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Position papers: Norton City Council, Ward 3 representative

10/10/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Joe Kernan vs. Bill Mowery (incumbent) vs. Dennis Pierson


Voters living in Norton’s Ward 3 will vote for one candidate for Ward 3 representative on Norton City Council in the Nov. 5 General Election. The race is nonpartisan. The information provided below was submitted by the candidates, with their responses to our questions printed as submitted.

Joe Kernan

Why are you running for Council?

“It has become apparent that infighting and ‘gotcha politics’ have again become the norm in Norton, in government and in the city as a whole. Previously, when I served on council and as mayor, I was able to begin to move the city beyond this all too familiar mode of operation. I am running for third ward council in an attempt to do the same now.

“Recently, especially in the third ward, we have witnessed the bitterness of many residents on both sides of the issue regarding the method of funding of the Nash Heights Sewer Project. This has caused unnecessary division and animosity in a city that has a long record of nasty politics. We have also seen the continued deterioration of many of the streets and other infrastructure in the community.

“I believe it is time for the residents of the third ward to have representation on council by someone who will recognize the realities of what the city faces regarding sewer, water and roads and then work with all of council, the administration and residents to reach a satisfactory resolution. It is not beneficial to ignore the realities or attempt to skirt the issues with platitudes. The EPA mandate is not going to go away so we need to deal with it; and because it is indeed laudable to stand with the people, it is time to stand with all of them and listen to all of them with respect and true concern for their situation.”

What would be your top three priorities if you took office? Why?

“Priority one would be to make sure that city council is doing everything possible to mitigate the economic impact on the residents affected by the Nash Heights Sewer Project. The people need a council representative who can work with the constituents and bridge the gap with the city government. It is unacceptable that any resident should be in danger of losing their home because of this project. However, the answer is not to raid the city treasury to fully fund the project. While I am assured that the administration and council have searched diligently for funding streams, I believe that search should continue, and quickly. Residents should be empowered to further research and advise as to possible solutions to the funding problems by creation of an ad hoc committee, with equal representation from those within the Nash Heights area and those not in the area, which would report to the Utilities Committee of council.

“Priority two would be to take a more proactive and long term look at the city’s roads. The current method of funding, repair and maintenance is failing and must be reworked. The key is to formulate a long-term plan, work on consistent funding and then implement and complete the plan. The third priority would be to update and modernize the city’s planning and zoning codes in order to streamline both enforcement and development within the city.

“Finally, it is important to represent all of the residents of the third ward in a respectful and inclusive manner.”


Bill Mowery (incumbent)

Why are you running for Council?

“To keep Norton A healthy and affordable city for the people”

What would be your top three priorities if you were re-elected? Why?

  1. “Keep Norton a Strong Family minded city with Affordable growth
  2. “Remain close to the needs of the people and what there main concerns are
  3. “For once get A solid Road program started and go forward instead of backwards”


Dennis Pierson

Why are you running for Council?

“I am running for Norton Ward Three Council to effect change in how we are currently running our city. Our current council is mostly dismissive of our City’s Charter and in turn the residents. This was evident in how this council allowed three ballot issues passed by the residents to be manipulated by this administration. This is not right. The role of the Council has been diminished by taking this path. As a result, agendas of the few have put the people of Norton in a subservient position by not fully informing the residents. That is backwards. After attending many council meetings over the past few years I would encourage residents to take the time and attend a council meeting to witness all that goes unreported. According to our Charter, the Council works for the residents and in turn oversees the mayor and administration. Currently the reverse is occurring. This is one trend I will fight to reverse and restore integrity in the application of Norton’s Charter. I care about this community and the residents and feel I can better represent the individual than my opponents past records.”

What would be your top three priorities if you took office? Why?

“Like most communities facing revenue shortfalls, how Norton addresses its nearly 8 million dollar debt is of fundamental importance. First an open and respectful local government while managing costs and budgets is a priority. Secondly, we can use our existing and in place mutual assistance agreements with our neighboring communities so we are not duplicating city services and equipment. Also, I would invite Summit County in to present to the residents their capabilities and lower rates on any utilities. Before expanding sewers in residential areas I would first address our existing patchwork of sewer service and JEDD agreement in existing business districts. I would also invite the EPA in to again speak directly to the residents and work to offer alternatives for our residents. Finally, our residential streets are in disrepair as a result of misplaced priorities and I will turn these priorities around. The good thing is this can all be changed with your help this November 5th.”

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