David Ure, Republican
October 2, 2008
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)
Here’s what I wouldn’t do and then what I would. We don’t need to create a new road corridor through Park City’s protected open spaces and private property. Instead, I believe we should widen both S.R. 224 and S.R. 248 under the County’s 25-year road plan. Both roads are classified as "state roads," Therefore; I would get the state and UDOT to make the necessary improvements. I believe my many years as both a legislator and a legislative leader should put me in a good position to obtain our proper share of road funds and to prioritize this project over others. Because western Summit County is too important a part of Utah’s economy and because I’m known as a straight shooter on Capitol Hill, I think we can get this needed money even in a down year.
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)
I will not vote to raise taxes. This is a time when government should work to keep people in their homes and businesses. They don’t need additional financial burdens. I will decrease county budgets based on the importance of the activity in providing essential services and infrastructure. There is a tool that businesses use called "zero-based budgeting." This method starts at zero funding for the County and requires that each activity of a department be reexamined and reauthorized each year. When the tax dollars run out, we will stop the County’s spending. Economic development must be emphasized where it fits into our culture. Increasing the tax base will help us provide the same level of services to which we have become accustomed. Belt tightening is the right thing to do.
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)
The voter-approved resolution on the change to our County Council government requires certain technical competences in our manager. I agree with those requirements. In addition, honesty, openness and being a team player are the traits I will be looking for in a manager. These are essential character traits that will protect the citizen’s rights. The end result I’m looking for is a more transparent form of government.
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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 Council is accountable for the five critical elements of good management: obtaining and keeping good people, providing efficient and limited processes, obtaining the necessary resources to provide essential services and infrastructure, providing a place for a citizen to be honestly heard and most importantly an employee culture of being citizen friendly. The Council should set the mission, vision and policy for the government entity, provide oversight and then delegate to a manager the powers and provide the funding necessary to get results.
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)
In simple terms, I believe the Utah Act requires all governmental meetings and decisions to be done openly and with the parties to an issue, the press and the public being invited (I call this transparency) unless the issue deals with personnel, litigation or land deals. In my personal experience, the officials of Summit County could do a better job of providing transparent government. I think our voters feel the same. The biggest problem for me is closing a meeting when looking at land deals. The system works best when land deals are widely published, there is an open-bidding process and the ultimate transaction can be scrutinized for truly being consummated at arm’s length.
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)
The larger issue is this: Should a local government compete with the private sector in providing services that are or would be available in the competitive free market? I favor a limited use of government powers. Local governments should prioritize the spending of taxpayer’s money for necessities and infrastructure. When there is an urgent need for infrastructure, then local officials may have to act. In my opinion, the County had no choice but to establish the Special Service District as was done in Synderville.
7.Significant changes are being discussed for the Eastern Summit County General Plan and Development Code. Some eastsiders 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?
I think the present East Side Development Code does more to promote growth than it does to plan growth. Example. A person owning 18 acreas with the designation of an illegal lot of record, cannot develop another building lot, but they can sell the entire acreage and put a major subdivision in. Another problem is the code will only allow you to build within 250 ft of the center line of the highway corridor, thus causing a tunnel type atmosphere entering the Kamas or Coalville cities. This also impacts and impedes traffic. The committee is constantly talking about open space, but they aren’t willing to work with the people to pull development off the corridor and cluster it behind each other. As a closing comment, I think the county should resolve the issue of Illegal Lot of Records but still try and push as much development into the cities as possible.
8.The Summit County Commission has debated whether to allow Walmart at Kimball Junction to expand into a Walmart Supercenter. 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?
The question is not how would I vote, but what grandfathered rights does WalMart have? As I understand the situation, there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for the commission because WalMart has fulfilled all of their contractual agreements. The second part of the question is going to be one of commonsense. Park City is close enough to the Wasatch County line that if we don’t find somewhere for a Box Retail Store to land, then they will build just across the county line. This will leave us with all the impacts and non of the tax base. We all know that it will be either Summit County or Park City Municipal that will respond to 80% of the emergency calls and we will all pay for the impact on our roads. We also have many Summit County people who shop in these stores. Lets not drive them out of our county to do their shopping, but find an area that will provide a benefit to the county and not downplay the importance of tourism.