CLEARFIELD -- Bringing in new developments and ensuring quality growth are what the candidates for three city council seats see as the most difficult issues to deal with. The general election is Nov. 8.
Incumbent Mark Shepherd, a 45-year-old principal broker and owner of ReMax Unlimited, said a number of big issues are tied together, such as aging infrastructure, the need for additional businesses that cater to residents, keeping a tight budget and changing a less-than-positive city image.
"If you boil these down to the root issue, Clearfield needs to improve its image, both to those outside of the city as well as to those who call Clearfield home," he said.
To do this, Shepherd said it is vital to bring in businesses that "not only fill a vacant space, but actually add to the beautification of the city along the major arteries."
Shepherd wants to see about giving incentives to businesses in the form of loans, tax incentives and other assistance to improve their appearance, to bury power lines and to improve signage, among other things.
He also wants to start two new programs for residents to improve their understanding of the city and discuss issues important to them.
Challenger Mike LeBaron, 39, a permitting engineer who served on the city council from April 2006 to January 2008, agreed that business is the key. He said the city's biggest issue is the need to attract stable, high-quality businesses to Clearfield.
To do this, LeBaron said, the city needs to take better care of city-owned properties and review the business ordinances.
"When (residents) don't mow their lawns or cut down their weeds, code enforcement comes and issues a citation. Sometimes it's rather heavy-handed, as I've come to understand while talking with residents," he said. "As a city, we need to hold ourselves to the same expectations that we hold our residents.
"It's a hard sell to tell a business to come to Clearfield when the city takes no pride in the property it owns," he said.
LeBaron also wants to work to minimize fees to make the development atmosphere more hospitable.
Meanwhile, challenger Vern Phipps, a 53-year-old project manager who served on the council from 2005 to 2009, said Clearfield has the opportunity to make significant progress via the construction of Falcon Ridge at Hill Air Force Base, the expansion of ATK facilities, the extension of SR-193, and the development of the UTA FrontRunner Station.
"We must capitalize on them," Phipps said. "Clearfield has missed opportunities like this in the past, and we cannot repeat those mistakes."
Phipps' plan is to use his insight to set guidelines and policies to help new and existing businesses capitalize on these developments. Plus, he said, he plans to fight against high-density residential development at the FrontRunner station.
Incumbent Doyle T. Sprague, a 54-year-old retired employee of Qwest Communications, agreed that development is the biggest issue facing the city.
"It encompasses every aspect of the city," he said. "With more sales tax dollars, we are able to repair and maintain more roads, develop city parks and provide more services to the residents."
To make development happen, he said, the city needs to focus on improving its image though code enforcement and beautifying and developing the city.
"I will work to accomplish this with proper budgeting and without burdening the residents with higher taxes," Sprague said. "We have found that in these lean times, we can survive with less money."
But bringing in more business and money is an issue others still want to address.
Challenger Kent Bush, 61, a retired Clearfield planning and zoning administrator, agreed that business is key. If elected, he wants to try to attract more businesses as well as keep the ones that are already in the city.
To do this, he plans to look at city ordinances.
"Right now, there are ordinances on the books that are restrictive to business owners," Bush said, noting specifically the sign ordinance. "My goal is to eliminate restrictive ordinances, so that it is easier for businesses. We need to be on their side."
Candidate Lynada Peterson, a 71-year-old retired interior designer and seamstress, believes the biggest issue boils down to the economy. She wants to encourage businesses to come to the city and form healthy partnerships.
"We need to make it so the city will grow and thrive and provide for the people here," Peterson said. "We need places to shop, things to do, so we don't have to leave the community if we choose not to. We need things of integrity and value that we can involve our lives with."