Four candidates vying for two seats on Toquerville City Council

Four candidates for two seats on the Touquerville City Council to be decided in the Nov. 7, 2017, general municipal elections are, top row L-R Jack Seegmiller and Justin Sip (no photo available). Bottom row L-R Mike Ruesch and Chuck Goode. | Photo illustration by St. George News. Photos courtesy of Toquerville City Council candidates, St. George News

TOQUERVILLE — The city of Toquerville has six candidates vying for three seats in its general municipal election Nov. 7.

Mayor Darrin LeFevre is running for re-election and is being challenged by Lynn Chamberlain. LeFevre has served two four-year terms as mayor, winning his second term while running unopposed in 2013.

Read more: Toquerville mayor faces challenger in municipal election

For Toquerville City Council, four candidates are vying for two seats on the five-member council, namely Jack Seegmiller, Justin Sip, Mike Ruesch, and Chuck Goode. One incumbent city council member, Brad R. Langston, originally filed for re-election but subsequently withdrew from the race. Challenger David W. Hawkins also withdrew his name for consideration, according to city recorder Dana McKim. In addition to Langston, council member Mark Fahrenkamp is also not running for re-election, so the two top vote-receiving candidates will assume the city council seats currently held by Langston and Fahrenkamp.

Following are written campaign statements from three of the four city council candidates. Candidate Justin Sip did not submit a statement or a photo to the St. George News.

Jack Seegmiller

Jack Seegmiller, candidate for Toquerville City Council in the Nov. 7, 2017, general municipal election. | Photo courtesy of candidate, St. George News

I’ve been a Toquerite for 15 years. Married a woman from Toquerville born and raised, and (she has) family still in town raising cattle and growing local peaches. I’m hoping when I become elected I’m put in beautification (being in charge of cleanup on run-down properties and awarding those who keep their property in perfect shape). I would like to see Toquerville kept clean and make people accountable for their property. Also I would lend a listening ear for problems that need be solved and help keep Toquerville beautiful.

Justin Sip

Statement and photo not available, as candidate did not timely respond to multiple requests for input from the St. George News.

Mike Ruesch

Thank you for the opportunity of to answer some questions about myself.  As a child, I moved to LaVerkin in 1976 and through the years I have seen the tremendous growth of Southern Utah.  Due to the warm winter climate, it has become a popular retirement destination and everyone knows we are about two hours away from anything you would like to do: skiing, hunting, camping, biking, you name it.

Mike Ruesch, candidate for Toquerville City Council in the Nov. 7, 2017, general municipal election. | Photo courtesy of candidate, St. George News

My wife and our family have lived in Toquerville for the last 13 years and love the friendly people, amazing scenery and tight-knit community.  I am a journeyman lineman by trade, working for Washington City Power. I have been with the city almost 13 years. My reason for running for Toquerville City Council is simple. My experience being on the planning commission twice, the most recent time as planning commission chairman, and working for a municipality in both the building and electrical departments has given me a broad appreciation for city codes and the challenges that are faced at a municipal level.  I want to use this experience at the City Council level to help with some of the challenges that Toquerville will be facing in the near future.

The next 10 years will be pivotal for Toquerville and our future.  I do see development coming at a very large scale. I have seen through my employment the duress that development can have on the city staff as well as the community if not properly planned for.  We need to have informed citizens and council members that know and share the same direction to coordinate growth to accommodate the needs and wants of the community as a whole.

This I feel should include:

1) The start and completion of the proposed bypass road. This will help keep the small town flavor of old town Toquerville by greatly reducing traffic through the historic, quiet part of town. It will also alleviate an ongoing problem of no access to the west fields while reducing the response time of emergency personnel in addition to increasing the safety of traffic flow.  The bypass road will encourage developers to develop by providing ready access to their land and allow for planned commercial and residential growth to be routed west of current development, allowing us to maintain our small town feel in the downtown area but take advantage of much needed revenue and jobs.

2) Toquerville needs commercial development. Bed and breakfasts are about the only thing that Toquerville has going at the moment. We need to stimulate planned development commercial in Toquerville.  Toquerville is a great location for business.  It is situated between I-15 and the Zion National Park corridor. We need to work with developers to show them the benefits of locating to Toquerville. By working with developers along with our general plan, we will widen our commercial base and we will establish our own revenue base and loosen the constraints on the municipal government for much-needed improvements while maintaining the Toquerville feel that we all love. It’s time to get out of the handout line and seriously widen our financial base.

3) We need to use future growth for establishing needed parks, trails, bike paths, recreational facilities and other fundamental services. We have updated the general plan and need to work with the city staff and the citizens to see it implemented. We will not stop growth, but we can use it to our community’s benefit. Everyone wants building to stop once they are living here, but the truth is growth is happening. The real question is, do we want haphazard growth or responsible, coordinated, informed growth?

I feel that I have a lot to offer and hope to continue to serve the citizens of Toquerville.

Chuck Goode

My name is Chuck Goode. I am running for Toquerville City Council. I love Toquerville. After watching this town grow over the last 24 years, I believe we have come to a critical time in our journey together. We have the challenge to manage our ever-increasing growth while keeping true to our desire to maintain the small-town culture of our community. Toquerville is a beautiful oasis in the desert. We must preserve its beauty, its history and its close families. Our city slogan is indeed correct, “It’s the people.”

Chuck Goode, candidate for Toquerville City Council in the Nov. 7, 2017, general municipal election. | Photo courtesy of candidate, St. George News

There are certain issues I would like to address if I am elected.  Over the next four years, we will be navigating through the highway development of a new Toquerville Parkway bypassing the old town and making a connection from near Anderson Junction to Shangri-La Lane.  We also have the okay to begin construction on a new reservoir near Anderson Junction. We will need to work closely with the Washington County Water Conservancy District in this effort. I have long believed that we need a water storage facility to manage our limited flow from the Toquerville Springs. I will work to get an allocation of secondary water from the reservoir to carry us through dry periods. Water is one of our greatest concerns. We have a significant balancing act to satisfy all our stakeholders in a fair and flexible way.

I feel that my experience sets me apart as a candidate.  I believe the city of Toquerville needs someone who can manage diverse needs, who is familiar with new technologies and, most importantly, who has the people’s interest at heart. My career in computer technology and aerospace has encompassed managing many multi-stakeholder groups of people and projects, designing many interconnected systems and using techniques that preserve resources. I care about this town. Even with the massive changes that we see coming, I feel qualified that I can help us to keep our values, our traditions and our quality of life as we grow.

Resources

Toquerville City website

Toquerville municipal candidate list 2017

Statewide elections and voter registration information

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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