With four council seats open — though only three voted on because District 1 offered Bill Fillmore as its only candidate — the 2020 council will have a new look.
Unofficial results Tuesday suggested if current winners and trends continue, the new council will include David Shipley, Citywide II; Bill Fillmore, District 1; Shannon Ellsworth, the only woman on the council, representing District 3; and Travis Hoban, District 4. They will join David Harding, George Handley and David Sewell currently serving on the council.
According to candidates’ campaign platforms, the top three concerns for Provo are financial issues in the city, infrastructure concerns and continued growth. Other topics were affordable housing, economic development and west side issues.
Hampering a lot of the campaigning was the highly emotional and seemingly frustrating school multi-million dollar bond proposed by the Provo City School District, which early results indicated was defeated. While the council candidates would not have jurisdiction over the bond or how it would be used, it was still an omnipresent part of the fall campaigning.
West side issues, including the potential relocation of Dixon Middle School, also floated to the top. There was great concern about keeping agricultural land untouched, having enough infrastructure to support growth and watching the number of developments in the future and limiting high-density housing.
The toughest campaigning appeared to be from the southern regions of Provo both west and east. On the east side Shannon Ellsworth and Robin Roberts were formidable in their campaigning. Ellsworth has prior experience in government, but Roberts, who is business and economic development friendly, was the odd man out on these issues during candidate debates and Q&A sessions.
The new council will have to tackle some big money items including the new city hall, the revamping and updating of the waste water treatment plant, the new terminal at the Provo Municipal Airport and a myriad of issues for downtown including parking, economic development and high-density housing and affordable housing. Zoning continues to be an issue.
None of the races appear to be too close to call, but the official count will not be complete until the official canvass on Nov. 19. If typical, the Utah County Elections office will receive more ballots in the mail Wednesday and absentee ballots as well.
New council members will be sworn in the first week in January.