Larry Jacobsen for Nibley City Council
Background:  I moved to Cache Valley 30 years ago to attend Utah State University and after graduating, never felt the urge to leave. My wife, Becky, and I have lived in Nibley for 15 years, and we are grateful for the setting that Nibley offers us to raise our 7th - and 8th-grade daughters, Brooke and Taylor. I am an electrical engineer who designs environmental instrumentation at Campbell Scientific, where I am the Vice President of Research, and I serve on Campbell Scientific’s Board of Directors.

While applying for a building permit to build a barn for Becky’s goats in 1996, I was impressed by the fundamental, constitutional issues being considered by the Planning Commission right here in our small town -- issues that weighed individual property rights against community property rights. The decision-making process impressed me enough that I stayed for the rest of the Planning Commission meeting after receiving approval for the barn. With that interest, I also attended the following series of Planning Commission and City Council meetings. As punishment for showing that interest, then-Mayor Welker asked me to serve on the Planning Commission when a seat became available. I accepted and completed a five-year term on the Planning Commission, in the time receiving training to become a Certified Citizen Planner. After that, I was appointed to finish Scott Wells’ term on the City Council, and then I ran and was elected to my own four-year City-Council term. In all, I have been involved with the Nibley Planning Commission and the City Council for the past ten years. If the residents of Nibley will have me, I would like to serve another term on the City Council.

Fundamental Issues:  When considering issues before Nibley City, I often refer back to the three fundamental reasons for having a city government, at all. First, to efficiently provide services to Nibley’s residents. I believe that our planning for those services, which include roads, parks and recreation, water, and sewer have been very effective. With leadership from Mayor Knight, the City Council, and City Administration, we are well positioned to meet our current and future needs. More importantly, I am extremely proud of the city staff and crews that carry out the day-to-day duties to provide those services. I offer thanks to those dedicated city employees.

The second reason for city government is to achieve local control. Land-use questions, the original issue that interested me in local government, ranks high in this area. Our General Plan, with an update approved in 2008 during my current term, specifically calls for the preservation of open space in Nibley. While individual property rights do not allow Nibley City to simply say "no" to development proposals, we coded a Conversation Subdivision Ordinance that encourages clustering of houses and setting aside open space that is deemed valuable to the community. While the housing market has slowed subdivision proposals during the past couple of years, we approved a conservation subdivision for the Neighborhood Non-Profit Housing Corporation in February. By working in concert with the proponent, this subdivision set aside 9.7 acres of open space. The developer’s design, made possible by our Conservation Subdivision Ordinance, received one of three national Rural Sustainable Housing Development Awards given by the Housing Assistance Council. I look forward to similar successes when subdivision proposals again pick up.

The third reason for city government is to promote a sense of community. Nibley is a great community, whether that community identity is prompted by physical places like our city parks or the Red Box at Maverik, or whether that community character comes from activities such as Heritage Days. City government plays a key role in enabling and promoting this sense of togetherness. Between the 2000 census and the 2010 census, Nibley grew from 2045 residents to 5438 residents. While we all recognize the uneasiness associated with change, Nibley is a young, vibrant, energetic, and enthusiastic community. While attending various Utah League of Cities and Town meetings, I often hear of the woes of stagnation and decline that other communities face; issues that are the exact opposite of Nibley’s challenges. Given the choice, I am happy to be dealing with our issues rather then theirs.

I am especially grateful to the Nibley community for welcoming our family.

Future Challenges:  Nibley has grown beyond the point of being a bedroom community to Logan. We can no longer be simply a place to sleep while traveling to Logan to work, shop, and recreate. As a result, we need economic development within our city. Economic development is important to bring balance to our community. In addition, it helps pay for the services that our residents expect -- payment in the form of commercial property taxes and point-of-sale sales tax. In spite of that need, I do not support pursuing commercial development at the risk of loosing our community identity. Economic development must, and will, come to Nibley on terms that we can accept.

I recall the angst that came with the proposal to put a Maverik store on Highway 165. I also recall the Planning Commission and City Council holding the Maverik proposal to design standards within our Neighborhood Commercial Zone that include architectural style and generous landscaping. That project is complete, and in retrospect, I believe it is a worthwhile addition to our community.

I admit that one of my biggest challenges while on the City Council has been to find the right balance between being receptive to commercial opportunities while not giving up our rural heritage. A recent example of trying to find that balance was being a part of Nibley’s representation on a Cache Valley South Corridor Steering Committee to evaluate and plan the future of Highway 89/91. Five local jurisdictions were involved (Logan, Nibley, Wellsville, Utah State University, and Cache County), all with different objectives. My objectives were to find the right balance between economic opportunity, efficient transportation, and protection of our southern vistas. It was easy to lobby for Nibley’s claim to reasonable commercial development along the Highway. However, when our own City Council heard a strong and reasonable proposal to change Nibley’s sign ordinance to allow electronic messaging displays along Highway 89/91, I felt the possible economic benefit was overshadowed by the negative impacts to the corridor. It was a difficult decision, and I voted against allowing such signs, perhaps at the expense of an economic opportunity. I am hopeful and optimistic that economic development can, and will, come on terms of which we can be proud.
One of the biggest issues that the next City Council will likely deal with is succession of City Staff. Our city employees are the force that keeps our city running, and we have been extremely fortunate to have a staff that is so committed to their duties. Things change with time, and dealing with succession of our staff is a reality. The City Council plays a key role in the personnel selection process of staffing our city.

Conclusion:  I thank the residents of Nibley for the opportunity to represent them during the past ten years. I believe some residents have agreed with some of my decisions, and I am certain than some residents have disagreed with some of my decisions. Regardless, I have hopefully been open to discussing the issues. I have tried to be serious, concerned, knowledgeable, and interested in reasonable solutions. If you are so inclined, I would appreciate the opportunity to continue to represent you on city matters.

Please let me know (ljacobsen.nibley@gmail.com) if there any issues that you would like to discuss. I look forward to our conversation. 

Questions recently asked by a Nibley resident followed by my answers:
 
1.  Do you support Envision Utah/ progect 21 --sustainable development policies?

I am unclear about the "progect 21" (or "project 21") part of this question so I will set that bit aside and come back to it.  I supported and participated in the Envision Utah process, and more importantly, the Envision Cache Valley process because I believe they aim to honor and preserve our rural heritage while ensuring prosperous, healthy, and attractive communities for future generations.  I was pleased with the amount of public input cultivated and received during these processes. 

If the "project 21" part of the question attempts to connect Envision Utah with Agenda 21 of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, then I fail to see that connection.  Perhaps you can help me.
   
2.  How far should a city go in mandating design and construction policies of home and businesses. Also landscaping, fencing, etc.

I believe our current ordinances strike a decent balance.  We do not have design standards for residential housing and we do have design standards for commercial and institutional applications.  The same is true for landscaping.  Because one person's fence can have a major impact on neighboring property, we have what I consider to be a reasonable fence ordinance in our residential zones. 
   
3.  Do you support the new city hall building?

As an incumbent, I am on record as supporting the new City Hall.  Admittedly, it was a difficult decision.  It came down a logical long-term solution to a problem -- lack of space for Public Works, Water, Sewer, Parks, and Roads supervisors and employees -- employees that keep our city running.  The current City Hall will solve that space problem by moving the office employees to the new location.  I believe the decision-making process was sound, starting with a needs assessment required to do the city's business.  It is possible that we might have waited for a couple of years before needing a new City Hall, but the thirty-percent decrease in costs associated with slow construction demand, along with very favorable financing, convinced me that we should move ahead. 
   
4.  How do you feel about any Nibley tax increases?  Did you support the increase for parks or the latest property tax increase?

Nibley city has traditionally maintained an even property tax rate of 0.001667, and the City Council voted to keep that rate again in the coming year.  I supported that decision.  Although the tax rate did not change, the total property tax revenue will increase as a result of inflation and increased property values.  This requires (rightfully so) a non-changing tax rate to be advertised as tax increase.  By comparing Nibley's tax rates to other Cache Valley communities, going over the Nibley City budget line-by-line, and evaluating the employee efficiency of providing services to our residents, I believe the historic 0.001667 is a fair property tax rate. 

We do have a new, and admittedly energetic, parks plan (http://www.aswn.com/clients/status/nibley/pdf/Nibley Master Plan.pdf -- please be patient, its 33 Mbytes), and funding that plan will be a challenge.  However, we have not increased property taxes to fund that parks plan.  Instead, we expect to fund the new plan with impact fees resulting from new growth. 
   
5.  Have you read Ezra T. Bensons speech titled The Proper Role Of Government?

Because I usually look to government leaders for guidance on government issues and to religious leaders for guidance on spiritual matters, I was not aware of President Benson's speech.  However, your question changed that, and I have since read it.  Thank you for pointing it out to me.  
 
6.  Were you a Bennett supporter?

It is not clear to me how this is germane to the upcoming Nibley City Council election.  However, since you asked, I will answer.  I was not a supporter of Senator Bennett, and I have not voted for Senator Bennett.
   
7.  On a scale of 1 to 10, how liberal or conservative are you. With 1 being an Obama supporter and 10 being a Tea Party Person?

I believe the issues of our Federal Government are completely different than the issues before Nibely City.  For example, Nibley City has never failed to adopt a balanced budget.  Nibley City elections are non-partisan and I believe that is the way they ought to be.  For these reasons, I hesitate to answer your question.  Because you asked, I will do so.  I give myself a five.