HURRICANE – With 47 square miles, the city is the largest municipality in land area in the state of Utah, Hurricane City Council candidate Kevin Tervort said. That gives the city a lot of room to grow and growth was the most prominent topic of discussion during the city’s candidate open house.
The city needs to manage growth better than in the past, Tervort, a small business owner, said.
“We can’t have building our main industry,” he said. “We need other revenue centers.”
If building was the main industry, Tervort said, many would still be making $7 an hour.
“We don’t want to go into an explosive growth pattern,” he said. “When the bubble pops, it hurts. If it’s not growing at a sustained pace, you end up with problems and can’t keep up infrastructure-wise.”
Sharing Tervort’s sentiment, council candidate Darin Larson, manager of Hurricane’s Southern Utah State Bank branch, said the city must bring in businesses along with housing developments. For example, Larsen said he would like to see more chain restaurants in town. He said the city must create a friendly business climate to accomplish such a task.
Balanced growth is also what City Council candidate Ethelyn Humphries would like to see. However, it’s a catch-22 situation because the city needs to bring in both commercial and residential. She said some who work in Hurricane live in St. George because of its amenities but that that should not be happening.
“My big concern is making sure we have the water, gas and electric service availability for the anticipated growth to ensure we don’t get caught unprepared and our utilities skyrocket because we weren’t prepared,” City Council candidate Matthew Bell, a local contractor who was not able to attend the open house, said a few days later.
“My goal is to serve the people of Hurricane in an economical and ethical manner, and protect the small town feel of Hurricane,” mayoral candidate John Bramall said. “I’II will work to provide new economic opportunities for our children and grandchildren to stay in the area as Hurricane grows.”
Mayoral candidate Martin Cain, a retiree himself, said the city should look to attract more retirees.
“Retirees build homes, spend their money, and volunteer in the community,” he said. “Retiree growth helps the whole city.”
Cain, like the other candidates, wants to attract businesses but keep the small-town feel.
“With some encouragement, the empty buildings will find new opportunities to enhance our city,” he said.
In addition to talking about growth at the open house, each candidate provided potential voters with reasons they should consider electing him or her.
A Hurricane resident of only four years, Cain said he would be a new set of eyes that the city needs.
When making decisions, Cain, who has a financial management background, said when faced with a key decision, he would ask questions such as, “Is it ethical?” and “Is it safe?” and would complete cost analyses to ensure long-term viability. He said he would focus efforts where he felt he would get the best results.
Bramall, who has served on the City Council for the last 12 years, said he does not have an ax to grind and pledged a service of caring. He also emphasized fairness, describing a time when he first was elected to the City Council when a long-time resident requested a variance on his property he received it but a newer resident did not receive the same consideration. He told the council then it was not fair and he stands by it now, he said.
Humphries is running because she is retired and has the time, she said. For example, she said she will not open her information packet at the meetings discussing the issues contained in the packet, but instead review the packet beforehand and know the important information well before the meeting. She would like to get city residents more involved in local politics. City residents need to realize that a lot of things that go on in city meetings affect them personally, she said.
Larson said he would bring ideas gleaned from banking into his service as councilman. Working with small businesses frequently in his capacity as a banker, he said he will be a strong supporter of businesses. Additionally, he said the city has done a great job with the programs it offers through the community center and he would like to see more programs added to its offerings.
A city councilman for the last four years, Tervort said his main focus would be to preserve the community. The city has asked its employees to do more with less and it has risen to the occasion, he said. For instance, he told about one night the mayor and City Council sat down and trimmed nearly $300,000 from the budget without the community really feeling it.
All of the candidates have similar ideas and values, Tervort said. If he loses, he said he knows the city will be in good hands.
- STGnews Voter’s guide for Municipal Elections 2013; Washington, Kane, Iron Counties
- Hurricane mayoral candidates
- Primary Elections in Washington County: Voting guide
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