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6 seeking positions in Elk Ridge

As with most bedroom communities in Utah Valley, Elk Ridge continues to grapple with an influx of new residents.

Six people signed up to take the lead on issues such as development and expansion over the next four years. Voters Nov. 4 will choose one of those candidates to serve as mayor and two others to serve on the Town Council.Councilman Vernon L. Fritz and former councilman Cregg Ingram are vying for mayor. Incumbent Mayor Lynn Jacobson is not running.

The four candidates for Town Council are Pamela R. Stanger, Joseph Marrott, Gary Bowen and Curt A. Deichman. Councilmen Scott Sessions and Jim Nicolete are not seeking re-election.

Here's a brief look at the candidates:

Mayor

Mayoral candidate Vernon L. Fritz, who has served on the City Council since January 1995, said he has a civic duty to be involved and believes he can fairly represent the interests of the community as a whole.

Controlling growth and blending the new developments with old are among the top issues facing Elk Ridge, he said. Fritz, 62, said he's neither for nor against annexation. But if failure to annex means that the community loses the opportunity to have an influence on the nature of a project, he would favor it to protect Elk Ridge's interest.

A self-employed business owner, Fritz said he doesn't foresee any changes to the town's limited commercial zone. Fritz favors increased police services, including animal control.

Cregg F. Ingram, who served six years on the council in the 1980s, is now running for mayor.

"The leadership of the city of Elk Ridge should represent all those who live within the community," said the Brigham Young University counseling and special education professor. He's also high on residents being involved in government.

Ingram lists controlled, qualitygrowth and maintenance and repair of infrastructure as the town's most pressing needs. Decisions about annexation and development must be made with the availability of water and structurally sound infrastructure in mind, he said.

Ingram, 55, said the town must look at every possible source to broaden its tax base including bonds, grants and other interest-bearing accounts and matching funds.

Town Council

Building contractor Gary Bowen currently serves on the town's planning and zoning commission. He said he's running for Town Council because Elk Ridge needs people who are familiar with its continuing growth. Providing water, sewer and street development are among the issues the town faces, he said.

Bowen, 51, favors annexations as long as there is no cost to residents and water issues are covered.

On fiscal matters, Bowen said the town must live within its budget "no matter what and increasing revenue for any reason other than safety, sewer and water seems out of the question."

Former police officer Joe Marrott says he's running for Town Council to promote the development of emergency services. He currently works as director of health and safety at Utah Valley State College.

Marrott, 42, said the most important issue is snow removal, which is compounded by lack of money to buy equipment and pay workers. Dealing with growth runs a close second. Marrott favors town expansion because it gives Elk Ridge the ability to control development around it.

Promotion of development is the town's only untapped source of revenue, he said. More building sites bring in more people to pay taxes, Marrott said.

Although Curt A. Deichman decided to run for Town Council on a whim, he believes his background in planning and architecture would be beneficial to Elk Ridge. Deichman, 41, works as a project manager for an architect and also is a self-employed home designer.

Ensuring orderly, well-planned growth, city beautification and animal control top his list of issues facing the town.

Deichman favors the town annexing new subdivisions as long as existing residents don't bear the financial burden. Those who benefit from the development should pay for it, he said.

Deichman doesn't want businesses in Elk Ridge, but he wouldn't mind a convenience store. "It would be nice to have the money (sales tax) go back into the town," he said.

Pamela R. Stanger is the fourth Town Council candidate. She did not return a Deseret News candidate questionnaire. She also did not return messages left on her answering machine.