The League of Women Voters of Grand County held their 32nd candidates forum on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Their first candidates forum was held in 1984.
“We’ve held one forum every year since,” said Mary McGann, a League of Women Voters board member.
The forum was recorded and will be shown on local TV channels a week before the election on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Three candidates are vying for two Moab City Council at-large seats. Both Jeff Davis and Kyle Bailey have served on the city council for 12 years. Heila Ershadi, a Moab resident of six years, is challenging one of their seats.
The league posed questions about planning for growth management.
Jeff Davis said that the Utah State University’s Moab campus is “the key to providing a year-round economy.”
Heila Ershadi said that Moab residents want jobs that allow them to stay here and raise a family.
Kyle Bailey pointed to the town’s bust in the 1980s when 25 percent of the population moved away.
“We’re now only back to those levels,” he said.
He said that Moab Regional Hospital provides stable year-round jobs and that the USU Moab Campus is the next key to continued economic growth.
Bill Love, Mike Holyoak and Tom Stengel took questions for trustee positions on the Spanish Valley Sewer Improvement District. Gary Wilson is also on the ballot, but did not attend the forum. Mike Holyoak, Tom Stengel and Gary Wilson are all now trustees for the district.
The league asked the candidates if the district should provide sewer services for the San Juan County residents in Spanish Valley.
Love said that San Juan County can’t put in their own plant in the valley.
Holyoak said that each time a home is built in San Juan County, there is another septic system put in place.
“The more we can get people hooked up onto a sewer system, the better off we would be and less likely to contaminate our water,” Holyoak said.
Stengel reiterated Holyoak’s sentiments and added, “we all know that stuff runs down hill.”
When asked about the priority of users, Holyoak said that residential comes first, agriculture is second and corporate needs are third.
“Everyone needs to conserve water,” Holyoak said. “We hope we can prioritize water and make sure everyone has enough.”
Stengel said that residential is first, agriculture is second and corporate needs are third.
Love said that agriculture is in trouble.
“I’m not sure if we will be able to grow high water concentrated plants like alfalfa. We need water-conservative crops and drip systems,” Love said. “The way we’re going with global climate change, we won’t be able to grow alfalfa much longer in this valley.”
Mayor Dave Sakrison is running unopposed. He expressed that tourism was meant to be a stop gap for the economy.
“Tourism has served us well, but we need to broaden our horizon,” he said. “The university is an answer. It will bring higher paying jobs.”