With the November general election coming up, KPVI’s Deanne Coffin has been talking to candidates for the race for Pocatello City Council.
Pocatello City Council incumbent and current president of the council, Jim Johnston is running for seat one and if re-elected, will be his third term as a city councilman.
Johnston recently battled cancer and completed chemo treatments. He says despite his health issues, he’s up for the challenge of another term.
“The cancer’s all gone and I’m just putting weight back on, so it’s an exciting time. We’re greatly blessed. I don’t know any other way to say it but I have developed such a great empathy for people who have challenges and afflictions in their lives,” says Jim Johnston, President of the Pocatello City Council.
Johnston says he’s not one to give up, especially on issues like combining the City of Pocatello and the City of Chubbuck together to form one big city, with the idea of calling it ‘The Gate City.’
“We would let the existing city councils and mayors be a caretaker government until we were able to get everything taken care of, because we have different rules. We have different regulations. We’ve got to combine in such of a way that we would have one,” says Johnston.
Johnston says one of the biggest benefits of combining the two cities together is saving the tax payers money.
“For example, if we just had one city council and one mayor, in a four year period of time we could save about 3.4 million dollars. That’s very significant,” says Johnston.
And consolidate departments such as the fire and police departments.
“I think we could save about 12 million dollars just in those areas alone, and that would make a big difference in terms of the tax burden that the people in Bannock County have to pay,” says Johnston.
Johnston acknowledges that not everyone may be on board with this idea, and it would have to be voted on by both cities.
But for now he’s focused on retaining his seat on the council and continuing to serve the community.
“I feel I’m extremely prepared to help govern this area. I’ve had rich experience in terms of the community. I’ve been in involved in many, many aspects of what’s going on in our area, so I feel like I’m very well prepared to continue to serve and to make things happen in a positive way,” concludes Johnston.
Other candidates running against Johnston for seat one are Paul Schmidtlein, Dale Spencer and Christine ‘Chris’ Stevens.
The election is set for November 5th.