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Council candidates tell River Heights voters they’ll keep the status quo

October 15th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Lindsay Nemelka

RIVER HEIGHTS–Not much change is foreseen in the future of River Heights, as candidates for City Council assured voters they would keep the city’s quiet integrity. Residents got a chance to meet five of the six candidates running for the three open council seats at Meet the Candidates night recently, but there was not much diversity in what was promised.

All stressing how much they love River Heights and that the city was already in good standing, candidates agreed to uphold the safety of the city, maintain the infrastructure, keep tax rates as low as possible and continue to balance the city’s budget, which runs at about $1 million a year.

There was one candidate who was not-so-subtly barraged with derision about his age and lack of experience. Skyler Tidwell, 21, returned for a second attempt at a council seat since his run in 2009. “Skyler, so cute, good for you,” said candidate Dixie Wilson, her response met with laughter from the audience. Patricia Parker remarked, “Gutsy little boy, I’m glad he’s here.”

Almost immediately dismissed by the other candidates, Tidwell doesn’t think his age or experience should matter, “It’s who you are. I don’t think my age is a concern at all, I leaped that hurdle two years ago.” The biggest issue is “can you get things done on behalf of the people, and I believe I can.”

Dixie Wilson, a 40-year resident of River Heights and twice elected councilwoman emphasized keeping the city safe and fostering a respect for personal property and rights. “It’s through volunteerism and hard work that River Heights has been a sought-after place to live.” Wilson hopes to maintain that strong sense of community.

Skyler Tidwell is a young USU student who “wants to give back.” Even though he will be attending school the next three years, he believes he has the time to devote to the city, saying that politics is something he wants to “build his life around.” Tidwell wants to find another source of income for River Heights to help keep tax rates as low as possible, saying that the city’s lack of business revenue is a big issue.

Patricia Parker has spent 22 years in government offices and feels her experience will greatly contribute to the city. Parker wishes to preserve River Heights’ parks and open spaces, and wants to hear from the citizens, promising to have an open door. “It’s your input about your city that is very very important to a council,” she said. Parker also wants to get rid of the chlorine taste in the water, commenting that whenever she smells or tastes it she’s “not a happy person.”

Incumbent Blake Wright has been a resident of River Heights for 14 years, served five years in the council and six years in the city’s Planning Commission. Wright said he was proud to have helped support the previous mayors in balancing the city’s budget. If re-elected, Wright wants to clean up the right-of-ways on 700 South, declutter the Code Books, and maintain a responsible growth of the landlocked city. “It’s easy to plan for growth when you know how much you have,” Wright remarks.

Bob Green believes one of the things residents want to do is to “keep River Heights River Heights, they don’t want to see change.” However, foreseeing a rise in water and sewer costs, Green wants to look ahead. “Logan dictates what our sewer and water rates are going to be,” saying that 77 percent of his last bill was devoted to such and it could be disastrous if Logan city has to build a new water or sewer plant.

Green previously served as the first director of the Senior Citizens Center, has been involved in the Boys and Girls Club of America and operates his own business.

Retired disabled veteran Richard Okelberry was not in attendance because he was recovering from surgery. Okelberry has previously served as the Apple Days chairman, assisted with the Emergency Operations Plan and built the city’s new website. Okelberry invited residents in a letter to call or visit his website www.RichardOkelberry.com, if they have questions about his candidacy.

During the question and answer session, River Heights’ residents raised concerns about the CMPO’s plans to bridge across 200 East, the rezoning possibility of Riverdale, chlorine levels in the water, AT&T’s plans to put a cellphone tower in Heber Olsen Park, and development of 10 acres of land for non-commercial use as an extension of the Providence Cemetery.

Voting is Tuesday, Nov. 8 at the City Office building. Early voting will take place Oct. 25 through Nov. 4.


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