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Just call West Valley City Council seats the cheap seats.

In this town, where political campaigns are a financial bargain, candidates are more apt to spend a few dollars on advertisements printed in the local edition of The Green Sheet rather than trying to buy name recognition with flashy billboards.Don't expect West Valley residents to fall victim to campaign mania. This is a door-knocking kind of town, and candidates woo voters at the local PTA meeting. Yard signs are planted few and far between. This isn't a breeding ground for bumper stickers, straw hats, political buttons or high-priced media strategists.

"All in all, I think West Valley City's frugal in a lot of ways," said Mayor Brent Anderson.

In fact, so far most of the candidates vying for office in Utah's second largest city, which is flirting with the respectable population of 100,000, are estimating they'll spend less on their campaigns than student politicians at the University of Utah.

In fact, they will spend considerably less.

U. presidential candidates have a $1,500 spending cap when they run for the one-year office, according to Elliot Lawrence, chairman of the U.'s student services board.

That $1,500 student campaign chest stands in contrast to Anderson, who didn't have to spend a dime to win another four years in office. Two candidates filed to run against Anderson, then dropped out of the race before Anderson fired up his campaign machine.

"I think that means the residents of West Valley City support me as mayor," said Anderson.

Consider that in the November 1987 election, Anderson won the right to fill the remainder of the two-year mayoral term he was appointed to with a campaign chest of $2,790. His opponent, Councilman Gearld Wright, said he spent only $426 on the race.

Compare that to Salt Lake's rec-ord high-roller mayoral race of 1985, where Salt Lake mayoral hopeful Merrill Cook spent $540,601.20 while going down to defeat. Palmer DePaulis spent $141,697.50 to win back his job.

The average cost for a council seat in Salt Lake City, the largest city in the state, is $3,500, according to financial disclosure statements filed in the city recorder's office. In the 1985 municipal elections, Sydney Fonnesbeck disclosed contributions of more than $9,000, while in the 1987 elections, Roselyn Kirk received more than $7,000.

The average cost of a council seat in West Valley City, the second largest city in the state, was $826 in 1987, according to campaign financial disclosure statement's filed by council members Leland DeLange, Claude L. Jones and Gordon Evans.

West Valley candidates don't usually have flocks of volunteers and pages of financial contributors.

"They do a lot of leg work," said Anderson, a longtime council member before he stepped into the mayor's chair. "They don't rely on a lot of media. It's more of a manual campaign than it is a media publicity splash."

And even the biggest spenders among West Valley's candidates say they're planning to spend less than one-third as much as their capital city colleagues.

Margaret Peterson, who is running a strong campaign for the two-year at-large council seat, plans to spend $1,000 on the election.

Carroll Elford, who was appointed to the at-large council seat in 1987, estimates he'll spend between $1,500 to $2,000 in his pitch to hang onto his spot. The other three hopefuls for the same seat are budgeting a lot less. Susan Gaborski says she'll spend as little as possible, Holly Roseberry plans to send under $200 and Reid Woodruff estimates under $500.

So far, Elford and Peterson appear to have the deepest pockets in what looks like a pretty routine primary election.

For the four-year, at-large council seat, incumbent Wright said he doesn't plan to invest more than $500 toward re-election. Challenger Joyce Jones has spent about $50 before the primary, while Wilbur F. "Bill" Case estimates he'll spend $200, and Janet Mantle Ericson said her in-kind donations total about $50.

Gene Bauman plans to spend no more than $150 to get out of the primary in his four-candidate race for the District 4 seat. Incumbent Janice Fisher said she plans to spend $1,000 before the general election Nov. 7. Elaine Powell estimates she'll have spent $250 before the primary election, while John Mitchell said he has spent "as little as possible, just time."

Incumbent Duane R. Moss is being challenged by Susan Greathouse for the District 2 council seat, but no primary election is needed.


(Additional information)

Cheaper out west

-It cost Brent Anderson a campaign war chest of $2,790 in 1987 to win the mayor's seat in West Valley City - the second largest city in Utah.

-Salt Lake mayoral hopeful Merrill Cook spent $540,601 in his unsuccessful 1985 bid for the top post in Utah's largest city, while Palmer DePaulis spent $141,697 to win the job.

-The average cost of winning a Salt Lake council seat is $3,500, according to financial documents filed in the city recorder's office.

-The average cost of a council seat in West Valley City in 1987 was $826, according to financial documents filed in the city recorder's office.