The Tooele Transcript-Bulletin sent the following three questions to candidates running for the North Tooele County Fire District board.
The three questions are: 1. Who are you? 2. Why are you running for office? 3. If you are elected, what difference will citizens in your area notice?
Each candidate was granted a maximum of 150 words per answer. The responses below are done in alphabetical order.
1. Who are you?
Harold Betts: Hello, my name is Harold Betts and I am running for a seat on the North Tooele County Fire District administrative control board. I was raised in the town of Lake Point and attended school in Tooele from kindergarten through the 12th grade. After that I attended Salt Lake Community College for two years with a major in auto mechanics. I am currently employed by Staker Parson Construction Companies as a field service tech and have worked there for 15 years. I enjoy most things outdoors—hunting and fishing but especially rock crawling and building my buggy.
Scott Bissegger: I am Scott Bissegger. I have been a proud member of North Tooele County Fire District for 20 years. I am a Utah State certified firefighter II and a certified instructor I. I also am a Type III incident commander under the National Wildland Coordinating Group for wildland fires. I am a former NTCFD assistant district chief and a former NTCFD board member and a former board chairman. I have lived in Stansbury Park for more than 36 years.
Mike Frieden: I have been involved in firefighting and trying to serve the community for more than 40 years, 28 of those years in Tooele County. I am currently employed driving semi-trucks locally, which has made me available to help the fellow volunteer firefighters. I have attended college, majoring in business, and I have owned my own business for 25 years. I have served in leadership positions in my church. I have served on the board previously and I can see the importance it has in serving NTCFD and the people that depend on it.
Faye Hall: I’m Faye Hall, and I have lived in Utah most of my life. I married in 1992 and my husband and I moved out of state with the military, living in Texas, Panama and New Mexico. During this time I worked for the Army/Air Force Exchange Service. In 1998 we returned to Utah and settled in Tooele Valley with our children in 2000. I’ve been in the real estate industry as a Realtor and associate broker since 2005.
Russell Yates: My name is Russell Yates. I have lived in Tooele County nearly all my life. I am married to Allyson and between us we have five children. I am recently retired from Tooele Army Depot as a firefighter. I have owned and operated RD Yates and Sons Roll-Off containers since 1993. I have also dedicated more than 20 years of volunteer time to the North Tooele County Fire District. I joined the department when it was in its infancy and served residents until 2008. During my time I served as station captain, assistant district chief, district chief, and on the controlling board for many years.
2. Why are you running for office?
Harold Betts: I am running for this position mostly because 25 years ago I joined the Lake Point Volunteer Fire Department and watched the district as it was just born and how much it has grown since then. I ran as a firefighter/EMT for ten years, but my job changed so I had to quit running. That was when I was approached to be on the administrative control board and have been ever since. I have seen the district grow from a very small department to what we have today, which I am very proud to have been a part of.
Scott Bissegger: I am running for the NTCFD board because I am getting near the end of my firefighting career and I still want to be of service to the citizens in the north end of the county. I have always felt it is more important to put your time in instead of where your mouth is. I joined the district after seeing an article in the Transcript-Bulletin from then District Chief Ron Allen about a recruiting drive of volunteers. I thought at the time it could be my house on fire of one of my family members that needed help and what if no one came? It was the one of the best decisions of my life that I have ever made.
Mike Frieden: I am running because I feel I have experience in the NTCFD that can allow me to help the residents of this area and the NTCFD leadership move forward. I am a resident of Erda, and I feel strongly that each area of the county should be represented on the board. Our county has much diversity, which is what makes it such a good place to live. But the needs of each area are different and should be represented on the board. I really enjoy working with people and I would like to do my part to help our community.
Faye Hall: This past year I started attending the board of directors meeting for NTCFD. The understanding and knowledge I have with my business and life experience will be beneficial to the North Tooele County Fire District, especially with our continued growth and greater need for services for current and new residents.
Russell Yates: I am running because of my love for the fire district and its residents. I feel I have a vast knowledge of district operations from my years of service and helping to build the district into what it is today. I am very proud of my service. I have given to the residents of this district as a volunteer, and want continue to serve them in the capacity of a board member.
3. If you are elected, what difference will citizens in your area notice?
Harold Betts: If I am elected, I would be able to help the district grow even more as our community continues to grow. I have always been, and always will be, living within our budget, but also understanding that taxes can never be too low but are a necessary evil that we all must share.
Scott Bissegger: The thing the citizens have to remember is that all of the board members are citizens of NTCFD service area. If they raise the mill levy or grant a tax increase, it effects them all equally as it does the citizens. The past boards have always kept this in mind and I believe the present board has also. The last tax increase was to buy new equipment. At the time of the last increase our newest vehicle in the fleet was over 12 years old. In order to keep our I.S.O. rating down, which equals our home/insurance rates, we must update our equipment. No one likes a tax increase but the board tries to keep it at the lower end of the mill levy and usually only asks for an increase every third year. I believe it should try to remain this way.
Mike Frieden: If I am elected I would try really hard to keep the tax raises at a minimum. I believe small increases, where possible, are a better solution. We need to take care of the equipment that we have to reduce costs. Our area is growing and the needs of NTCFD are growing as well. The current leadership is working hard to keep up and I would like to help them. I believe in keeping costs as low as can be without sacrificing the needs of the residents. I would appreciate your vote.
Faye Hall: I come to the NTCFD with a clean slate and a fresh perspective. I do not have a “but it’s always been done this way” or “when I was doing it” frame of mind. I know that times change quickly. I strongly feel that we need to work together as a board and fire district to adequately plan for the future emergency needs of the NTCFD community.
Russell Yates: If elected, my priority is to continue to make small government responsible and live within their means as each of us do everyday, and only have tax increases as a last resort. There are ways for us to provide income as a fire department and I will continue to pursue those projects and ideas if elected. As a business owner, I have learned to “make due” with equipment, trucks and tools to keep my business open. I believe the fire district and all government should have to do the same and “make due” utilizing equipment, shrinking spending, as all of us as tax paying citizens have been doing during these slow economic times.