During tonight’s meet the candidates meeting there was a fairly lively debate.
It took place at Lakeview Elementary with candidates Howard Stone, Lindsay Wiblin, Jim Pettersson, and Kay Van Buren participating. City wide candidate Yancee Hardy was also in attendance.
Each candidate had the opportunity to provide a 10 minute bio and then respond to questions submitted. Information on the candidate’s biographical background can be found here.
Here’s a quick summary of the questions asked and responses given. Please note that each candidate took two minutes to answer so this has been trimmed as best possible in order to briefly summarize the candidates response:
Are you in favor of the Northwest Connector currently being studied?
Howard: No position. Wants resident input.
Jim: In favor. Wants resident input, but sees benefits of developing road.
Kay: Leaning against it, does not see need.
Lindsay: In favor. Sees need for connectivity, believes negative impacts have been exaggerated.
What should be done to improve our East-West Corridor?
Howard: Should be addressed, but cannot be solved here and now.
Jim: Agrees with Lindsay, 820N could be used. Limit adverse affect, but sacrifices must be made.
Kay: No easy answer. Perhaps look to Center St. and Geneva road.
Lindsay: 800N perhaps. We need more freeway access like Orem.
Should Provo put in a third freeway interchange? Where?
Howard: Work with community to identify where. Takes sacrifice.
Jim: As Howard said, we should think outside box and meet with others. Perhaps have off ramp on Geneva Rd.
Kay: Involved with last process. 1700N was opposed, and I will continue to oppose putting one in our district.
Lindsay: Yes, don’t know where. Will use staff and need of residents to decide.
What’s being done right in economic development? What can be improved?
Howard: Planning commission has been handicapped by Council. Too much bureaucracy.
Jim: Excited about current council’s effort. Rooftop concerts and other improvements, walk-ability is good downtown. Proactive council, lets continue and do more.
Kay: New convention center, NuSkin, we need to keep visitors in the city. Make it easy to locate business downtown. Continue making it good for small businesses in Provo.
Lindsay: Previous administration perhaps did more than current. Focus is currently on central area of city.I will not turn developers and investors away as was done in past.
Would you support a small sales tax increase to preserve areas like open space next to Utah Lake?
Howard: Put it to the voters, but I will not support any new taxes. Tax burden is already more than we can bare.
Jim: We already have a conservation easement, no need for another tax. Tough times, only in favor of raising taxes when there is a need with no alternative.
Kay: I would not support that. Not prudent to raise taxes at this time.
Lindsay: Current council has recommended this, I’m opposed to new fees and taxes. Willing to put it to voters, but is against it.
What can be done for residents that don’t want iProvo services but seem destined to pay for them regardless?
Howard: Jim’s words about us having what we have are saddest ever heard in Provo, made same mistake with Library, Cover Fort, Provo Cable. We knew it would never make money. Lets privatize it and issue industrial bonds to help a private company buy it.
Jim: Unfortunate that it was a debt, but the infrastructure is a great asset. No easy answer, could discuss benefits and drawbacks all night. Great benefit to city, but wasn’t right time to do it.
Kay: We cannot go back, money is spent. Wish we could. I fought tirelessly against iProvo, but it’s a debt that must be paid. Try privatizing it again to recoup some of loss.
Lindsay: Echo Kay, it was a bad decision and has continued to be one. City is committed to paying the bond, we must pick up the tab regardless. 15 years of $100 a year is rough. Past council and administration is to blame.
Tonight at 6pm the city is holding a final meeting to address and vote on the proposed property tax increase. The meeting will be in the form of a public truth in taxation hearing with public input leading to a council vote on whether to increase property taxes, and if so how much (up to a 16% cap). Feel free to come down and participate – the meeting is at 351 W. Center St. Provo, UT.
I’d very much like to thank those who attended the four informational meetings held by the council to better explain how property taxes function in the city of Provo. I enjoyed attending and hearing the input from our residents on all aspects of the city’s tax policies.
As I have made clear from the beginning, I will be voting against the proposed tax increase tonight.
UPDATE: Victory! The tax increase was unanimously rejected by the council!