I appreciate the letter to the editor (July 25) from Davis County Assessor Dennis Yarrington in support of Larry Wright for Centerville mayor. Yarrington is concerned about recent tax and fee increases approved by the city, but I am not sure I understand how voting for Wright will help, since as a councilmember, Wright supported many of the increases mentioned. Wright voted for the 1 percent increase in the energy use tax ( March 19, 2013), the nominal garbage fee increase (Aug. 7, 2012), and the water bonds (Nov. 17, 2012).
According to council minutes, Wright also expressed support for the three-step water rate increase. Yarrington also mentioned his concern over the increase in park impact fees, which Wright voted for. But an increase in park impact fees places the financial responsibility on new developers, effectively lowering the potential tax burden on existing homeowners in the city. While on the city council, Wright actually wanted to increase the size of city government by proposing two new full-time city positions. Fortunately, the mayor and other members of the city council voted against Wright’s proposed staff additions. He also supported spending more than $20,000 each year on Whitaker Museum (June 14, 2013) while opposing any merit or performance-based salary increases for hard-working police officers (June 19, 2013).
It would be unfortunate for the city if police officers and city staff didn’t feel the support and confidence of the mayor.
UTOPIA has been a concern for many Centerville citizens. Cooperation and hard work are needed to find workable solutions to the city’s financial commitment as well as the operations and tax issues. Councilman Wright was repeatedly invited to sit on the UTOPIA board and represent Centerville’s interests. His input could have helped to improve UTOPIA’s governance and develop solutions to complex problems within the system. He declined these requests, preferring to criticize instead of working with other cities to find solutions. Along with Mayor Russell and the other four members of the city council, I support Paul Cutler for Centerville mayor. Paul is a problem solver and consensus builder. He focuses on building positive working relationships with city staff and with Centerville citizens. When he recognizes a problem, he rolls up his sleeves and works with others to find solutions. We need his leadership.