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CANDIDATE KEEPS SPARKS FLYING

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He hasn't even made it onto the Spanish Fork City Council, but Chuck Cummins continues to make sparks fly in Spanish Fork - and will probably continue to do so if he does make it.

Cummins, 54, is one of four candidates who survived the Oct. 5 primary for two four-year council seats. He's also one of 20 residents with a case pending against the city because of a power line built near several homes along 900 North.In 1991, the residents filed suit against the city, saying the 46-kilovolt power-line project could diminish their property values as much as $5,000 to $10,000 per home and might present a health risk to children playing in the area.

However, the residents lost the first round in the trial, as 4th District Judge Ray Harding ruled against their motion to halt the project in January 1992. Since then, the line project - part of a planned electrical loop around the city - has been completed, and the case has been stalled in paper-work.

Springville attorney Jeff Orr is now representing Cummins and the others, and a pre-trial hearing will be held Friday, Oct. 15, to get the case back into the courts again.

But the lawsuit isn't the only action Cummins has taken that has stirred up the community.

He was also one of several residents who opposed Spanish Fork's mass transit proposal - to dedicate proceeds from a 0.25 percent increase in the local sales tax for a mass-transit service - before last year's elections. That measure failed in the election by a margin of 71 percent to 29 percent.

Cummins said he felt voters should be able to decide whether they want to annex into the Utah Transit Authority, something city officials have discouraged previously. However, city officials said the tax proceeds could have been used for UTA service if the residents had approved the measure, adding that the proposal has likely been killed for the foreseeable future.

Additionally, he opposed the $16 million bond election Nebo School District held to finance extensive building renovation and construction of a new Payson Middle School - largely on the grounds that he believes the district should build a new Spanish Fork Middle School to relieve crowding at the Spanish Fork Intermediate School.

That measure passed by a 4-1 margin, and the Payson school in under construction. A district building committee is now pondering future bonding for a new Spanish Fork school.

Cummins said he favors improving communications between residents and officials and that he hopes his actions will help toward that.

"I think (city officials) need to look critically at (their) priorities to be sure they are the same as those of the (community)," Cummins said. "The city government should reflect the collective desires of those it serves."