Bill Miles, Republican
1.The two entryways into Park City, S.R. 224 and S.R. 248, are under stress from traffic increases, with backups at Kimball Junction being especially worrisome to officials in Summit County and commuters. Please talk about your preferred solutions to the two entryways, with particular attention to how the expensive projects could be funded. (150 words)
The County currently has a 25-year plan to address traffic problems in the Park City-Snyderville Basin area. While the county should be given credit for trying to address the traffic issues, the residents of the county have the right to be angry at the traffic congestion and snarls that currently exist. We cannot become complacent and think we have the problem solved with this 25 year plan. The Canyons SPA is only 25% built out and SR224 is already in failure. While I do not have the immediate answer to address the problems, we must put the best group together to address our traffic issues and continue to not only improve on our 25-year plan but also speed up the process. The study group should be given leeway to look at any and all solutions, such as light rail and others.
2.Foreclosures are on the rise as real-estate sales slump in Summit County. How would you respond as a councilperson if faced next year with an economic recession? (150 words)
If the economy continues on its current course, one of the first orders of business we will face as a County Council is how the County is going to meet its obligations. We will likely have to tighten our departmental budgets as well as spending. I do not believe that we should cut back on essential services such as fire protection and other emergency services. I do not believe that an exact % cut in all departments across the board is the answer. I believe that raising taxes should be done as a last resort and that we should do all we can to reduce our spending through cutbacks before we consider a tax increase. We should take a good look at what we can do to bring in additional tax revenue sources that will fit with our desired way of living.
3.You’re vying for a seat on the Summit County Council, which will replace the County Commission when it disbands in 2008. Voters decided to change the form of government and a significant difference will be the hiring of a county manager to fill the executive role. If elected you’d help decide who is hired as the manager and could help divvy up powers between the legislative and executive branches of government. Please discuss traits important in a manager. (150 words)
Finding and hiring the correct County Manager will be one of – if not the most important – jobs facing the new County Council. We should hire the most qualified individual for the job, regardless of where he or she lives. It would be nice if the individual currently lived in Summit County, but we should hire the most qualified individual. He or she should have very strong managerial and financial skills. He or she should have integrity, be honest and possess ethics beyond reproach. He or she should have good communication and people skills. The manager should be a good listener, a good leader, and an excellent motivator. The manager should have the ability to sort through the chaff and identify the real issues and identify solutions to fix the problems.
4.The new Summit County Council will function as the legislative branch of government in Summit County. How is the role of a county councilperson different from a county manager, and what do you see as the positives and negatives of the five-member board versus the old three-member panel? (150 words)
The obvious difference is that under the current system the Board of County Commissioners functions in both legislative and executive roles. As strictly a legislative body, the Council will pass the codes and regulations that set guidelines for everything from land use to road maintenance. The manager then enforces the ordinances. With the separation of legislative and executive powers the Council should have more time to focus on long-term goals and planning for the County. Another positive for the five member council is that it allows for more citizen participation as well as allowing for the opportunity for better representation from the different areas of the county. On the other hand without districting, all five council members can come from one area of the county.
5.Discuss your knowledge of the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act and explain whether you believe elected officials in Summit County regularly obey the law. When is it appropriate for the Summit County Council to close a meeting? (150 words)
State law requires that the business of a governing body be conducted in an open meeting and that elected officials take actions and make deliberations openly. I believe that that means that all parties concerned with the issue, the press and the public are invited and may attend. The state law does allow meetings to be closed on issues dealing with personnel, litigation or land deals. I believe generally that the County has not done as well as they could in making meetings open and providing information to the citizens of the County. I think our voters feel the same. I promise the public that if I’m elected the meetings will be more open and information about the County’s business will become more accessible to the citizens of the county.
6.Summit County was sued by a private competitor when it entered the water business by forming Mountain Regional Water Special Service District several years ago. Should officials have formed the public water provider? (150 words)
I believe the first sentence in the question is in error. I don’t think that a private water company sued the county because Mt Regional was created or formed, but rather because the county attempted to condemn the private water company and the private water company feels that the county is using zoning to get individuals to hook on to Mt Regional. I have toured the Mountain Regional Water Special Service District system twice and I believe that the county did the right thing in rescuing the failing water companies. I also believe that the individuals that worked at correcting the problems with these failing water companies should be praised and thanked for their hard work and efforts. I do not believe that the county should use zoning to attract customers. The playing field for Mt Regional and the private water companies should be level.
7.Significant changes are being discussed for the Eastern Summit County General Plan and Development Code. Some eastside’s claim the current zoning rules are too strict and prevent them from benefiting economically from the development of their land. Others say most development should occur in cities and rigid codes are necessary in unincorporated Summit County to preserve its rural flavor. What is your vision for residential and commercial development in eastern Summit County? (150 words)
I attended an East Side Planning Commission meeting recently and heard a resident state, "I am 61 years old and have several grandchildren. My father is 91 years old and he has a number of great grandchildren. We own approximately 1000 acres of ground and we can’t give our grandchildren and great grandchildren a place to build a home and that ain’t right." Most of the larger land owners in eastern Summit County aren’t concerned with benefiting economically from developing their land. Most land owners in eastern Summit County want to preserve their way of life for themselves and their family. I believe that if given the chance the people in eastern Summit County can come up with a development code that will meet their needs and desires.
8.The Summit County Commission has debated whether to allow Wal-Mart at Kimball Junction to expand into a Wal-Mart Super center. How would you vote if asked to expand the store by about 60 percent and are there any areas of Summit County where other big-box retailers would be appropriate? (150 words)
I believe that Wal-Mart has already received the right to expand to the Super center. They are grandfathered in. I do not think it is right to rescind these rights without Wal-Marts approval. The Canyons SPA is only 25% built out. Do we have the right to stop the other 75% of the approved development? I don’t think that would be right and fair. To answer the question of whether there are any areas of Summit County where other big-box retailers would be appropriate, I believe that the citizens affected the most should have the most to say about issues like this. If the citizens in an area would be in favor of a big-box retailer and if the big box retailer is in favor of building in that area, then I believe that would be a workable situation.
9.Please differentiate yourself from your opponent.
Education, management experience, and government experience are some of the big differences between my opponent and myself. I have a BS degree from Utah State University and a PhD from Rutgers University. I worked in research and later became the Director of Research for a large agribusiness. I then moved on to senior management positions for several major corporations. In each of these positions I managed large budgets and large groups of employees. I have worked and lived in different areas of the United States and have worked in many countries around the world. I have also worked for myself as a private consultant. While working in the health, safety and environmental areas, I worked closely with government agencies at the federal, state and local levels. I have testified before Congress; I was appointed to a number of government committees; the Governor of Nevada appointed me to the State Emergency Response Commission. I have dealt with and helped settle a number of significant lawsuits. I have a vast amount of knowledge and experience on how to get things done in government circles. I have learned what it takes to make government work for those it is intended to serve. Let me put this ability, knowledge and experience to work for you.
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