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Centerville mayor

Why did you decide to run for mayor?

FRANK W. HIRSCHI:

Many Centerville citizens contacted me urging that I declare my candidacy for mayor. The city is a great place to live and raise a family. I felt I could provide a proven, mature leadership into the 21st century. With my background in agriculture, recreation and civic leadership I am confident that we can organize the city government and citizens to solve immediate as well as ongoing issues. Being retired I have time to provide the leadership needed.

DOUG E. NIELSEN:

Upon nearing completion of my second four-year term on the city council I could see there would be significant change brought by the election. Centerville voters will elect a new mayor and two new council members. In addition, we will be hiring a new city manager. I believe I can bring continuity and perspective that will be necessary to deal effectively with issues that are virtually on our doorstep.

What do you see as the main issue facing Centerville as it heads into the next century?

FRANK W. HIRSCHI:

The next four years will be critical for Centerville. We live in a changing world and effective organization of city and citizens will be necessary to provide protection against increasing crime, drugs, gangs and abuse. The city has an immediate problem involving a high water table in many areas. We have to be constantly alert and prepared to prevent floods from our canyons each spring. The Legacy Highway affects our business community.

DOUG E. NIELSEN:

The easy and obvious answer is growth. Centerville will virtually "build out" in the next several years. The challenge will come with the issues related to our growth. A big part of this will be our need to preserve a feeling of community.

The city has been torn by criticism, which grew into organized opposition and spilled over into the election. Can the city be brought back together?

FRANK W. HIRSCHI:

I have met with business leaders as well as city officials. All are reasonable and want to do what is best for the city. We will organize to allow more open expression as far as possible with the city council and more specifically with the mayor. We are the electorate of the city and thus will provide efficient and effective leadership in all departments back to our citizens as far as the law allows.

DOUG E. NIELSEN:

There have been enough lines drawn. I talked directly with many of the citizens expressing concerns. Where I found agreement, I worked to bring about some of the changes they felt were needed. My priority as mayor will be to be open, to be approachable, to listen to different views and give every opinion fair consideration.

Does Centerville have enough public open space and parks?

FRANK W. HIRSCHI:

Centerville is about grown to capacity. Very little land is left and this is very expensive. The city has some very fine parks for youth. We don't have much yet for senior citizens and adults. With cooperation from the citizenry, what little is left can be utilized properly.

DOUG E. NIELSEN:

I would like to see Centerville "landbank" some very critical parcels as soon as possible in the northeast and southwest areas of town before it's too late. In 1988 we acquired the land that now is Community Park, the city's centerpiece of open space and recreation. This park was brought into use only in the past three years after being "landbanked" for nearly seven years. This concept can work again.

How should Centerville prepare for the impacts of the expanded I-15 and Legacy Highway projects?

FRANK W. HIRSCHI:

The present mayor and city council are working hard to keep the Legacy Highway west along established roads. I am in favor of the highway if it stays west of the business area. I feel citizens are more important than a few rods of salt grass some people call wetlands.

DOUG E. NIELSEN:

The Legacy route must be pushed as far west as possible to mitigate noise, visual, and commercial impacts. If the route dramatically affects our business park area as it is now proposed, we will forever lose valuable private and public facilities and tax-based revenues, and we will forever live with the impact of an additional major transportation corridor virtually on our doorstep. Our residents deserve the benefit of access to Legacy. Parrish Lane must have an access point.

What is your stand on your city's property tax rate? Is there any issue or project that would justify raising property taxes?

FRANK W. HIRSCHI:

The next mayor and council will work hard to get good business into the city in our remaining commercial property. We will work to lower taxes whenever and wherever it will be possible. We will concentrate our tax base on water, sewer, streets, safety and other infrastructure responsibilities such as the cemetery, parks, etc.

DOUG E. NIELSEN:

Of every $1,000 that a resident pays in total property taxes on their home, Centerville collects only about $150. For many homeowners that equates to little more than $20 per month for police and fire protection, street maintenance and snow removal, parks and cemetery and countless other incidental benefits. I believe growth in our sales-tax receipts represent the best source for future growth for Centerville's budget. I will not support an increase unless it is put to a referendum vote of the citizens for a specific purpose such as land acquisition or public facilities improvements.

Nielsen's question for Hirschi: In 1994, as a member of a committee studying whether to change the way our fire district is organized, at the time I made a recommendation to leave the district under the control of the elected officials providing for fire protection. Ever since, ongoing proposals to reform the fire district and allow it to levy taxes on its own, free of the control of elected city officials have never gone away. What is your position regarding making the fire district a free-standing taxing entity with power to raise taxes and assess fees?

FRANK W. HIRSCHI:

The South Davis Fire District is made up of contiguous cities here in the south end of Davis County, along with the portions of unincorporated Davis County. I wouldn't want to change anything as long as it's working well. We do have a situation developing; that is the ambulance association is merging with the fire district and this may require further study. Until there is a need for further change, I would leave things the way they are.

Hirschi's question for Nielsen: My opponent is a fine young man. I will not embarrass him in any way. My only concern since he is so involved with his present assignments is how will he have time to interface with federal, state, and county agents as we face critical issues? All meetings are usually during the middle of the day.

DOUG E. NIELSEN:

State code provides for third-class cities, like Centerville, to have a citizen, part-time mayor to oversee the city's operation, in accordance with the city council. Cities much larger than Centerville, such as Layton and Bountiful, are run by a part-time mayor. Those mayors oversee the operation of the city through a professional staff. We're about to hire a new city manager, trained and specifically educated to manage city operations on a day-to-day basis.

My job allows me the flexibility to attend meetings through the day and finish my professional assignments in the evening or on weekends.

My management style is I manage people. I give them the flexibility they need to do their job, and then they're accountable for what they do in their best professional judgment.

Nielsen's question for Hirschi: During my time on the City Council I have seen an increase in case load and demands on the time of our police officers. Our population has grown and so has our business community. More growth will only demand more from our existing officers. Do you support a budget providing for additional police resources in order to keep up and to stem increasing threats to our peace and safety?

FRANK W. HIRSCHI:

I've had the opportunity to meet with the chief of police, Jim Oswald. We've discussed the needs of the police and we both recognize we need to stay ahead of any influx of crimes, gangs, and this type of disorder.

The normal ratio of police to residents is one police officer to every 1,000 citizens. We, the chief and I, feel that with proper citizen involvement - Neighborhood Watch, community policing, etc. - along with a close watch on the activity of and need for police in the area, that will determine if there should be an increase.

I'm in favor of keeping ahead of the influences that will make Centerville anything but a healthy place for families to live.

Hirschi's question for Nielsen: Should he lose in his candidacy bid, will Mr. Nielsen make himself available as a volunteer to help solve problems and issues that arise?

DOUG E. NIELSEN:

Be available? Of course. I value highly the experience I've gained in life, in my various pursuits and community services. But some of the most valuable experience I have is what I've gained in my 12 years of service to the community. I've been able to contribute and make a difference to the community, in my time on the council and even before that.

I will always be interested in serving Centerville.