KAYSVILLE -- The contest for the Kaysville City Council appears to come down to two opposing sides: Three incumbents against three challengers from the group known as Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government.
The Nov. 8 municipal final consists of Councilmen Ron Stephens, Mark D. Johnson and Brett Garlick, and citizen group members Susan Lee, Ron Barton and Orwin Draney.
The top three vote-getters in the contest will each capture a four-year council seat.
While Lee, Barton and Draney said the biggest issue facing the city is a $400,000 deficit city officials want to balance using power rate increases, the incumbents believe the biggest issue facing the city is attracting much needed compatible commercial development, even if it means offering incentives.
"There are several issues. But my biggest concern is the $400,000 shortfall in the city's electric fund. We currently pay 2 percent higher than Rocky Mountain Power customers," said Lee, 46, a mother and wife.
One solution to cover the shortage is to increase power rates by 4 to 5 percent, she said.
Lee said that is a huge concern in such a down economy.
"Some people can say they can afford a hit, but I guarantee many cannot," Lee said. "Even in Kaysville times are hard."
The best way to resolve the issue is to change the council's direction by voting for challengers, Lee said.
Challengers Barton and Draney share similar concerns.
"They have adopted a budget that includes a $400,000 deficit and in some way (the council has) to go back and revisit it and make a balanced budget," Draney said.
"The only thing I can see is that we are going to have to look very carefully at where money is being spent, and cut some of the wants," said Draney, 75, a retired school principal.
"By state law we have to have a balanced budget, and it's not," he said.
Barton said he opposes any tax or rate hike to cover the $400,000 shortfall.
"We need to examine the budget and make some cuts in other areas," said Barton, 60, an investigator for the Attorney General's office. But it is irresponsible of the council to adopt an unbalanced budget and the longer they wait to address the situation, the higher the rate increase will be, because the purposed payback would occur over a shorter period of time.
But while challengers point to the budget, those holding office speak of the need to attract additional commercial development, while preserving the city's "hometown feel."
Finding a balance between preserving Kaysville's bedroom community with generating the sales tax revenues needed, is the biggest challenge city leaders face, said Stephens, 77, a retired education administrator.
"It means staying close to the citizenry. It means being willing to be a little patient. But I think it is possible," he said.
One way to attract commercial development is by utilizing a redevelopment ordinance recently adopted by the council and by having the city provide incentives to businesses.
"If I were a business (owner), I would shop around," Stephens said of offering incentives.
"We're tight on funds and we want to get some commercial development," Johnson said.
To bring in commercial development compatible with the city's "bedroom community" the council is working with a economic development specialist, said Johnson, 53.
"We need a commercial tax base, but we need to balance it with our small community," he said.
The biggest issue facing Kaysville is the lack of emphasis being put on "thoughtful development," commercial development included, said Garlick, 53, a international technical business analyst and project manager for a health food company.
"In the past, the city has been reactionary," said Garlick.
The city needs to provide incentives to businesses that wouldn't distract from the city's "hometown feel" and have those businesses build on undeveloped or under-developed areas.
"We don't want big box or huge development," he said.