Six fight to revive Brigham economy through city council

Oct 15 2011 - 10:33pm

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Bob Marrabella
Ruth Jensen
Brian Rex
Doug Beazer
Brett Reeder
Mark Thompson
Bob Marrabella
Ruth Jensen
Brian Rex
Doug Beazer
Brett Reeder
Mark Thompson

 

Standard-Examiner correspondent

BRIGHAM CITY -- Six residents are campaigning for the opportunity to represent their community on the Brigham City Council, but only three will fill open positions in the Nov. 8 election.

Council members Bob Marabella and Ruth Jensen are each seeking another four-year stint. They are being challenged by Brian W. Rex, Doug Beazer, Brett Reeder and Mark Thompson. Councilman Bruce Christensen is not running for another term.

Marabella, 50, is a real estate broker and owner of All American Real Estate. He has served two separate terms as city council member and is currently mayor pro-tem.

Marabella said he wants to re-evaluate utility rates and decrease water rates by 10 to 15 percent in the 2012-13 budget year if he's re-elected.

In addition, he would work to increase staffing within the Brigham City Police Department by one officer per shift, to be phased in over the next two years. Marabella said this will require a cost analysis in the city's budget.

"As a current council member, I have been through the budget process eight times," he said. "My knowledge of city departments, projects and fee structures allow me to skip the learning curve and get right to the challenges of today."

Jensen, 46, said the need for fiscal responsibility is the most important issue facing Brigham City.

"It is not only important to limit your spending to what is feasible, prudent and appropriate, but also on the end, work on bringing in more revenue," she said.

"That is why I encourage policies that create jobs and new development that will bring future vitality and complement our city."

In the last four years, Jensen said she has been working on giving tax incentives and reducing impact fees and permit fees to help Brigham City be more business friendly.

Jensen said she has a track record of voting against projects and investments she feels the city has no business getting into.

"I take my responsibility as a steward of the citizens' money seriously," she said. "I research and ask the hard questions."

Three of the challengers also weighed in on the important issues facing Brigham City.

Rex, 46, is a licensed professional mechanical engineer and engineering manager who sums up the city's most important issue in one word: finances.

Specifically, Rex said he would vote to keep a tight rein on the city budget and resist special interest groups seeking favors from the city.

"I have both the training and the temperament to be a council member," he said.

"I have years of experience managing projects and budgets and strongly believe that I can help manage the city's budget."

Beazer, 30, works as the advertising director at the Box Elder News Journal. Outside of the office, he serves as an adviser to the board of directors for the Brigham City Area Chamber of Commerce.

He believes the local economy is the most important issue facing the city.

"Currently, Box Elder County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state of Utah," Beazer said.

"Brigham has not been immune to the effects of the ATK layoffs, and the ripple effect it has had on our local businesses has been devastating."

Beazer cites several specific measures that would have a positive impact on the city's economy.

First, he said, a business committee should be formed to generate ideas that would help make Brigham City business friendly. Key topics for review would include business codes covering signage, zoning, building permits and more.

Beazer also recommends traveling through the state to learn what manufacturing businesses look for when expanding into new areas. Armed with that information, city officials could entice those businesses -- and the jobs that come with them -- to Brigham City.

He also said impact fees should be evaluated, with the possibility of reducing or eliminating them during hard economic times.

"I believe I am better suited to attack our dismal economy because I have a better feel of what a majority of the local businesses go through on a daily basis," Beazer said.

"I have spoken with hundreds of business owners, and I have repeatedly heard from them that their voices are not being heard or at least taken seriously by city leaders."

Reeder, owner of RC Towing Inc., is also seeking a seat on the city council.

"What I consider to be the biggest issue facing our city is the economy and the loss of jobs in our community," the 33-year-old said.

"There is not one specific thing that can fix this, but there are several contributing factors that can have a significant impact."

Reeder said he can contribute to the city in many ways others might not be able to and that his business experience will provide insight into what could help the city's local businesses thrive more.

Mark Thompson is also running for city council and received the most votes in September's primary election. He did not respond to requests for information.

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