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Eagle Mountain candidates want to plan city well

As Eagle Mountain evolves from a dream to a city on paper to streets, roads and a tax base, residents and city officials are finding it takes work and constant input to create a town.

Eagle Mountain was incorporated Nov. 26, 1996, and Town Council members were appointed by the Utah County Commission in December of 1996.Incumbent candidates mention the opportunities that abound for those fortunate enough to be designing a community from scratch. They want to avoid mistakes they see in other communities and make a safe city that can grow into the future without injuring the quality of life Eagle Mountain promises.

Challengers are concerned that the purposes of those with special interests are taking priority over those who are simply residents.

Mayor Debbie Hooge was running unopposed until Jay L. McDonald announced his intention to run as a write-in candidate Oct. 22.

Four candidates are competing for the two four-year town council seats and four vying for the two two-year posts.


Mayor Debbie Hooge wants to see the dream come true. She sees Eagle Mountain as the opportunity for people to create the kind of city they really want to live in. She sees herself as vital to the process.

"I think I'm probably the only person with any clue as to how the utility companies are set up and how the bonds work," said Hooge, talking about the five new companies that will provide power, water, sewer, gas and telecommunications to the new city.

"I believe we can do this. I wouldn't have put all of this time and my own personal assets into it if I didn't."

Hooge's fear is that a different mayor or new council members may bring in a naysayer attitude that will defeat those who are trying to create a different kind of town. She's offended that some believe she's involved to make a personal profit.

"When I decided to become the mayor, I severed all business connections to the master developer," said Hooge, 41, a real estate broker with her own business. "That represents a loss of $100,000 to $200,000 in potential income. It's incorrect to say that somehow I'm making money here."

Hooge, 8775 N. Cedar Pass Road, said the town is committed to a growth target of at least 1,200 homes if the utility companies can generate the profit necessary to support the town's needs.

"There's a lot of follow through that needs to happen on things that have been started," she said.

"Do we have to grow? No. Should we grow? Absolutely."

Jay L. McDonald is a write-in candidate.

McDonald, 41, 2434 N. 16000 W., is jumping into politics for the first time because he doesn't believe residents of the Cedar Valley area are getting the opportunity to put what they want into the creation of Eagle Mountain.

McDonald raises pigs in the valley and figures it will just be a matter of time before his pigs are invited to leave as a result of the incorporation.

"Pigs and people don't mix," said McDonald. He has 4,000 pigs on his farm, which was "just sort of included" when the city was incorporated.

McDonald is worried about what he sees as serious conflict of interest problems with those currently running the city. "I don't think, I know there's a conflict," he said.

"I definitely believe we should go ahead (with the city) because it's coming anyway, development is going to happen. But we need to know what the people here want. It could almost be done door-to-door with the number here now.

"We want the city that's created to reflect the people out here. That's my concern, my only concern, that we have input."

McDonald was unaware city officials have been meeting weekly to plan the city and deal with issues concerning the community.

"I feel like what they're doing is planning an extremely, deeply thought-out community. The concern I have is just that we do it right."

Council, 4-year terms

(2 elected)

Nick Berg, 55, 6104 N. Lake Mountain Road, is running for a four-year position after serving in a two-year council seat and on the Planning Commission.

Berg is the owner of Ranch Realty and has been a consultant to various communities on land use and entitlement issues for 20 years. He believes the simple answer to planning a city is to be careful.

He played a key role in determining Eagle Mountain would try to become its own city, and hopes to create a place where every neighborhood and every individual feels safe. He sees a need for a 50/50 ratio in commercial and residential areas so the costs of residences will be offset by an adequate tax base.

He's excited about creating a town that includes community-owned utilities and a city center cross-connected with trails and open spaces.

John Jacob, 45, 8171 N. Cedar Pass Road, was born in Lehi in the Cedar Valley area where his father owned a wool growing and lambing operation. His family has owned land in the Eagle Mountain area for more than 20 years. His family was the third to move into Cedar Pass Ranch.

He has been a bus driver for Alpine School District, a real estate broker and salesman and an air traffic controller. He's currently a water developer and is using his talents to secure plenty of water for Eagle Mountain.

"Some say I have special interests because I own property and I develop water but I see it as a vested interest in seeing it work." Because Eagle Mountain is brand new, everything is a priority issue, he said.

He is an incumbent councilman. By his own definition, he's the one who asks hard questions in the town meetings and is a problem solver. "It's extremely fun," he said. "I want to see the town succeed."

Dan Valentine, 44, 6186 N. Lake Mountain Road, moved to Cedar Valley in 1993 to "escape the chaos and fell in love with this beautiful valley."

Valentine is a design engineer in electronics and has founded three companies based on electronics. He is associated with Eyring Research Institute.

He's running for office because he believes too many of the town's governing body have a "profound conflict of interest, having their primary or a significant source of personal income dependent on the success of Mr. Walden's (the developer) efforts."

Valentine said it is time for the voters to choose whatever path they follow from here on.

If elected, he would work to strike a balance between developer rights and citizen rights and actively solicit citizen input.

Cyril Watt, 59, 13564 W. Highway 73, is an incumbent town councilman who wants Eagle Mountain to be a child-friendly place in which to raise his family. "Since I have 10 children, I feel like what I bring to the table is a real interest in wanting to make the town safe."

Watt said the growth should be kept in check so the openness and natural beauty are preserved.

"I think it needs to expand at a particular pace and not all at once."

The priority is to help people already living in the area maintain the quality of life they enjoy, said Watt. He wants to see ample parks, roadways designed to promote safety and lots of hiking trails and bike paths.

"I think the government should be mainly in the hands of the people. Special interests should not be in control."

Watt is a mathematics professor at Salt Lake Community College.

Council, 2-year terms

(2 elected)

Rob Bateman, 39, 14377 W. Valley Drive, is a management consultant for Promodel Corp. He served for three years in Alpine on the Planning Commission and another three years on the City Council there. He has a doctorate in government from the University of Utah.

He and his family moved to Eagle Mountain just before the move to incorporate took place. Therefore, Bateman feels that he can truly represent town residents.

He thinks officials should slow down just a little in approving development before policies are well set. "Let's make sure development happens on our terms," he said. He wants to see lots of open space retained and people encouraged to keep their land in farming.

Listening to the people is critical to the town's healthy evolution, he believes. "Most good ideas come from citizens."

Diane Bradshaw, 31, 13703 W. Cedar Pass Road, works part-time as a pharmaceutical representative. She was appointed last December to serve out the rest of a two-year term. She and her family moved to Eagle Mountain from Highland because they felt they were losing the rural atmosphere they enjoyed at first in Highland.

She's in charge of helping shape the plans for parks, schools and churches in the new town and is excited to have a chance to be proactive about growth issues. She feels more citizen input is key to a good future for Eagle Mountain.

"While we're small, everybody should feel comfortable giving input and feedback," she said. "I want a good place to live with a safe, healthy atmosphere and a rural feel."

She feels she's a good representative of the common people. "I have no conflicts of interest," she said.

Jack Guthrie, 51, 7136 N. 15200 West, works as a skydiving instructor at the Cedar Valley airport. He's very interested in making certain those who were already in the Eagle Mountain area, including pig, mink and sod farmers, are not pushed out or stepped on by the process of creating a new city.

"I've been coming here for 27 years. I want to see coyotes and eagles in Eagle Mountain's future," said Guthrie. "We were here first. There should be room for all."

Guthrie thinks everybody should get the chance to vote on major decisions such as bonds and expenditures in behalf of the city. He is convinced that if the environment is regarded first, then people, followed by business, good government will just naturally occur.

He says he brings a different perspective to the governing table.

Allen R. Thompson, 38, 8237 N. 13460 West, believes he has a responsibility to run for office and be involved in the creation of the new city around him.

"I like to work with people. I've helped on campaigns. I want to work for the overall community and not just for people with bucks behind them," said Thompson.

He thinks a ratio of one-third commercial tax base to two-thirds residential area is preferable to a 50/50 split.

He'd like to see Eagle Mountain be a model to others. "I moved out here to get away from the city so if I want to see it stay like I want it, I need to be involved," he said. "I would highly advise everyone that lives here to get involved. Make it to all the meetings you can.

Thompson is self-employed and does counter-top work. He's married with six children.