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A sure election bet in Centerville: new faces

A changing of the political guard is under way in Centerville. Incumbent Mayor Priscilla Todd and veteran councilman Steve Mangel have chosen not to run for re-election.

The other incumbent councilman up for re-election, Doug Nielsen, is running for mayor. The city will hire a new city manager in a few weeks on the heels of the departure of David Hales after 10 years.A dissident citizens group calling itself the Concerned Citizens of Centerville coalesced last spring around issues of what they perceive to be a lack of openness in city government.

Two of the group's organizers, Rick Bangerter and Ron Russell, are running for the two open seats on the City Council, joined by Kent Bangerter, who was appointed to serve out a vacancy on the council two years ago, and Planning Commissioner Bruce Powell.

Another issue facing Centerville is how the city should prepare for the impacts of the Legacy Highway and I-15 expansion project. Candidates also responded to the question of whether any issue or project that justifies raising the property tax.

(Information on mayoral candidates Frank W. Hirschi and Doug E. Nielsen was published Oct. 22. More will be printed Sunday.)

Here's a brief look at the City Council candidates:

Kent Bangerter

Address: 118 E. 1975 North

Age: 51

Occupation: Self-employed estate planner.

Experience: Previously served as councilman, term expired two years ago.

Why are you running? "I am a native of Centerville. My roots run deep. I have a desire to serve my community and give back a portion of what it and its citizens have given me."

What is the main issue facing the city? "Centerville doesn't have very much land left to develop. The main issue is to prudently utilize the remaining land so there is a balance in business (to help support the tax base), maintaining city services to residents and in green space."

How should the city prepare for the highway impacts? "I do not see I-15 expansion changing the impact on Centerville much. I would like to see another entrance and exit on the north end of Centerville. The Legacy Highway is going to affect the city tremendously. The current proposed route will dramatically affect a number of our businesses in the west-side business park. It will take out part of several businesses and totally move or close down others. It would be better for Centerville if UDOT would consider moving the highway farther west."

What about property taxes? "I feel that a tax hike in most cases is unnecessary. And I will oppose and seek other options before I will ever endorse raising taxes."

Rick Bangerter

Address: 573 E. 650 North

Age: 45

Occupation: Roofing and building contractor

Experience: Attended dozens of Planning Commission and City Council meetings, chairman of a group promoting more openness and citizen involvement in city government.

Why are you running? "I have been encouraged by most of the local business community and hundreds of residents to run. I feel strongly about doing so to give business representation (adjusting the balance) to our City Council."

What is the main issue facing the city? "Before any issue can best be addressed there needs to be unification of city administration and the citizens they represent and work for."

How should the city prepare for the highway impacts? "The impacts of these projects to Centerville are entirely dependent on their location through the city and the inclusion or not of an interchange and access for Centerville at Parrish Lane. Citizens need to be encouraged to give specific feedback, suggestions and input to UDOT, the Army Corps of Engineers and environmentalists to locate the Legacy Highway as far west as possible and allow Centerville an interchange."

What about property taxes? "A city, like a business or family, has to live within its means. Needs and desires or wants are very different things. A tax increase could possibly be justified if citizen support is sufficient for particular needs or goals, when other sources of revenue to fund them are exhausted or unavailable."

Bruce Powell

Address: 1533 N. 400 West

Age: 45

Occupation: Sales/business owner

Experience: Planning Commission member three years, Fourth of July committee four years, historical site committee two years, two years with Davis School District Foundation.

Why are you running? "I have given years of volunteer service to the city. I was simply the most qualified and I felt it my civic duty to run."

What is the main issue facing the city? "Establishing a balanced approach for responsible business and residential growth. As we approach buildout, land-use issues, increasing and better establishing a tax base are more and more important."

How should the city prepare for the highway impacts? "The Legacy Highway could have a terrible impact on our business park. Freeway planners should recognize the need to push the proposed route as far west as possible. The need for a ramp at Centerville for the highway is critical."

What about property taxes? "With impact fees from new construction tapering off the need to increase our tax base is more urgent. I am very conservative on the spending side but one issue that Centerville needs to deal with is the subsurface drain problem. Our water system was badly outdated. By using a special enterprise fund we have been able to make tremendous strides toward improving that system. I would be in favor of the same type of solution with regard to the subsurface drains."

Ron Russell

Address: 73 W. Ricks Creek Way

Age: 40

Occupation: Attorney

Experience: Worked as administrative assistant for Ogden City, 1979-'80; as an attorney has represented clients on numerous occasions before city councils, county commissions and planning commissions.

Why are you running? "When a group of citizens approached me to help with a grass-roots effort to make positive changes in the way our city conducts its business, I felt it was time to give something back to the community. I don't think it's right to start something that you're not willing to finish or to complain without being willing to step up and do something."

What is the main issue facing the city? "Making the transition from a fast-growing city to one that is built out. We must act now to update our general plan, commit to purchase land for parks and open space, encourage the development of a strong local business community and operate the city using sound budgetary practices."

How should the city prepare for the highway impacts? "We must unite and act aggressively in opposing the current alignment in favor of a western alignment that has a Centerville access point."

What about property taxes? "Our current tax rate is in line with other Davis County cities and I do not think it needs to be increased. I believe the urgent need to acquire land for parks and open space may justify a tax increase if funds cannot be obtained from other sources without a significant decrease in the level of public services."