Political races begin taking shape
The political filing window ends today and a handful of people on Tuesday had filled out paperwork declaring themselves candidates in a slew of mayoral and city council races in Summit County.
Five out of six mayors in the county say they’ll seek another term. Only Francis Mayor John Bergen will retire.
The general election is planned Nov. 3 in Henefer, Coalville, Oakley, Kamas, Francis and Park City.
Park City Mayor Dana Williams Tuesday was set to square off against former Mayor Brad Olch and Diania Turner, a businesswoman in Park City.
Incumbent Park City Councilmen Jim Hier and Roger Harlan will not seek re-election this year. Council candidates on Tuesday included Alex Butwinski and John Stafsholt.
Francis Town Councilman R. Lee Snelgrove has declared himself a candidate for mayor in the town of roughly 1,000 people.
Four-year Francis City Council seats held by John Keyes and Tim Butikofer are also on the ballot. So is a two-year seat held by Lorin Prescott.
In Oakley, Mayor Blake Frazier is seeking another term. So are incumbent Oakley City Councilmen Bob Elbert and Tiny Woolstenhulme.
"If you like the way Oakley is going and you like the way Oakley is heading, you’ve got the right team here," said Elbert.
Elbert is finishing his first elected four-year term after serving out the terms of several councilpersons who retired before their political stints ended.
Woolstenhulme is near the end of his first four-year term. Frazier is also finishing his first four-year term after he was appointed to replace former Mayor Paul Woolstenhulme who retired about six years ago.
Meanwhile, Coalville Mayor Duane Schmidt might face an uphill climb in his fight to stay in office. Challenging Schmidt so far is Merlyn Johnson, a former Coalville mayor who served three terms.
Instead of putting his efforts toward needed upgrades at the city’s sewer plant, Schmidt has focused on plans to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars planting trees and improving sidewalks on Main Street, Johnson said in a telephone interview.
"It’d be nice if we could afford it," Johnson said. "I think [Schmidt] is putting his emphasis in the wrong place People don’t take care of trees and I think we’ve got more needs in town than to tear up Main Street."
Four incumbent Coalville councilpersons might face challenges this fall. On the ballot are two four-year seats belonging to Ron Boyer and RaNae Crittenden and two two-year seats that Andrea Hewson and David Vernon recently filled. Vernon and Hewson, who has declared herself a candidate this year, replaced former Councilpersons Brent Scholes and Trisha Beames, who retired this year.
In Kamas, Mayor Lew Marchant will face a challenge from at least one competitor.
Mayoral candidate Jeff Lawrence claims Marchant’s administration has ignored the needs of businesspeople in the second largest city in the county.
"I know I have the support of just about every local business in town, I won’t say all, but just about 90 percent," Lawrence claimed in a telephone interview Monday.
Lawrence said he is a music teacher who plays guitar in a rock-and-roll band. If elected, he promised to maintain more office hours at City Hall than Marchant.
"I’m going to be a lot more active," Lawrence said. "I’m going to make myself available at my office every day."
Kamas resident Thomas Snyder has declared himself a candidate for City Council. Four-year Kamas council seats held by Rod Smith and Diane Atkinson are on the ballot in November.
Smith and Atkinson each are expected to seek an additional term.
Finally, Henefer Mayor Randy Ovard filed to campaign for a second term.
Four-year council seats held by incumbent Councilmen Brent Ovard and Kay Richins are also on the ballot. Richins is expected to run again. Ovard officially declared his candidacy this week.
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A major infrastructure bill that passed in the final days of the Legislature’s general session includes funding for a Kimball Junction traffic project. Officials said developers helped get the project included.