RIVERDALE – Four are competing for two seats on Riverdale City Council, an incumbent and three others who differently hope to contribute to the city and make sure no one is ignored.
Bart Stevens, the sole incumbent, is seeking his second term. And with Brent Ellis, the other incumbent whose seat becomes vacant, the five-member city council will get at least one new face.
Karina Merrill, who was embroiled in a lawsuit with the city that stemmed from a wedding drive she carried out in the countryside around her home, entered the race as a sort of protest against the bad treatment she believed was dealt with by the city guides in this matter. “I will be a leader who listens and I promise 100% that,” she said. âI was completely ignored. I will not let anyone feel the same way. “
Anne Hansen entered the race because of her strong ties to the city. âI love Riverdale and I believe the importance of getting involved in the community,â she said. She recently completed her law degree, “and now I have time to attend.”
Jeffery Savage wants to give something back to Riverdale. “I can only find one way to contribute,” he said.
The top two voting winners, when the voting peaks on November 2nd, will win seats. Riverdale is also on the verge of getting a new mayor, Braden Mitchell, as Norm Searle, the incumbent, is not seeking re-election. Mitchell is the only hopeful mayor.
Here is a look at the city council’s hopes:
Bart Stevens: Stevens, who served in the U.S. Marines and Army Reserves, works in aircraft materials management at Hill Air Force Base. One of the top priorities for him is keeping first responders in Riverdale – police and fire departments.
He’s also focused on making sure the Riverdale Public Works Department has the resources it needs to maintain the city’s infrastructure and improve the city’s parks and River Walkway.
He is concerned about the high density of buildings, such as apartments. “I’m concerned that developers in Riverdale are looking to build numerous high-density rental apartment complexes,” he said.
Karina Merrill: Merrill makes her first offer for public office, spurred on by her dealings with the city at wedding receptions she held on the sprawling grounds of her home in town. She faces two charges listed on the Riverdale Justice Court records as a Class B misdemeanor – operating a business without a license and failure to obtain a building permit.
Merrill claims that despite their best efforts to follow city guidelines to resolve the dispute, city officials were not sufficiently helpful.
“My message is that I felt that our situation was being handled completely wrong and that doors were slamming in our faces in my attempts to resolve this,” she said. If elected, she would ensure that voters’ concerns were duly taken into account.
The litigation appears to stem from differing views about what activities are allowed on their property, Merrill said. She had hosted wedding receptions for friends and family on her property – at the heart of the problem – and accepted donations to help cover her expenses. She claims she didn’t do anything wrong.
Riverdale city attorney Steve Brooks called her operation a “wedding reception business” and said her property was not intended for the type of activity she was hosting. He claims city officials have contacted Merrill on “countless occasions” to try to resolve the matter before going to court.
The city’s prosecutor’s office filed charges on September 19, 2019, and a bank trial is scheduled for next January.
Beyond the legal battle, Merrill argued that the government should be less overwhelmed. “I believe in limited government involvement, fiscal literacy and less regulation for small businesses,” she said.
Anne Hansen: Hansen, who served on the Riverdale Youth Council as a teenager, currently serves as the assistant civil law attorney for the Box Elder County Attorney’s Office. Before that she worked for the city of South Jordan and directed public works.
This is her first application for an electoral office and she wants to be a helping hand in the growth and development of Riverdale. “My priority is to help Riverdale continue to face unique challenges that require focused and creative solutions, and maintain the achievements that make Riverdale the best place to live!” She said in an email.
Another issue for Riverdale will be “maintaining momentum and continuity” as the city’s leadership changes, she said, despite praising the city’s staff.
âRiverdale employees are experienced and have proven (able) to meet the needs of residents and the community. The new councilors will be in good hands and have a great opportunity to steer the city in a positive direction, âshe said.
Jeffery Savage: Savage, who is making his first bid for public office, is a nomination analyst at Northrop Grumman.
As the city grows and develops, he wants to make sure that “people are not forgotten by progress,” he said.
Traffic, he said, was “always an issue” in Riverdale. While the city guides addressed some of the congestion issues, he believes that more attention needs to be paid to road infrastructure in more residential areas around schools.