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Providence city council candidates tackle city issues at Q&A night

October 8th, 2015 Posted in Opinion

By Amanda Wray

PROVIDENCE — City Council candidates fielded questions from voters ranging from increasing tax revenue to zoning for home businesses to cooperating with other Cache Valley municipalities on sewage services at a “Meet the Candidates” night Tuesday at Providence Elementary School.

PROVIDENCE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES (from left) Kirk Allen, Sandra Checketts, Roy Sneddon, Jeffrey Turley, Dennis Giles and Rowan Cecil. (Amanda Wray photo)

PROVIDENCE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES (from left) Kirk Allen, Sandra Checketts, Roy Sneddon, Jeffrey Turley, Dennis Giles and Rowan Cecil. (Amanda Wray photo)

Vote-by-mail municipal elections for three city council seats take place Nov. 3. The six candidates are Kirk Allen, Rowan Cecil, Sandra Checketts, Dennis Giles, Roy Sneddon and Jeffrey Turley.

Their ideas for increasing the city’s tax base all centered on developing commercial business.

“I think that increasing the commercialization would be an important thing to help bring some dollars to Providence,” Turley said. “When we get to the point where things are getting tight, then as members of the city council we need to reprioritize things.”

Cecil suggested contacting commercial entities to explain what Providence has to offer them.

Allen agreed. “I think one of the greatest ways to bring in commercial developments that will bring in revenue is to have tax incentives that do invite businesses to come in,” he said.

Home businesses in Providence received much attention as well. The candidates agreed many ordinances already exist to ensure home businesses to don’t disrupt residential areas, but Giles suggested hiring “somebody over zoning that really knows what can be done and what can’t and somebody to enforce that.”

The home business-zoning topic raised what one audience member called “the elephant in the room” — Checketts’s 7-year-old legal dispute with the city over her granite countertop business in a residential zone on Canyon Road.

The question about city ordinance enforcement sidetracked the candidate discussion for a time as Checketts addressed an online campaign against her over the zoning issue. The other five candidates all identified enforcement of these laws as a necessity.

Checketts said she is very “pro-home business” and would like to see a local home business association created. “Let’s have a class on sales tax,” she suggested. “Let’s have a class on recording things, and let’s encourage and support the businesses that are around us.”

The candidates also discussed Providence’s wastewater treatment situation. The City Council is considering partnering with Hyrum and Nibley to become co-owners of a sewage treatment plant, rather than continuing to purchase wastewater treatment services from Logan. Voters asked whether coordinating with Cache Valley municipalities would be a priority for candidates.

“As it is right now, Logan continually jacks up its prices on us and we are going to have a problem,” Cecil said. “You are going to see your sewage bills go up by $20 or more a month because of the new plant Logan is being required to put in.”

Partnering with other cities in a new treatment facility would let Providence “control our destinies,” he said.

Other Cache Valley cities, including River Heights, also are considering pulling out of their relationships with Logan City for wastewater service because of rising costs.

Giles said he wasn’t optimistic that the co-owner option would be cost-feasible, but he said Providence had to be willing to work with other cities to provide services.

Sneddon agreed. “I believe wholeheartedly in cooperation, particularly when it comes to solid waste disposal sites,” he said. “It would be important to me to enter into a situation where everyone benefits and no one is being carried or carrying others.”

For more information on candidates and the election, visit the Providence elections website.


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