Grant Richins, 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)
With the growth of the area, traffic is bound to be a consideration. I have not studied the two problems enough at this point to suggest a final solution. I know that when I was working on the 2002 Olympic committee there was a possible solution discussed and it was turned down. I know we have a county engineer that I would look to for possible solutions. My initial response is that because of road ownership, one of the roads will be a city decision while the other is a state issue. Summit County becomes involved after exiting the highway. However, it is clear that the county should not be responsible for all of the funding.
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)
My first response to an economic recession is to cut any unnecessary spending and look for the ways to possibly hold taxes for the citizens. Of course we need to look for and encourage new businesses to come to Summit County thereby increasing the available employment opportunities and general revenue collection.
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 manager position will be crucial to the success of this new form of government. Most important in my opinion will be this person’s vision and concept of life in Summit County. He or she will need the ability to work with and talk to others. The person will have to have honesty, integrity, and an interest in Summit County and its long-term future. The manager needs a great work ethic and experience in the many areas that will be under his or her management. That person will have to be willing to accept and implement directives from the council, working together to protect and preserve our way of life.
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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 manager will carry out the day by day directives of the council and work directly with the department heads. Council members will have no contact on county matters with department heads, such as having direct responsibility with that department. There should be no problem with a five member council as long as each person assumes their responsibility.
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)
I have no direct personal knowledge that Summit County Commissioners have broken the law as to open meetings versus closed meetings. The meetings I have attended have been public. I do know from experience I had on the school board that closed meetings can be held for personnel evaluations and discussion of personnel matters. The business of the county, however, is for the people; therefore the meetings should be open to the public.
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)
I don’t believe the county should be in the water business but having researched the circumstances I understand the decisions that were made in this situation. It was something that had to be done for the people. For future reference, I believe the county council and planning commissioners have a direct responsibility to make sure that all developers and individuals have proof of available water in existence or ‘wet water’ and not just water available on paper. Any person purchasing property in a development has the responsibility at the time of purchase to make sure that water is guaranteed with that purchase.
7. Significant changes are being discussed for the Eastern Summit County General Plan and Development Code. Some eastside’s 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? (150 words)
My opinion is that zoning rules on the east side of Summit County are too strict. Property owners have had most of the value of their land taken from them. If the property owner wants to maintain property as farm ground they should have the right, but if they want or need to benefit from it financially they should be able to do so. Codes are necessary to protect the citizens but not to control them at the expense of the property owner. There will be both residential and commercial growth in the county and these decisions will be made by both the county and the land owner.
8. The Summit County Commission has debated whether to allow Wal-Mart at Kimball Junction to expand into a Wal-Mart Super center. 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? (150 words)
In researching the situation, I have confirmed that because of rules already in place Wal-Mart has the right to enlarge their building. Their long-term presence in this location and the codes, rules and laws in place from years ago support the option to increase the size of their building. No matter where you build large big box businesses there will be both benefits and traffic problems that will arise. Hopefully as a cohesive council, we will be able to assist in implementing now and in the future what will be most beneficial to both businesses and Summit County residents.
9. Please differentiate yourself from your opponent. (200 words)
The only knowledge I have of my opponent is what I have read in her flyer and heard her express. What sets me apart as a candidate for county council is that I have been a lifetime resident of Summit County and all of my children and grandchildren live in the county. My heart is invested in seeing the future of our county preserved. Years of service in the school district, town council, town planning commission and Olympic planning committee have given me a broader view of what our county needs to protect our unique way of life. I have dealt with the management of public funds, with negotiations, personnel, and with legal issues and codes facing our county, and I believe my long-term approach to decision making will prove to be the most valuable reason for my election to the County Council.