legislature trying to circumvent local zoning regulations cannot and should not ever be allowed. It would set a president that would negate local laws and regulations.
Assuming that the County was correct in its perception that the Legislature was going to take action, it was the county's job to negotiate the best deal possible. But I understand that the personal involvement of Council members resulted in its annexation into Park City. The County then lost out on future tax revenues and we still ended up with a film studio. Rather than having Councilors personally involved in negotiations, I would have done what any business would do and retain the best attorneys to bring back a better proposal.
7. Is the county's new council/manager form of government working or was the previous commission more effective? How do you plan to go about making the county council more efficient and representative of its constituents?
Obviously, this would not be a question, nor would we have referenda on the ballot to take power away from the manager if it were working well. It is not a simple answer of either new or old, but we need to look at what executive power needs to be shifted to the council. The old commission of three commissioners handling executive and legislative duties wasn't working either.
Making the council more efficient and responsive is our ultimate goal. We could look at having an elected executive, like a mayor. We might want to look at districting the council members for better representation over the county. Another option could be a larger council with an administrator. What we might need is a study to see which is most effective and gives the taxpayers the best representation at the lowest cost. We need to continue to progress.
8. Please list your top policy priorities and differentiate your platform your opponent.
Voters should see a sharp contrast between my platform and policies and my opponent's. She seems to believe in government for the moment, in temporary solutions like the CORE or "borrowing" from the rainy day fund.
I, however, believe the County Council needs a clear vision of our future. We need to prioritize a few essential "needs" to serve in an exceptional manner, and then have as secondary priorities the "wants" we can afford during a robust economy. being efficient and paring the budget in non-essential areas, I want balanced budgets and to make sure that any tax increases are truly last resorts, to be imposed only when all other avenues are exhausted. We need to plan multiple years at a time to provide stability and security in jobs and taxes.
I believe that government should seek private sector solutions whenever possible. For example, partnering or offering incentives to a company that operates cemeteries could bring jobs and revenues while providing services for Snyderville residents. My opponent, on the other hand, wants to consider a new cemetery district tax.
The difference is clear; I value your tax dollars and I will be a strong advocate for our citizens.