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The Crossroads Journal

Question and answer with Saratoga Springs candidates

By Mike Kieffer
The Crossroads Journal recently gave each Saratoga Springs mayoral and city council candidate the chance to respond to questions of high interest to city residents. Sixteen questions were sent to each of the candidates in the municipal elections that The Crossroads Journal covers. These candidates were given the opportunity to answer questions on a wide range of topics including; roads, development, family life, open space, schools and why they are running for office. 

Participation in the survey was voluntary, not all candidates responded, and not all questions were answered by those that responded. Four of the sixteen questions were then randomly selected for each city to be published. The candidates did not know which questions were going to be selected for their city for publication. The candidates answers to each question are listed in random order following the questions.

Question: Do you feel the education system is adequate in your city? If so, what are we doing well, if not, what needs to be changed.

Stephen Willden - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Council
"The school system is working well in our city, but there are always opportunities for improvement. The biggest challenge we face is overcrowding in schools. Over the last four years, I have been able to work with the rest of the council, mayor, city staff, and the Alpine School district to pass a recent bond, which increases the number of schools in our area and decreases classroom size all without increasing property taxes."

Jim Miller - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Mayor
"Our young population and growth has presented unique challenges for the Alpine School District and education in the Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain area, but new school buildings, however, are not the only answer. We have parents that are successfully home schooling their children and others who have moved to online schooling options. Paula Hill has worked hard as an elected member of the Alpine School Board to stay in contact with the City Council and plan for future growth to meet our needs."

Michael McOmber - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Council
"The Council does not have an official say in what happens with the education system within the city; however it is important to have dialog and ongoing communication with the Alpine School Board and administration. I have the full endorsement of Paula Hill our School Board representative and have worked regularly with the school district in making sure our current and future needs are being met. One of those needs was for another middle school and in the next 18 months a new middle school will be built in Saratoga Springs next to the Saratoga Hills neighborhood."

Question: Can you give me a brief description of your family, and what it means to you?

Michael McOmber - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Council
"I have been married to my beautiful and talented wife for 16 years and have two kids (13 and 9). My family is everything to me. I do everything for them. My service on the council included."

Jim Miller - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Mayor
"My wife, Becky, and I have called Saratoga Springs home since 2005 and enjoy raising our three boys in this beautiful city. We love spending time together, especially outdoors. My family loves this community and oftentimes you will find us together at many city events. I would not be running if I did not have the support of my family."

Stephen Willden - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Council
"While residing in Saratoga Springs these past 11 years, we've had 5 children. My wife, children, and I love fishing, movies, soccer, basketball, ATVs, and generally spending time together. My family means everything to me and will always come first, so over the last four years I always try to involve my family in city activities that I have been involved in as a city council member. You will meet at least one of my children at every city event."

Leah Hansen - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Council
"I have been married to my husband for nearly 24 years, and together we have raised our four children ranging in age from nearly 16 to nearly 22 years. I will not explain in two more sentences what my family means to me, because it would be unfair to them. I do not think such an answer can be given its due in only 3-4 sentences."

Question: Do you feel we have enough open space, too much open space, or too little open space in the city? What policies will you try to implement to support that view?

Jim Miller - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Mayor
"Saratoga Springs has lots of open space to help preserve the view corridors and feeling of openness. In August of this year, we will break ground on the new Veteran's Memorial Sports Complex, "Patriot Park," that will open Spring 2019. We were able to do this without increasing taxes, yet still provide a place for the community to come together. But that is not all we are doing, we will continue to work with land owners and the State to preserve and make use of the great access we have to the lakefront and mountainside that offers many great recreational opportunities."

Michael McOmber - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Council
"Open space, once gone, can really never be replaced. We need to make sure that the ordinances and policies in place address these needs and maintain an equal playing field for all land owners within the city. I believe that in recent years we have done much better to define what is truly considered open space and have set parameters to preserve it. I will continue to fight for this within the city."

Stephen Willden - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Council
"Saratoga Springs has ample open space outside of a quality sports parks for baseball, but we recently approved a sports complex without raising taxes that will be built and ready for use in 2018. Our city is experiencing rapid growth, and is imperative to negotiate with developers to preserve and improve open space as more homes are built in our city. We have been able to successful do this the past four years and will continue to do so going forward."

Question: What are your views on the city's current plan for parks and recreation, and what are future goals for them?

Michael McOmber - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Council
"I was very excited to approve the sports park, "Patriot Park", which will have 8 baseball fields and 8 pickle ball courts. As our city grows, these are the types of amenities that should, and are, coming to the city. I hope that in the next few years we will be able to build a recreation center for the residents to enjoy sports year round. I also would like to see the performance park in Fox Hollow get developed. That park has an outdoor amphitheater which would be another great amenity for the city."

Stephen Willden - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Council
"As a city council, mayor, and staff, we have significantly improved our parks and recreation program over the last four years, all without increasing taxes. For example, we hired a top-in-the-state recreation director who has significantly increased youth and adult sports programs, without added cost to the tax payers, and the Sports Park, including baseball and pickle ball in phase one and all purpose fields in phase two, is breaking ground this spring. We will continue to find innovative ways to improve parks and recreation without increasing taxes."

Jim Miller - Candidate Saratoga Springs City Mayor
"As a council, we have actively worked to improve our parks and recreation for the residents of our community without having to raise taxes. In many ways, this has prolonged the time it has taken to build our parks and programs, but I and the Council feel that this is the right and responsible way to manage the needs and growth in a developing city. We hired a top-in-the-state recreation director who has increased both the quantity and quality of youth activities, and is planning to grow the program to include those who are young at heart and wish to get out and play. We are currently in the process of adding baseball fields and pickle ball courts to our city programs."
The community news source for Eagle Mountain Utah, Saratoga Springs Utah, Lehi Utah, American Fork Utah, Highland Utah, Alpine Utah, and The Cedar Valley, including Cedar Fort Utah and Fairfield Utah. Copyright 2018 The Crossroads Journal LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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