IT'S A PRIVILEGE TO BE YOUR MAYOR
ALERT TODAY!! The Utah Taxpayer Association said yesterday that of the 50 largest cities in Utah there are ONLY FOUR CITIES WITH LESS TAXES AND FEES THAN BOUNTIFUL RESIDENTS!! I have had many opportunities in the course of my lifetime to serve in significant leadership positions, both in the business world and in my church, and as Bountiful’s mayor. In all of these, I have learned that the key to success is not ME, but WE. That’s especially true for a mayor. I don’t even have a vote in City policy decisions, except in the rare circumstance where there is a tie. I can’t do anything unless I can persuade others to join in, whether it’s something before the City Council, or a matter involving the ten critical governmental boards I sit on with other mayors and Davis County officials. If it’s about ME, not much happens, but if it’s about WE, Bountiful moves forward. One of the things I’ve learned is that it’s not possible to make everyone happy all of the time. There are candidates in this election who seem to think that leadership is a matter of sticking a finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing, or trying to be all things to all people. When I ran four years ago, I was telling someone about my interest in making decisions that would pay careful attention to his opinions. He stopped me cold, and said, “If you’re going to ask my opinion on everything that comes up, I’m voting for somebody else. I don’t have time to get into the weeds on every City issue. That’s why I’m interested in electing people with sound judgment. If you make too many decisions I disagree with, I’ll vote to replace you, but don’t make ME do YOUR job.” I’ve thought a lot about that conversation, and I believe that’s what most people expect of their elected officials: sound judgment. I have done a whole lot of listening as your mayor, as have the members of the City Council. That’s an important part of our job, and we all take it very seriously. Listening, however, doesn’t mean that elected officials are always supposed to AGREE with someone’s opinion, especially when the opinion runs counter to critical facts and seasoned experience. An excellent example of this is our decision to take down the old (and historic) Stoker School. For some who have attended Stoker School it has been sad to see the old school come down. However, engineers who have studied the long process of accessing the safety of the building, realize that it would cost tens of millions to restore. I can understand some of the melancholy feelings that some are experiencing because my old High School Granite is being taken down as I write. Most of our school experiences are carried in our experiences, not so much in the brick and mortar. Even though the reasons are sound for the removal of Stoker School, a group of candidates, who are desperate for an issue – any issue -- to justify their campaigns, think nothing of sinking City tax dollars into a building that no responsible company or entity would use, because it was unsafe. And they want you to believe they’re doing you a favor. It made financial and public interest sense to re-purpose the land, and we are committed to following a process for designing a downtown plaza in Stoker’s place that invites full public participation. We also have to weigh whether the loudest voices are also the most representative voices. The two are not always synonymous. There has been a very vocal contingent of solar vendors and their customers who believe it makes sense for 99% of Bountiful Power customers to heavily subsidize solar power rates. The City cannot do that and maintain the financial stability of the Power Department. The Better Bountiful mayor candidate has vowed to expand that subsidy – which makes no sense at all. If all 16,800 customers were on that rate, it would cost the City $8.4 million a year. That’s not sound judgement! In the end, we place our trust in the voters to recognize that it’s easy for ambitious politicians to criticize and pander for votes. Bountiful is one of the best-managed cities in Utah, and our excellent employees and City Council, like my Utah Jazz hero, the Mailman, DELIVER, day-in and day-out. It’s not ME – it’s WE! I would appreciate your vote for continuing to serve as your mayor.