By Mindy Ragan Wood, Staff Writer – Two weary but excited candidates will finish a clean campaign for Yukon city council’s Ward 2 seat next Tuesday as voters head to the polls.
Shelli Selby and Erick Westfahl said citizens have given them key issues to address if they win. Residents made it clear to Selby that street safety was important.
“People are concerned about Highway 4,” Selby said. “I’ve got some who are concerned about their addition at Ridgeway and Vandament because they can’t get out of the intersection with the IES (school) traffic. A simple ‘do not block sign’ is needed there and I’m going to talk to the traffic commission about that.”
Other issues included the rising water rates after Oklahoma City announced the price of water sold to the city will increase. The new ambulance fee was a subject of concern for many senior citizens Selby encountered.
“I wish we could afford to pay for seniors’ ambulance service and maybe we can do that one day,” she said. “There are seniors who may not need it if its included in their insurance and I’ve explained that they can opt out.”
Communication and transparency between the city government and its citizens is a campaign promise Selby made. It’s a request she often received.
“I have assured them that the current regimen is doing a wonderful job but that we have to keep letting people know what’s going on and be very transparent…every dollar we spend, every vote we cast and let people know what that’s for,” she said.
Westfahl said a constant thread in the voices he heard on the campaign trail followed interest in commercial development in the Frisco Road area.
“That’s been a pretty big topic and I think one reason is because of my background,” he said.
Westfahl’s family owns a construction company.
Big business often crowds small business survival, but he said he wants to be careful to strike a balance between the two.
“We want retailers, restaurants to come in and be a draw for Yukon but we also want to make sure we don’t shut down the doors of companies that have built the town. Small business is important to me,” he said.
Transportation safety was another topic he said voters want to address.
“I found a lot of people talking about the progress of Highway 4, what all the city has done and is continuing to do. I think people will be excited to see how Highway 4, at least on Yukon’s part of it, is progressing. I’ve asked that we look into a cable guard barrier 1.6 miles on the east side in places that are the most dangerous now. I think it’s a cost-efficient measure that can make an impact on day one (of installation),” Westfahl said.
Voters often spoke of their water concerns.
“A long-term water source has been another major issue. The ambulance increase has come up a few times, but I think people understand that this is a good investment. For the price of Starbucks coffee, you’ve got access to full time ambulance service for your whole family. This to me was a wise and of course some will be upset about it but if they look into they’ll see the benefit of it,” Westfahl said.
Both candidates said they’re looking forward to getting started on the job if they win.
“Once a person is elected the conversations really start. You really get more specific information on every day dealings. I’m looking forward to being involved on day one and listening to different sides of the same issue,” he said.
Selby said she is looking forward to the possibility of putting the people’s wishes in place.
“I’m just so excited that I’ll be able to speak for the people and I want to stay in touch with the people. It’s not my agenda. It’s what they want and need. I’ve spoken to people. I’ve made notes, listened to what they’re saying and it’s up to the voters now.”
The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.