See who’s running for municipal office throughout Summit County
Contested elections in Kamas and Oakley highlight the slate of November municipal contests around the county, with council seats also up for grabs in Coalville, Francis and Henefer.
The Park Record reached out to the 17 candidates who filed by the June 7 deadline, and those conversations repeatedly came back to themes of managing growth, water rights and the importance of experience.
Coalville has three candidates running for three spots on its City Council, Francis has two candidates for two seats, Kamas has five candidates running for three seats and Oakley has five candidates for three four-year terms and one candidate for one two-year term on its Council. Henefer has only one candidate for the two Town Council seats that will appear on the ballot, which means unless a resident files as a declared write-in candidate, the town may cancel the election.
The deadline to register as a write-in candidate is Sept. 3, and the 2019 municipal elections will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5. To request an absentee ballot, go to vote.utah.gov. None of the elections will require a primary.
Incumbent Tyler Rowser, Philip Geary and Don C. Winters are running for three four-year terms on Coalville’s City Council. Notwithstanding the emergence of a write-in candidate, they appear set to join current members Cody Blonquist and Rodney Robbins alongside Mayor Trever Johnson.
This would be Rowser’s second term on the Council, and in his previous three years he said he’s seen changes for the better in the city, and some change that deserves a closer look.
He wants to continue to serve as a large proposed development works its way through the government that he said could include a golf course, businesses and up to 500 homes. He said managing that growth with respect to the city’s resources will be important in the coming years.
Geary said he’s running to see a change on the Council, though he didn’t point to a particular point of disagreement. Instead, he pointed to a lack of attendance at recent meetings he’s attended.
“I think if you’re making decisions for the City, you’ve gotta have a full council,” he said.
He said if elected, he will focus on listening to the residents of Coalville.
Winters declined to comment on his run for office.
Incumbents Matt Crittenden and Jeremie Forman are running again for their seats on the four-person City Council. Barring a write-in candidate upset win, they would serve four-year terms and join Shana Fryer and Trilby Cox on the Council alongside Mayor Byron Ames.
Crittenden is running for a third term and said he’s “concerned” about the direction the city is going and wants to stay involved.
“A lot of growth happening … you can’t really stop it, but you should manage it as well as you can,” he said.
He said two of the main issues facing the city are growth and water sources. The city has enough water, Crittenden said, but he stressed the importance of careful planning.
Forman could not be reached for comment.
Incumbent Robin K. Riches is running for a second four-year term on the Town Council, one of two open seats. Fellow incumbent Ryan K. Mosher is not running again, opening the door for a write-in candidacy.
Riches said it’s “hard to keep Mayberry alive in the 21st century,” a reference to the utopian small town from “The Andy Griffith Show,” but that the Council and Mayor Kay H. Richins have done their “very best” to deal with the growth and changes that have come along.
Henefer’s culinary water system is “pretty much at maximum,” Riches said, so any future growth would require a secondary water system. She said the mayor and Council have had to make some unpopular decisions denying those who want to develop their properties, but she believes “the community as a whole understands.”
“At the current time, Henefer doesn’t have the ability to provide services or hookups until we get our situation under control,” Riches said.
She said she’s looking forward to “see (the work) through to its fruition” with another term on the Council.
If no one declares by Sept. 3, the county’s chief deputy clerk Kellie Robinson explained, the city could cancel the election, name Riches the winner and the other seat would become vacant at the end of 2019. At that point, the Council could name someone to fill the position.
A candidate must declare their write-in candidacy with the town clerk, Shelley Richins. Even if an undeclared candidate receives the most votes in an election, he or she would not be named the winner.
The Kamas City Council may see significant changeover in this fall’s election, as five residents have declared their candidacy for three four-year terms.
Incumbents Monica Blazzard and Kevan Todd will be joined on the ballot by Amy Yost, John F. Blazzard and Nathan Miles. The two Blazzards are distantly related. Two-term Councilor Michael J. Crystal decided not to seek reelection.
Allen McNeil and Gary Walker round out the current Council, alongside Mayor Matt McCormick.
Monica Blazzard said she’s running for a second term because “I feel like I still need to be there.”
She pointed out hers is the only female voice on a male-dominated Council and that it’s important to have a diversity of opinion.
Managing growth and the fear that comes along with it are big challenges for the city, Blazzard said, adding that affordable housing is another of her priorities.
“(Kamas) is a hidden gem that isn’t so hidden anymore,” Blazzard said.
Kevan Todd is running for a fifth term on the Council, which he said might be his last.
“We have a new mayor, three new councilors, I kinda felt like my experience might help,” Todd said.
He said a lot of residents “are trying to hang on to our heritage as long as we can” and the way to do that is to have longtime residents on the Council. But that has to be balanced with growth.
“You either grow, or you die,” Todd said.
Amy Yost is running for her first term in office and said her 25 years of experience in mortgage lending would be a useful asset, especially regarding issues like affordable housing.
She said the city lacks a coherent vision of where it wants to be in five, 10, 50 or 100 years, and without that guidance, the Council has been addressing issues as they come up rather than proactively seeking the future it wants.
“Without that future vision, how can you update (the city’s codes and policies)?” Yost said.
She said she’d like to see Kamas return to its position as the center hub of the Kamas Valley, a position she thinks has been ceded to Oakley over the past decade or so.
John F. Blazzard and Nathan Miles could not be reached for comment.
Three incumbents are among the five candidates running for three four-year seats on the Oakley City Council, while one man is running for a two-year seat on the governing body.
Mayor Wade Woolstenhulme and Councilor Steve Wilmoth are the only two elected officials whose seats are safe in the November election.
Lorrie Hoggan, Tom Smart and Joe B. Frazier are running again for their seats on the Council, and will be joined on the ballot by Dave Neff and Les F. England. Ronald L. Bowen is running unopposed for a two-year seat being vacated by Craig Rydalch.
Hoggan wrote in an email that she is running “to represent all of the citizens of Oakley,” rather than a special interest group. Her No. 1 priority is to see work on the water and sewer system completed, and said the Council is “striving to make sure that all of our wells are in good working order,” as is the sewer plant.
Smart wrote that he believes he has the experience “to help ensure smart growth as we strive to keep Oakley’s rural atmosphere.”
He said the City will be facing growth, planning and code issues over the next four years, and that as an “instigator” of the Weber River Corridor project, he’d like to see the west-to-east trail system completed.
Frazier’s focus is financial, writing in an email that he is running again to help ensure the sewer and water system projects remain financially sustainable and that he’d like to be part of the decision-making process about what projects to fund once the city pays off some outstanding bonds and loans over the next few years.
Neff wrote that he’d like to be involved at this “crucial” time as the city grapples with growth and preserving Oakley’s rural way of life and its rural character.
He wrote that he’s supported the efforts to develop a trail system “where we can and where it makes sense” and that he has an open mind and honors private property rights.
Bowen said his experience having worked for the city taking care of its parks and helping with its water and sewer position him to be able to help serve his community. He said water is the biggest concern for Oakley, and that it needs to have plenty of it for future growth.
England could not be reached for comment.
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Bruce Erickson, the planning director at City Hall, has died, the municipal government said. Erickson was involved at some level in nearly all the major decisions regarding growth and development in Park City since the early 1990s.