The Park Record editorial, July 3, 2009
July 2, 2009
Two council seats and the mayoral post in each of Summit County’s six incorporated cities are up for reelection this fall. But the time to decide whether to run for one of those offices is NOW. Prospective candidates must file with their respective town clerks before 5 p.m. on July 15.
The jobs, though often thankless, are integral to the well-being of those communities. Town councilors are expected to help ensure neighborhoods are quiet while commercial districts are bustling and they routinely make decisions on everything from sewer lines to subdivisions, from skate parks to rodeo arenas.
In small towns, that means elected officials may find themselves mediating disputes among their own friends and relatives and, since most are laymen when it comes to government, they must learn how to handle complicated legal and financial issues on the job.
One aspect is guaranteed — Serving at the grassroots level is an enormous challenge. It is therefore amazing that citizens continue to come forward to run for local offices.
But every year it gets tougher to fill the ballots with qualified candidates. These days many people say they are just too busy; others are daunted by the prospect of making controversial decisions; and others, unfortunately, are just plain apathetic.
Many veteran East Side council members and mayors, whose families have served for generations, are ready to retire from public service. Sadly, there are very few younger people willing to make the same commitments, even though their growing communities are in desperate need of fresh leadership.
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We are hoping that the timing of the filing window this year will drum up interest in the local races. The Fourth of July is a perfect day for county residents to reboot their civic conscience. While waving the flag this weekend, local residents should take a moment to consider not just what their communities can do for them but what they can do for their communities (apologies to JFK). One of the most valuable contributions they can make is to serve on their town council. For more information on how to become a candidate, call one of these numbers:
Coalville — (435) 336-5981 Henefer — (435) 336-5829 Francis- — (435) 783-6236 Kamas — (435) 783-4630 Oakley — (435) 783-5734 Park City — (435) 615-5025