This article is part of an ongoing series at TownLift covering all candidates for the upcoming 2022 local election.
PARK CITY, Utah — Jack Murphy has been coming to Summit County for twenty years now, and three years ago, he and his family decided to make it official. Murphy reminisces over one of their summer visits when his wife of 15 years said to him, “I’m not going back to California.” The rest is history, and now Summit County is home for them and their three children.
Murphy describes Summit County as the perfect place to raise a family. “I love to look at and play in the mountains,” he says. “Skiing, hiking and mountain biking with family and friends are some of my favorite things to do here. I didn’t expect the Jordanelle to play such a large role in my recreational life. I love stand-up paddle-boarding and boating in general. I even dusted off my kite and board!”
While the move to Park City for family and the outdoors was top of mind, Murphy’s focus zoomed out to see the issues that he sees facing the community he now lives in.
“The most important issues facing our community all stem from the unchecked and imbalanced government we have in Coalville,” he says, continuing, “What is most confusing is our County Council ceding local sovereignty to state when convenient, and then allowing themselves to disregard state laws when it serves their purpose, not constituents.”
The issues Murphy finds to be plaguing Summit County drive his platform to focus heavily on accountability noting the following tenets: transparency, resource management and serving.
He cites the recent assessment process by the county assessor regarding property tax legislation stating his frustration over the process; “There was zero accountability of the unjust and unfair application of the tax burden, distributed with favor and discrimination by the local assessor. I am currently advocating at the state level for those property owners, to bring this accountability in line.”
Murphy also includes the following election goals if voted in:
- Work to have staff focus on cost/benefit analyses from code, and resource, perspectives
- Evaluate the impact of development(s) in the pipeline on quality of life in relation to: traffic congestion; traffic light waiting times; water resources and open space, all of which he says are interrelated
- Create an independent commission of citizens to study assessment process failure
While Murphy pushes for public transparency and accountability on the tax assessments, his goals for resource management apply in his opposition to the high density developments on the docket.
He gives specific data that he compiled regarding the Dakota Pacific Project in Kimball Junction saying:
“I am against the proposed change from commercial to residential … If this project is completed, it will increase the Snyderville population by 30%-65%, resulting in intolerable and potentially dangerous bottleneck traffic congestion at the interchange of I-80 and Highway 224. It will also increase traffic congestion at every traffic light on 224 from Park West/Canyons to I-80, resulting in massive wait time increases to enter I-80. The spillover traffic would affect Highway 248 (Kearns) as well.”
Murphy expresses his opposition to focused affordable housing due to its “flawed models”. He explains his extensive background in large scale developments, and discusses its relationship to low-to-moderate income housing stating, “The current council uses a deeply flawed model in their pattern of allowing huge developments to be approved by having an affordable housing component. This is the standard operating procedure of those in power in California and New York, and demonstrates it is not for the people, but for developers to increase their economics.”
If elected, Murphy wants to push for a new model that he believes would eliminate personal monetary gains from tax-payer benefits originally meant to support those who truly need housing.
“I’d ensure that affordable housing had ongoing very bright lines for qualification, and that it benefits the taxpayers, not individuals,” Murphy said.
All in all, Murphy believes “we can maintain the character and quality of life in Summit County in a mutually beneficial manner, by working together.”
Jack Murphy is running for County Council Seat “E” against Democrat Canice Hart. The deadline to register and receive a vote by mail ballot is October 28 and postmarked by Monday, November 7. If deposited in a drop box, it needs to be deposited in an official drop box by 8 p.m. on November 8. If voting in person, residents can visit the following voting locations.