Millard County's political campaign has candidates who have a lot of concerns, and the first woman to seek a commission post adds to its interest, but argumentative issues seem to be lacking.
Candidates want about the same progress for the county and fiscal responsibility in its government, but each believes he or she is best qualified to get the job done.Republican Lana Moon jumped a high political hurdle in the September primary to defeat Commission Chairman Mike Styler, and now faces Democrat Jim DeWyze.
Two county officials oppose each other in the other commission race. Incumbent Republican Commissioner C. Frank Baker is opposed by County Attorney Warren Peterson, a Democrat.
All commission candidates are from the West Millard area, a situation dictated by a longtime tradition that two commissioners be elected from the west sector of the county and one from the east. That's because the courthouse is in Fillmore and an "east-west" faction has existed for years in the county.
Holdover Commissioner Jerr E' Brinkerhoff is from Fillmore. Moon, DeWyze and Peterson live in Delta.
There is no opposition in other county races. All are incumbents except LeRay Jackson, who will replace Peterson in the county attorney's office.
Expected to be returned to offices are Democrats Marlene Wicker, clerk/auditor; Ed Phillips, sheriff; and Jim Talbot, assessor; and Republicans John L. Hansen, auditor; Linda F. Carter, recorder; Mary D. Day, treasurer; and Jackson.
Getting a tax settlement from the Intermountain Power Agency, owners of the gigantic power plant near Delta, is the principal concern among candidates, IPA has protested a portion of the 1988 and 1989 state-assessed taxes, amounting to more than $21 million. The money is in an escrow fund and won't be spent by Millard County until a ruling is forthcoming from the Utah Tax Commission.
Candidates seem to agree on opposition to wilderness designation for large acreages of federal lands in the county. They want to see more industrial development, have key interests in the county's principal economic base of agriculture, and lean toward conservative stands on spending taxpayers' dollars.
The commission candidates:
Commission seat B
Warren H. Peterson - The attorney has served four years on the county's three-member IPA tax team, so his campaign committee says he is the candidate with the best experience and background on IPA tax issues. "He know the players (and) his opponent has only two years' commission experience, with little time on the frontlines of IPA issues," committee members say.
The candidate has suggested regular office hours for commissioners so that people will have better access and communication with county officials. "I will publish and keep regular office hours when you can find a commissioner in Fillmore and Delta on a daily basis."
Peterson says the commission faces a challenge in preparing and saving for "leaner times." He believes he has the best experience to make "tough, fast, quality decisions in negotiations, litigation and public meetings."
C. Frank Baker - "I live in the middle of the road . . . a little bit modern and little bit old-fashioned." says Baker.
"I'm a conservative, like nice things, but don't want to live too high on the hog," he quipped.
He has experience in business as a partner in the Delta Sports Center and a farmer and stockman with a 1,000-cattle feed yard. His agri-business gives him a background in which he can relate to many county residents.
Baker is concerned at the slowness of the Central Utah Project getting water to Millard County and money that has come out of his county for it, some $65,000 annually for many years and $965,000 last year because of the IPP. He wants to the county to get water from CUP or quit paying for it. "We could put in some small dams, line canals and save water with that money."
Commission seat A
Lana Moon - "The time has come to be concerned about funding for the maintenance of existing facilities and to re-examine our priorities," she said. "Many voters in Millard County feel that a disproportionate amount of money has been spent on recreational facilities, which benefit only a relative few."
Moon says her candidacy, as a wife and mother filing for political office, is keeping with the trend nationally. She adds she is an experienced businesswoman and a community and church leader but emphasized that her greatest asset is her home and family background.
Moon says her candidacy "breathes new life into the hope and aspirations of Millard County citizens who believe that the cost of county government has reached unwarranted proportions." She urged voters to get capable and concerned women involved in public affairs "who would operate government on the same fundamentals of thrift and dedication as are experienced in the home."
James J. DeWyze - He voices a concern about accountability of elected officials and stresses importance of management of departments under the jurisdiction of the county commission. Having worked as a department
manager in various capacities, he concludes, "I have the background in management and leadership necessary to serve as commissioner."
DeWyze claims the county has a responsibility to the rest of the state because, as the result of the IPP, "Millard County has become Utah's foremost resource in determining the relationship between county and state regarding taxes, school funds, impact relief of cities and funding of projects."
The candidate says he has a program for sharing with the county's cities some of the revenues and benefits that can help moderate their fiscal problems. "I have the background and skills to deal with the problems of management and accountability, necessary to make established programs function efficiently and equitably."