Orem voters appear to have elected two new council members, and it is still too close to call on two incumbents vying for the third open seat on the Orem City Council.
If money and signs are any indication that those are the things that win elections, Terry D. Peterson, the frontrunner, would be the proof. He garnered the most votes in the unofficial vote tallies Tuesday.
Peterson spent the most on his campaign — $12,295.50 according to the Oct. 29 campaign finance report. He wants to re-establish Orem as “Family City U.S.A.”. To do that he would have more resident involvement, keep fees and taxes low, revamp the city’s master plan, and lower fees for youth sports and activities.
The next closest in spending was Jeffrey Lambson at $7,384.46, followed by Spencer Rands, $5,321.92; Nichelle Jensen at $5,153. Incumbents Debby Lauret and Sam Lentz spent $2,786.70 and $3,714.76 respectively.
On Tuesday, Lauret and Lentz were within about 100 votes of each other for the final spot on the council, with Lauret ahead of Lentz. Final canvass results will be presented at the council’s Nov. 19 meeting.
When voters read the platforms of the candidates running for Orem council, they can quickly notice a standout issue among almost all of them – caring for the public safety officers and first responders of the city.
This single issue seems to have be a driving force in the fall campaign season. Police and fire officers are leaving at a steady pace from Orem, claiming wages and benefits are stagnant and they can no longer afford to live within the city they protect.
Other issues candidates addressed include the ever present growth issues, transportation, affordable housing and community unity.
UTOPIA, which has been a pet project of Lentz, was not in the top concerns of most of the other candidates. They are more concerned about fiscal responsibility and sustainability.
Jensen said her top concerns were the city’s sustainability and environmental issue. She wants to provide other transportation options and is concerned about the lack of affordable housing and wants to assess high-density housing in the city. She appeared to be the only candidate that had environmental and climate issue in her top tier of issues.
The new council members will join Tom McDonald, David Spencer and Brent Sumner on the Council and Mayor Richard Brunst a voting member on the council.
New candidates will be sworn in the first week of January.