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Knuth discusses priorities as Ogden mayoral campaign enters next phase

By Rob Nielsen - | Sep 14, 2023

Rob Nielsen, Standard-Examiner

Mayoral candidate Taylor Knuth holds a press conference outside the Ogden Municipal Building on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, to announce his campaign priorities.

OGDEN -- With the primary hurdle cleared, Taylor Knuth is looking to spread the message of what his potential administration's priorities would be.

On Wednesday, Knuth -- surrounded by dozens of supporters -- held a press conference on the front steps of the Ogden Municipal Building to announce his policy priorities if elected in November. Knuth is facing current council member Ben Nadolski in the election to become mayor of Ogden.

"On Jan. 9, in the pouring rain, I pledged to build a grassroots movement right here in Ogden, and that's exactly what we've done," Knuth said. "Today, I stand here as a frontrunner to be the next mayor of Ogden City on the granite steps of our beautiful City Hall. I'm reiterating my commitment and my pledge to this community that we will cement our community into the foundations of our city and people back in the center of local government, right where we belong."

He said there are three major pillars of his "Back to the Basics" policy agenda -- community-oriented public safety, environmental sustainability and preservation, and people-centered economic development.

Before laying out these plans, Knuth invited two speakers -- Kari Harbath (Utah Parent Center board member) and David Garbett (o2 Utah executive director) -- to make remarks in support of his candidacy.

Harbath said Knuth possesses many of the qualities important for a mayor.

"The great thing about Taylor is that he listens, and that is what we need in a mayor," she said. "In my experience as an Ogdenite and supporter of Taylor's campaign, Taylor truly embodies all that makes Ogden a great place. Not only does he love this city and the people in it, but he makes it a better place to live through his actions every day."

Garbett said Knuth's leadership is needed for the continued success of programs like the Community Renewable Energy Program, or CREP.

"We're at a critical time for this program," he said. "We need Ogden to be a leader. This is the key vote to make that happen. The success of this program is dependent on having people like Taylor in office. The rewards are huge. And like we've heard, Taylor wants to take the time and build the coalition so that no one in Ogden feels left behind."

Public safety 

Among the pillars of Knuth's proposed policy is public safety.

"When we talk about getting back to the basics of good government, it starts with public safety that is both responsive to and engaged with our community," he said. "In our commitment to keeping our community safe, our policy approach is centered on community engagement, crime prevention at the root cause and trust building."

Knuth said community policing is critical to enacting his vision.

"We must encourage our Ogden City police officers to get out of their patrol cars and on to the streets and sidewalks of Ogden," he said. "Community-oriented policing is a simple idea that, similar to my views about the mayor's office, these individuals should be of our community and never above them."

Knuth also proposed additional mental health resources for law enforcement officers, establishing a dedicated 411 information line for the city and street safety.

The environment

Knuth also discussed his commitment to environmental sustainability and preservation, highlighting his support for CREP.

"This program aims to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030 -- a lofty goal," he said. "This helps us to ensure a sustainable future for Ogden as an outdoor recreation hub and safeguard our environment for generations to come."

He said it's concerning that there is talk of leaving the program after so much was already invested by the city.

"In 2019, responding to overwhelming community support, our City Council in Ogden took a significant step forward by enrolling Ogden City in the Community Renewable Energy (Program)," he said. "After nearly $80,000 taxpayer dollars being invested in this program to date, concerns have arisen about the current administration and a select few on the Ogden City Council that we should withdraw from this initiative, which is, quite frankly, deeply troubling to me. I want to be clear that if I am elected, I will be dedicated to continuing Ogden's participation in the Community Renewable Energy Program and more."

Knuth also spoke about revisiting how Ogden deals with treated wastewater, bolstering water infrastructure and establishing a sustainability solutions center with Weber State University.

Economic development

Among his policies for centered economic development, Knuth said small business retention is a must.

"Here in Ogden, small businesses and the people that run these businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy," he said. "The city can and should do more to bolster the growth and the resiliency of our small businesses. We should look into programs like expanding grants for facade improvements, providing strategic and business-oriented training and services, and even construction mitigation grants for our local businesses being impacted by our growth as streets and sidewalks get torn up."

He added that growth would also need to be done responsibly.

"Our next mayor must facilitate responsible and contextual growth to accommodate our city's anticipated population growth, which by some estimates put Ogden City on a path to the near doubling of our population by 2060," he said. "As mayor, we will execute the development of Ogden City's general plan, a plan that hasn't been updated in nearly 20 years."

Knuth said he would also work on housing affordability, workforce development and economic mobility.


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