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Mia Love: Budget hawk or big spender?
Politics » Saratoga Springs taxes and spending shot up, but she says growth is reason.

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Catching up » Love said the city has also had to bounce back from its spendthrift ways. Highway maintenance had been put on hold, so they are trying to catch up with that. As building permits have surged in recent months, the city has had to hire new building inspectors to replace those who were let go during the budget slashing of 2008.

"We had a bunch of catching up. Now we’re completely sustainable," Love said. "If Saratoga Springs doesn’t have one more resident again, you’ll see some of those [expenses] start to decrease in some areas."

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Former state lawmaker Carl Wimmer, who also is seeking the Republican nomination for Congress in the 4th District, wouldn’t comment directly on Love’s record except to say, "Mayor Love is a friend of mine, and we each have our own record to run on. I’m a fiscal hawk."

Wimmer, who served five years as a representative from Herriman, added: "I’ve never voted for a tax increase, and I never will."

There have been times when Love resisted the Saratoga Springs Council but was overruled, which is possible because the mayor has no veto power and votes only to break ties.

Love says when the council voted to build a new public works building, she fought it, believing the project would be too costly.

"I said no, but it was something the council said it absolutely needed," she said, "and so at that point, that was one of the votes that I lost."

According to an analysis last year by the Utah Taxpayers Association, the cost of Saratoga Springs’ government totals about $571 per resident — ranking it 22nd of 49 cities of a comparable size.

Love said her budget-cutting episode in 2008 remains a formative experience and sets her apart from other candidates, since she is the only one of the 4th District contenders who had to lay people off and cut programs.

"2008 was a huge learning experience, and I would not be where I am without those experiences," she said.

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