- Where do you see the city in the next five years, and what would you do to make that future a good one?
- What are some of the things you feel are of great concern to those you would serve?
- South Ogden has partnered with the school district in the past year to build gym space for both the school and the city. Do you think it's a worthwhile venture to partner with other entities to fulfill the needs of your citizens?
John W. Bradley
Occupation: Assistant Attorney General, State of Utah
Qualifications: I have a unique blend of years of public service and success in business; member of the city council, mayor pro tem, business owner.
1. The future of South Ogden is very bright. Its central location, wide variety of housing and strong commercial base will make it the place to move to. Our responsibility is to make it affordable, attractive and safe. This is especially true in the older parts. In the next five years our focus should be on directing the redevelopment of these parts of the city rather than reacting after development happens. South Ogden will expand its commercial base through a combination of marketing to businesses, directing renewal of older areas and development of an identifiable downtown. I will direct city staff in this effort, implement the plans we have already made, and give clear direction in our planning, zoning and ordinances.
2. I hear three common themes: 1) we cannot pay more taxes; 2) city officials should vote the way the majority of citizens want; and 3) there is blight creeping into the city and we are afraid crime will come with it. Of course all of these have sub-issues. People want nice parks, open space, responsible landlords, good restaurants, recreation opportunities and well maintained streets. The trick is balancing all of these needs in a fiscally conservative way.
3. We are at a time when there is simply no way to do large scale capital projects unless we partner with other entities. We do not have the tax base in South Ogden to handle those type of things. The fact is, we have so much crossover with our neighboring communities and other governmental entities that it only makes sense to partner with them, where possible, to complete a capital project. We should explore all possibilities including public-private partnerships to move the city forward.
Occupation: Office manager for Horizon Balance Center in South Ogden.
Qualifications: Council member for eight years. Management skills. Serving on numerous committees to improve our city.
1. Our city has almost reached a maximum for growth. Now is the time to develop and redevelop our established areas. We need to improve our neighborhoods and take more pride. We are establishing a program to help qualified home- owners obtain a low interest loan for needed repairs. Need to establish neighborhood committees to identify and make recommendations to improve our neighborhoods. Establish a downtown area. Bring in specialty retail shops and eating establishments. Work with our current business owners in retaining and expanding their businesses. Incorporate new design guidelines. Continue to bring more business and encourage development in our downtown.
2. As I have been talking to our residents, the growing concerns are property taxes, increase in the value of their homes. The appearance of the neighborhoods and the lack of enforcement. Recreation. Speeding on residential roads. Most all of the residents are happy with our city. They feel safe and are proud to be living here.
3. Yes. This will be a win-win situation for South Ogden City and the Weber School District. We have been in need for a recreation facility in our city, as our population has increased. We tried to partner with our neighboring cities to do a tri-city recreation facility. Paying for a full recreation facility could cost around $15 million.
When the school announced it would be building a new junior high school, we met with them to see if they would be interested in a joint effort gym facility. There will be two gym spaces. The school can use during the day, and South Ogden can use it starting at 5 and all day Saturdays. We are able to build a $4 million gym for $2 million. We will enhance our current programs, adding additional programs for adults, families and community events.
James F. Minster
Qualifications: I have the proven leadership skills in my career, church and community. I am serving my eighth year on the South Ogden City Council.
1. I see the city growing slowly, with some increase in our business sector and more new homes. In this time of recession, I will continue to watch our budget, and make those adjustments that become necessary. This past year we have lowered our budget by 12 percent, and until there is a turnaround in our economy, I will work very hard to keep our taxes down. One area that I would like to see improvement in our city is a closer working partnership with our citizens. To have our citizens feel that their issues are heard and promptly addressed.
2. I feel the greatest challenge that the leaders of South Ogden City are currently facing and will face is the economy. As this recession continues, with food and day to day living expenses rise, we as a city must be sensitive of the strain this economy is placing on each of us, especially those of us that are on a set income. Yet, it is important to continue to providing the services you expect.
3. Yes, I do. This partnership with the Weber School District was not an easy decision to make and was made over the past year with a great deal of thought. This was a one-time opportunity that will save us as citizens a great deal of money compared to building our own recreational facility. Currently we are renting the existing South Ogden Junior High, Browning Armory and the South Weber Community Complex for our recreational basketball program. By having a partnership with the school we will have twice the space that we now have at SOJH, and will not have the scheduling problems that we can have. We will be able to provide many other recreation programs for citizens of all ages.
Rick T. Westmoreland
Qualifications: My legal background and my prosecutorial experience along with my work in public service make me most qualified to be mayor.
1. I see the city continuing to move forward. Our crime rate will continue to decrease as we employ more officers. Our city will move forward economically by taking advantage of opportunities both in recruiting businesses to come to the city and stay as well as taking advantage of the use of federal monies where appropriate. We will continue to strive to become a more environmentally friendly community through our recycle program and by ensuring that some of our lands are dedicated to remaining open.
2. Raising taxes is a huge concern. A good portion of our city are at an age where their incomes are becoming fixed. Unfortunately, as our taxes have increased, their ability to earn has not, making it difficult to maintain their lifestyles. Additionally, people want more than just developments. They want their community to come together. People want a government that is accountable for its actions. They want a government that is accessible to them. I have heard more than once from people that are disappointed because the mayor and city council simply won't return phone calls or e-mail. We are a government of the people, and as such, we should be accountable to them. It's important that each citizen feels as though they have a voice. That can only happen when our government acknowledges their voices and responds.
3. Partnering with other cities and entities is great if the partnership benefits the majority of the city. However, before the city engages in those joint ventures, the city should make a concerted effort to gauge the true needs of the citizens. That can only happen by open dialogue with the majority of the citizens.