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Paula Smith St George City Council election

Paula Smith's  Political View & Stances

ST GEORGE POSITIONS ON KEY ISSUES~

 

I appreciate your interest in my views and opinions. I will keep this page updated with

responses to public inquiries, covering various topics that residents may find informative.

If you have a question, please do not hesitate to reach out.

MY VIEWS ON GROWTH:  Uncontrolled growth is not sustainable, but at the same time, we cannot completely halt growth. It is essential to have a controlled and systematic approach to growth management. Collaborating with builders and encouraging community needs development may be an organic means to growth stability and desirability. There are likely many ways to limit the growth without increasing city liability--I'm very open-minded about a solution.

Giving precedence to completing a revised City Master Plan is imperative moving forward. Enlisting a professional's expertise is advisable. Establishing and adhering to a well-defined plan holds the utmost significance for forthcoming development.

Selectively allowing builders to construct their projects while constraining the choices of others could lead to legal disputes and accountability concerns. It is vital to maintain a commitment to the master plan and adhere to established planning and zoning regulations without constantly changing the criteria.
 
As we consider growth management, one crucial factor to keep in mind is the structure of our property tax system. The current system favors new development and provides the City with additional funding, which creates a divide between residents and those interested in building. This divide can be especially contentious regarding issues like growth and water usage. If we hope to create a more equitable situation, we need to reevaluate our property tax structure in the state. The tax structure and the property tax structure are areas I plan to continue to advocate for change with the state. 

PUBLIC SAFETY:  Our top priority should be maintaining a safe and secure community. This means we must ensure that our public safety departments are well-funded and equipped with the necessary resources to do their jobs effectively. We must recruit and retain public safety and have that prioritized within the budget before anything else. We must listen to their needs and concerns, hire the right people, and provide them with the tools and funding to keep our community safe. Unfortunately, we have a lot of wasteful spending, accelerating each year and outpacing growth.

 

PUBLIC COMMENTS:  The return of public comments is a positive step forward, and it's great to see the City taking action on this. The comments should never have been stopped or paused. I'd take it a step further, allowing comments from a broader range of residents, not just those who reside in St George. Many neighboring residents have close connections to St George through their businesses, shopping, dining, recreation, and more. It's only fair to provide them with an opportunity to express their opinions and concerns. 

POTENTIAL FOR RETURN OF COVID:  I support medical freedom. I do not support vaccine mandates. I do not support blanket mask mandates.  I do not support closing any business or preventing employees from working--ALL EMPLOYEES ARE ESSENTIAL. I do not support isolation or lockdowns. 

DIXIE:  There is NO SHAME IN THE NAME. Dixie has been part of the Southern Utah heritage long before those who arrived and now desire
 to cancel history. The Dixie Spirit is EXACTLY what makes the area so unique.

Dixie will remain. 

UTAH STATE FLAG:  Our Utah State Flag has the seal of Utah encircled, with a bald eagle on a navy blue backdrop. Any other flag is only part of an unnecessary agenda. 

PUBLIC SPACES:  It is unacceptable for any adult content, whether direct or implied, to be displayed in areas where children are present or in public spaces such as parks. Creating safe and appropriate environments for everyone, especially children, to enjoy without exposure to inappropriate or mature content is essential. Our top priority should be to safeguard and enhance the well-being of our community by ensuring that adult content is never exhibited in or near public parks. I will support any necessary action to ensure that does not occur. 

As for vendors and special event permit requests, it's reasonable to allow reservation and utilization of our public parks on a temporary or short-term basis as long as permit holders adhere to the rules and regulations for the park's usage. Having clear guidelines for all events is essential, and the City must define any fee waiver requests. The City must apply rules and waivers to all applicants without favoritism.

GOLF COURSES: The City's ownership of four golf courses is an expense that outpaces revenues on our budget. We must neutralize the losses and generate revenue or establish savings for renovations rather than burden taxpayers with extravagant upgrades. It's important to clarify that I am not in favor of selling the golf courses. 
Instead, I am open to exploring alternative solutions.
One potential approach could involve leasing the properties, provided that the terms are favorable and in the best interest of the city and the residents. Additionally, we could consider allowing the private sector to manage some or all of the golf courses, with the possibility of conducting a trial run with one of the courses to gauge its viability.

By considering these options, we can maintain the City's control over the land to ensure it continues to serve the community's needs while avoiding the mismanagement of taxpayer funds. Preserving current amenities is vital, as many homeowners selected their prop
erties due to these offerings. Our goal is to achieve financial stability and ongoing community satisfaction through a refined and strategic business approach while being open to evaluation, reviewing cost-benefit analysis, and listening to public input.

GO BOND:  I fully support the residents having a vote for this upcoming GO Bond. Taxpayers should be able to decide if they would like to fund this additional money toward parks. The City Council will vote next year to increase property tax during the Truth In Taxation process (as they have indicated on record). To learn more about the GO Bond, visit my blog post: What are GO Bonds?

SECOND AMENDMENT:  My stance is quoted within the constitution ..."the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  

ELECTION FRAUD:  In-person, paper ballot voting (non-electronic) is the most secure and reliable way to ensure fair and accurate election results. Although machines can be used for counting, hand-counting verification must always be part of the process to guarantee that every vote is counted correctly. The hand-count step is essential to maintain the integrity of the election, which should be a priority.

ARTS: I will support the renewal of the RAP tax, allowing the VOTERS the option to pass. RAP tax brought in over $3 million on the recent budget, and funds were allocated to multiple sources. I support these options; however, I would like an improved system allowing easier access to information and enhanced transparency for taxpayers. This includes clear visibility into fund allocation, the grant recipients, and the application procedure, as well as a comprehensive allocation report (in a readily accessible manner for easy locating).

LGBTQ:  I'm a supporter of the community. I have several immediate family members and many friends within the community, and we've had meaningful, in-depth conversations, which I appreciate. All Americans should be able to live without fear and hatred.

ELECTIONS:  I believe we should return to one-day, in-person voting. Hand counting is critical. I support using machines, but a FULL hand count should be implemented. Utah is ripe with fraud; we must demand control and stop relinquishing our rights. 
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As individuals, we all have the right to make our own choices in life. As responsible residents, we should enjoy our freedoms without imposing anything on others, especially children. 

I do not support adult or mature content in front of children. I do not support chemical, medical, or surgical gender procedures on minors. 

WATER~

As a city, we all have a responsibility to do our part in conserving water. It's important to acknowledge that our city's growth is inevitable, but that doesn't mean we can't make smarter choices in planning growth. Our county is adding more reservoirs and implementing reuse strategies. These efforts will assist the sustainability of our water supply. Additionally, pricing strategies can play a significant role in encouraging water conservation.

Implementing a water loss management program to report and repair irrigation or exterior leaks may benefit the community. We should be meeting with state leaders in neighboring dry regions. Our current City Auditor commented that he also audits Arizona cities. He explained that their budget is very different from ours; they have excessive debt regarding water issues. Researching cities with water issues and learning what they did wrong and what they are doing right, then implement their lessons now instead of repeating their mistakes. What is in their budget? It's worth exploring the possibility of redirecting our current budget wasteful spending to get ahead of this issue. Rather than imposing more taxes later, we could find ways to cut unnecessary expenses and allocate resources to address the problem at hand. It may require difficult decisions and trade-offs, but it's a potential solution.

 

I do not believe we should implement swimming pool moratoriums (at least not at this time).

 

There are ways to educate the public about pool water conservation. For example, popular chlorine "tabs" include CYA (cyanuric acid), an ingredient in most "off the shelf" selections. CYA is a compound that encapsulates chlorine so that your chlorine will last longer. The issue is that CYA does not dissipate or dissolve. When a user adds too much CYA (or builds over time), it renders chlorine useless, and adding more is futile. Users are forced to drain and refill with fresh water, a typical solution done by most pool owners. However, if more people realized that reducing their use of CYA can allow their pool water to last longer (1-3 years on average), this would assist in conservation. There are tabs that have no CYA, and while more expensive it will ultimately save from refilling (cost and conservation). 

INFRASTRUCTURE~

We seem to have a backward approach to the development and growth within the city. We need approval processes that address the infrastructure and proper roads BEFORE adding subdivisions and residents within an area. Sidewalks and safety concerns should be addressed in advance, upon subdividing approval, not after development (which may occur years later), creating sections of missing sidewalks on pedestrian-traveled roads.
 

An example, widening and connecting 3000 has been planned for YEARS, and the project works in phases for completion. There is a community over by the new Temple, with a through street (Blue Heron) to 3000. This section of 3000 is two lanes (1 lane of travel in each direction). Traveling South on 3000 around 3-5 pm is busy, and vehicles can reach speeds over 40 MPH in this area. Since there is no dedicated left turn lane, drivers stop traffic while making a left turn on Blue Heron, causing congestion and dangerous driving conditions. Why would this street be approved to open to 3000 when it’s known that 3000 would begin the widening phase in that area (currently underway)? This is just one of the many examples scattered throughout the city. It's essential to ask more questions at the outset before any development occurs. Waiting until the issue is already at hand and asking, "How do we fix it?" is not forward-thinking or intelligent planning. I intend to ask more questions before approving anything within my control.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING~

I've been researching affordable housing and how our city can tackle this challenge effectively. It's frustrating, but the State or City cannot compel or require builders to construct less expensive homes, I believe in a free market society. Simply "halting" permits and growth may seem logical, but it could worsen the problem. Instead, we need to take a more measured approach to growth and encourage developers to focus on higher density in suitable locations, rather than short-term and resort communities which are currently beginning to saturate the housing market. Younger buyers, in particular, may respond positively to this strategy as it could provide housing opportunities and allow them to remain in St George.  

 

In the original budget (for 2022), $200,000 was allocated for "research" on affordable housing for city employee housing. (page 25 of the 22-23 final adopted budget). "however, some fund balance remains available, and for FY2023, it is recommended to use $200,000 towards a study and design for an employee housing project due to the shortage of attainable housing in the area." These funds are left over from an expired EDA district (mostly collected from commercial property in Ft Pierce). This year (2023) the city proposes to use this money for rate buy-downs for city employees. I believe this is a misuse of funds, as the funds were set up for Affordable Housing, not employee benefits.

The City Council opted to use the funds towards mortgage rate buydowns for Public Safety employees. The exact format for the use of these funds is not at all transparent and in my opinion, a possible misuse of funds. 
 

For clarification on my position, this only applies to the money left over; I do not support government or state funding for home assistance (it's not the proper role of government). Normally, I'd prefer to return the money to the taxpayers, but this was collected from commercial businesses over the past 10-20 years, and most aren't even the same business there today--it will be complicated to return funds, and blanket returns will yield a few dollars. In this case, it makes sense to appropriate the funds to the intended recipient initially collected, as close as possible (benefits for affordable housing).  

Spending taxpayer money for city employees who are also taxpayer compensated while neglecting the residents struggling to find a place to live makes no sense. Our homeless population is increasing. This is a concern that will continue to impact the community. By proactively tackling this issue before it spirals out of control, we can prevent it from affecting the community.

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