03 April 2014

Brett Helsten - County Council At Large "A"

First Meeting - 31 March 2014

Brett Helsten is a distribution manager for a welding supply company.  He lives in Kearns and currently serves on the Kearns community council.

Unfortunately, I had the least amount of time with Brett, but I did have a chance to talk about a few items.

He is a strong advocate of revive volunteerism at the county level.  He states that today the county spends money on hiring service providers where volunteers could do the job just as well.  Specifically, he mentioned the aging and elder care services that the county provides.  He didn't offer a lot of detail on the viability of getting a reliable stream of volunteers for any service, but simply stated that the county isn't trying that route at all in the first place.

In this regard, he reminds me of Jake Parkinson who wants to "go back" to more old-fashioned ways.  Maybe it will work, maybe it won't.  I failed to ask him what kind of success he has had in rounding up volunteers at the city level (Kearns); so far, I don't have any concrete evidence from him that his idea is anything more than that.

Mr. Helsten advocates moving the county council meetings to the evening so that the public can attend them more often.  He stated that there have been times when he has taken a half-day off at work so that he can attend meetings where he wanted to have a voice.  In his view, this is impractical for the majority of working adults.  Mr. Helsten went as far as to say that if he couldn't get the meeting time changed he would sit in the hallway of the county building himself in the evenings so that citizens could come express their concerns.

Along the same lines of community outreach, he mentioned that he would allocate some of his evenings to visit communities to find out their concerns and needs.

The stance that Mr. Helsten takes seems to have grown out of him being a "community man" who has felt the pain of trying to get the county to listen to him while serving in the Kearns community council.  Again, something that I need to verify with questions and more time.

Mr. Helsten's political stance (other than his stated party) is somewhat opaque to me at this point.  His larger issue seems to be making sure that the council is visible and is listening to the communities it governs.

Second Meeting - 9 April 2014

At this meeting, Mr. Helsten and I discussed more of his service on the Kearns community council and what to do about unincorporation.  At a very high level, Mr. Helsten is of the opinion that the county council can make incorporation unattractive by giving more local control to the unincorporated areas by elevating them to townships and giving them more local control over services like snow removal, zoning, etc.

He is definitely influenced by having served on the Kearns community council for several years; he knows the concerns that unincorporated areas have and would be an advocate for them.

Personally, I believe this message is good but not as important as the message that Mr. Nimer is advocating.

More detail if I get a minute.