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Voters’ Guide: Mendon mayor, council candidates

October 30th, 2009 Posted in Opinion

By Kade Delis

MENDON—The candidates for mayor and city council gathered last night at Mendon City Station for a Meet the Candidates Night. With the room nearly crowded, each candidate answered questions regarding what they would do for the city and how they would solve the current issues facing it.

The mayoral candidates are Ed Buist, Wendell Whiteley and Pamela Coleman. City council candidates are Jon Hardman, Jay Apedaile, Bret Fonnesbeck and Kelly Barret. Barret did not attend because he is already guaranteed the two-year position.

Ed Buist, an employee at Utah State University’s facilities department, said four generations of his family have lived in Mendon. He said he has “hopes and desires of improving the town and that his experience in managing employees has helped him to want a government position.”

Buist expressed that he wants the council to work with the kids more. Helping them get more involved in volunteer groups together through leadership programs such as the Boy Scouts. He also said he did not believe the library was affordable for the town in this time.

“We need to get the kids to do something other than Nintendo,” he said. “We need to give them responsibilities.”

He said that while he has no previous government experience, his long residence in Mendon and his job at USU, where he has worked in handling positions such as budgets, are what make him feel confident and comfortable in the position of government.

“I hope to get people working together again,” he said. “I also want those elected to succeed.”

Wendell Whiteley, a 45-year-old truck driver for LW Miller, said he and his family have been proud members of the community for two years. He said his wife calls Mendon “therapy for the soul.” Whiteley said he hopes to improve resident’s lifestyles as well as keep Mendon safe for future generations.

Whiteley said he planned to help build a bigger well for the one shut down, citing water as the biggest issue for the future of Mendon. Whiteley also said he wished to reach to youth through the Eagle Scout programs. Mentioning his experience in leadership, he said, “I ran for vice chief of the council in the scouts.” He said he also participated in church activities for boys and sales programs for his company.

Whiteley also stated that he wanted to improve the safety of the community by jumping up the law enforcement.

Pamela Coleman, a former employee for Ogden campuses and the Internal Revenue Service as analyst in facilities management, said she wants Mendon to be ready for economic challenges. She is also currently a member on the planning and zoning commission board.

Coleman, 40, who has been a resident of Mendon for nine years, said that she wants to work with local water companies to better the supply and help create more activities for the youth by working with the current leaders of the community. She hopes to keep the current library going and recreate the community newsletter.

What she hoped to accomplish, she said, “The water situation has become the biggest for now. It had been going on for years and years and we’re just now taking care of it.”

As council member, Jay Apedaile said all he wanted was to keep Mendon the same. Apedaile, a 37-year-old civil engineer, said he wanted to raise money to get a new well citing the infrastructure needs work. He expressed the need to keep memories alive in Mendon such as May Day and Pioneer Day. He also said he wanted to keep the library despite it’s lack of time and people to run the building and to keep reestablish the community newsletter. He also cited population growth as a positive.

“Growth will happen either way,” Apedaile said. “We should make the city a lot more expandable.”

Bret Fonnesbeck, a farmer, said he loves Mendon and hopes to find more funding to change its planning and zoning. Fonnesbeck said he has worked six years to get his degree in landscape architecture and that he is new to politics.

He cited water use, such as irrigation, as a big issue. “Water needs to be drilled,” he said. “Utah is a desert. Water will always be an issue.”

He also said he wanted to stress the roads in Mendon. He wants to make them safer for kids to cross. “It’s been years since work has been done,” Fonnesbeck said. “I want to address the problem of streets.”

Fonnesbeck also stated that he was opposed to keeping the library calling it a luxury for the town.

John Hardman, who has already served on the council for eight years, said he wishes to address the water as the biggest concern for the city and the reason for him to continue as council member.

“Utah is one of the driest states in the nation,” Hardman says. “We’re also one of the highest consumption of water. We don’t benefit from the mountain like most of the valley.”

On the library’s continuation, Hardman said he supported it. He said the town should be careful to stay in the right budget.

“The reality is that, in order to make a library, the community has to come in and help,” Hardman explained. “We must pursue the same budget.”

On the issue of future city growth, he cited it as a positive if managed correctly. “We have to try to match new growth.”

The election will take place on Tues. Nov. 3.

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