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 in advance via the Internet.
Questions in this Segment
- What would you cut in the current budget to increase road funding? (Order: Barnes – Simpson – Frost – Shelton.)
- What will you do to help fix our neglected streets and sidewalks, especially in the older part of the city? (Order: Simpson – Frost – Shelton – Barnes.)
- Lehi is doing a great job of attracting major new businesses. How can American Fork do better? (Order: Shelton – Barnes – Simpson – Frost)
Each candidate had one minute for each response. Note the response order above with each question, because candidates aren’t named before every response.
Kevin Barnes hasn’t studied the budget enough to know where there are cuts big enough to make a difference. He’s heard a lot of opinions, but the numbers are too small to make an impact. He spoke of living together in a community and reaching a consensus as to spending. We have to keep maintaining the roads, but also everything else the City has to do — police, fire, water, sewer. Other cities think they have the worst roads, too. American Fork is attracting the right kind of businesses.
Allen Simpson talked in general terms about the budget process but declined to identify specific cuts. We’re going to have to spend some money we haven’t spent yet on roads. Maintaining roads properly reduces long-term costs. We have to decide how much money we’re willing to spend on them (but he offered no opinion of his own). A resident recently told him that her son discovered that everyday purchases are a little more expensive in American Fork than in other communities.
Brad Frost said he wouldn’t cut anything, “because I would have already.” He said the council’s priority has been infrastructure — roads and the utilities under them. He said the 2013 road bond vote gave the City clear direction not to borrow for roads, but to pay as we go. That will take a lot of patience, including with such things as maintaining major streets and not rebuilding cul-de-sacs. The City used property it already owned to expand the cemetery, rather than buying property. 300 jobs are coming at an oil company at the south end; CVS is coming. American Fork has a great model for economic growth and a great location.
Rob Shelton said he’d cut the City’s phone bill in half. Some employees have the City paying for both a land line and a cell phone for them. The City’s phone system is antiquated. Also, accepting credit card payments without charging a convenience fee to defray credit card processing fees costs the City over $80,000 per year in convenience fees. We need to decide if that’s worth the price. He identified some road projects the CIty has done itself, more cheaply, instead of using contractors. He’s very analytical and likes to roll up his sleeves. He listed some businesses that were looking at leaving American Fork to expand, but decided to stay, and noted that businesses are moving from Lehi to American Fork, because American Fork has planned better for growth and has grown more slowly. “I think we’re very competitive with Lehi.”
Here’s a link to the next segment.