Growth is always the big issue here in St. George and the surrounding communities. As one of the fastest growing cities in the country we have to be serious about planning and preparing.
Growth and planning, or the lack thereof, are the main issues that face the city. Growth of the city and the surrounding communities made it possible for me and my family and many others to return home to live and raise our families. I do not believe that now that I am here we should lock the door and throw away the key. However, we must manage the growth to make sure we do not destroy what makes this such a great place to live. Issues surrounding growth and planning are some of the toughest issues that are faced by the city council. It is important that the Mayor works with the council to plan ahead and stay focused on the main purpose of city government of health, safety a welfare of our residents.
I believe strongly in private property rights. Private property rights are the foundation of a free society. Sometimes these property rights are conflicting between people who want to use their property in different ways.In these cases the input of the people involved is critical. We must work together to find the best possible solution.I promise to listen to all view points and work with the city council to resolve issues.
I have heard many time the saying from former Washington County Water District Manager Ron Thompson that as the city and county we have many issues to deal with but if we don't have water we will only have one issue to deal with and that would be no water!
First let me say how grateful I am for the pre planning that those who came before did to make it possible for us to live and thrive in this wonderful and beautiful desert environment. It was not easy for them and they truly made the desert "blossom like a rose'. Even as we are experiencing one of the most dry periods that I have experienced in my lifetime, we still have the water needed to survive and thrive.
It is then very important that we do the same moving forward and that we find ways to increase our water supply if possible and to make more efficient use of the water we have. Conservation has always been a fact of life in Southern Utah and wise use of water was ingrained into the early pioneers.
Several projects are under way that will help. One is the installation of a secondary water system that will allow landscaping to be watered with secondary or re-use water that can not be used for culinary purposes. I support those efforts and others needed to insure a reliable and safe amount of water will into the future. Working with the water district is crucial in this endeavor.
In today's economic climate it is unclear what we are headed for in regards to budget problems. I am optimistic about the future. We, in America and right here in our city, have proved to be resilient. We have proved time and again that if we are left free to exercise our entrepreneurial spirit we will overcome. What we must avoid from the Federal Government on down to our city is the tendency to be too strict in our laws and ordinances.
The major portion of our income to run the city comes from sales tax. Hard working people are collecting this tax for the city. The city must be a business friendly city.When business owners have concerns over issues we must listen. As we work to attract new business into the city, this will be crucial. As we work to attract new business and industry to the city, we must not forget those who are already here. As a business owner I understand these concerns. I know the struggle of owning and operating a business.
One tendency of government is to use the slightest sign of recovery as an excuse to spend more. This can not be done. Even in good times elected officials should be looking for ways to spend less and leave more in the pockets of private citizens and private industry. Is the proper role of government to find ways to spend more of your money? I say no.
This is a top priority.I know personally some of the people who work on our police and fire departments. These are tremendous hard working people who care about the city. They need to have the resources they need to keep our city safe. Growth brings with it the dangers of increased crime, drug abuse and gangs. We must be involved as citizens in this fight by making the police department aware of problems in our neighborhoods. I back the blue! They need to have the training and equipment needed to do their job of serving and protecting the citizens. I believe our police officers in St George are honored to serve the public and want to be a model of what policing should look like. All they need is the support of our community. The want to be held accountable and improve in areas they can. I support them in this effort.
With the increasing size of our city, more full time fire fighters and facilities are needed. We are and should be planning ahead to make sure the proper personnel and facilities are in place to have this vital service be top notch in our community.
I believe that health and safety are area's that local government is supposed to be involved in and take responsibility.