Council candidates stake ground on housing, tax policy

Taxing tourists is popular; high-density housing is divisive

The Times-Independent recently asked each of the 10 candidates who remain in the race for Moab City Council questions about their thoughts on how they would address rising property values, stagnating wages, and the combined effect of housing that is unaffordable for many of Moab’s residents.

Five of the candidates responded to the questions: Rani Derasary, Kalen Jones, Ken Minor, Solona Sisco and Bryon Walston. Tawny Knuteson-Boyd and Cassie Patterson responded after press time.

Mike McCurdy and Valarie Valenzuela did not return our email asking for comments.

Here were the three questions we posed to each of the candidates:

  1. How do you plan to close the gap between rents and incomes in Moab? Is the right approach to raise incomes, lower rents, or both? How would you do either of those things?
  2. A significant reason the city has unaffordable rents is low-density housing. Much of the city is zoned for single-family houses, which are unaffordable for most residents. The zones for apartment complexes and other high-density housing options are severely limited. Do you view this as a problem? How would you address it?
  3. The City of Moab does not directly benefit from increasing property values because it does not levy a property tax, making it largely dependent on tourism for tax revenue. Should the city levy a property tax? Explain.

Full answers from each of the candidates who responded are available as links below. We also broke down:

Full statements from each of the candidates are available here:

One individual who originally put her hat into the ring–Josie Kovash–has since dropped out of the race for city council.

Note: This story has been edited to add responses from Cassie Patterson and Tawny Knuteson-Boyd, who both responded after press time.