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Meet The Candidate - Jim Montgomery

Article Date: 
8 October, 2010 - 06:00

Jim Montgomery is a candidate for county council district 2. District   2 runs from the Garnet Drive intersection up to the Peterson Overpass;   this includes all of Peterson up to Smith Creek and through   Enterprise, to and including the West side of Stoddard Lane.
Montgomery is running against Lyle Nelson.
Montgomery was born in California and was raised on Acre Cattle Ranch.
He moved to Utah in 1980. He has lived in Morgan for thirteen years.
He was a television and video repairman and also worked as an   associate electronic engineer for seventeen years in a corporate   environment. Montgomery has gained insight about the inner workings of   the county from his wife who works in the planning department.  She is planning to leave county employment by the first part of next year,   whether or not Montgomery wins office.
He and his wife have five   children, all of whom are grown.
  Below are the answers to questions that will be posed to each of the   candidates interviewed who are running for county council seats:
1. Why are you running for county council?   Montgomery communicated that he would like to see more business in   Morgan. He feels that this will help to ensure that the county will   not need to raise taxes. He sees communities such as Heber and Park   City that have been able to diversify their tax base and believes  Morgan could benefit from the same. He says there is room for  improvement in the council, and that there is a need for “common sense”. He also expressed that one of his reasons for running is “I just don’t have any confidence in their [the county   council’s] judgment anymore.”
1. Why are you running for county council?   Montgomery communicated that he would like to see more business in   Morgan. He feels that this will help to ensure that the county will   not need to raise taxes. He sees communities such as Heber and Park   City that have been able to diversify their tax base and believes  Morgan could benefit from the same. He says there is room for  improvement in the council, and that there is a need for “common sense”. He also expressed that one of his reasons for running is “I just don’t have any confidence in their [the county   council’s] judgment anymore.”
2. What would you like to accomplish, if elected?   As stated in the answer to question one, he would like to see more  business come into the county. To do this he says, “You give   them tax breaks to get started with, and help them out as much as you   can to facilitate them. Then they kind of take root and grow on their   own after that.”
He continues by suggesting we need to contact businesses and help them   know the benefits of locating in Morgan County.
3. What do you think are the major issues facing the county? “Maintaining the taxes on the county as they currently stand. I  see no reason to raise taxes. One of the things I plan to use, as a light in the dark so to speak, is Clearfield has been able to maintain   no tax raises for the last three years, and they have lost no services. That is a very wise council that they have over there that   has managed to do that. I don’t see any reason why Morgan   can’t be in the same condition where we can maintain the services we have.”
Montgomery would also like an understanding gained of the water situation in the county. He says, “One of the things I would like to see done, finally, is a determination of how much water is actually available to the county. We just don’t know and have   drug our feet in coming to some conclusions about the availability of   water so we know how to manage it.”
4. What changes would you like to see in the county?  “I am open and willing to look at governmental changes in terms   of the structure of how the county is governed. In talking with other   candidates, they seem to be in favor too of at least taking a look at   various forms and then presenting it to the public, so I am in favor  of that.”
Montgomery is in favor, however, of the current non-partisan structure of the county and favors those changes that do not put the non-partisan status of the county at risk.
5. What is your opinion on the county attempting to bring new   businesses into the county?  See question 1.
6. How do you feel about the growth in the county? Montgomery would like a focus on the county holding the developer   responsible for the cost of the development and not have the county be held accountable to finish projects when the developer does not complete required items. “I don’t know if it is a lack of professionalism on the part of our planning and zoning department that has lead us into those consequences for the county or … [it] might be the county attorney, but it appears that the county council has not been looking at things in enough detail to determine shortcomings in developers ability to fulfill their projects.”
7. How do you feel about the quality of life in the county?  What would   you propose to enhance it?
“Things that they finally got started on this year and that was the improvement of the roads. There is nothing that sets up an  attitude about your county than the condition of the roads that you   drive on in getting from to and fro. And that looks like we finally   see some improvement in that because it has been quite a few years of neglect.
  One of the things that has shown itself recently is our lack of space in the county buildings, and so I would be in favor, perhaps, of bonding an enlargement or add-on addition to the county building in   order to offer more office space. We have gone through a period of musical offices and the reasons still evade me…They shipped the   building inspector and his secretary across town into the maintenance department and then brought him back. They have taken a vault that was in the county building and took it out and then put it back. That is expensive stuff. And everybody still is, relatively speaking, on top   of one another. There has been no gain. So it is obvious we really do  need a little more space. If we were to add a wing onto the building, there is room for it, and I’d be in favor of seeing that improvement.”
8. Morgan County Revenues have declined in the past few years. Do you   think the county budgets are too generous and need to be trimmed? “This is a challenging period when you have decreasing revenues   you are getting into a squeeze play. There are ways and means of trimming, to the point that it is not necessary to raise   taxes…There has been a point in time this current year where the county has had to go out and borrow money, and yet at the same  time they claim that they have a rainy day fund that they have borrowed to acquire. When it comes down to having to borrow money to keep the county business going, we have a rainy day fund, it seems   like that is what the rainy day fund is used for, or should be used for.”
9. Morgan County is non-partisan. Should it continue this way or   change to a partisan system?  Montgomery would like to see the county remain non-partisan.
10. How do you picture Morgan County in five years from now and twenty  years from now?   Montgomery would like to see an increase in the commercial base in Morgan County. He would like to see the tax base diversified. He would also like to see the developments that take place not burden the   county.
11. Where do you stand on the issue of a Special Service District? Montgomery is against adding the special service district and establishing another taxing entity.
12. Where do you stand on the aquatic center?    Montgomery expressed that the time is not right for the aquatic center.
13. Is the Morgan School District giving children the quality of   education they should have? Montgomery expressed that the quality of education in Morgan is   excellent based on observances of the quality of the statewide education.
14. In the past citizens have often only become involved after a decision is made by the council. What would you do to get people   involved sooner?  “County government in general needs to have more exposure to the community so that the community knows more about what’s going on. I think one of the things that has lacked in the past is just enough criticism to keep peoples interest in what’s going on around them and what is happening. There has been a neglect of that lately and I would like to see more transparency.”
15. What do you see as positive actions the Morgan County government   has taken?    “Frankly, I have watched this council for a long time. There   has been a lot of incompetence… I don’t think I can   really point at anything except getting the roads done,   finally.”
16. Knowing the diversity of issues faced by the council from legal issues to land management to personnel, public works, economic development, etc. What skills do you bring to help the county with  these issues? “I think a focus upon more detail in terms of decision making.
There hasn’t been enough attention paid to the possibilities of how development should take place so that the county isn’t burdened with the consequences of developers' problems.”
17. How would you vote if the majority of the constituents in your   district favored one decision, but you personally favored a different decision?  “Those kind of issues do come up, but it seems like that issue is usually solved by more information so we can come to a   consensus.”
18. What is your position on the Road Bond (should the council have   passed this bond)?   “From what I understand, and I have yet to look into the   details of this, but it seems to me that the class B road funds should have taken care of the roads as they exist…So the road fund and whether or not they are being correctly used, I don’t know.
This county administrator thing may reveal some of the problems that   existed there. “
19. Recently the County participated in Envision Morgan and other   public input planning meetings. Some respondents favored clustering   development into specific areas with the remaining spaces undeveloped.
What is your vision for future development of the County? Montgomery sees some value in clustering, but believes it is better   suited to areas that do not have farmland in the open spaces. He believes that the open spaces should be in private hands, and should   be placed, where possible, near existing farms so the land can be used   in a manner consistent with the structure of the valley today.
20. Do you have time to serve in this role?   Montgomery replied that he is retired and has the time to serve in  this role.
21. What is your view of the council administrator position?  “I am basically against a county administrator. We operated so many years with the county council just dividing up the responsibilities within the county and handling it that way. I am sure that a county administrator is a nice thing to have, but as we have   found out, it has its complications and the legality of it at this juncture of time with the government structure we have in the county.
I am not too sure we really should have an administrator as such. The   department heads are, in most cases, fully capable of handling their departments so a coordinator is really questionable.”