Candidates put focus on city’s future

Voters in Yukon’s Ward 2 will go to the polls Tuesday to select their next representative on the city council.

The winning candidate will replace longtime city council member John Alberts, who is term limited.

Three candidates originally filed for the seat, including Shelly Selby, Erick Westfahl and Ward Larson.

Selby and Westfahl advanced to the general election by receiving the most votes in the February primary.

In preparation for the election, the Yukon Review posed the following questions to the candidates.  These are their answers.

Yukon Review: Yukon’s finances have continued to improve over the past 18 months. What would you do to aid in the city’s recovery?

Selby: I am very proud of our city leaders and all they have done to get our community back where it should be and continue to grow. But I feel we have to encourage people to shop north of 10th St. All the money south goes to Oklahoma City and even though it may take a few minutes longer, we need to get our gas or shop stores that are in Yukon city limits.  I also want to encourage businesses to build north of 10th.  We have several untapped areas that would be great places to grow businesses.

Westfahl: We know that Yukon’s primary source of income is sales tax. It is vitally important to promote and protect the tax income coming from sales within Yukon. We need to assure the potential retail areas in Yukon are being developed properly to allow for the maximum return on Yukon’s investment made each time we shop. We need to provide good roads and easy access to these retail areas. I believe Yukon’s city manager, the city council and current staff have done an outstanding job in turning the city’s financial position around. During this recovery, we have seen better accountability, better transparency and sound business practices. This is why we are seeing an increase in revenue that can be invested back into our community. It would be my responsibility to continue this work by being a positive partner and to bring in my own set of experiences to continue this growth.

YR: Yukon receives most of its water through a purchase agreement with Oklahoma City, which in turn has begun to increase its rates. What should Yukon be doing to look for alternative water sources?

SS: We first need to encourage water conservation. I love the rain barrels that use the water for flowers and gardens but it goes farther than that. We have to be good stewards of our earth’s resources. We water the sidewalks and water on rainy days. We need to be reminded that just because we can afford it doesn’t mean we need to waste it. We leave water running while we get distracted. But as far as other alternatives, I feel assured our city leaders have exhausted every avenue, but I would love the chance to research and learn what else we can do.

EW: We need to find a long-term water source for the City of Yukon. Currently, it appears that much of our local sources are not suitable for drinking water without expensive treatment. This solution would take a tremendous investment that would be slow to pay off.  We should be looking 25 years ahead and plan now for those needs. We can potentially partner with other communities for these long-term sources. Forming these coalitions could help us bring in new sources without relying solely on Oklahoma City and their generosity.  In the short term, we need to maintain our current wells and consider better water conservation to reduce our dependency on Oklahoma City.

YR: What can Yukon do to draw more businesses and industries into Yukon?

SS: We currently do a great job of drawing businesses to Yukon. We are growing by leaps and bounds. Although we should stop recruiting chicken places from moving here.  We have enough.  I love the work the Chamber of Commerce does by providing a great support system for our businesses.

In talking with people over the past couple of months, I did speak with one man who left and went to Oklahoma City to open an electrical contracting shop. He said there were too many hoops to jump through. We need to hold to a high standard of businesses’ storefronts and building codes, but there may be a few we need to rethink or update.
EW: I have helped run a family construction business for nearly 20 years. I know how important thriving businesses are to our families and to the health of our community. Business growth is closely tied to the city’s continued financial recovery. We not only need businesses, but good businesses that draw customers into Yukon. Since Yukon is limited in its land growth, I believe a quality industrial park would be a wise direction. It also may be necessary to offer tax incentives for certain businesses. However, we need to promote and protect our small businesses that have served this town for generations. We should not subsidize large businesses that directly compete with our mom and pop stores. I have been extremely impressed with the job the Yukon Chamber of Commerce is doing. The city should continue to work with the Chamber to actively promote a vibrant community

YR: What are your goals should you be elected to the city council?

SS: My goal is to represent the residents of Ward 2 to the best of my ability.  I want to listen to their concerns and try to find the best solution for all.  Recently in walking door to door, I spoke with several residents in the area to the west of Independence Elementary School.  They complained that in the mornings it is impossible to exit their neighborhood at Ridgeway and Vandament due to the cars waiting to turn into IES. I asked why didn’t they have a sign that says, “Do Not Block Entrance”? They said they have asked but nothing has been done. That is an easy fix. I have been trying to contact the Traffic Commission to see what we need to do to get a sign there. That is my goal, to listen to the residents and try to get change to keep Yukon great.
EW: I would like to help facilitate growth that will positively impact generations. Creating a positive business environment for companies is crucial. I would like to continue this recovery but also add my experience in business and more specifically, commercial construction management.  Another goal is to help facilitate good growth management for large developments to land here instead of our surrounding cities. We can maintain our small-town feel if we manage what kind of businesses we attract to Yukon.

A few specific personal goals: 1. To promote our first responders. I think it would be mutually beneficial to increase our police and fire’s presence on social media. 2. To increase the availability of curb-side recycling.  3. To research, promote and facilitate the installation of cable guard barriers along parts of State Highway 4. That investment in turn will save lives.

YR: Why do you want to serve on the city council?

SS: I love my community. We thought about downsizing and moving several years ago but couldn’t find a neighborhood we liked as much. I love my neighbors and I want to represent them. I also want to increase the communication about what the city council is doing. Too many people have no idea what goes on. The papers do a great job of reporting but there is so much more. I want to get the agenda published before the meeting. I have encouraged people to watch the meetings on TV or better yet come to the meetings. I want to let the people know what goes on in the work sessions. The more the people know the better they can help. It is all about bringing this community together.
EW: When I was asked to consider running, I was honored … and surprised. After some prayer and discussion with family and friends, I made the decision to file. Since then, it has been an incredible experience that I will always look back on with gratitude. I believe that if someone wants to make a difference in the world they first need to love their family at home, and then work to be a positive source in their own community. I am trying to do those two things. Personally, I make mistakes but I do try and see things from an optimistic perspective and from multiple viewpoints. Professionally, I strive for integrity and efficiency.  It is my hope, that these services will be seen as a benefit to our community.  At 40 years old, I have found that priorities change from our youth and I want to make a difference in the community that we love.

YR: Why should I vote for you?

SS: I am invested in Yukon and I am invested in you.  I don’t have all the answers but I am eager to listen, research, learn and make a difference.

I worked 4 1/2 years at Spanish Cove and am passionate about the people who live there. They make up a huge part of our community and need to be heard.  They are a vibrant group of people who have a lot to offer the community.  I want to make sure their voice is heard because I love the people who live there.

I love Yukon and will consider it an honor to serve my community.

EW: Earning a person’s vote is one of the most sacred and humbling things a person can ask for. I first would like to ask folks to make sure they take time out of their busy schedules this Tuesday and participate in one of our nation’s greatest rights. Second, I would ask that you carefully consider both Mrs. Selby and I by reading our responses and personally asking us questions between now and Tuesday.  Finally, vote for the candidate that represents you best.  While I believe we both would make excellent representatives of our Ward, you will be the one that decides that based on your own discernment.  I would sincerely like to thank everyone I have met in these past few months that has asked me questions, told me their stories and given me words of encouragement.  It has been a pleasure to meet Mrs. Selby and Mr. Larson and I thank them both on running for this position and wanting to make a difference in our great community.  Please vote this Tuesday and I would appreciate a vote for me, Erick Westfahl.

WHERE TO VOTE

Voters in Yukon’s Ward 2 will go to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new city council member.

The candidates are Shelly Selby, a former planning commission member, and Erick Westfahl, who is a local building contractor.

Only voters living in the ward are eligible to vote.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Precinct 214: Town and Country Christian Church, 2200 S.
  • Precinct 215: The Pavilion at Spanish Cove, 11 Palm Ave.
  • Precinct 218: Discovery Church, 900 E. Main.

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