There have been a lot of complaints during the past year about Utah County government, but if Tuesday's election results mean anything, people are not too dissatisfied with the status quo.
In complete but unofficial results, Republican incumbents Malcolm Beck and Gary Herbert both retained their County Commission seats and their Republican running mate, Richard Johnson, was elected to fill the third seat.Beck won a second term with 28,440 votes, overcoming an aggressive campaign waged by Independent Wayne Hill, who received 20,015 votes. Hill, who sold five hearing-aid businesses to campaign full time, attacked Beck's record and asked voters to "retire Beck for a wise change."
"I offered voters a clean slate, someone who knows how to work and who is honest. But I guess that's not what the people want," Hill said.
Beck said the election results show that people are happy with his record and that they realize the claims made by Hill are inaccurate. He said his positive campaign paid off, and he is now looking forward to serving on a commission that won't be fragmented.
"I don't think we'll agree all the time, but I think we'll avoid all the hearsay and can get down to doing the county's business," Beck said.
Beck said the county will continue to face a shortfall of revenues in the future. To deal with the shortfall, he said, the county will have to make sure the services it provides are what the citizens want.
"Government should not do any more than it has to do," he said.
One of the first decisions facing the new commission will be the future of the old County Courthouse, and Beck said that should be decided during the first part of the year. He said the commission will also decide several issues on clean-air standards.
Herbert, who became commissioner in June when Brent Morris resigned, beat Democrat George Tripp to retain his seat, 32,620 votes to Tripp's 19,041. He said he has enjoyed his short time on the commission and is looking forward to the challenge of a full term. He believes the commission has been more united since his appointment in June.
"I believe I give the commission stability and credibility. I bring positiveness to the position and eliminate some of the disarray of the past," Herbert said.
Herbert said the county's growth will be the most influential factor affecting decisions made in the future. He said the growth will affect the county's budget and the kinds of services that the county can provide.
Johnson, a member of the Nebo School Board and resident of Benjamin, defeated Democrat Marie Van Wagenen to bring representation from south Utah County back to the commission. Johnson received 29,612 votes to Van Wagenen's 22,869.
He said the commission needs to work toward regaining the public's confidence and must be open in its decisionmaking process.
"I think I'll have a good working relationship with the other commissioners, which will allow us to work on the programs that they already have in place," Johnson said.
Johnson also believes budget issues will be the commission's main concern. He said the commission will also have to decide in the near future whether to expand the existing county jail or build a new one.