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Eagle Mountain candidates offer experience, new voices

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — There will be no incumbents listed on the Eagle Mountain ballot this Tuesday, but that does not mean there is a lack of experience in the race.

Three of the six candidates have held public office, and other candidates have volunteered in a range of behind-the-scenes causes. In short, no one is coming into this campaign with political blinders on.

Mayoral race:

Two men with experience on the City Council will square off for the mayor position, which the City Council made a full-time job with benefits in June, a decision that sharply divided the community.

Brian Olsen, a sitting councilman, said he is running because residents approached him and asked him to. Olsen said he wants to see the city step up its economic development, but doing so will require improvements to the transportation infrastructure.

"There is a mandate from the people that they would like to see some amenities, like grocery stores," he said. "But those businesses need to have access to this community. I feel that if we can work alongside the Utah Department of Transportation, those efforts to address transportation will also improve our economic situation."

Brigham Smart Morgan served on the council from 2000 to 2004. Morgan said he decided to re-enter the political arena because he was concerned about the financial and managerial direction of the city. If elected, Morgan said his priorities will be to increase accountability for city employees and change the way the city makes its budgets.

"We need to make revenues the driving factor of our budgeting," he said. "Proper budgeting does not consist of starting with expenditures and then trying to make your revenues match them."

City Council race:

Candidates Donna R. Burnham and Alicia Hill have no elected experience, but both have volunteered in the community and have seen areas where they believe the city can do better.

For Burnham, that area is spending.

"I think I can make a difference," she said. "I am very careful with my money, and I would be very careful with the way the city spends its money."

Specifically, Burnham said the city needs to focus more on business development so city revenues don't suffer when residential growth slows down.

Hill said she decided to run because she doesn't believe the City Council is responding to residents, citing particular concern over the decision to make the mayor's job full-time. She also stressed a concern for fiscal responsibility to get the city out of debt and create recreational opportunities.

"I'm somebody who really just wants to make a difference," she said. "I have no political ambitions, I just want to make Eagle Mountain a better place to live."

Candidate David Lifferth has been serving as interim mayor of Eagle Mountain since August. Prior to his appointment, Lifferth had announced his candidacy for City Council because he said he wants to continue the city's momentum.

"Eagle Mountain has had a troubled past," he said. "But we've been on the right track for the last four years . . . and I want to maintain some continuity with that."

Lifferth said his primary concerns are managing the city's debt and responsible community planning — issues he said the city has done well with in recent years, but needs to carefully maintain.

Candidate Heather Jackson could not be reached for comment.