Salt Lake County mayoral hopefuls Mark Crockett, Ben McAdams battle for undecided voters

Published: Sunday, Oct. 28 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

He said Crockett has included other debts from light rail and roads in his estimates.

"He's including other government entities' budgets and debts in our budget, which is incorrect," Corroon said. "If either of the candidates should know about the county budget, Mark Crockett should because he was a county councilman for four years."

Nationwide, Salt Lake County has one of the lowest amounts of outstanding debt, Corroon added. Salt Lake is one of 30 counties in the nation to boast a AAA bond rating.

The county also has not raised taxes in 12 years, with the exception of voter-approved bond spending and judgements against the county, Corroon added.

Still, Crockett asserts he can save the county $40 million annually by evaluating and cutting operating costs. If spending is not cut, he says the county is on its way to future tax increases.

McAdams, on the other hand, says Corroon and the Salt Lake County Council have the county's budget and human services on the right track. He's met with the county's financial advisers and, upon review of budget records, said he agrees the budget is sound. 

In human services, McAdams said he would continue in the current administration's footsteps, including the incarceration alternatives presented in the Criminal Justice Advisory Council Master Plan that the council unanimously approved in August.

McAdams in Sandy 

More than 30 McAdams supporters turned out on the same day to knock on doors in Sandy. The campaign brought a careful battle plan, using phone calls to locate undecided voters in the area and mapping out those households, regardless of party. 

Word is spreading, and a smiling McAdams heard potential voters say "I see your name everywhere" and "my neighbor said you're the one to vote for" during the outing.

Linda Morgan, a Sandy resident, met McAdams at an LDS Democrats service project earlier this year. Since then, Morgan has been talking to her neighbors about the man she said understands the county's diverse and complex makeup.

"Ben is unusually qualified for that," she said. "He has such a record of working across party lines and with different people. He has the respect of the city mayors in both parties, and I think that says something in this very divided political climate."

Morgan said she wants to support McAdams on more than just Election Day.

"For me, it isn't enough just to vote," she said. "Your one vote is just one vote. You can make a lot of difference by talking to your neighbors and letting them know what's out there."

McAdams has been criticized by his opponent for focusing on education, which Crockett says isn't a county responsibility. But the Democrat said that's what voters are asking about.

"If it's important to the people of Salt Lake County, then it's important to me," McAdams said. "I think the county has a direct role in education. We've talked about community learning centers, after-school programs, preschool programs. … If it falls within my direct control, then I'll do it, and if it doesn't, then I'll talk to the people who can."

McAdams says voters tell him they are concerned about maintaining a quality education system in light of county growth, especially in terms of class sizes, qualified teachers and positive learning environments.

While Crockett said he agrees education should be part of the county's conversation, he doesn't believe Salt Lake County should expand its role or spending. Instead, he proposes contributing by not competing for scarce tax dollars and making available county programs for at-risk youth.

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