Here are the responses from the candidates for Davis County Commission - Seat A. The candidates are Republican Bret Millburn and Democrat Rob Miller. I'd like to thank these candidates for taking the time to answer these questions.
1) What are your feelings on the famous 138 percent proposed tax hike in 2002? Do you feel that the majority of the public didn't understand that the 138 percent only applied to the county portion?
The extent to which our elected officials guard government spending--including prudent planning and developing a strong economy--strongly impacts the level of taxation required. I believe the majority did understand the 138% applied only to the county’s portion of property tax. But 138% is 138%. It won’t take a public outcry for me to understand sound tax policy. I believe that clear, concise, and consistent public outreach is vital.
The public understood the proposed “famous” 138% tax increase extremely well. Former commissioner Cragun was an immediate causality of this failed “TAX then SPEND”proposal. Commissioner McConkie had two additional years to explain any misrepresentations but did not because he could not.
The insightful citizens of Davis County sent their message loud and clear. They want their commissioners to do county business with funds that are currently available and they want their public servants to stop irresponsible spending and taxing.
2) How do you feel about a Davis County Conference Center expansion?
Studies conducted project that an expansion would double the current economic impact to the county. I believe that expansion of the conference center could be a positive timely strategy for Davis County’s continued economic development if it can be built within the confines of the $500,000 received from the Legislature and from the recent increase in the Transient Room Tax (TRT).
Here was another example of poor management and flawed thinking. The conference center should have been built correctly the first time around. How long did the Salt Palace stand before it was remodeled? How many times has the Sandy convention center been remodeled?
Sometime last year Davis County Democratic Chair, Richard Watson, asked the Commission point blank if they had any plans to expand the conference center. At that time they answered that they would not.
Here’s the reality, to turn the Conference Center into a viable County asset means going ahead with the expansion. With that said it is also obvious that this project should have stood for at least two decades, or longer before ever having to consider any type of expansion. The Commission should have been upfront from the beginning and not tried to nickel and dime this project together.
3) How do you plan on funding the operating expenses of the Davis County Jail expansion?
I believe a previously approved $35 increase is set to take effect in the upcoming budget. Whereas I have not been in a position to see the details, I hope this increase is the last choice and that all other cost saving options have been considered. Additionally, I believe a strong focus on addiction prevention will slow down crime and the consequential increase in incarcerations.
The funding has already been ratified and is included in the next year’s budget proposal. Revenue bonding or obligations bonding are the two options available.
4) Do you support or oppose cities coming together to create certain projects such as the South Davis Recreation center?
I fully support cooperation and collaboration. This approach needs to be utilized more often.
I absolutely support these types of joint ventures. An excellent example of this is the consolidation of the sewer districts and the cities consolidation of the fire districts. It reduces duplication of service and serves both small and large communities equitably (equally) as long as the venture is administrated correctly.
5) How do you feel about the South Davis Metro Fire Department? What about them having their own paramedic service?
As stated above I support cooperation, collaboration and consolidation where it is prudent. If consolidation equates to cost savings without compromising level of service, it is definitely worth consideration. I am currently seeking input on how things are working with the SDMFD.
I believe in reducing duplication there by reducing cost and delivering the same high level of service that appears to be the case of consolidation. The SDMFD is a wonderful example of this type of consolidation. I support SDMFD paramedic service.
6) Would you support or oppose a consolidation of the municipal police departments similar to the South Davis Metro Fire Departments? Who would you see running such a department? Would you envision it run similar to the way the SDMFD is run or as a department of the county?
I do not currently have enough information to either support or oppose. It never hurts to bring all interested parties together to discuss ideas and options. As stated in the answer to the previous question if cost savings can occur while increasing the level of service, consolidation should be considered.
Again I will state that I support this type of consolidation as it reduces cost and maintains or raises the level of service for both small and large communities. However, this is an area where public feedback is both needed and necessary
The administration of this type of consolidation should include equal representation from the communities involved, not as a county department.
7) Do you think party affiliation is important in this race? Why or why not?
I believe in the Republican platform and thus I am a Republican. I also believe that each of us should study the issues and candidates carefully and vote as our conscience dictates. The qualifications of the candidate are more important than the party.
No. Party affiliation is not important in this race. What is important is to elect the most qualified individual who can look above party politics to serve the people that elected them.
8) What differentiates you from your opponent? In other words, why should I vote for you instead of him?
My background and experience as former Assistant to the Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, transportation manager and government liaison for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002, and involvement in numerous public policy initiatives, have honed leadership skills required for the responsibilities of the office of Commissioner. In addition, I believe effective leadership is based upon good listening habits. I vow to be in touch with the issues because I will be in touch with the citizens.
My opponent if elected will bring nothing new to Davis County Government. We will see the same party politics and the same stale ideas and leadership. On the other hand, my election will bring a qualified fresh face and a new “Bold” direction to Davis County government that is not possible with one party controlling the commission.
I stepped up to this challenge because I carry the true spirit of public service and because my experience and leadership will bring to Davis County the qualifications needed to do the job efficiently and effectively. I have been involved in not only developing, but also administrating several successful programs and businesses, and my administration experience is exactly what Davis County needs to cut the fat out of county government and to restore our suffering and ignored infrastructure.
Rob also responded to a question asked by Natalie. She said, "I would like to ask the candidates if they feel the County Commission should put the community water fluoridation issue back on the ballot."
I will not revisit fluoridation, the people have spoken.
Apparently Rob is the only one enlightened enough to read my blog on a regular basis.