Star Valley Candidates Forum Produces No Surprises

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Star Valley council and mayor candidates surveyed a daunting landscape of problems but sidestepped the specifics at a wide-ranging forum before about 50 politely interested voters Wednesday night at the community hall of the Lamplighter Mobile Home Park.

Both mayoral candidates and three of the four people running for the three open council seats answered questions on an array of issues confronting the two-year-old town. Questions touched on the long-term water supply, the lack of a town police department, and the lack of a sewer system that precludes most new businesses from opening and what to do about a frayed and combative relationship with neighboring Payson.

But while the candidates acknowledged the scope of the basic problems, they offered few specific solutions. They all are running chiefly on their record of community involvement and their opposition to taxes and their support for maintaining the town's rural character.

Incumbent Mayor Chuck Heron and challenger Councilman Randy White did disagree politely about a lodging or rental tax the town initially didn't collect, but then decided to impose once the council realized it affected rental property and not hotels.

Heron pointed out that every town in Arizona imposes the tax and that not charging it from the beginning was an oversight.

White said he opposed the tax and that he was running for mayor mostly to fulfill promises he made during the incorporation drive to ensure the new town didn't raise taxes.

However, many of the questions focused on the problems Star Valley faces in finding ways to provide basic service and facilities.

Three of the four candidates, running for the three open seats, all presented their community ties and history of working on town committees and issues, but none offered any new ideas for providing the infrastructure they acknowledged the town needs.

Council candidates appearing at the forum included Nathalie Stroup, Gary Coop and Barbara Hartwell.

See this Friday's Roundup for more information about the Star Valley candidate's forum, which was sponsored by the Rim Country Chamber of Commerce.

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