Providence City prepares for elections with mail-in ballots and public forum

PROVIDENCE – Mail-in ballots for the 2015 election have already been sent out, which means voters are able to start making their decisions now. There are three open seats on the city council and six candidates running to fill the vacancies.

The candidates are Kirk Allen, Roy Sneddon, Sandra Checketts, Rowan Cecil, Jeffrey Turley and Dennis Giles. None are incumbents, but Providence residents recently had a chance to meet them all and hear where they stand on key issues. All six of them discussed their views during a public forum Tuesday night.

One of the first issues discussed dealt with preserving Hyrum’s history, specifically the downtown area. Cecil said he believes the people who grew up in and are living in Hyrum are the best resource for historical preservation.

“It would be worth interviewing people like this,” he said “There’s a number of people here (at the public forum) tonight that I know grew up with my wife here in Providence and they are a tremendous resource for this city.”

Checketts said she would like to see a small museum set up to preserve the history.

“The city just purchased a big building,” she said. “I would hope that maybe we could find one room in that building and maybe turn it into the museum or evolve into getting these archives put into one place.”

Another issue discussed was the issue of home businesses disrupting residential areas. Turley said the city zoning laws already in place, if followed, will prevent problems.

“In order to preserve those we need to make sure we follow those rules and enforce those rules when they are not followed,” he said. “I mean that’s about as simple as I can get.”

Giles agreed the laws are already in place and added that he thinks someone should be in charge of making sure they are followed.

“Sometimes we need somebody out there to enforce things,” he said “Because some people will try to get away with everything they can get away with.”

Sneddon said he believes the ordinances should change. He said there is a problem with how they are written and pointed out that they are too imprecise.

“The overriding concept (of the ordinances) is that the neighbors don’t know it’s a home business, because it doesn’t affect anything they are doing,” he said before giving examples of how it is currently written. “It’s not noisy, it doesn’t stink, there are not particulates being emitted. Heavy trucks do not come there. Stink? How do you measure stink? How do you measure too much traffic?

“They need to be lawyer proof. In order to be lawyer proof there has to be a measure that can be made.”

The candidates also discussed how the city should cooperate with other cities in Cache Valley, such as the possibility of joining with Hyrum for sewage treatment, the hiring of a trails coordinator and putting together a regional library.

Allen said the cities are quickly blending together and that it is important to keep the integrity of the cities separate, but also said he believes cooperation will be necessary. He stressed that it doesn’t make sense to end things like a sewer or electricity system at a city boundary that can be beneficially shared between cities.

Election Day is November 2, 2015, but there will be no polling place. All ballots must be postmarked before that date or dropped off at the Providence City office building.

The entire audio of the public forum is linked to the article.

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