Born and raised in the town of Stockton, Nando Meli Jr. never planned to become the town’s mayor, but Meli is now nine months into his first term as mayor of the town that 1,072 people call home.
“I decided to run for mayor, because there were some things that needed to be done for the town and in the town,” Meli said. “Some of these things had escalated into bigger projects.”
As his first order of business after taking the oath of office in January 2022, Meli started on grants to build a new water treatment plant in Stockton.
However, before he could fix the water system, the Jacob City fire burned Soldier Canyon and the mountains above Stockton.
The fire itself came close to damaging Stockton’s water supply, which relies on a spring and treatment plant in Soldier Canyon.
The floods and mud flows that followed in the aftermath of the fire did shut down Stockton’s water supply for a while when the generator that was supplying power to the town’s back up well failed.
Successful at obtaining a grant to bring permanent power to the back up well site, Meli is now looking for funds to build a new town well. He spends about 40 to 50 hours a week working on water issues alone, he said.
“I didn’t know how bad the water system was until we had the Jacob City Fire,” Meli said.
Meli graduated from Tooele High School in 1974 and then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.
After four years in the USMC, Meli returned to Stockton where he worked at the resin plant in Bauer prior to starting a job at the Tooele Army Depot.
Meli attended Salt Lake Community College then the University of Utah and graduated with a B.S. in civil engineering. After graduation, he worked at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality as an environmental engineer until retiring in 2018.
After his retirement, Meli drove part-time for the Utah Transit Authority.
Meli’s is a third-generation Stockton resident. His grandfather on his mother’s side came to Stockton to work in the mines. His father and grandfather emigrated from Italy and ended up in Stockton.
With a desire to give back to the town he loves, Meli served on the Stockton Planning and Zoning Committee from 2000 until 2002 and again in 2006 until 2010. He was a member of the Stockton Town Council from 2002 until 2006, and again from 2018 until he was elected as mayor.
As mayor, Meli oversees the police and fire departments, along with roads, grounds, and sewer departments.
“In a small town, you wear a lot of hats, because there’s nobody else,” Meli said.
He also meets with different county agencies to create agreements related to emergency services, and is working on town plans related to water and sewer.
“Stockton doesn’t even have a plan related to water and sewer,” Meli said. “Eventually, we will have to do something about our roads and grounds, and our transportation too.”
Meli is also a member of the Tooele County Board of Health and represents Stockton on the Tooele County Council of Governments.
“With the Tooele County Council of Governments, we meet on the third Thursday of the month and we vote on things,” Meli said. “The Board of Health meets every other month.”
Out of all of his duties and responsibilities, Meli said water has been the hardest thing to deal with.
“There are a lot of challenges we need to address, but until I get the water situation improved, everything is behind that,” he said. “If you don’t have water, you don’t have a town.”
Meli enjoys being mayor, because he is able to help the residents of Stockton.
“I enjoy helping and improving the community, so hopefully when I retire, I can turn it over to somebody who won’t have to deal with as many challenges as I’ve had,” Meli said.
Meli plans to retire in 2026, unless the city’s water issue isn’t fixed by then.
Meli is asking the people of Stockton to go to the gas station or the Town Hall and fill out a quick income survey. The survey will help the town obtain grant money to fix the city’s water problems.
“We need 70% of the people to fill them out and we don’t have that yet,” Meli said.
Stockton’s mayor deals with residents and their concerns, ideas, or comments about the town. Meli said people are more than welcome to voice their ideas to the mayor.
“Please bring those concerns up at the town hall meetings, or write a letter, or an email,” Meli suggested.
Meli is also looking for town volunteers.
“It makes me feel good when people volunteer to help and take care of the town,” he said.
To volunteer for the town of Stockton, please visit town hall.
Meli said he does his best to be honest and straightforward every day.
“If I could, I would eliminate all of the conflicts and bring peace to the world,” Meli said. “I think if people would follow the Ten Commandments, we would be much better off.”
During his free time, Meli enjoys building and riding motorcycles, working with wood, and fixing things.
“I have a handyman’s license, so I help people with a lot of things,” he said. “I helped Virg’s in Tooele fix some things so they could open- things like sinks and lights. I helped them move from Erda.”
Meli is also known to help residents of his town fix things in their house that are broken.
“I would like to thank the people of Stockton for trusting me with their town,” he said.