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4 Murray mayoral candidates put neighborhoods first

MURRAY — This city has been a paragon of commercial development in the eyes of other municipalities in the past few decades, but it seems that the city's mayoral candidates want to start drawing attention back to its residents.

The four candidates for mayor — Chad Bennion, Michael E. Romero, Daniel C. Snarr and David Wilde — all want to re-establish what they see as a declining emphasis on Murray's neighborhoods and residents.

Bennion wants residents to have better access to movie theaters and grocery stores, Romero proposes creating neighborhood councils, Snarr wants to protect open space, and Wilde believes Murray can better balance commercial growth with residential needs.

On Oct. 4, voters will choose two of the four to compete for Murray mayor; the general election is Nov. 8. The candidates provided brief biographies to the Deseret Morning News; a summary of their responses follows.

Bennion, 41, wants to win back businesses that have left Murray because those businesses "will increase revenues coming into our community," which then "will reduce the need for increased fees or higher taxes." Bennion, who is an administrative aide to a county councilman and a high school cross-country coach, said he will focus on restoring a sense of community to Murray, improving public safety services, and promoting economic prosperity and expansion.

Romero, 50, wants to establish neighborhood councils "to make local government more responsive and efficient in addressing the needs of the constituents." Romero, who works as an insurance claims adjuster, thinks eastern Murray needs a new fire station, and he wants more space for the police department. "Local government is facing the challenge of trying to maintain the current level of services while at the same time trying to meet the increasing demands on services," Romero said.

Snarr, at the end of his second term as mayor, appears to be shifting focus from the rapid economic development that has defined his tenure. Now, Snarr, 55, wants to increase park and open space in Murray, keep infrastructure such as water, power, sewer and roads up to date, and protect Murray neighborhoods. "The challenge and opportunity is to keep our neighborhoods strong while getting the best and highest use from our commercial, retail, manufacturing and industrial zones," Snarr said.

Wilde, 49, thinks it is his turn in office because "two terms ought to be long enough for a mayor to serve." Additionally, this attorney and Salt Lake County councilman wants to "promote good commercial growth in Murray while not losing focus on our neighborhoods and residents," he said. "I can truly say I love this city, and I believe I have a feel for why Murray is such a special place to so many of its residents — it's because Murray has a 'hometown' or 'small town' appeal, even though we are located in the very middle of an increasingly large metropolitan area."