Coin flips settle council races
Only recently were two tied races for city council seats in Francis and Coalville settled.
But coin tosses, not voters, decided the matches. "In the code it says that if it’s a tie it has to be decided by lot," Francis Town clerk Lynette Hallam said. "It could be a flip of the coin, draw cards, throw the dice, and both candidates wanted to do the coin toss."
As Francis Mayor Paul Christensen tossed the coin into the air, Town Councilor Georgia Bates called ‘heads’ and emerged from the flip victorious.
"It was an anxious three weeks," Bates said. "I’m glad that I called heads." Following the municipal elections held Nov. 8 in Summit County, Bates was tied with Rex Hallam in the council race. John Keyes garnered enough votes to secure his future four-year seat on the board. "Every vote counts, because his daughter didn’t get her vote in in time, because the clerk didn’t get it out in time," Bates said, adding that Hallam’s daughter mailed in an absentee vote for her father too late. "Her mother didn’t get the absentee ballot to her daughter."
Bates says she is excited to serve her second term alongside Keyes and Francis Mayor-elect John Bergen. Keyes will replace Jill Houston who dropped out of the race after filing as a candidate.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing elected officials in Francis is whether the municipality should annex land from unincorporated Summit County. "There are a lot of developers wanting to annex from the county into our town so that they can have more density," Bates said. "We need people coming out to the town board meetings do they want a bigger town here?"
More annexations would require taxpayers beef up sewer and water infrastructure, she added. "We need to make the right choices right now," Bates said. Meanwhile, an incumbent councilor and a new councilor and mayor will take over in Coalville in January.
Coalville City Councilor Ron Boyer coasted to victory Election Day but when the dust settled RaNae Crittenden and Brent Scholes had tied for the second seat with 185 votes each.
"Democracy at its best," said Coalville Mayor-elect Duane Schmidt about the coin flip that decided the contest last week at City Hall. "I guess that’s just the way it’s been done for years, I didn’t have a problem with it," Crittenden said. "I thought it was interesting and my opponent was very congenial." Scholes’ good nature may have paid off after Coalville City Councilor Bill Weston resigned from the board last month to serve as a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "The people in the community of Coalville — they wanted both of them," said Schmidt, adding that Scholes was appointed to serve the remaining two years of Weston’s term.
Crittenden served eight years on the Coalville City Council during the 1990s. "I never did finish my project with the cemetery," she said, adding that under her watch pesky coping was removed from the graveyard and a "perpetual care fee" was implemented. Basic housekeeping like weed removal is also overdue in the city, Crittenden said. "We need to do something about the Main Street of Coalville," she said.
She would vote to get rid of the deep gutters and keep the angled parking stalls recently implemented on Main. But the street should not be narrowed, Crittenden added.
Schmidt says Coalville’s newly elected officials are already eyeing future RAP Tax grants for North Summit. "It’s sad, but we haven’t chased that RAP Tax we didn’t get anything," Schmidt said. "Park City is successful because they’ve chased the money."
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Buses, trains and gondolas doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they make up the transit alternatives for the mountain transportation system the Central Wasatch Commission is trying to create, mostly in the Cottonwood canyons.