Woods Cross City Council hopefuls want services maintained

Nov 2 2011 - 3:33pm

WOODS CROSS -- The local economy, taxes and maintaining government services are at the forefront of this year's Woods Cross City Council race.

Five candidates are vying for the three open four-year seats on the city council in the Nov. 8 municipal election.

The field of candidates consists of incumbents Jill Evans, 44, Rick Earnshaw, 58, and David Hill, 52, and challengers Ryan Larsen, 34 and Push Walia, 49.

Each of the candidates said the city faces the challenge of maintaining a consistent level of service in the face of dwindling sales tax revenues.

"I think the economy has created a challenge for all government agencies," Hill said. "We're not unique in that sense. We need to continue to broaden our tax base and create some new sources of revenue."

Hill said the city should focus on prime real estate space near Legacy Parkway to create a mix-used development, called the Legacy Gateway project.

Evans said the Gateway project is a step in the right direction for solving the city's biggest problem -- that it has outgrown its sales tax base.

Evans said the city has already re-zoned the area for commercial use and is working with the Office of Davis County Community and Economic Development to market the property to potential developers.

"With development in this area," Evans said, "it will relieve the tax burden from our residents."

Earnshaw said that a lack of sales tax dollars means council members need to be more conservative with how tax dollars are spent.

"We have shrinking sales tax revenue because of the economy," he said. "We have to be very conservative when it comes to spending and not put too big of a burden on our taxpayers."

Larsen also said generating revenue without raising taxes is a huge issue.

"The budget is always a concern, but people don't want to see their taxes raised again," Larsen said. "We don't need to raise taxes to balance the budget. We need to create slow and steady commercial and residential growth."

Walia said that during these tough economic times, especially, keeping taxes down for city citizens is key.

"We need some revenue generating ideas so the citizens don't have to pay out of their pocket," he said. "And the way we do that is by bringing new businesses here and let the business generate the revenue, not the citizens."

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