NORTH OGDEN — The 10-candidate race for three four-year seats on the North Ogden City Council isn’t the only contest on the primary ballot in the city.
Three other candidates are vying for the last two years on a fourth city council post. They include an incumbent council member, Cheryl Stoker; a former council member, Wade Bigler; and Stefanie Casey, whose involvement in city issues ratcheted up with expansion of the Barker Park amphitheater, a project she opposed.
Sara Fawson had been elected to the seat in 2017, but she stepped down early when she moved from North Ogden, and the three hopefuls are running to fill the final two years of the term, 2020 and 2021. Ryan Barker was appointed in 2018 to replace Fawson through the 2019 elections, but he is now seeking one of the three four-year seats.
The two top vote-getters for the two-year term in the Aug. 13 primary — mail-in balloting is already underway — face off in the Nov. 5 general election. Here’s a look at the three hopefuls.
Stefanie Casey: Casey‘s involvement in city issues took off with the massive expansion of the amphitheater in Barker Park near her home in 2017 and 2018. She and other area residents sued to halt the project, worried it would disrupt their neighborhood. The suit failed, but Casey continues to speak out at North Ogden City Council meetings and helped launched a Facebook page focused on the city’s development, Know NO-Town.
“She’s learned the in-and-outs of zoning, code and budgets so she can be a citizen watchdog as massive development charges through North Ogden,” Casey wrote in a bio posted on the city of North Ogden website.
On her campaign website, she warns that city leaders are assuming more and more power. “North Ogden city leaders have significantly increased control over our property rights, taxes and control over information, editing out important facts, instead promoting a scripted agenda. Even the Open Meetings Act is given only cursory compliance by our city — it seems they, not us, know best,” it reads.
She lamented a “surge of ‘want’ projects and other such distractions,” including the amphitheater, proposed zoning changes that ultimately failed and more.
Casey helps run Zu Audio with her husband, Sean Casey.
Wade Bigler: Bigler, who served on the council from 2010 to 2013 and unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2013, puts a focus on tight spending.
“Wade is a fiscal conservative who believes in small government. If elected, he will not spend your money any differently than he would spend his own, always determining ‘needs’ versus ‘wants,’” he said in a statement to the Standard-Examiner.
Before carrying out large-scale projects, the city council “must plan ahead to determine the future impact they will have on residential neighborhoods, traffic flow, and ensure there will be sufficient parking,” his statement continued. “He will help keep businesses and other big projects out of our residential neighborhoods.”
He touted his opposition while on the city council to a massive expansion of the city’s public works building, later scaled back. More generally, he indicated he’d pay close attention to commercial development. “He will help business growth to be done wisely, in proportion with residential growth. He does not want North Ogden to become another Riverdale Road,” said Bigler’s statement.
Bigler is a seminary teacher and principal for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Cheryl Stoker: Stoker, finishing her second term on the City Council, touted her efforts as a council member promoting economic development in North Ogden.
She helped in efforts to bring a new Smith’s, Ace Hardware and Pizza Pie Cafe to North Ogden, she said, expanding the city’s tax base. At the same time, the city maintains a balanced city budget and has funds for infrastructure.
The city will continue to grow and her focus will be “on smart planning by separating incompatible uses,” Stoker, a self-employed beautician, said in a campaign statement. “She knows building plans and codes are vital in helping to manage and maintain this growth while moving forward.”
More generally, she aims to keep government “approachable” and touted her willingness to discuss city issues.
“Transparency is the buzzword of the day but can only be accomplished through community engagement. Neighbor talking to neighbor, hearing their concerns and what impacts their daily lives most. She’s always willing to take the time to talk about city business,” her statement says.
North Ogden voters will also pick a new mayor, but they won’t weigh in until the Nov. 5 general election because there are only two candidates. The hopefuls to replace Mayor Brent Chugg, who isn’t running, are Neal Berube and Lynn H. Satterthwaite.