Council appoints new member to Traverse Ridge Board
The Traverse Ridge Special Service District covers residents who live on Traverse Ridge Mountain. (Draper City)
The Draper City Council appointed a new member of the Traverse Ridge Special Service District Administrative Control Board during its Feb. 7 meeting. Simón Cantareo was voted unanimously as the newest member of the board after the city council interviewed three candidates for the position. A position became available after board member Blaine Carlton’s term expired.
The Traverse Ridge Special Service District was formed in 1999 and covers those living on Traverse Ridge Mountain in the south part of Draper. According to Mayor Troy Walker, the job of the service district is to provide the services needed in the area, including road maintenance, street lights, snow plows and disposal services, all with the taxes levied on residents in the district.
“The way it used to be run was the council sat on the board. Then we created this citizens’ board. We don’t get in the way of the budget or any of that stuff that you do,” Walker said. “If you get selected and want to be on the board, we expect you to function independently and then bring your budget to us so we can approve it.”
Cantareo is a first-generation immigrant who came to the United States illegally in the late 1980s.
“In fact, the day we crossed the southern border was the day President (Ronald) Reagan signed the last major immigration law. I grew up in southern California. My teenage years were spent in southern California,” Cantareo said. “I went off to school in northern California and then came to Utah for law school at Brigham Young University. I became an adopted Utahan.”
Cantareo became a U.S. citizen in 2000, right before the hotly contested presidential election. He was living in northern California at the time.
“The feeling I remember feeling was shock and disbelief. Everything was up in the air and no one knew who the president was going to be,” Cantareo said. “Of course, it was (George W.) Bush. It was not unlike the feeling we’re having today.”
Cantareo and his wife bought a home in the Suncrest neighborhood in 2004, right after they found out she was pregnant with their first child. They now have three daughters.
“I saw the snow banks and the snow walls, and I thought this could be home,” he said. “It fit with where I wanted to live, which was suburbia but also a little remote but also accessible to highways and downtown. We’ve been there ever since.”
During the interview, Councilman William Rappleye asked Cantareo why he wanted to be on the board and what the role of the board is. Cantareo responded he wanted to be on the board because he believed he could help to make decisions and provide advice to the city council regarding the most efficient use of the district’s resources.
“On the board, I help get all the data that we can get and use those resources the district has more efficiently and provide advice to the city council who then makes the decisions on budgets and spending,” Cantareo said. “Our role is to filter information and make the most sound decision we can make and provide that to the council so they can make the most informed decision.”
Councilman Jeff Stenquist asked Cantareo about how he plans on handling criticism from residents since the district itself and the taxes it levies are not always popular. Cantareo said the district is a legal creation that is born out of a resolution and is governed by laws and statutes.
“It’s got a particular purpose. That’s why the district is there. As to what people’s opinions are about it, that’s just it: their opinions,” Cantareo said. “Special districts, they’re not common but they’re also not rare.”
Cantareo said if board members can’t take criticism or accept different facts, they are not doing a service to the council or the community.
“You have to take all sorts of information and use your own good judgment to filter what’s bias and what is incorrect,” Cantareo said. “If you can’t do that, you can’t handle the job. You take the criticism from the community or whatever that might be.”