Past councilman takes on incumbent for city council Ward 2 positionOct 24, 2012 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer
Both candidates running for the Riverton City Council's open Ward 2 position are proud of the work they have been part of during their time on the council.
Incumbent Todd Smith has held the post for two years, having been elected in 2010 to replace Sarah Kalbach, who was eliminated from this year's race in the August primary.
Incumbent Smith mentioned two changes he has brought to the city during his two years in office. First, he said he is glad the council has incorporated a prayer into its pre-meeting sessions.
"Every other level of government does that," he said Wednesday. "I think how we've done it has worked, where volunteers who are willing to do that kind of do it from amidst the council."
He also has worked with Riverton Police Department chief Mike Broadhead to bring the city's code up to date regarding firearms. When he first joined the council, Smith said the law subjected law enforcement officers to potential $750 fines for discharging a firearm in the city.
"We cleared up some language (so) we were using common sense while not tying the hands of law enforcement of citizens defending themselves from a break-in," Smith said.
He would like to continue working with the city, especially when it comes to the future of the vacant municipal lot at 422 E. Main St. Smith said he wants to hear more opinions about the property.
"The people own the property now since the city bought it," Smith said. "I'd just like to hear what people want to do with it. ... I really think that needs to be their decision, not my preference."
He said he will continue to look for opportunities to make government smaller, though Smith said his fellow council members were not in favor of his suggestion to outsource lawn maintenance or mow municipal grass less frequently to save money.
"The council didn't want to pursue it further, so for now that's a dead issue," Smith said. "But if something comes up in the future I'll look at cost comparisons for outsourcing as opposed to doing it ourselves. ... What are things the private sector can do better than the city?"
Challenger Lee Martinez served on the council for eight years, from 2002 to 2010 when he resigned from his post to run unsuccessfully for mayor. He said he always planned to try for the council spot again if he lost the mayoral race.
"I've enjoyed every minute I was (on council), and I think I did some good," Martinez said Wednesday. "I've lived here all my life, and I want to make Riverton better. It's great now, but everything can always improve."
He worked during his tenure as a councilman to improve the quality of local parks, and Martinez said he also is proud of his involvement in efforts to bring the Wind River Job Corps to Riverton. The federal facility is expected to open by 2015, though Martinez pointed out that the initial opening date was set for 2011.
"I'm disappointed the federal government is so slow," Martinez said.
He would like to see the city's relatively new recycling system modified so residents don't have to sort their recyclable materials before setting them on the curb for pickup. Martinez pointed out that Community Entry Services employees already have a sorting system in place near the city's trash collection facility off of Smith Road.
"I think people would recycle more if they didn't have to sort everything," Martinez said. "It's kind of cumbersome to sort everything out, then if you don't do it right they leave you a note saying, 'Hey we can't pick this up.'"
He said he will answer any questions from constituents to the best of his ability, and he will return all phone calls and e-mails he receives from voters. Martinez's cell phone number is 851-4663.