The race between incumbent Malcolm H. Beck and challenger Wayne L. Hill for county commission Seat A - unlike the other commission races - has been speckled with fiery political rhetoric.
Hill, an Independent candidate, has thrown most of the political barbs, urging voters to "retire Beck for a wise change" in county government.Republican candidate Beck thinks voters should return him to office because of his "experience and proven leadership."
Hill wants to bring back "checks and balances that have evaporated after decades of one-party rule in county government." He is running for office because he thinks politicians need to be "accountable and responsible to the peoples' wishes."
"Our elected officials have violated the trust that we, the people of Utah County, have placed in them," Hill said. "That trust will not be restored until individualsof integrity replace those whose actions have been motivated by favoritism and greed."
Beck says he doesn't know what Hill is talking about.
"I haven't violated anybody's trust that I know of," Beck said. "It's just a reckless charge. We've got integrity back. We've got stability back. We've worked on that the last three or four months."
Beck says voters should look at philosophy and ability to get things done, not party affiliation.
"My leadership experience, my contacts in government and business, place me in a unique position to help Utah County solve these issues in a positive and responsible way," Beck said.
Beck, an American Fork resident, first won a seat on the commission in 1986. He served 13 years as mayor of American Fork and five years as a City Council member before that. He worked for U.S Steel at Geneva for 30 years. He's been on the American Fork Hospital board for 17 years, serving as chairman for the past eight years.
When it comes to challenges facing county government, Beck said a diminishing tax base, development of Utah Lake, overcrowding at the Utah County Jail and maintaining services top the list.
"Right now we have a committee working on the jail issue," Beck said. The committee is looking at whether the jail should expand or whether some prisoners - drunken drivers, primarily - should be housed in treatment centers.
The county is also facing a housing shortage, which Beck said "we've got to resolve."
Hill is a Provo resident. He sold his five businesses - hearing aid stores - in order to devote himself full time to the election. Hill, a former Republican, was a state delegate to the organizing convention of the Utah Independent Party.
He is Utah's representative to the National Coalition Against Unfair Competition and serves as a member of Rotary International.
County government must return to its role of "protecting the interests and well-being of all our citizens" and "get out of the business of speculation, special favors and reckless spending."
"I will oppose deficit financing of county expenditures," Hill said. "At a time when economic turbulence looms large on the horizon, it is important that we as a county expeditiously strive to get out of debt and stay out of debt."
The important issues facing the county are water rights, zoning, economic development and the environment, he said.
Hill said he will work to ensure the county complies with carbon monoxide and PM 10 regulations; that can be done without shutting down industries, he said.
On zoning, Hill says he will not "allow city residents to be taxed for government services in the unincorporated areas."
Beck said his biggest contribution to county government to date is keeping the county budget in line - maintaining services without raising taxes.
"The commission offices spend 30 percent less than in 1986," Beck said.
The county must bring in more business to maintain its tax base while at the same time ensuring government doesn't expand needlessly, he said.
If elected, Hill vows to serve no more than two terms in office, to respect the public's will and to maintain fiscal accountability.
"We have a real need for somebody who will stand up and be counted for what people have said or what people want rather than what the party wants or the party needs," Hill said. "I'm not bashful about standing up for what's right."