Jeremy Barker is a candidate for the County Council at large B seat. Barker is running against Ned Mecham.
Barker’s mother is from France and he is a native French speaker. His father is from Bountiful. Barker was born in Centerville, the oldest of five children, and grew up in that area. He graduated from Viewmont High School in 1993. He and his wife Sharon have two children, a boy and a girl, and one on the way.
The year he graduated from high school Barker started his first business, Frontier Shed Company. He sold this company in 1999 and began work in commercial constriction and excavation. He has been self employed ever since, up until about two months ago, when he took his first job working for someone else. He is currently attending Weber State University in the paramedic program as well. Barker also serves as a volunteer with Morgan County Fire and Morgan County Ambulance.
Barker moved to Morgan in June 2006. He was building a spec home in Morgan and was bringing his son up with him. He had been accustomed to ensuring that his son was always in the back yard at home, but when he was in Morgan he felt his son was safe. His son also took to the area and wanted to sleep overnight in the unfinished house. The environment and the people convinced Barker that Morgan was the place for him. He moved to Morgan and has never looked back.
Below are the answers to questions that will be posed to each of the candidates interviewed who are running for county council seats:
1. Why are you running for county council?
Barker’s background in business and construction as well as his love of the community motivated him to run for the county council seat when he learned that there was an opportunity. He believes that his background will be helpful and wants to give back to the community that has welcomed him with open arms.
2. What would you like to accomplish, if elected?
Barker would like to bring the community together on the items where there is agreement. He feels that there is often too much focus on the areas where there is disagreement and would like to move forward on areas of common ground.
Barker said, “I would like to see more commercial in Morgan, not huge commercial… but people who will bring a draw to this great county. It doesn’t necessarily need to be thousands of people, but bring some people in and give them a reason to come to Morgan…I think Taggarts… has done a great job. It is just a small business, ... they have brought so many people to our county, but they have done a great job doing it. I think if we could have several Taggart style of business…[it would] give people a reason to come visit and see what we have.”
He also believes that the salaries of the public safety individuals need to be reviewed. He said, “I truly feel it’s sad that the county officers that we have…can’t afford to live here. It is disheartening to me that they are going to come and risk their lives for us, but can’t afford to stay here.”
3. What do you think are the major issues facing the county?
Barker believes that development is one issue. He is concerned about the developments that are approved, but sitting idle. He would like to see a moratorium on new developments until the currently approved lots are being utilized.
4. What changes would you like to see in the county?
Barker would like to see development on Commercial Street. He does not think there has been enough focus to help stimulate growth. He would also like to see the county better support the city.
He believes that the deputies and the Sheriff’s office budget also need to be addressed.
5. What is your opinion on the county attempting to bring new businesses into the county? How would you attract these businesses?
Barker is supportive of tax incentives for businesses. He says, “I would show support in tax incentives to come to the county. I would show support in what I have heard talked about…put some bond money up for new businesses to help them remodel their buildings.”
6. How do you feel about the growth in the county?
See question three.
7. How do you feel about the quality of life in the county? What would you propose to enhance it?
Barker believes the quality of life is excellent. He thinks the recreation and sporting programs are excellent. He hopes to be able to maintain this focus and produce ongoing great results.
8. Morgan County Revenues have declined in the past few years. Do you think the county budgets are too generous and need to be trimmed? Do you think the County should raise property taxes, are there services that should be diminished or cancelled or services that should be expanded?
He does not believe the county should raise property taxes. He also believes that there is opportunity to reallocate the budget and change the focus in some areas.
9. Morgan County is non-partisan. Should it continue this way or change to a partisan system?
Barker supports the non-partisan approach in the county.
10. How do you picture Morgan County in five years from now and twenty years from now?
He would like to see the Fairgrounds as a multi-use facility, not as separate facilities for different interests. He would also like to see the county officers living in the county.
11. Recently the County participated in Envision Morgan and other public input planning meetings. Some respondents favored clustering development into specific areas with the remaining spaces undeveloped. What is your vision for future development of the County?
Barker is not in favor of clustering. He says, “When I look at that [clustering] I think it looks fine on paper, but when you fly over something like that or you look from the outside from the highway looking in it looks like a very messed up situation… I am a firm believer in green space. I believe we have an awful lot of it already. I am a believer in minimum lot sizes to enable us to have green space.”
12. Where do you stand on the issue of a Special Service District?
Barker is not in favor of the special service district.
13. Where do you stand on the Aquatic Center?
Barker is not in favor of the Aquatic Center. He believes the county does not have the money for this item at present.
14. Is the Morgan School District giving children the quality of education they should have?
Barker believes that the school district is providing excellent education for the children in the county.
15. In the past citizens have often only become involved after a decision is made by the council. What would you do to get people involved sooner?
He believes that the council needs to campaign for public involvement in many places in the community. He would like to see consistent campaigns to get the public excited about participating. He would like to see e-mail and other mechanisms to help with reaching more residents.
16. What do you see as positive actions the Morgan County government has taken?
He believes that the council has done good job on the budget. He is pleased with the quality of life in the county, and he believes that the design of new subdivisions in the county has been good.
17. Knowing the diversity of issues faced by the council from legal issues to land management to personnel, public works, economic development, etc. What skills do you bring to help the county with these issues?
Barker believes that his experience in business and the knowledge it has given him is an asset that will help on the council. His experience with small business and seventeen years of being self employed gives him knowledge that will help in attracting businesses and making good decisions.
18. Do you have time to serve in this role?
Barker has been volunteering time on the ambulance and fire and says that, if elected, he has the desire and time to serve. He says that he will make this position a priority in his life.