hyrum johnson

Hyrum Johnson

Several candidates, including my opponent, have been making promises they cannot deliver, such as hiring a City Administrator in Driggs. City administrators can take some of the day to day office management responsibilities off of a Mayor, and so are great ideas for cities that can afford them. In fact, I first suggested this to the City Council in 2016, and every year since then have acknowledged that our city budget isn’t ready yet, but we should be working on how to get there eventually. Every year, the City Council has recognized more important priorities: Things like patching potholes, critical safety equipment for our water systems, or parks maintenance. Candidates love to promise grand ideas. But elected officials must face the hard realities.

When I hear costly promises from candidates, my first question is “How will you pay for it?” Unlike the Federal Government, Idaho Cities’ budgets must balance. Hiring a qualified City Administrator would cost $100,000 or more (including benefits.) What would we cut to find this money? Or where would we find additional revenue? Cuts could come from events that residents enjoy like 4th of July fireworks or essential services like law enforcement or maybe an already strapped public works department. We could also find more revenue with increased taxes or fees on businesses. In reality, it would take a combination of many of these to fund the position.

A City Administrator is a great idea and would significantly lighten the burden of the Mayor. But we aren’t there yet. To promise this to the public is simply irresponsible, and demonstrates a lack of understanding of city finances.

The City of Driggs is a $50 million enterprise, with a budget of nearly $8 million next year. The City faces major hurdles to manage growth in the next four years. The Driggs Mayor must oversee this. Until the City has the funds to hire an experienced administrator without cutting critical services or amenities or increasing taxes, the Mayor must act as manager, team lead, trainer, and inspiration for city staff. Therefore, experience matters. I have that experience, not only in my professional life before serving as Mayor, but in the last eight years of service to this City.

Next time you hear a politician promise a grand idea, ask them how they will implement it. More importantly, ask them about their experience in implementing complex projects. In the meantime, please vote for Experience and Continuity, Unifying the Future of Driggs. I respectfully ask for your vote on November 2nd. Re-elect Hyrum Johnson for Driggs Mayor. www.HyrumForDriggs.com.