Sarah Fawson – Response to questions

1. Please discuss the value you attach to the following places and events in North Ogden: 

North Shore Aquatic Center: North Shore Aquatic Center is a fun facility that North Ogden residents and residents from surrounding communities enjoy. My goal for the North Shore Aquatic Center would be that at some point it would become a financial asset instead of a liability. My understanding is that community pools are rarely a cost-effective use of taxpayers money, as the cost to build and maintain the pool is rarely compensated by revenue. As the pool is a “nice to have” and not a “must have” I think the city should make efforts to make it as productive as possible. I would love to explore options to improve the profitability or even potential for the pool to break even. I also feel that the initiation of any city-funded project should be heavily weighed with input from the community. If there were a plan to build a similar project in the community today with taxpayer money or a bond I would really
have difficulty moving it forward without a lot of community input and would not favor bonding for any recreational use. In my personal life, I would not borrow money to put a pool in my backyard, and I wouldn’t recommend similar action from the city.

City Parks: Parks are community gathering places that promote good health, family
bonding, spaces for reissy50creation and connection with family and community. They are an important part of our city and should continue to be planned into future developments. We should encourage green space and parks to be a part of development plans in the city in a similar manner that new developers are responsible to incorporate other community services, like curb and gutter and road development as they develop an area. The city should continue keeping the parks well maintained and preserving the community spaces that we have stewardship over. If there are groups that have special interests in contributing to development or improvement of a park, pool or other city assets, private/public partnerships may provide great solutions.

Cherry Days: I love Cherry Days and love the sense of community that is developed
through the different events. I also love the volunteerism that makes Cherry Days happen. I love the sunrise flag ceremony, the Kiwanis sponsored breakfast, the parade and I have loved the opportunities that our family has had to honor and support military members and veterans. I love being able to share an experience with my children that is a celebration of our freedom and a recognition of the good life that we have in a wonderful place. On the city council, I would encourage continuing the long-standing tradition of the Cherry Days events. I think it is important that the budget for Cherry Days is well thought out for this event, and
sponsorships and support and contributions from local businesses and revenue from hosting the event are balanced with the actual expenses. I do love that the city has sought out creative options to decrease the cost of fireworks by using city-owned property instead of paying for an outside facility and offsetting the cost with donations.

Chalk Art Festival: The Chalk Art Festival and Color Run are engaging and relatively new community events. I know that participating in an exercise and doing it in a fun or creative way promotes happiness – for individuals and communities. I loved that the Chalk Art Festival incorporated local food trucks and vendors and has potential to grow as a venue. I think it is awesome to provide community events that engage different people with different interests. When we attended the Chalk Art Festival last year I really enjoyed the opportunity to visit with neighbors, friends and meet and talk to the participating chalk artists. I think this one is a win/win. I love that it promotes creativity, gives recognition for excellent work, promotes positive community engagement, promotes local businesses. All good from my perspective, though I may be naive to the actual ins and outs of putting this on as I just showed up for the fun.

AYSO: This is a great opportunity for any youth to participate in a community soccer league with minimal cost. I love that AYSO runs on volunteerism. I think the use of our city parks by organized sports groups is a great use of our community resources. I would encourage that any group that uses city property continue to respect the resources, using them within the regulations provided by the city and to leave them clean.

N.O. Limits Half Marathon: This is a personal love/hate for me. I do love participating in half marathons and I was excited to participate in one here in my own community. Somehow this race that circled the city of North Ogden managed to be up-hill all of the way around! I would love for this to have more community support and volunteers. I ended up adding two miles to this race as no one was staffed at the turns when I participated two years ago. I am interested to see the progress that has been made with the N.O. Limits Half Marathon and would love to help this grow to be a bigger event.

Sr. Citizens Center: I think this is a great resource in the community. I am afraid I am not as familiar with the history and operation of the Sr. Citizens Center as I am with some of the other city assets/activities. I do like that this provides a community meeting space and events for Sr. Citizens. I would hope to include cost sharing of this resource to residents of nearby cities who participate in events.

2. The North Ogden Plaza (Kings and Kirt’s Family Drive Inn) has the potential for growth which would benefit the city economically. Are you in favor of promoting more/better businesses? If you are, how would you promote the growth?

I am for business growth of the North Ogden Plaza. I think that there are many things the city can do to promote growth and encourage new businesses and services to come into North Ogden. I am pleased to see new businesses like Pizza Pie Cafe, Hug-Hes and Smith’s Marketplace thriving. These are great examples of business success, and I know the city council worked with these businesses to encourage development. I believe that it is reasonable for the city to make some accommodation to encourage new businesses that are estimated to create sales tax revenue for the city.

3. The city purchased Barker Park many years ago. A large part of the park
remains undeveloped. What would you do with the undeveloped land? If there is a cost involved to implement your plan, how would you pay for it?

I would honor the request of the previous owners to have a long-term plan to develop it as community green space or a park. Funding for a new park may be enhanced by individuals, groups or businesses who have a special interest in said development. If there are future considerations of development of nearby business, they may help sponsor and develop the park as part of their community buy-in.

4. Employee costs are rising each year. How do you plan to deal with this issue?

This is an issue that every business has, as demands grow, the team needs to grow to meet the needs. The city, similar to a business, is affected by supply and demand. Growth in our city means that with more homes and businesses the demand for services increases. It also means that there are more residents and businesses paying impact fees, utility fees and increasing North Ogden’s sales tax revenue. Like any good business, costs (employee or otherwise) must be carefully allocated within a budget to meet the needs of servicing the city. Each department within North Ogden City should undergo regular review and should always have goals to improve efficiency and streamline processes. Employees of the City should feel that their input is valued. Each of them is in a position to recognize services that could be improved, and their work environment should encourage employee input to improve services.

5.    The city does not have adequate funding to repair, replace and maintain city
assets including water, sewer, and storm drain lines, water meter equipment, vehicles and buildings. How will you deal with this issue?

A well thought out budget includes future planning and saving for expected needs. I
appreciate the work that has been done in evaluating the depreciation of city assets and setting aside a portion of the budget for expected future expenses. We should be prepared to replace essential equipment and assets in our city when they reach their useful lifespan. This planning will help North Ogden to avoid crisis budgeting or bonding in the future when assets breakdown. I hope to carry this vision forward and will always encourage solutions that avoid debt and keep interest working in our favor.

6. What would you like to accomplish while serving on the city council?

I look forward to serving on the North Ogden City Council and adding a new perspective to the dynamic team that manages the city, the local laws and helps shape the development of our city. I hope to encourage resident engagement and participation in decision-making at the city level, support the rights of property owners, encourage thoughtful economic development and rigorously maintain the budget. The priorities I have for serving on the North Ogden City Council are all weighed by the premise that government should be small in size and effective in their processes. I value personal responsibility, property rights, and low taxes. I think that the United States Constitution is always a guide we can look to in balancing the roles of government at all levels and any laws should fit within the framework of the constitution.

7. What are the issues that you think need to be addressed in the city?

Economic Development: North Ogden is growing. I hope to encourage smart development and bring resources and conveniences to our city in a way that allows us to keep our hometown appeal. New businesses in our community allow us to use our purchasing power to invest in our own community. The balance of residential to mixed-use properties and business/commercial use is always a hot-button issue. This dynamic and ongoing discussion requires community participation and input. I will always encourage open processes, public discourse and residents’ participation in discussion and decision-making. The city council of North Ogden is in a unique position to shape growth in a positive way. I applaud our current city council and mayor for the market-driven solutions and economic development they have
brought into the city.

Managing the Budget: Every dollar of the city’s budget matters. As a business owner, I recognize that every dollar that I spend in my business matters. I budget for my business, I budget for my family and an essential part of the job for city council members is to actively engage in maintaining a responsible and well-planned budget. We have to be vigilant in managing the budget to allow residents to keep the maximum amount of their hard-earned paychecks in their own pockets. Tax money is not free money, it was acquired from the hard work of citizens in the community. Frugality should be a priority and any use of tax dollars should be well thought out, discussed and decided upon openly, and with public input. Where possible private solutions should replace government-funded solutions.

8. How have you already been volunteering or serving in the city?

I love the opportunities I have had to “pay it forward”. The most meaningful service that I have had the opportunity to give is small acts of personal service in serving my family, neighbors, and community. I believe that our community is the one we create, having good neighbors begins by being a good neighbor. North Ogden is a friendly community that is created by individual residents engaging in positive ways to create the community they want to live in. In a more official way I have served the community as a Weber County Delegate, and as a State delegate at different times and have valued the opportunities I have had to participate and represent my community. I have served within my church in positions with children, teens, and adults as a cub scout leader, music director, religious instructor and within leadership positions for youth groups within my church. I have also served Weber, Morgan, Davis and Box Elder counties for 11 years as a sexual assault nurse examiner. In this position, I have been able to volunteer call time as a sexual assault nurse examiner for the last 12 years and have volunteered time to free consultation to prosecutors and defense attorneys in sexual assault cases for Weber, Davis, Morgan and Box Elder Counties. I have also volunteered time to train new sexual assault nurse examiners, law enforcement officers, and family practice residents in serving victims of violent crimes.

If you are interested in knowing more about my background and experience feel free to visit:
https://www.sarafawson.com/meet-sara

9. If you are not elected, what would you do to try to help work on ideas or issues that are important to you?

I will continue my love and engagement for North Ogden City whether or not I am elected. I am happy to call North Ogden home and I will continue to be a thoughtful contributor.

*Connection Publishing does not endorse or favor one candidate over another. These questions and answers were provided by North Ogden City and each candidate was given equal opportunity to answer according to their campaigns. This information is provided here for informational purposes only.