OGDEN -- A three-way race for the Weber County Commission Seat A is brewing.
Independent challenger Drew Johnson and Democrat T.R. Morgan said residents tell them they don't feel like they are being heard, but incumbent Jan Zogmaister said a look at her record shows she's done good work for the county.
Johnson said he plans on being the most accountable and most available commissioner possible.
His frustration with the current commission and with the two-party system pushed him to run and he said he will bring hard work and a common sense approach to government without partisanship.
"We need people taking care of people and people voting for people, not parties, to move forward. I'm fed up with the status quo," Johnson said.
"The entire mentality, the culture of the county needs to be changed. We need to remember we are the county's employers. It doesn't feel that way and hasn't for a long time. I want to go back to service," he said.
To Morgan, increasing accountability in county government and making sure residents are priority.
He said the feeling of not having a voice in government is what he hears most from people.
Doing simple things like letting people comment before the vote on each action item, instead of at the public comment period at the end of every commission meeting would go a long way toward giving more residents a say, Morgan said.
He said there also needs to be more of a balance from where the commissioners come from in the county to better represent diverse interests. Morgan lives in Washington Terrace, Johnson is in Eden and Zogmaister lives in West Haven.
Money is at the top of the list for the other two candidates.
Zogmaister said the big issue this year is budget.
"There's decreasing revenue as well as trying to maintain a level of service. It's a balancing act, but coming from business you do this every day," she said.
Zogmaister said she's running for one last term because she thinks there is still good work she can do for the county.
Commissioners meet with every department when creating the budget every year, and she said she works hard to keep the county on budget.
County employees are not getting a cost-of-living adjustment or merit raises in the current budget, but making those types of decisions is what helps keep the county on target, she said.
"They (department heads) do the best they can and we do the best we can, and we make it work," she said.
Johnson is not as happy with the county budget, however.
He said property taxes are his biggest concern and the system needs to be more fair and equitable.
Not only are delinquent taxes not collected from big developers and businesses, but there are problems with the greenbelt exemption and people claiming multiple primary residences, he said.
Morgan also sees room for improvement in the county expenditures.
He said there are recurring problems in county audits which do not get fixed by the commissioners and questionable purchases that get swept under the rug.
"There needs to be efficiency in our government. There needs to be accountability. Why is my hard-earned money going to pay for these things (questionable purchases)?" he said.
A 5 percent cut in the salaries of commissioners and senior officials is also in order, Morgan said.
Zogmaister said she has worked to find private partnerships for residents' needs to keep county government limited.
Other issues she is concerned about are helping the homeless and preventing homelessness, planning and development rights and the North Legacy project.
Johnson said he knows some people might be reluctant to vote for an independent candidate, but said it works to their advantage.
"My only special interest is you," he said. "I'm a populist and a man of the people."