Republican’s goals are open government, reduced spending
Parkite Tom Hurd wants county government to spend less.
But that requires making government more open, Hurd said in an interview in Park City Thursday. The Republican faces Silver Creek Democrat John Hanrahan in the race for seat C on the new Summit County Council.
"I would keep all meetings open and on the record. And that would include litigation, would include hiring, would include acquisition and the sale of public property," Hurd said. "One of the reasons that we don’t trust our government is because we don’t know what they’re doing a lot of times, they close the meeting and the minutes are protected and we don’t know what the heck they are talking about. They are talking about spending public money. What could be so secret about it?"
Election Day voters in Summit County will choose the first Summit County Council to replace the County Commission which will disband in December when the form of government changes.
County officials must do a better job disseminating information to the public, Hurd said.
"I get the feeling every once in a while that the current County Commission feels that the citizens are getting in the way of them doing their business," Hurd said.
Packets Park City Municipal produces for the public before council meetings are far superior to what citizens get from the county, he lamented.
"I’ve been looking at the way the County Commission currently runs their business and I am really disturbed," Hurd said. "They start their business at 9 o’clock in the morning and you can’t take off work and go over there and sit and trudge your way through this stuff."
Meetings requiring public input wouldn’t start until 6 p.m. if he is elected, Hurd said.
He said he expects his opponent to outspend him because Hurd vowed to spend only $5,000 on his campaign. But races for commission seats in recent years have cost candidates tens of thousands.
"That’s not what county government is supposed to be about, because, it’s like you’re saying if I throw enough money at it I could buy the election," Hurd said. "I would like to see it get back to where it was message and not what you are able to spend."
Meanwhile, public money is not used to buy open space in his vision for the county, Hurd explained.
"You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that we’re in bad trouble economically," Hurd said about downturns in financial and housing markets.
He would better prioritize spending if elected, Hurd said, adding that, "open space is at the bottom of the list."
"The county ought to prepare what I call a ‘people’s budget,’" Hurd said. "Just tell me what you are going to spend and let me decide."
Fixing the traffic woes on the West Side might not be possible, he said.
"Of course I expect there will be questions about it, I just don’t think there are any good answers," Hurd said about congestion on State Roads 224 and 248.
Hurd attempted in the interview to dispel the so-called "myth of the rift," which claimed that the need for service in eastern Summit County differs significantly from the West Side.
"That disturbs me a lot because I think there are good, qualified people, who are running who are from the East Side," Hurd said. "The rule of law works the same for everybody or it should If you can’t say that, ‘I can represent everybody equally,’ then you shouldn’t be trying to get the job."
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.