20130711 Meet Orem City Candidates

This was a Meet and Greet with the candidates for Orem City offices. It was held at the Senior Friendship Center and was attended by well over 250 people. It was a great event thanks to Neighborhood in Action.

Richard Brunst Candidate for Mayor
I love Orem city.
I have been here now for 28 years. I have built a company where we deal with pipes and corrosion protection. I have build plants. I have work on construction and pipe piles and my plant produced the beams used on the I15 corridor project.
I offer something unique versus the other 2 candidates.
As a business owner I know how to keep a budget and make hire/fire decisions,
I am also familiar with legal and government contract work. I did a project in Wyoming of 126 miles of pipeline. I worked out there on the job and we got it done early and to spec.
I am concerned about Orem issues. I have been attending council for 2 years now. I am concerned about the high compensation packages. There has been early retirement due to salary creep. The property tax change was too high last year. I asked it be cut in half and fees cut in half. I and my family have worked to get the tax issue on the referendum.
I have worked hard just in the last month. They were going to raise lighting fees double. I protested that. In the end the City Manager took it off the budget for legal reason.
We have 3 problems we need to face
UTOPIA, Midtown and property tax increase.
I love fiber and the speed of internet. I have soured on the business model.
I would change management.
Industry board of directors.
Look to sell it.
Midtown I would look at a solution and have met with the people.
Property taxes – don’t raise them.

Chris Nichols Candidate for Mayor
I have to say it is to impressive to see you hear tonight. I was here last night with Lakveiew citizens. Citizen participation in the city is important. We need more of this. If you had told me four years ago that I would be running I would not have believed you. I met with my friend yesterday that I helped run for office 4 years ago.
His city faced challenges with budget, finance and fiber optic problems. Those problems seemed insurmountable and yet Provo has overcome them and Mayor John Curtis has endorsed me. He and Val Hale with the Chamber of Commerce have researched my issues and elected to endorse me.
There is a picture in my office of the most difficult hole in golf. The green is just as large as any other golf hole. The reason it is so difficult is that there are those who focus on the hole and those who focus on the hazards. Rise above the challenges. Find solutions to the problems. Make the city better for business.
Find solutions to the problem and don’t rehash past decisions. Because of good planning we don’t have water problems like Lehi and others. We have done some right things.
Leadership is critical at this time
Economic Development, we have to have more revenues. A mayor should be act as the cheerleader for the city, just like Herbert does for the State of Utah.
Accountability and transparency. I will hold regular meetings to find options.
Dedication and focus.
I appreciate your vote on August 13.

Robert (Bob) Wright Candidate for Mayor
It’s great to see this great turnout. I am candidate for Orem Mayor. I am the senior on this stand. This denotes wisdom and experience. I have lived through the Great Depression and know the value of money. I attended six elementary schools in Utah when I was growing up. We moved to CA after UT. I joined the Navy and served 3 years during Wold War II. I lived in Utah working with the Union Pacific. I also worked as Treasurer and Manager at a Credit Union. That increased my skills in auditing and other financial skills. This experience will serve me well in the office of Mayor.
During my administration the council objective will be to get out of debt and hold the line on tax increases. I have the time, ability and know how to lead the in the proper role of government.
I will monitor the ins and outs of city government. This is the elected responsibility of the City Council. I am a citizens citizen which means I listen to the citizens. Government is by the people and for the people.
I will serve just one term with honesty, integrity, and transparency. Thank you very much.

Hans Anderson Candidate for Mayor
You know my wife. I hope you will get a piece of my wife’s best bread while you are here.
I have a recipe for the City of Orem and it is traditional values.
In 1998 we had a debt of 25 million and now it is 110 million. We got away from taking care of police, fire and water. We got in to Utopia and Midtown Village. Now our city debt that was 2.5 million is now 10 million/year in payments.
I wanted to talk about debt. City growth has gone up in the last 14 years. Our population growth was 6% and the debt growth was 430%. We ought to take care of traditional services rather than this.
One of the three mayoral candidates say that you can vote for the increase of tax. They need to have you people involved.
I have a family and we had a reunions on the corner of Orem a little while ago. This is a picture of my family and those are all my children that were there in the picture. I believe in protecting my family and your family.
I hope you’ll vote for Hans for Mayor. I know what got us in to trouble and know what will get us out.

City Coucncil Candiates:

David M Spencer
Good evening I am running for Orem City Council. My after father served this country for 28 years. His work ethic has shaped my life. I love the USA and I love Orem. I have lived here for 28 years.
Orem is one of the safest cities in the country. We have to take care of police, fire and city employees. We have a problem but don’t need to look in the past.
As far as Utopia, let’s look at how to fix it. The definition of of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different result. If we cannot turn things around then exit without hurting bond rating. I encourage us to hold Town Hall meetings utilizing Neighborhoods in Action.
The City of Orem is a great place to live because of the amazing citizens. We can do great things working together. I feel there needs to be more transparency to be successful. We need to get back to fundamentals. Police, Fire, water and supporting the Arts – no private enterprise. That should left to the private sector.
I am concerned about spending.
I am David Spencer and I want to represent the citizens of Orem.

Bryan Earl Jenkins
Not Here

Charles Hart
Looks like I missed the memo on the dress code. The reason I am running is because last year around this time I attended a council and it was about the budget. I heard senior citizens and others say that it was a burden and hard for them. I was shocked that hundreds showed up and six of seven on the council voted for it.
I am used to people voting for tax increases in CA but I was shocked it could happen here in Orem Utah. The city should not be in the private sector. We all try to get more and grow our organizations, it’s a natural thing to do. There is nothing wrong with that. But in government there has to be some check and it has to come from existing representatives. We need to be cost effective and efficient. With regard to UTOPIA I have a 3 prong approach.
We have to pay the debt.
We have to minimize the operating expenses – cut costs and increase subscriptions.
There is no need to use Orem money. Any buildout should be done with private funds. If it can’t attract private funds it should not be built.
I have a number of other positions, see my website. If you don’t vote for me then make sure to vote for those who hold the line on taxes and force the city to be efficient.

Brent Sumner
Thank you very much. I run for City Council I have been to several of these and I want to thank you for coming here.
Serving Orem for the past 3 and half years has been a privilege. It is a lot of work to keep Orem best in the nation for business and family. Our budget comes from sales tax. Tuesday evening this week the city council approved Orem Fall Business Park. We need to look for new businesses to come to Orem. I want to work with the Provo Chamber of Commerce and UVU incubators. This will help to grow businesses in our city.
A priority will be to make economic development top priority. The Orem Days and storytelling festival is what attract thousand to Orems each year. We have great things for those who come. We need to bring people here to our community to raise our sales tax revenues.
Orem is one of the safest cities in the US. We must find revenue to give our public safety the latest technology and keep us safe. We need to keep Family City, USA safe.
I want to keep family friendly neighborhoods. I will make sure that development sites fit the master plan. When they come up I go to sites and put myself in the positions of those people who live there.
Please re-elect me for another term.

Mary Street
Thank you. My name is Mary Street. I am grateful you are here tonight and you care and want to understand the issues.
4 years ago I stood on this stage and made commitments. I never ran before and I was scared to death. I promised I would take the time to learn how to do the job. I would get educated and seek input from the communities.
I said I would retain business and attract new business to the community. I would learn about Utopia. I would try and figure out the best course of action for Orem. I would also preserve what we love about Orem.
Orem was created in 1919, the infrastructure, parks, community and Scera. You don’t build a community like this and have it just crumble. We all need to know things about cities.
I had to learn about RDA, CDA and others. I commit to keep doing more.
One thing you need to know about me. I may be a lightning rod for the issues but I will take the time to explain. I will be accurate, fair, and honest in all the information I give to you.
I have served on the Board of Directors of Utopia and I have committed to making it better. It is not perfect but we are working on it. If you come back to me after we can talk about the debt and I can give you a copy of it. I will tell you about the tax and UTOPIA. I hope you will learn about me to make the best vote possible.

Wayne Burr
I am glad to see so many of you out tonight . I grew up in this area and was raised on a fruit farm. I moved ladders around a lot and loved growing up here in Orem. I raised my family here and retired. I have watched Orem grow from fruit orchards.
After I retired I went away for two years and when I got back I heard about tax problems. I have spent over $1000.00 of my own dollars to do something about UTOPIA. I don’t think we should be part of private business.
My dad was a part of the volunteer fire department in the fifties. I believe in the fire department. They need to be taken care of. We need to be careful about a lot of other things we get involved in.
That is the reason I will run to keep taxes low and not raise taxes. I think we can go a long way without that. And as for bringing business in to the city, all businesses should be treated fairly. We shouldn’t take money from one and give to another. We should lower taxes and be honest and fair about business and taxing people.
My hope is that we will look forward to an Orem with lower taxes and being able to settle a lot of problems that we have. A lot the answers are at the top.

Skyler Hamilton
Thank you so much and I am so glad that you are here.
This is not about me. Or about them. It’s about the principles and I firmly believe in the founding principles of this country. Principles espoused by Adams, George Mason and James Madison. We have a solution that worked the first time.
We often, I think, over analyze things. Why do governments exist at all?
Where do your rights come from? (audience: God)
You have your rights as part of humanity.
Why are governments there? To protect your rights.
Anything more than this is evil. This is the standard that the people should have. Any measure that protects your rights I am for. Anything that infringes your rights, I am against.
Orem abandoned this when we see things like Midtown and UTOPIA. But what if Utopia were working, if it were paying for itself?
Government is about the General Welfare, not for one person over another.
Use fees and excise taxes – those are voluntary and fund government services. You aren’t forced to pay them like income and property tax.
Another example is the debt. Is it okay to bring up a credit card from someone else and obligate the rest of you to the debt?
One of the top things to do is to get out of debt for the future generations.
If this message of freedom resonates with you, then please vote for me.
Skyler Hamilton

Jared Jardine
Back in 2002 our budget was 59 million and our reserves were as high as Utah would allow a city to have. Last year our budget was 81 million and we have almost no reserves.
We elected nice people with out any idea what their principles were. They are not the people who will right the ship. They raised taxes with 100s of people saying No. We got the referendum so that we can vote on it now. It hurts our local businesses too.
Increasing taxes puts them at a disadvantage to online businesses. Orem needs to compete for businesses.
Looking at past budgets we need to get our house in order. We spent over $3.3 million on Utopia and the police have expiring vests, firefighters are behind on repairs and our streets need to be maintained.
We need to focus on needs.
Our city council hired a new manager. I have met with Mr. Davidson and he is a good man. But the selection process was unacceptable. Our hard earned tax dollars would be spent on the right things.
I have lived here now for 30 years and we are raising our family here. Limited government, property rights and reduced expenses. I will help us compete for business.
If we return to our principles we will succeed in the years ahead.

Claude Richards
I don’t’ know how you feel about getting to know us for in just 3 minutes. At city council that is the time you get to know them. This is the first time when I have gotten to speak after city council members.
I am running because I love Orem. I have been here since 1999. We have family in Santaquin and AF. I love Orem because of the environment. My sister is 74 years old and is on a fixed income. She had a negative cash flow of 300-500 / month. We had to sell a house to reduce expenses. Even then, during the tax increase discussions they would say “you know tax increase is only 4 per month, that’s not a big deal.” No, not everyone can afford that.
I have seen what property taxes will do. You have to be very careful. We come along and we say we haven’t had an increase and we need to get off the bottom of the list and move to the middle of the list. But then there are other cities on the bottom that want to move up. We increase taxes until we are embarrassed. Then we do exemptions and then we we say we need to get businesses. Then we have to lower taxes to get the businesses. But then your taxes are too high so we have to lower them in some other way. That is the way tax works.
I love living in Orem and I think we need to keep it great. We need to not burden unnecessarily those who pay. We don’t’ want to tax them for something they can’t get and wouldn’t want to get.
I want to be a voice for people like my sister and be transparent (past time)

Tom McDonald
This speech is tough. Many can attest to the fact that it has been a long time since I gave just a 2 and a half minute talk. The necessity of telling you about my qualifications is uncomfortable. Any successes I have had have come through collaboration with others and finding solutions to problems guided by the hand of providence.
My life here began in 1969 when I graduated from BYU and we have been here since then. My father in law – Orem Mayor prepared me in my youth and gave me a good foundation. As a CPA I built a business career. I have always been a fiscal conservative. The companies I have led have a done the same.
I have held many leadership positions in my religious community. One of those was in Oregon for 3 years where I was able to see the stark contrast with different approaches. Last week Mia Love, Glenn Beck and Mike Lee spoke at a gathering.
Fear not, be of comfort and be peaceful. Fear and anger are not useful. I will work together with you in a transparent way and then move forward with optimism. I will not require on the job training as I have already dealt with multi-million dollar budgets.
I am Tom MacDonald and I ask for your support.

Robert Davis
I just want to thank all of you for coming. Give yourselves a round of applause.
I will take another quick second to give a quick background. 23 years like some who has lived across country and world. I have seen the good and bad. We cant definitely learn some mistakes. I have chaired C&BG Block Grant committee in our community. I appreciate seeing some friendly faces here tonight.
We are missing trust in our elected officials and trust comes down to relationships. Relationships based on trust. We lived, we don’t to be in every single decision.
I believe, as was pointed out this election is about leadership and foresight. We can see what has gone wrong but that doesn’t help a lot.
We need foresight for innovative ideas. We do face some challenges. There were not enough checks and balances and oversight of what we were getting into.
We need to expand our base. We need to expand on the moment with Google coming to town. Provo has increased its web hits and Orem has increased in their hits on their site but we can do better and take back the momentum.
I will wrap up in people and transparency. We should stream our meetings and I ask for your vote.

Sharon Anderson
As our founding fathers so eloquently said God gave us the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Owning property is fundamental to your right and prosperity. It is not just what you won but what you have been given or earned.
Regulations can keep you from using your property. Taxation can forcibly take what is yours. Like most of you I am opposed to increasing taxes and fees. Especially at this time.
How am I different? I come with unique understanding and experience. BYU grad, published author that has managed properties. I am also a parent, grand parent and concerned citizen. I have actively participated in the Utah Lake commission.
I did not become involved because I wanted to run for council. I got involved because I felt it was the right thing to do. I know how decisions made impact you and the city.
I have extensively researched the issues and have informed Utahn’s about politics and how they influence your rights. These rules are dictated by rules made by people who you have not elected. I was key in keeping out a new rule that would limit farm lard use. I got information out about it and we resolved that issue.
Like you I am concerned about the costly expansion of government. I want you to be treated fairly.

Debby Lauret
It’s my pleasure to be here. I love it when you get out and be informed. I have been a resident for over 20 years. I have the dedication, work experience, time and passion. I have an executive MPA from BYU, this is the government version of an MBA. I did my masters degree so I will understand this.
I have been running the American Fork Chamber of Commerce. I have worked with the State and numerous government offices. I helped bring Adobe to Utah County when it might have been in Salt Lake County.
I have helped businesses with the approval process and moving the shop local program forward in American Fork. My vision is to grow the pie. You do this by bringing in strong businesses.
Orem State Street is the example of what not to do. I will work to improve State Street. We don’t have a downtown. I believe in strong infrastructure.
The language development of this county is amazing. Most people can speak a second and some a third language. We need to bring companies of all sorts here to use that.
I am currently on the Orem Arts Council. I am the Economic Development person on the council. I was brought on to bring money to the council. My children and I have benefited from these programs. We have gone to the library, storytelling festival and other activities.
Thank you.

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