New Wellington mayor wants to take back-to-basics approach
As Wellington's newly elected mayor, Ben Blackburn has many ideas for progressing the city, including a back- to- basics approach that he hopes will bring improvements. One of his main goals is to encourage Wellington's "home town image" by promoting the town's close- knit communities, and by offering more city- sponsored events.
"Wellington used to be a really close- knit town, and we're going to go after every avenue of funding to improve our city. I would like to (add) things like parks, walking and ATV trails; as soon as I get in, we're going to start looking for funds because right now we're only just able to operate," said Mr. Blackburn.
Although Wellington's budget has been tight due to lost sales tax, Mr. Blackburn said that the city is still operating in the black. However, he also plans to push hard for regaining the lost tax, in addition to finding other funds in the form of grants.
"I've talked to the (Utah) League of Cities and Towns, as well as our local legislatures and I have some plans; we also have a lobbying group that I hope can serve our interests," said Mr. Blackburn.
Despite the tight budget, the new mayor believes that the city has a good infrastructure that's been well maintained over the years. As for other city functions, he indicated that he would like to see expansions and improvements in several areas. One such department is the city police department. While he said they do an excellent job, he wants to work with them to better handle city traffic issues.
"I don't want the town to be a speeding trap, but people ignore the city and I want to work with the state for better traffic control. I had a lot of complaints about how hard it is to get onto Main Street when traffic is high," said the mayor.
In light of the fact that Wellington has a lot of traffic, the new mayor would like to see the city grow in terms of businesses as well as residentially. He said that, with its current space, the city has room to grow. He hopes that the city can attract new people to the area.
"We have a real good planning and zoning commission with some new master plans, and Wellington's a nice place to live, but I would like more recreation options," he said.
Overall, Mr. Blackburn indicated that, once he is in office, he plans to start devoting 110 percent to the city. He also said that while it has been a few years since he served on the city council, he hopes that he can improve the city.
Editors note: This is one in a series of articles about the mayors who were elected in November and their plans for the future.