East Side Summit County voters make their selections
Leaders selected in Francis, Kamas, Oakley and Henefer
November 7, 2017
Newly elected Kamas City Mayor Matt McCormick was slightly overwhelmed by the results of Tuesday night's election knowing the work he has ahead of him.
Voters selected the former Kamas City Councilor to succeed four-term Mayor Lew Marchant in the city's top position. Marchant chose not to seek re-election.
McCormick, with 284 votes, defeated current City Council member Kevan Todd, with 181 votes, according to the preliminary results.
"I'm excited and I'm surprised," he said. "I'm really just in shock at the responsibilities that I have coming my way. But, I'm grateful that people put that much faith into my ability to help the city."
Voters in Summit County's municipal elections decided the races for the top positions in several East Side cities.
The mayor's job and two city council seats were on the ballots in Kamas, Oakley, Henefer, Francis and Coalville. According to the preliminary results from the Summit County Clerk's Office, approximately 5,223 residents cast ballots in the election, representing 48.55 percent of the electorate. A breakdown of where the ballots were cast will not be available until the results are finalized. Results are scheduled to be finalized after each municipality holds its official canvass.
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McCormick works as a lab manager for the Utah Department of Transportation's region materials lab, which tests road materials. He has lived in Kamas his entire life and is a former two-term City Council member.
McCormick said the community clearly wants a leader who can provide "fresh eyes and a fresh look at things."
"I think they are feeling like this is an opportunity for a new perspective," he said.
McCormick said he does not have any immediate plans once he steps in to office. However, he said, he is determined to encourage residents to become more involved in the city's future, including establishing a citizen's advisory council.
"We need to find a way to get as many people involved as possible," he said. "That is my goal."
City Council contenders Allen McNeil and Garry Walker, a current Kamas City Planning Commissioner, received the most votes with 283 and 282, respectively, to take the two open seats. Amy Yost and Kim Steed were defeated after receiving 221 and 70 votes apiece.
McNeil said he was extremely pleased with the results. He said he felt fortunate to be elected considering the depth of the candidate field. "I think what I offered during my campaign that people were looking for is the legal advice that I can provide," he said. "Issues need to be carefully examined and see what courses and what options the city has and not just lay down when there may be other legal options for the city."
Before tackling his priorities, McNeil said leaders need to make an effort to understand what the community's concerns are and start there.
Walker did not respond to multiple calls made by The Park Record.
Oakley City Mayor Wade Woolstenhulme narrowly retained his position after earning 254 votes, defeating challenger Ronald Bowen, who gathered 236 votes.
Woolstenhulme said the results were "a lot closer than I wanted." He added, "I hope there aren't too many votes still out there so the results don't get overturned."
"My opponents did their due diligence," he said. "They spent a lot of time going door-to-door so I have to commend them for their efforts. But, I'm excited to keep working."
Woolstenhulme said his second term will be significantly different than his first because he has a better understanding of the city's operations.
"During the first term, you sort of sit back and see how things are working," he said. "But I have a better handle on what needs to be done with our utilities and what I want to happen with our infrastructure. I want to get us to a point where we are maintaining our programs and not just fixing and repairing everything all the time."
With his re-election, Woolstenhulme said he brings an open mind and clear vision for the city's future.
"I have a vision, while realizing that what we have been is not what we are always going to be," he said. "But, we want to stay rural and we want to be able to make those adjustments to growth without significantly impacting the community."
Former Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds secured the most votes in the City Council race, with 340. Incumbent City Councilor Steve Wilmoth will keep his seat after earning 237 votes. They beat out challengers Stephanie Woolstenhulme, with 224 votes, and Christopher Hanson, with 114.
Edmunds and Wilmoth did not return messages left by The Park Record.
Francis City Councilor Byron Ames overwhelmingly defeated incumbent Mayor Lee Snelgrove for his seat. Ames earned the support of more than 75 percent of the voters, with 304 votes to Snelgrove's 87.
Ames said the scope of his win signifies, to him, the community's desire to move forward amid the growth challenges that are expected.
"I think it was the message that development is a done deal and we can't stop it," he said. "And I think that is a shock to some people. But, what we can do is make our city better knowing what has been approved and that it can happen at any time."
While on the City Council, Ames said he has been somewhat exposed to the inner workings of the city's operations, but not completely. He said that has historically been the mayor's responsibility so there will be a learning curve.
"The first challenge is to not do anything drastic right out of the gate, but take a breath and a good look at everything, such as procedures and how, as a business, the city is running things," he said. "Then we need to start talking about goals to put in place knowing the challenges we are facing. We need to have a two-pronged approach to this: What can we do to make this a better system and then we need to start addressing those issues."
The winners for the City Council race were incumbent Shana Fryer, with 217 votes, and Trilby Cox, who earned 216 votes. They defeated Casey Vorwaller (174 votes) and Scott Ian Buchanan (64 votes). Fryer did not return messages left by The Park Record seeking comment.
Cox, a newcomer to politics, said she is looking forward to her new role as a City Councilor.
"I am a small-town girl at heart who really cares about Francis and cares about the community that I live in just as deeply as those who have grown up here," she said. "I want to take care of our little town and do what is best for the community so that going forward in the future we keep our identity."
Voters overwhelmingly elected Kay Richins as mayor over write-in candidate Chad Moore. Richins, a current Henefer City Council member, gathered 180 votes to Moore's 40. Richins failed to return a message left by The Park Record by press time.
Matt Shill, with 192 votes, and Detton Pawcett, with 193 votes, ran unopposed for seats on the City Council.
Other Summit County elections:
- Summit County Service Area No. 3: Peter Keblish and Larry Finch ran unopposed for seats on the Board of Trustees.
- South Summit Fire Protection District: Craig Fry narrowly secured a spot on the district's Advisory Board after defeating Jackson Coleman. They earned 913 and 874 votes, respectively.
Coverage of Coalville’s election can be found here.