Familiar names fill Coalville City’s ballot
Incumbents hope to retain seats
October 24, 2017
Voters in Coalville City have some decisions to make during the municipal elections as familiar names on the city's ballot show current elected leaders are hoping to retain their positions for the next four years.
Two four-year City Council seats, currently held by Cody Blonquist and Rodney Robbins, are on the ballot in Coalville, in addition to Mayor Trever Johnson's seat. Coalville has a five-member board.
Both Blonquist and Robbins are seeking re-election, with candidates Suzanne Boyer and Timothy Bristow also vying for the spots. Johnson is pursuing a second term against his challenger, Tyler Rowser, a current City Councilor.
Johnson, a 13-year resident and operations manager for a building service company, said his reasons for seeking re-election remain similar to those that inspired him to run for mayor in the first place.
"When I first ran, I really wanted to prepare the city for economic growth and help ease the process for developers and builders to be able to partner with Coalville," he said. "Now I'd like to see those efforts through."
During the last four years, Johnson said, he has helped the city usher in new infrastructure to handle the impending growth, including the completion of a sewer treatment plant and a new master plan for the city's culinary water system.
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Johnson highlighted the city's retention of the Summit County Fair and his plans for a new city park, which is being torn down with the construction of the new fairgrounds. He said the city is considering donating property to the North Summit Recreation District for a new park.
Johnson said the city is in the process of rewriting building codes and ordinances to allow a more friendly partnership for those who want to develop a business or build a house. He said he has formed relationships with Summit County's leaders and feels the County Council is committed to Coalville.
"I want Coalville to be poised to be able to take economic advantage of the growth coming," he said. "Coalville is the county's seat and it is our responsibility that they position themselves to take advantage of what is coming down the pipe. But, we don't want to turn into a Salt Lake or Murray. We want to maintain that small-town country feel."
Rowser is currently in his first term as a City Councilor. He grew up in Henefer and has lived in the Coalville for eight years. He works as a government procurement officer for an agency in Salt Lake City.
Rowser said his inspiration for running for the city's top position was the "the lack of things happening from the mayor's office." He said there didn't appear to be a high priority to make sure things were getting accomplished.
"It seems like things have been last minute," he said. "They haven't been well thought out and there hasn't been any foresight to bring things to the table. I think that, as a city, we need to decide whether we want to be a bedroom community, or have more jobs here locally."
If elected, Rowser said, he would like to help grow the city's recreational offerings to help attract more visitors to the city and grow the tax base.
Rowser said it is important to work with the county as more growth occurs on the outskirts of the city limits. He suggested creating a special service district and working with the county to annex land from the Hoytsville Valley into the city.
"I think we need to have more foresight and be more open to community members' ideas," he said. "If they feel like they can talk to you and provide input and suggestions, we can do almost everything they suggest. I want to see that we have a prosperous area, and I don't want to see us getting into situations where we have critical infrastructure failures. We can build a better community."
Robbins, an incumbent, has lived in Coalville for 20 years and grew up in Henefer. He drives a truck for Associated Food Stores. He is nearing the end of his first term on the City Council.
"I’ve enjoyed serving the people of Coalville and have worked hard on their behalf," Robbins said in an email to The Park Record. "I take the time to listen when community members come to me with a concern, and I research the issues in depth before I vote on them."
Robbins said he would like to help provide residents and businesses with the freedom to expand and grow "if that is what they desire." He added, "I feel my role on the Council is to protect and support the rights of the people to do what they want with what they own and earn."
Blonquist, whose seat is also up for reelection, is hoping to be elected to a second term. He is an electrical contractor originally from Coalville.
"I just want to make sure that I can do my part to help make sure Coalville is prepared to accommodate the growth that is coming this way," he said. "I want to make sure there is some thoughtful planning behind that growth and make sure the economy stays on the track we are on."
Blonquist said he anticipates most of the city's growth will be residential. He said dealing with that growth is "most people's No. 1 priority." He added, "I live here because it is quiet and not urban."
"I would like to try and maintain a balance between that growth and a rural lifestyle," he said.
Bristow, a political newcomer, has lived in Coalville his entire life. He is an automotive and diesel technician.
Bristow said he is getting to the age where he wants to become more involved in the decisions to shape his community. He said the growth is inevitable, but it's important for leaders to have an idea of how to handle it.
Bristow said he supports smaller businesses and more regulated traffic measures for the city's Main Street.
"I would like Coalville to stay relatively small," he said. "We have raised our family here and I have lived here all my life. It just has a hometown feel and I want to be a part of the decisions to help direct it and keep it going in that direction."
Boyer did not return messages from The Park Record before press time.
The Summit County Clerk's Office sent ballots on Oct. 17. They must be postmarked and returned no later than Nov. 6. Ballots can also be placed in drop boxes on Election Day.