1. Please describe your background and why you are seeking a seat on the Summit County Council.
My husband and I chose Summit County 25 years ago to live and raise our family. I have been deeply involved as a parent, volunteer, employee, recreation enthusiast, and public servant. I want to use my experience and passion for Summit County to preserve what brought us here so many years ago.
After working in corporate sales and as Executive Director of the Park City Education Foundation, I was elected to the Park City Board of Education in 2002. I served for two terms, including four years as President, managing a $50+ million budget. We developed a comprehensive strategic plan involving community, staff and students, completed a major capital projects plan with no tax increase or additional bonding and built Park City's first LEED certified building. I was also directly involved in negotiations, superintendent hiring and review, policy development, and relations with the District's approximately 650 employees and 29,000 constituents. I will use this experience to develop positive working relationships to engage our County with other governmental groups and citizens to develop innovative and effective policy to address issues facing all of Summit County, including planning for growth, budgeting, economic vitality and the protection of our environment.
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?
Budgeting to priorities is key. I would like to make adjustments to the County's strategic planning and goal setting calendar to insure that development and review of goals is completed immediately prior to the start of the budget process. All departments should be represented in the planning process, along with citizen input. This provides the foundation for budget discussions. As the County grows in both population and as a tourist and business destination, we will have an increased demand for services. If revenue increases through new growth, sales tax, grants and fees aren't enough to cover the increased costs, a complete evaluation to determine areas to cut, possible tax increases, and/or other revenue opportunities are necessary.
John Hanrahan proposed that the preliminary budgets and subsequent drafts be placed on the website to provide for public input from the onset. This is a positive step towards transparency in the budgeting process.
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?
Per state law planning commissions are required to have an estimate of need for moderate-income housing, and a plan to provide a realistic opportunity to meet estimated needs. Affordable housing has been identified as a priority by our community and is in the Council's Strategic Plan. Affordable housing is critical to maintaining a balanced community. I support affordable housing requirements in the development codes, but incentives should be based on multiple criteria, not just affordable housing. I support a multi-pronged approach, including on-site units, fees-in-lieu, land donations, and grant opportunities. The 2012 Affordable Housing Needs Assessment provides a broader look at the needs within our community, identifying categories of need along with estimates of potential demand for each category. This will provide flexibility and more opportunity to prioritize existing resources to the most critical areas of need. The programs must be reviewed frequently to ensure progress toward the established goals.
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?
Addressing needs in all areas of the County will constantly need to be addressed as changes occur. The County Council can help foster discussions on issues, including ones that deal with the separate municipalities. One example is with planning. The Eastern Summit County Planning Commission is meeting with representatives from each city to determine its capacity and desire for growth. The ESCPC will then use this information to guide its updating of the General Plan and Development Code. One size does not fit all. Other areas where I would like to encourage more cooperation are in economic development and environmental sustainability efforts.
While there are significant differences throughout the county, the two sides are very complimentary and interdependent. The variety provides strength to our economy, recreation options, housing and lifestyles. We need to respect our differences, and work together to support the preservation of our agricultural and mountain resort communities.
5. What role, if any, should the county play in the acquisition and preservation of open space?
Summit County plays an important role in open space preservation, and open space plays an important role in Summit County. It helps to preserve critical wildlife habitat and provides recreational opportunities. It removes land from development pressures, which reduces impacts on our infrastructure and environment. It protects view corridors, which are vital to preserving our mountain resort community. It is also an important tool in helping farming and ranching families maintain their lifestyles by preserving the land but allowing for continued use through conservation easements. The County has played an important role in securing open space through purchases, development agreements and the creation of the Basin Open Space Advisory Committee. I support the continued involvement of Summit County in working towards preserving open space for the benefit of the entire county and future generations, including working closely with the county planning commissions, BOSAC, Summit Land Conservancy, and other governments.
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?
Issues surrounding the film studio are very complex and involve a lawsuit dating back to 1986. The County had worked for years to try to resolve it, and the developer was now involving the Utah State Legislature, which was urging resolution. Rather than go to court, which could possibly have cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, or receive state mandated zoning, the Council worked towards an agreement. Due to the "closed door" nature of the negotiations, only those directly involved know exactly what took place, so it is not appropriate for me to make judgment. Going forward, we need to update our General Plans and Development Codes to ensure they are clear and concise, and reflect the values of our community to preserve and protect our communities and withstand legal scrutiny. Cooperative planning and strong relationships with other governmental entities, such as Park City and neighboring counties, are critical.
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?
The previous commission form of government served the county well for years. With growth and an increased demand for services, the Commission was no longer efficient in providing the required level of service to the citizens of Summit County. While there are adjustments that will need to be made as the new form of government evolves, it is a structure that can provide a much-needed increased level of expertise in county management. This allows time for the council to focus on priorities such as visioning, policy and legislative matters. Strengthening relationships with constituents and other governmental entities is also important for providing effective County governance. As state law changes, there may be areas that can be explored for efficiency and cost reductions. I worked very effectively with this same form of governance during my 8 years on the Park City School District Board, including 4 years as President.
8. Please list your top policy priorities and differentiate your platform your opponent.
Top priorities include facilitation in the updating of both of the county's general plans and development codes. This needs to be done in cooperation with the county's municipalities to ensure that we have comprehensive and cohesive plans that serve to enhance our community. Issues such as water supply/quality, traffic and transportation, recreation, affordable housing, environmental and economic impacts will be primary in these discussions. Economic vitality is key. I will work at the local and state level to bring more resources to Summit County to support this effort. Our environmental sustainability program needs to be supported and expanded, involving all departments and education for constituents. I will practice fiscal responsibility and seek out new efficiencies. My primary goal will be to serve our community, not promote my own agenda.
Good relationships are critical. I have a proven track record of developing positive working relationships with constituents, staff and governmental entities to achieve goals and innovative, effective solutions. Attending council and commission meetings since filing for office has prepared me for today's issues. As your councilperson, I will bring a responsive, respectful, and civil approach as I conduct the county's business, and focused commitment to the needs of the whole county.