Oakley City Council candidates: Asked and answered
Oakley residents may have the most exciting Election Day on the East Side, as their City Council election is one of the few contested races in the entire county. Five candidates are vying for three seats, including incumbents Lorrie Hoggan, Joe B. Frazier and Tom Smart. The two challengers are Les F. England and Dave Neff.
The Park Record asked questions of all the Oakley City Council candidates about themselves and issues affecting the city. What follows are their responses, edited for space.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
Les F. England: I’ve been in Oakley for 23 years now. I’ve been retired for 8 years (after a career as an) adoption attorney. (I’m running) so I can participate and hopefully give back for living here all that time, pay my dues and to have input on what’s going on.
Joe B. Frazier: I have lived in Oakley my entire 41 years of life. For the last 13 years I have worked for Summit County in the library system. I currently work as the branch manager at the Kimball Junction Branch of the Summit County Library. I have served on the City Council for the last 4 years and would like to keep doing so because I really care deeply about our city.
Lorrie Hoggan: After dad’s career in the Navy, our family moved back to Oakley and I have lived here my whole life. I have been on the Oakley City Council for seven years and a member of the Oakley Civic Club for 30 years. I was employed by Utah Power & Light Company for 26 years, and, for the last 15 years I have been employed by a property development firm.
Dave Neff: Married to Susan Lassetter for 35 years. I have 1 son and 4 daughters. I have raised my family and lived in Oakley for 22 years. I have been an owner and partner in a successful orthopedic/spine distributorship for 20 years.
Tom Smart: I have retired after working for over forty years as an editor and photojournalist, primarily for the Deseret News. I have been a resident of Oakley for over 10 years and of Summit County for over 35 years. I am running for re-election because I am passionate about living in a rural environment and preserving a strong sense of community.
If elected, what would be your No. 1 priority?
England: I wouldn’t say I have any priorities. (My goals are) just to be there and be available and to serve and to listen.
Frazier: Being fiscally responsible is my No. 1 priority. Oakley is a small town with a small tax base and we also have a very low tax rate. That means that we, as a city, must use the money collected wisely. While I can’t single-handedly decide how to allocate the budget, being a voice for spending responsibly is important. I believe that I have a strong understanding of the city’s finances and the budgeting process.
Hoggan: My No. 1 priority is to continue to maintain our current infrastructure, especially the water and sewer systems. We have had some issues this year with both systems which we have been working on. With the work that we have been doing on the sewer facility this year, I believe that the system is now running better than it has for a long time.
Another priority that I have is to continue to keep the 4th of July Rodeo and Celebration one of the top rodeos in not only the State of Utah but in the United States and we cannot do that without all of the great volunteers that live in Oakley.
Neff: I am running for City Council because I would like to be a part of preserving our rural culture and small town atmosphere into the future. I want to be involved at a crucial time with important decisions to be made on growth, planning and strategy. There is also a window of opportunity now to work with and benefit private property owners as we continue to develop the Oakley trail system which I support and hope to be involved with.
Smart: My two highest priorities are maintaining infrastructure (water, sewer and roads) and secondly, planning for future growth while maintaining the small-town feel. Keeping Oakley City rural while planning for intelligent growth around the city center is paramount.
What do you think should be done with the former rodeo grounds?
England: I know Oakley City has a fair amount of land by rodeo grounds. No, it shouldn’t be developed, let’s leave it the way it is. It shouldn’t be a new housing development.
Frazier: I would like to see responsible development of the former rodeo grounds. By responsible development I mean that Oakley needs to add more businesses to increase the tax base and also selling or leasing the property to benefit the city. I have always been advised that an entity, in this case Oakley City, can find additional sources of income, but additional land is not being created. Oakley City should not haphazardly sell this valuable piece of land in order to add cash to the coffers. Maintaining ownership of the land and working with an individual or group to develop and lease business or office space may be the best option in my opinion.
Hoggan: Oakley City initiated a study to ascertain uses for the property where the rodeo grounds were. My personal preference for that property would be to have someone build a bowling alley there. The kids in Kamas Valley need to have a safe place to hang out and have fun. I personally believe that this property is very conducive for a bowling alley.
Neff: Interesting question on what should be done with the old rodeo ground property. I have thought about that many times as I have driven by or gone to the post office. Not sure Oakley has the population to support another restaurant or retail spaces? Thought about possible affordable townhouses, possible car wash business or some kind of recreation center. I have even heard ideas of a bowling alley over the past couple of years – which I think would be great if someone could pull that off. I guess lots of options to explore and look at.
Smart: About 13 years ago an extensive study was commissioned to study a Village Center, complete with an old town walkways and artist shops with lofts, similar to Jackson Hole and Rifle Colorado. It had some spectacular ideas, unfortunately the economy tanked in 2007 and the idea was shelved. I’d like to see that revived and believe there a people with vision to make that happen. Some on the Council have voiced the opinion that we need to sell that, the idea of a bowling alley was even brought up. I believe we have a wonderful chance to have a Village Center, possibly even bringing back the Mill Ponds,–lets not screw it up.
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