Kernan wants another term | ParkRecord.com

Kernan wants another term

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Park City Councilman Joe Kernan, not wanting to mull his political plans through the first half of the year, says he will seek re-election in November.

In an interview, Kernan says he has not accomplished all of his goals during his first term on the City Council and wants another four years to do so. He says he is especially interested in issues that Parkites generally ignore, such as the day-to-day functions of City Hall.

Kernan says he wants the local government to improve its customer service and he wants City Hall to continue its long-range financial planning.

"I’d like to serve for five more years, so I need to run this year," Kernan says.

He says, for instance, that he wants the city’s elected officials more involved in spending decisions. The City Council is the body that approves City Hall’s budget each year but Kernan says he prefers that the five-person panel become more involved.

"Right now, we do it piecemeal," he says about budgetary decisions.

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Usually, staffers work on the budget for a period before the city manager presents it to the mayor and City Council. The elected officials then hold a series of hearings and discussions about the plan before adopting it, typically in June.

Kernan suggests that the city create a more comprehensive way to decide how to spend money but he offers few details. He has appeared frustrated at times in the past year about the method the government uses to decide which services receive funding and how much money is spent. Snowplowing, for instance, has been of interest to him.

Meanwhile, Kernan says he will run on his record on the City Council, particularly the city’s efforts to make the community more attractive for pedestrians and others not driving cars. The trend was especially noteworthy in 2006, as City Hall approached Parkites for ideas.

Kernan says he will press the others on the City Council for funds to make improvements.

"I will continue to show there is enough money to fund it," Kernan says, indicating that he was among the city leaders who encouraged the efforts.

The supporters see the potential improvements as a way to reduce traffic by making sidewalks, trails and pathways more inviting.

Kernan is 44 years old and lives in Prospector. He is in the recycling business and is seen as one of City Hall’s most prominent environmental supporters.

Kernan won his City Council seat in 2003, as Park City voters, weary after a decade of increasingly nasty campaigns, put moderates in office, also electing Marianne Cone, who is an artist, and re-electing popular incumbent Candy Erickson.

There has been little scuttlebutt about the 2007 City Council campaign, when the seats held by Cone and Erickson are also on the ballot. Nobody other than Kernan has announced they will run.

The monthlong filing window for the November election does not open until midsummer. If more than six people file papers, the city would hold a primary in October to reduce the field to six for the November general election.

The 2005 City Council campaign, when the seats now held by Jim Hier and Roger Harlan were on the ballot, was one of the least competitive in Park City’s modern era. Just three people competed for two spots on the City Council. Mayor Dana Williams ran unopposed for his second term.

Cone says she has not decided whether she will seek re-election and is unsure when she will make her decision. The Park Record was unable to contact Erickson.

Cone says she will consider whether she will want more family time. She is 62 years old and her husband, Park City School Board President David Chaplin, is 69 years old.

"Old age. Whether I can get anything done . . . . whether I’d like some time to myself," Cone says.

But she says she is concerned that soaring real-estate prices are a threat to regular Parkites, says she prefers that more services be available to senior citizens and says if Old Town’s charm is lost, tourism could suffer.

"My biggest concern is trying to keep a community here despite the prices," Cone says. "I just don’t want a shell of a town."