Council candidate wants East Side present in politics
Grant Richins said his 17 grandkids are much of the reason he decided to vie for seat B on the new Summit County Council.
"I lived all my life in Summit County," Richins said in an interview Wednesday. "So I have a great desire to see the county continue to grow and continue to do what it’s done in the past."
The important November election pits the Henefer Republican against Snyderville Basin Democrat Claudia McMullin for a four-year term.
A smattering of signs touting his campaign are posted in the Basin, and Richins hopes McMullin is outdone by his more folksy approach to politics.
For three decades Richins taught mathematics to high school students in Coalville.
"I watched the county grow from the time I played football in Park City when the football field went uphill," he said about being a student at North Summit High School. "You wanted the down-slope the second half."
But Richins acknowledges facing an uphill climb with Election Day only about four weeks away. Most people in Summit County live in the Snyderville Basin where McMullin has campaigned vigorously since the summer.
Eleven candidates are vying for five four- and two-year seats on the Summit County Council. The representatives serve at large so they will not serve only specific districts. All registered county voters can cast ballots in all five races.
"You could see all five from the West Side," Richins lamented about the new panel.
Richins lives at the northwestern edge of Summit County which is considered part of the East Side. Eastern Summit County is comprised of Henefer, Coalville, Wanship, Oakley, Kamas and Francis and is more rural than Park City and the Snyderville Basin where ski resorts and the Sundance Film Festival have placed it on the world stage.
"It’s very important that we have representation from both sides," Richins said.
He said his goal is to help usher in the new council/manager form of government to replace the more traditional three-member Summit County Commission, which disbands at the end of this year.
"The most important decision is the county manager," Richins said.
New county councilpersons are responsible for hiring a manager to oversee the executive and administrative branch of the new form of government.
"That’ll be the biggest decision the council makes," Richins said.
The manager should likely be a Summit County resident, he said.
"It think we have local people who have capabilities," Richins said. "This person is going to have to be somebody who can communicate with many, many people."
Richins said he has served on the Henefer Town Council, Henefer Planning Commission and the North Summit School Board.
He criticized the Summit County Commission’s recent expenditures for open space and other unneeded amenities.
County officials must justify their spending, which has ballooned to roughly $51 million annually, "to save taxpayers money," Richins said.
"We have mismanaged some funds in the county," Richins said.
Meanwhile, zoning codes in eastern Summit County are too strict, Richins said, adding that he would protect property rights for people who wish to subdivide their land.
"It’s far, far too restrictive as far as what they can do," Richins said. "Even the zoning on the West Side is better than eastern Summit County."
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