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Kanab City Mayoral candidate profiles

Troy (Colten) Johnson

Troy (Colten) Johnson and family.

What made you want to run for public office in Kanab?

Kanab is changing rapidly in a concerning direction. Many feel that making the tourists happy has too often been the number one priority, while locals are put on the back-burner. As tourism grows, and as we grow as a town, I think it’s important that we don’t lose sight of what has made Kanab a great place to live. The other small towns in rural Utah are doing a better job lately of prioritizing local families and their youth. I’m tired of visiting these towns and having to think to myself ‘this is what Kanab used to feel like.’ We are starting to feel less like a rural, family centered, southern Utah town, and more like a resort/playplace that is ripe for the taking. I think I can be a voice for those who want to preserve the real Kanab.

Why do you feel you are qualified for the position?

I feel that I have a great understanding of what Kanab has been and can continue to be. I believe I feel the same way most people in Kanab do. Experience is important, but what motivates you to be in a position like this is just as important. I don’t have any ambitions or conflicts of interest; I just sincerely want to preserve what we’ve had and prevent further disaster. My education gives me a great understanding of government and our constitution. My profession has given me good listening skills, as well as the ability to help others succeed.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Kanab right now, and how would you address it if you were elected?

I think we have to figure out what kind of place we want to be. Do we want to give our town up to the Jackson Hole/Sedona crowd, or do we want to be the southern Utah, family centered, pioneer town we’ve always been; and that other towns in our region continue to succeed at being? I believe it’s time to look at the city’s general plan again and solidify how we want to grow. We need to be upfront and honest in involving the public in this and then really try to stick to the plan. I’ll be a voice in making sure the public gets to decide what our future looks like, not just a handful who tend to make money off of the precedent a decision might make. It’s interesting to note when precedent counts and when it doesn’t. We will need some good volunteers to fill spots on the zoning and planning commission.

Are you in favor of seeing Kanab grow, or would you like to restrict growth through proper planning and zoning channels?

I don’t want to restrict growth. I want to see us be able to control the way we grow to some degree. If we don’t, our demographic will change; as will our culture, priorities and privileges that come from living in a small town. Proper zoning and planning can help with this. Property rights are extremely important. The constitution gives us tools as locals though, to protect our heritage and way of life from those who are merely here to pick the low hanging fruit, with no care for the effect it will have on our future. Posing as ‘conservatives’ as they hide behind the sacred principle of property rights, they use our reverence for that principle to justify selling us down the river. Real Kanab conservatives know exactly what I mean.

Are you for or against the proposed golf course being proposed by the Kane County Water Conservancy District?

I am fine with it as long as it doesn’t tie up tons of TRT money that otherwise could have been used for other projects that could be used more often by locals. These could include improvements to the rodeo grounds, lights on the baseball fields, indoor gymnasiums, a golf course that is more local friendly, needed updates to our infrastructure or money that could aid departments that are often weighed down by the strain of tourism. Tourism is great, but it does sometimes negatively affect our quality of life as citizens in Kanab, and can cause a lot of strain to our city departments. I’d like to see TRT money be used better. Some will tell you it can’t be used in the ways I suggested above, but I’ve looked into it, and it can be. I think the mayor could help the county see what we’re talking about here.

What else would you like to say to the residents of Kanab?

I love the people and families in Kanab. I’m grateful for the support I’ve been given; it’s been extremely humbling. I do not want to let Kanab down. I have been really vocal about some issues that I feel are important or have me worried, and I’ll continue to be. That’s just how I am, but I value the relationships my family and I have here. I have a lot of respect for everyone who has decided to run for office this year and consider them my friends even if we don’t agree on everything all of the time. I feel the same way towards those who have chosen to support candidates other than myself. In the end, I just love this town and the people who live here, and hope it can keep the values that have always made it great.

Jeff Yates

Jeff Yates and family.

What made you want to run for public office in Kanab?

I want to run for city office because I believe that I have the ability and experience to help guide Kanab into its future. I enjoy working with my fellow City Council members and Kanab City employees to solve the problems the city faces while serving the community. I like being a part of that machine that allows the city to function and helping it run effectively and efficiently.

Why do you feel you are qualified for the position?

I have been directly involved with Kanab City for about 10 years now. I spent a four-year stint on Planning and Zoning, and during that time I was involved in the update of the general plan in 2010. I have been a member of the Kanab City Council for six years at the end of my term this year. My responsibilities on the council have included Police, Fire and Heritage. This has given me exposure to how those departments run and what their needs are. I have also served as the Mayor Pro Tem many times throughout the last two years. I had the responsibility to act on behalf of the mayor when he was not available. I believe this has helped me understand what the job requires and how to perform it successfully.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Kanab right now, and how would you address it if you were elected?

I think the biggest issue is infrastructure. Kanab is currently in a growth cycle. I believe there are four things we need to focus on: water, sewer, public safety and recreation to keep up with that growth. Currently, Kanab is nearing the end of its biggest infrastructure project in its history with two new water tanks and nearly one mile of new water pipe laid in the ground. I want to continue to make sure Kanab has the infrastructure framework it needs while being fiscally responsible.

The next major project that is on the horizon is a storm water project. Kanab City, in cooperation with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is currently in the environmental assessment phase of an 18 million dollar project to mitigate damage from stormwater that effects the drainages near Kanab. If approved, it would take as much as five years to complete and should have the city prepared for floodwater as it comes.

Kanab, in cooperation with Kane County Hospital, has funded and hired some of its first full time firefighter-EMTs. These new firefighters along with volunteers have greatly reduced the response times for medical and fire emergencies in Kanab and the surrounding areas. I hope to continue that trend.

Kanab City is now in the beginning stages of planning and designing a new police station. I feel strongly that the police department needs improved infrastructure to work more effectively. I have worked in conjunction with the Kanab City Police to help make this goal a reality. This will give our

Kanab Police a home for decades and allow them to grow as the city does.

We need to finish the recreational properties we have developed. I would focus on the Ranchos park after completion of the new Kanab Elementary School and finish the connector trail that goes to the Jackson Flat Reservoir. Beyond that, if any large recreational project would increase taxes, I would want it to go to an official vote to approve the funding.

As mayor it would be my focus to help these projects along and put Kanab in a position to handle future growth.

Are you in favor of seeing Kanab grow, or would you like to restrict growth through proper planning and zoning channels?

No one person has control over growth. I believe that we need to have planned and responsible strategies in place to help manage growth appropriately. Planning and Zoning and the general plan provides a framework on how we would like to see the city develop. If and when a developer meets those requirements, we are required by law to allow them to develop. Stopping growth is not an option, however, prudent and planned growth is possible.

While there are many challenges that we face, one of the biggest is cost and availability of housing. I do believe the quickest way to make a community unaffordable is to restrict the amount of housing. This causes an undersupply that makes the cost go up. This will make it harder for our businesses to hire, for our children to stay in Kanab, make services harder to provide and make it harder for Kanab to function. The only way I know to solve this is more housing to be built. My hope is that the new developments will help solve both of those issues.