SOUTH WEBER -- For a small city, South Weber has several key issues that have the attention of those running in the city council election.
Incumbents Michael Poff and David L. Thomas and challengers Randy G. Hilton, Jan Ukena, Robert S. Osbourne and Sam Stokes seek the three available seats.
Poff said the city needs to encourage economic development and make higher-quality programs available, but his biggest concern is the Staker Parson gravel pit.
"We want to hold the gravel pit accountable to the development agreement we have them under," said Poff, 38. "One of the things in that agreement is that they are supposed to control dust, and we have some serious sand and dust issues going on.
"We can limit expansion to what they're supposed to do and hopefully have that transition smoothly into whatever it is going to be."
The agreement with Staker Parson, Poff said, calls for the mining to stop in the next eight years. When that happens, the city will have to decide what to do with the gravel pit property.
While there are several important issues, Thomas and Hilton are most concerned about the growth of the city.
"(I am concerned about) growth in terms of population, commercial tax base, recreation programs and services," said Thomas, 49.
"For example, our youth population impacts how we provide and expand our recreation programs and ensure those programs are self-sustaining."
Thomas said the city should be concerned about how to take advantage of the growth and that it needs to develop a better commercial tax base.
Hilton said paying attention to growth is important to South Weber residents because there was a reason they chose to live in this city.
"The people that live here have moved to the city because they enjoy the small-town atmosphere that is nestled in the middle of much larger cities," said Hilton, 65.
"The growth of the city is inevitable, so the city needs to make sure this growth does not change the small-town atmosphere that citizens love."
Hilton said residents need to have input as to what will happen in the future.
Ukena said the biggest issue facing South Weber is how to remain a small, rural community while bringing in sales tax revenue in order to refrain from raising property tax.
This issue, the 59-year-old said, must be addressed with full cooperation from staff, the planning commission, city council members and residents.
"Is a small convenience store, gas station, car wash enough, or do we want fast food, a restaurant and a hotel?" Ukena said.
"South Weber is unique in its location as a valley with high-end commercial on top of the hill to the north and south. We have the opportunity to develop commercial on Highway 89 and Interstate 84 to capitalize on commuter traffic without bringing that same traffic into our city and onto our residential streets."
She said that most commercial developers invest in convenient locations and destination points. South Weber, she said, has both.
Osbourne said future growth should benefit city residents.
"Currently, today, as it stands, you cannot buy a gallon of milk in this valley," the 41-year-old said. "It would be nice to have a place to buy a gallon of gas and milk in the valley."
Osbourne is part of the group that is bringing a new charter school to South Weber. The school will be on South Weber Drive and the frontage road, and Osbourne said ground should be broken in the next couple months.
With the school, which will teach kindergarten through ninth grade, opening in August, more people will be coming to South Weber on a daily basis.
That, he said, will give the city more opportunities to take in sales tax revenue.
As far as the money the city already has, Stokes is most concerned about making sure the appropriation of funds goes to the correct people.
"The fire department is completely underfunded," the 28-year-old said. "They have old equipment that needs to be updated."
Stokes said he has seen city officials spend money on stuff that is frivolous, instead of spending on important things like getting the volunteer fire department up to par.
He wants the city's funds to be spent in a fiscally sound way, not in a wasteful way.