East Carbon mayor elect gives view of future plans
Elected for another term as mayor, Orlando LaFontaine intends to continue his promotion of East Carbon City, as well as encouraging its overall cleanup and beautification. The mayor also wants to expand on the city in the form of new subdivisions and offerings so that growth can take place.
"I want to bring more recreation to the area (and) I'm working with private investors to make (new) subdivisions. Our goal is to benefit the community (part of which is) bringing back resources (such as) learning, libraries and businesses," said the mayor.
Some of East Carbon's greatest challenges, according to LaFontaine, include promoting social development and economic growth. Although encouraging economic growth in the city is nothing new, the mayor wants to promote businesses that offer social interaction.
"There are no businesses, no locations to share ideas, no barber shop, no library. Our greatest challenge is to give our city resources. I want to open small businesses so people can have a place (to work). We can't expect our kids to stay (working) in Price, it's 25 miles away. We need viable economic growth (here)," he said.
Revenues have been a problem in the past; however, LaFontaine indicated that the city has a decent budget. He also believes that if the city can structure its bonds and loans, its financial status should improve.
"Right now we're good, if ECDC (East Carbon Development Corporation) is doing well, we're doing well, but we've also created some incomes. Our wellness center brings in $20,000 a year," said the mayor, who added that the city has been fine for the last four years in terms of budget.
One area of expenditures that could be a problem for the next few years are water bills. The mayor indicated that, although many people in the city have fixed incomes, water bills will have to be raised.
"Sooner or later people will have to face it, we have to pay for our resources. Water bills will have to come up. Most other (cities) and PRIWID have raised theirs several times. It's unheard of that we haven't," he said.
Currently, water bills in the city are about $15. The mayor indicated that they will possibly go up to around $25.
LaFontaine said that he is working with two developers to plan two subdivisions intended for homes under $100,000. The two developments, he hopes, will entice "snow birds" to the area. He said he is excited, because if such projects take off, they will be among the only new construction projects completed in a long time and could benefit the city through property taxes.
"If we (the city) own land, we're not getting taxes. We need to advertise our properties, because it's a good location with a beautiful canyon," he said.
Overall, LaFontaine intends to keep marketing the city, but he also wants to encourage people to volunteer and get involved with the community.