GREEN RIVER — Candidates for Green River mayor gathered Thursday night at Green River City Hall to inform voters prior to the General Election on Nov. 6.
Those running for mayor are incumbent Pete Rust and former City Councilman Mark Peterson.
When asked how he sees the role of mayor in the type of city government Green River has, Rust explained that the city has a “weak mayor, strong council” form of government. The mayor has the same amount of power as a City Council member but with ceremonial responsibilities. Rust sees his position as an ambassador to other organizations whose responsibility is to facilitate communication between the city council and other government organizations, groups and individuals in the community.
Rather than talking about the role of the mayor, Peterson highlighted that Green River’s city government involves a city administrator, Reed Clevenger, who he said is the reason the city has begun to improve.
Talking about their goals should they be elected, Peterson said he would like to see a Costco come to James Town instead of a truck stop. If elected, he said he would do so through Clevenger. Peterson feels the building on Expedition Island is underused due to it being outdated. Peterson would add an addition of 120 feet to the front of the building that could be used all year round. Additionally, Peterson said the State Legislature is sitting on billions of dollars of revenue brought in by Sweetwater County, and he would like to see a return investment from the state.
The largest priority for Rust is working with the state of Wyoming to establish a regular stream of income. He would do so by using and improving interstate government relations. Having a steady income from the state would help the city improve its infrastructure such as the aging Wastewater Treatment Plant and streets in need of repair.
Both candidates said the city has done an excellent job keeping and valuing its employees. They would continue with that practice in the next term.
Peterson and Rust said they are in favor of using the 6th Penny Special Purpose tax to continue to improve the infrastructure in Green River. However, Peterson said he is partially glad the mining industry has a break from the tax. Rust called it “a critical tool for local governments,” and would like to see it spent on repairing streets, updating the Wastewater Treatment Plant and improvement for the Green River Recreation Center.
Both candidates indicated that they are concerned with the historic train depot and would both work to see it become a centerpiece for downtown with businesses and community space. Rust said that a brewery and the market co-op are interested in utilizing the space for business.
Concerning solid waste management, Peterson stated has always been against the privatization of the services, saying “we let another thief in town.” On the other hand, Rust believes Wyoming Waste Systems is doing well considering it is still settling into the community and establishing service in town. After a study of utility costs for solid waste services, Rust and the council members realized they had to privatize or raise rates.
An audience member asked how the candidates would work with the neighbor to the east, Rock Springs. Rust said he currently meets with the Rock Springs mayor and the chairman of the Sweetwater County Commission each month to keep informed and maintain lines of communication. He said he would like to see a quarterly meeting between all members of the Green River and Rock Springs city councils and the entire county commission.
Peterson answered the question saying he admires the way Rock Springs City Council meetings are facilitated and would emulate that in Green River. He said he has been pleased with how the cities have worked together in the past.