By Dawn Aerts
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY–Mayor Maile Wilson juggles job duties with what she describes as the best of both worlds: a legal career and in service to her community. That leaves a calendar full with meetings, agendas and the policy efforts that will need to be tackled in 2018. Plus, she’s getting married on Jan. 27 to Jason Edwards. Yes, the year is starting off busy for her.
The office she holds oversees both opportunity and growth.
“Growth can be good or bad in terms of sustainability,” she said. “If planned and managed well, with (adequate) jobs, resources and infrastructure, I’m hopeful to see growth here, but not to lose the amazing community that Cedar City has been over the past 100 years, that we all love.”
Like her grandfather, who served as Mayor 1966 to 1974, Wilson is here to make a difference.
“I would say that from a very young age I’ve always been involved in community-projects… It was how I was raised with a family who was committed to education, (K-12 to University), from the Utah Summer Games, to the Shakespeare Festival. So I’ve always been a part of those community efforts.”
It was an interest in public service that led Wilson to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Southern Utah University, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. In her college years working for Washington City, she hoped for a career path that would lead back to community service.
Wilson’s first candidacy coincided with study for the Utah Bar Exam.
“It certainly didn’t seem like the most natural time to run for office,” says Wilson. “I was studying for the law exam, but I also felt it was important to put my name in the ring.”
She earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Charlotte School of Law, Charlotte, N.C., and received honors in pro bono work and in non-profit legal management.
Wilson will address a slate of issues in 2018.
“I will continue the Five Point Plan, and working on the big, broad picture — public safety for our residents, recruiting good paying jobs for employers and for those businesses that have been here, through thick and thin.”
A score-size wall planner hangs over her desk.
“This year, the water (usage) issue will be on everyone’s mind,” said Wilson of the unusually dry seasons that has left valley water-tables low, or falling over the past several years. “Of course, we’ll look at priorities, ways on how to conserve water, ways to re-charge, better efficiency and efforts to get that resource back into the ground.”
The water-resource issue will require a multi-pronged approach for residents who want to see solutions.
“Experts with the ground water management plan for Cedar Valley, in conjunction with the State (water) engineer and others – will be exploring whatever technology can be applied, and how we can ensure this resource is available for the (agricultural) community and for residents.”
She will also turn her attention to a dated animal shelter.
“Right now, we are using a 60-year-old cold storage building that was never designed, or intended as a primary animal shelter. It basically lacks space, so there are standards that need to be met, and as a community, we’ve just outgrown the structure.”
While the new year is a time of cleaning up loose ends, both old and new issues will claim her attention.
“The Iron County mayors hold monthly meetings which cover a range of topics,” said Wilson, who works with a mix of collaborative agencies and counterparts who tackle local and regional issues. “Sometimes, instead of ‘reinventing the wheel’ we can look to what is working in other communities and then, how to best approach the situation.”
Wilson says she is thankful to serve a community rooted in volunteerism, the ability to work together, and with people who are willing to give the personal time, or resources to others. Volunteers can find a niche in a variety of community-based projects or on committees.
“I love working with the youth here… encouraging them to achieve their own hopes and dreams,” says Wilson of her experience with the Cedar Youth Corps. “There is something for everyone to be involved with, to support, to engage in – with organizations that make this an amazing place to live. Just a call can make all the difference.”
To assist in ongoing community projects, participate on committees, or volunteer call the Five Counties Association.
Caption: Maile Wilson, Cedar City mayor, and attorney, Jones Waldo Law firm, will tackle old and new issues in 2018.