Bob Richer |

Bob Richer

Please differentiate yourself from your opponent.

There are two key differences between my opponent and myself. The first is my experience and the second is walking the walk.


I have served Park City and Summit County for well over 20 years. I have a record of success and accomplishment in getting things done to improve government efficiency, to preserve our quality of life and to safeguard our future. This experience and knowledge cannot be easily replaced. This election, while a critical one for all residents, is especially important to maintain balanced representation for those residing in the Snyderville Basin.

Walking the Walk:

I have fulfilled the campaign promises I made four years ago. You elected me to hold the line on taxes, make development pay its own way, preserve open space, improve interaction with county staff and stand up to legal challenges.

Good things don t just magically happen. It takes years of sustained effort to implement positive change. It s easy to talk; it s harder to do. As your county commissioner, I ve worked hard to improve the lives of all Summit County residents and have accomplished much.

1. The economies in Park City and the Snyderville Basin differ greatly from economics in rural communities in eastern Summit County. Discuss how the needs of voters in western Summit County differ from those on the East Side and how as a commissioner you will represent constituents countywide.

While we do have a very diverse county, I have found that our similarities far outnumber our differences. Throughout Summit County citizens want to protect their quality of life. On the East Side, that means preserving the rural/agricultural character of the area by encouraging continued revisions to our East Side code. On the West, it translates to revisions to the West Side code, decreasing density and protecting the mountain resort lifestyle.

I respect each different point of view and listen to all citizens. I translate this into action by appointing people to our various boards and commissions that reflect the diversity of our county and then regularly supporting the decisions of these citizen groups. The economic vitality of the county is dependent upon cooperation and respect, but not always agreement. With this realization, our differences become our strengths and the needs of both East and West are met.

2. With a Republican from South Summit facing a Snyderville Basin Democrat in this race for a seat on the Summit County Commission, how much influence should geography have on how voters decide in November?

Ideally, geography should not factor into an election. However, the reality is with only three commissioners, balance becomes an important component of representation. Years ago, county elections were governed by a so-called gentleman s agreement that encouraged the election of a commissioner from North Summit, South Summit and the Park City area. This agreement fell by the wayside years ago, largely because of the growth of the Park City area. Fortunately, for the last few years, the commission has had a good geographic balance.

I live, work and recreate in the Snyderville Basin. The Basin has a population of approximately 20,000, which is greater than the rest of the county combined. It would be unfortunate for these citizens to be disenfranchised and not have someone who is accessible and knowledgeable.

If the change in government passes, we will have five representatives and I believe geography will play less of a factor.

3. Do you support plans to build a hospital in Summit County? If so, where, and what role should the county play in development of the facility?

Yes, I support the plan to build a hospital in Summit County at the Quinn s Junction location. Of equal importance, however, is the way we managed the approval process to benefit Summit County residents.

In the past, developers often pitted the county against the city and shopped for the best deal. The county has empowered the local elected officials to negotiate and control their own destiny. Not once during my four years as commissioner have we denied any city s annexation request within their predetermined boundaries, thus allowing them to determine the density of a proposed development. The approved Summit County hospital is a fine example of how our citizens benefit when the city and county have a positive working relationship.

It is something, as chairperson and as commissioner, I have worked hard to improve and it is as good or better now as it has ever been in the past.

4. Summit County s Mountain Regional Water Special Service District is preparing to construct a pipeline to deliver water from Rockport reservoir to homes in Park City and the Snyderville Basin. Officials at the private Summit Water Distribution Co. plan to pipe water into western Summit County from East Canyon reservoir in Morgan County. Discuss the role each pipeline could play in helping to secure an adequate supply of drinking water for residents in western Summit County.

When I took office, my goal was to determine how much water we will require over the next 20 years, how we will get it into the Basin and how can we distribute it throughout the area. The plan is now in place and we are making progress.

We built the Lost Canyon pipeline to satisfy our demand over the next five to seven years. Next, in conjunction with our partners, Weber Basin Water and Park City Municipal, we encouraged the Bureau of Reclamation to study our water supply requirements. Pipelines from both Rockport and East Canyon will eventually be needed. With our partners, the county will construct the Rockport Diversion Project. All water companies, public and private, are cooperating on a project to distribute water. I intend to continue to cement strong, working relationships with the public entities involved and to explore cooperative business relationships with the private sector.

5. Explain Summit County s responsibility in the ongoing legal disputes between Wolf Mountain Resorts and American Skiing Company at The Canyons. Wolf Mountain leases land to American Skiing to operate The Canyons. How would taxpayers be impacted if Wolf Mountain were allowed to terminate the lease?

The development plan for The Canyons took density from 4,000 acres of land and clustered it into various villages of approximately 400 acres. As a result, the approved development preserves over 90 percent as open space.

In addition, many of The Canyons units are non-owner occupied hotel rooms and condominiums, which stimulate our tourism-based economy and shore up our tax base while not overburdening infrastructure.

The Canyons provides the county with the opportunity to boast of having three world-class resorts within a few miles of each other.

This is why I have worked with my fellow commissioners and staff diligently over the last four years to hold the development agreement together. The Wolf/American Skiing dispute is a private sector matter and, therefore, it is not appropriate to comment (other than stressing the importance of maintaining the area as a world-class skiing amenity).

6. With Summit County named as a defendant in several lawsuits, please discuss this complex legal landscape and how as a commissioner you would help to resolve the litigation.

You elected me to protect the special quality of life we enjoy. The vast majority of our challenges involve land-use lawsuits. One development consortium has sued the county on 12 different matters, trying to bust our Snyderville Basin code. The first two cases have been summarily dismissed in the county s favor. It would be easy to roll over and make our legal challenges go away. I believe we reflect the people s will by standing up to those who would like us to throw out our land-use regulations. Whenever possible we settle legal challenges out of court.

In regard to the cases involving water, which predate the current commission, we continue to explore cooperative business relationships that make sense. We live in a county where the financial stakes have never been higher. It is your right to define a quality of life that is being challenged and we are defending.

7. The two candidates in the County Commission race have different views on whether citizens, when asked on the ballot in November, should vote to change the form of government in Summit County. Should the three-member Summit County Commission change to a five-member council with a professional manager? Why or why not?

I m in favor of the change, as are five out of the last six county commissioners. Having voiced my support, I have one vote, just like each citizen of Summit County. I will tell you why I am voting yes. The county has an annual budget of $40 million and employs 311 people. In order to increase the level of professionalism and to meet the growing demand for service, the county s management structure needs to be modernized and representation improved.

With a five-member council, we will have a larger cross-section of the county represented. A manager, as in any $40 million corporation, will bring expertise, experience and continuity. A good manager who is subject to the council s wishes will produce cost savings and efficiencies — more than paying for the position.

This is not an untested, radical idea 3,400 cities and 371 counties operate under a council/manager government. It s time.

8. The Summit County Commission has conducted an extensive study of transportation and transit in the Snyderville Basin. Roughly $90 million worth of improvements on Interstate 80 and in the S.R. 224 corridor are expected to be necessary near Kimball Junction during the next 25 years. How should commissioners fund the improvements?

I m proud that early in my term, I suggested that we look at all issues over a 25-year time frame. As a result, the commission adopted a transportation/transit plan including funding mechanisms to address future demands and to mitigate traffic congestion.

Approximately 65 percent of the traffic plan can be funded by state and federal sources. The remaining 35 percent, about $33 million would be funded locally. Recently, the commission passed a traffic-impact fee assessed on new development (development should pay its own way!) that will raise about $17 million, funding nearly half of local costs.

A corridor preservation fee was instituted by the newly formed Council of Governments to generate approximately $16 million with about 60 percent for the Basin. Lastly, a special improvement area is under consideration to fund the balance of the work (about $5.4 million) and to benefit the business community served by the road network.

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