Here’s a link to audio of a few questions and candidate responses at last Wednesday evening’s meet-the-candidate event at American Fork Library: These questions were submitted by residents attending the event.
Questions in this Segment
- How can American Fork protect its interests in American Fork Canyon? (Order: Simpson – Barnes – Shelton – Frost.)
- What do you think about Proposition 1? (Order: Barnes – Shelton – Frost – Simpson.)
- Why are water rates so high? Is there something the City can do to reduce them? (Order: Shelton – Frost – Simpson – Barnes)
Each candidate had one minute for each response. Note the response order above with each question, because candidates aren’t named before every response.
Allen Simpson said, about the canyon, talk to the county commissioners, then talk to Councilman Frost. He talked about UTA’s large debt load and bad fiscal management. He thinks the whole point of Prop 1 is to get money for UTA. He likes the way UDOT handles the roads, though. He will vote no on Prop 1. He claimed that water rates are outdated, that there’s a million-dollar surplus, and the City chosen to make the rates keep rising “when they don’t need to.” (This got applause from Councilman Carlton Bowen in the audience, which was out of order.)[Again, this seems like a good time to point out that I’m reporting and summarizing what they said here, not asserting that it is true.]
Kevin Barnes said that when the canyon discussions started, we didn’t have a seat at the table, even though the canyon bears our name. Now we’re involved, and “the whole city needs to thank Brad for that.” Roads are the good part of Prop 1; it bothers him that UTA gets 40% of the revenues from the proposed sales tax increment. The more he learns, the more he leans against Prop 1. He would like the legislature to rewrite the law so UTA gets less. The water system should have been done a long time ago, but wasn’t, so we have to do it now. We still have to manage funds carefully, but “it’s not always as easy as some people make it seem.”
Rob Shelton praised Councilman Frost for shouldering the burden of the canyon. We cooperated with other cities. As to Prop 1, a lot of legislators in Salt Lake County wanted to make sure Utah County was committed to UTA. He would like two separate bills, one for roads and one for UTA. Sometimes we don’t get much back from these statewide sales tax initiatives; he’s like a more local solution. In part, water rates are so high because the impact fees it was hoped would pay for the pressurized irrigation system dries up when the economy declined. He talked about some very old culinary water pipes being replaced recently; “we got our money’s worth from that pipe.”
Brad Frost said we’ve put a lot of time into the canyon development questions. The county has jurisdiction over development. “We used a small hammer . . . Finally we had to use a sledgehammer” to prevent land trades negotiated by Salt Lake County. The city council voted down a resolution the county wanted, supporting Prop 1. He’s not satisfied that UTA will do anything with the money to help American Fork. He’s voting no on Prop 1. As to water rates, he talked about some unexpected (but necessary) investments in infrastructure and the cost of pressurized irrigation.
Here’s a link to the next segment.