BURLEY • Four candidates are hoping to win the Cassia County District 3 commissioner’s seat, which will be vacated by Dennis Crane.
There are no Democrat or Constitutional candidates. Independent candidates have until September to file for the November election.
Dee Yeaman, 64, works for Cassia County Road and Bridge. He served on the Cassia County Planning and Zoning Board for four years, 20 years on the Albion Planning and Zoning Board and as Cassia County clerk for one year.
Shirley Halford-Hubbard, 71, is a licensed practical nurse, advanced emergency medical technician and teacher. She has held leadership positions in Mini-Cassia Search and Rescue and West Cassia Quick Response Unit.
Tim Darrington, 64, is a farm and ranch operator and the owner of a custom harvesting business.
Tommy Hutchison, 57, is a rancher and owner-manager of Steve Regan.
Darrington and Hutchison do not have previous political experience.
All four candidates said the county’s budget is a top issue.
Halford-Hubbard said as a commissioner she will help “brainstorm” ideas to raise revenue in the county and take a look at internal spending.
“We have got to look at that differently,” she said.
Halford-Hubbard said the commissioners also need to investigate whether more revenue can be raised at the jail and the cost split with Minidoka County.
Yeaman would facilitate “serious discussions” with the sheriff’s office about generating more revenue through citations.
Hutchison would address staffing and wages and work to better fund the sheriff’s office.
“We have to make sure that departments are not wasting,” he said. “And there has to be a way to bring the sheriff’s office funding up.”
Darrington said he wants to comb the entire budget.
“I will look at it to see if it is a management issue or if there is not enough money,” Darrington said.
He said it can be difficult to increase funding in just one department because often you “rob Peter to pay Paul.”
Charitable organizations asking for county funds
Voters have raised questions about how the county handles charitable donations.
Yeaman said he would vet all the organizations to ensure they were not heavy in administration.
“I would be more open to helping those,” he said.
Darrington considers taxes “sacred funds” and he would need to look at the overall problem.
He said the county needs to find members of the public to form a committee to choose how the county donates money.
“I would be very hesitant to donate to charity,” Darrington said. “My heart goes out to them. But you have to be make decisions without your emotions. Once you open the flood gates there are a lot of worthy causes.”
Halford-Hubbard agrees with forming a committee.
“I think the committee should include people from all walks of life,” said Halford-Hubbard.
Hutchison would look at the issue hard.
“I would need to see which ones benefit the county and allows the county to move forward,” he said.
Improving county relations with the city
Hutchison said county and city officials need to sit down at the table and talk.
“The distrust is killing everyone in the county. We need to sit down as civil adults and hash through this,” Hutchison said.
Darrington said barriers have been created by careless remarks between the city and county. It boils down to good communication and talking about issues right away when they surface, he said.
Said Halford-Hubbard said: “It’s all about communication and education. I’m an educator. Everyone has their own ideas and good people get offended and want their ideas in the forefront.”
Often there is a wall built and it is difficult to get to the issues, Yeaman said.
“I would work to improve those personal relationships so we can deal with the issues that need to be taken care of,” Yeaman said.
The Burley airport
Darrington said he is willing to listen to facts on the need for a new airport, but he wants to know what the citizens want before making any decision.
Halford-Hubbard is also on the fence and wants to learn more.
Hutchison said a new airport is crucial for economic development.
“Unless we provide that service for businesses we’ve shot ourselves in the foot,” he said.
Yeaman said anyone who benefits from the airport should help pay for it.