Growth a top issue in Salem City

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    By DIANA VAN ORDEN

    The growth and development of Salem is by far the top issue facing the town, according to Salem City Council hopefuls.

    “There isn’t anything to me that Salem is involved with that isn’t affected by growth,” said Roxanna Johnson, one of the six candidates running for three open City Council seats in November’s general election.

    Fellow candidate Vicki H. Peterson agreed that the growth of the city is a top priority for many Salem residents. “Everybody thinks growth is such a big issue and I guess it is,” she said.

    Salem’s population has almost doubled from 2,800 residents to 4,000 in the past six or eight years, said City Recorder Paul Hair. He added that the growth rate is expected to continue increasing at an estimated 6 to 8 percent each year.

    Salem City Council candidates voiced their opinions on the growth issue and how they would approach it if elected to the City Council.

    Reid W. Nelson, a first-term incumbent, said he favors additional businesses for Salem’s tax base. He said Salem needs some growth. He wants limited development as long as the infrastructure of the city can adequately handle the extra growth.

    Nelson said he is running again to complete some projects on an electrical subsystem in the city. He is an internal auditor at Central Bank in Provo.

    Randy L. Goble said he likes Salem as a small community. He said he wants growth in Salem to be controlled in order to make sure the city can fully handle the impact of the additional businesses on utilities such as sewerage and water.

    He also said if he were elected to the City Council, he would like to see the city continue to work together with the volunteers in the community. He is a general contractor at a family-owned business, KR Goble Construction, Inc.

    Johnson said growth is necessary for a community to remain healthy. She feels that some business growth should be sought after because of the additional tax base, while at the same time not growing faster than the community can handle.

    Johnson said if she were elected to the City Council, she would like to see the city’s recreation programs, like Junior Jazz, increase. She is a staff writer for the Spanish Fork Press.

    Peterson said, “I’m in favor of less growth, but I know it’s coming, so I would approach it cautiously.” She said she would like the city’s infrastructure in place before more businesses are built and would like to be able to say no to growth every once in a while.

    Peterson said she would like to form a Chamber of Commerce for business people in the city to voice their opinions and volunteer. She is the owner of Sweetbriar Cove, a boutique and flower shop in Salem.

    Candidates Denis S. Sorenson and Terry A. Ficklin were unavailable for comment at the time this article was posted.

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