Newly elected Kamas Valley mayors to take their seats
Newly elected Francis City Mayor Byron Ames and Kamas City Mayor Matt McCormick are set to be sworn in this month for their city’s top positions.
Ames and McCormick overwhelmingly defeated their opponents in the November election to succeed incumbent mayors Lee Snelgrove and Lew Marchant, respectively. Marchant chose not to seek re-election.
Voters chose McCormick, a former Kamas City Councilor, over current City Council member Kevan Todd. McCormick is scheduled to be sworn in during the Jan. 9 Kamas City Council meeting.
“I’m just really looking forward to the opportunity to serve the community and see if my ideas can help,” he said. “I just think some new fresh ways of looking at things can be good, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to start down that road.”
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.
“I’m really just thinking about getting some fresh ideas out there and maybe looking at doing some things to perk our town up a bit,” he said.
McCormick said his first order of business will be to explore how to beautify Kamas’ Main Street to make it more appealing and encourage more community involvement in local politics.
“I want to get a Citizen’s Council going so more of the community feels like they are informed and at least having a voice in what’s going on,” he said. “That’s one thing I’ve heard from other members of the community while I was running.”
Kamas City hasn’t had a strong social media presence, McCormick said, adding that utilizing those platforms could also further engage the community.
“There has been this thought that people don’t come to the City Council meetings because they don’t have an opinion,” he said. “But, they do care and they do have an opinion. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit into their schedule. If we can find an avenue to get them better informed, they can be included more in the community.”
As McCormick readies to step into his new role, he said he anticipates it will be “a big challenge.”
“I take it very seriously and I just hope that I can do the best for the city,” he said.
Newly elected City Council members Allen McNeil and Garry Walker will also be sworn in alongside McCormick. Francis
Francis’ former City Council Byron Ames earned the support of more than 75 percent of the city’s voters to defeat incumbent Lee Snelgrove. He officially assumed Snelgrove’s duties on Monday, but won’t be sworn in until Jan. 11.
Ames has lived in Francis for more than five years and owns a law firm in Kamas with his wife. He expressed a desire to immediately start tackling some housecleaning items as soon as he takes on his new role. He said he has several ideas that could help the city run more smoothly and professionally.
“There are some easy things the city needs to do that they haven’t done that will pay off dividends in the long run,” he said. “We need to run this city like we are serious about our jobs. I want the professional image to be something we work on immediately.”
Ames said he wants to develop a procedural manual for employees and host employee training. He said both ideas could help city staff better serve the community.
“I think there is room for improvement from a business perspective on how we can all do our jobs better,” he said.
Ames also discussed long-term goals he has, such as creating a water conservation plan to preserve the city’s water.
“To the credit of Lee Snelgrove, he went and got some training on that, and I would like to tap into that knowledge,” he said. “With our water rates so high, I would like us to work on a plan and complete a water study.”
Ames said he has been humbled and is excited about the level of interest the community has shown over the last couple of months.
“There have been people actively participating in government who have not been involved or older people who have been disenfranchised,” he said. “It’s somewhat of a daunting task to figure out how best to utilize these assets to the city to maintain the excitement and energy we have about the place we live in.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity to serve Francis and excited about the support from the community,” he added. “I’m optimistic we will accomplish great things for our city and be prepared in the right way for the changes coming to Francis.”
Francis’s Shana Fryer and Trilby Cox will also be sworn in to the City Council on Jan 11.
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