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Meet The Candidate - Robert Kilmer

Article Date: 
11 June, 2010 - 06:00

Robert Kilmer is a teacher at Morgan High School.  He came to Morgan fifteen years ago to teach and to live in the beautiful rural environment that is Morgan County.  He currently teaches welding and machine tools, and is the CTE (Career Technology Education) director at Morgan High School.  
Before moving to Morgan, Kilmer attended BYU, where he earned his bachelors degree.  He then earned a masters degree in administration from the University of Phoenix.  He is married and has three children.
Kilmer has owned a construction business since 1997, primarily installing hardwood floors.  He has a love of recreation and has volunteered for nearly ten years in Morgan’s softball program.  He also served as the vice chair on the Richville/Porterville, Area Plan Committee for the county.
Below are Kilmer’s answers to the set of  interview questions that will be posed to each of the candidates who are running for county council seats:
1.  Why are you running for county council?
“The Morgan that I moved to is the Morgan that I love.  If we are going to maintain that we need to be willing to step up and get on the front lines and make sure that we fight to make Morgan a good community  I just want to do my part.”
2. What do you think are the major issues facing the county?
Kilmer sees the biggest issue as finances.  He believes that growth will be an issue in the future.
3. What changes would you like to see in the county?
Kilmer would like to see more economic development, but he would also like to see Morgan maintain the rural atmosphere and great quality of life.
4. What is your opinion on the county attempting to bring in new businesses?  How would you attract these businesses?
Kilmer believes that the county needs additional businesses, including a hotel and other light industry. He said, “I think we have to be willing to sacrifice a little bit to get them here in the first place.  You are going to have to give some concessions to get businesses to come.  I think we need to bring the right type of businesses.  I think we really need to work hard to bring in a hotel…With that we can start to host different activities and different things… I am not necessarily interested in building Morgan County into a Park City, but there are things that you can do where people will come, drop off their money and go home.  I ‘d like to see us sponsor these type of activities.”
5. How do you feel about the growth in the county?
Kilmer recognizes that growth will happen in the county.  He hopes to maintain the quality of life that drew him to Morgan.  With regards to the approach to growth, Kilmer says, “You have to set your rules and then you stick to them.  You have to be very careful about interpreting those differently for different people.  I believe that there are extenuating circumstances, but I don’t believe that profit on the part of the developer is an extenuating circumstance.  So I believe that when it comes to major development you have a set of rules that govern major development.  If grandma wants to give grandson a lot on her seventy-five acres I don’t see a problem with that… as long as they fit within the existing zoning… I believe that if you set those plans and if you do it right, its [the zoning rules] purpose is to make sure that you maintain the community standard that you are looking for.”
6. How do you feel about the quality of life in the county? What would you propose to enhance it?
Kilmer believes the quality of life is “fantastic.”  He believes that the quality of life can be enhanced by bringing in the right businesses to provide jobs so that individuals can stay in the county to work as well as live.  He believes there are opportunities to continue to enhance the recreation programs as well.
7. Morgan County revenues have declined in the past few years.  Do you think the county budgets are too generous and need to be trimmed?  Do you think the County should raise property taxes? Are there services that should be diminished or cancelled or services that should be expanded?
Kilmer believes that we need to evaluate spending first.  He suggests that the council needs to try to learn what the citizens of the county want and then fund those areas.  He suggests that he would try to learn what the majority of the community wants as a way to determine spending.
8. Morgan County is non-partisan.  Should it continue this way or change to a partisan system?
He believes the non-partisan approach is the right one to ensure good candidates in elections.
9. How do you picture Morgan County in five years from now and twenty years from now?
In the five year time frame he would like to see a hotel and clean industry.  In the ten and twenty year time frames his focus is to maintain Morgan with the same quality of life as we enjoy today.  “I would like my grandkids to know Morgan as close to the way I know Morgan as I can.”
10. 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?
Kilmer is in favor of the objectives of clustering.  He wants to see the county maintain its rural feel and the feeling of openness.  He does not, however, favor a clustered development approach.  His experience from other areas is that it ultimately results in higher density housing over the entire area instead of just in the clusters.  He believes that implementing the existing zoning will maintain the open space better than a clustering approach.
11. Where do you stand on the issue of a Special Service District?
Kilmer is opposed to creating any new taxing entity.  He favors small government and does not favor adding more government entities.
12.  Is the Morgan School District giving children the quality of education they should have?
“Morgan school district usually leads the state and the state usually leads the nation…That makes us some of the best educated students there area.  I believe Morgan School District is doing a fantastic job.”
13. 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?
Kilmer believes that information needs to be disseminated to the community better.  He believes the council should work to establish additional communication mediums beyond the newspaper and traditional forms of communication.
14. What do you see as positive actions the Morgan County government has taken?
Kilmer states that he has been impressed with the due diligence the county has done on the roads in the county and the attention to making them better.
15. 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?
Kilmer’s experience in budgeting in his current job will give him knowledge that will be useful in the council position.  His background in construction and business will give him insight with the development and road issues.
16. How would you vote if the majority of the constituents in your district favored one decision, but you personally favored a different decision?
Kilmer would work to assure that his constituents understood the issue fully and then vote with the majority of the constituent’s opinion.
17. What is your position on the road bond?
Kilmer believes the road bond was necessary.  He  questions  whether there were other alternatives, but he believes that a focus on the roads is important.
18. Do you have time to serve in this role?
Kilmer believes he understands the time commitment and that his position at the school will allow him the time to meet the needs of the position.