By Mayor Trent Staggs
Riverton City sent out a mailer recently to every Riverton property owner announcing the city’s plan to replace the Unified Fire Service Area (UFSA) with its own taxing district for fire and emergency medical services. Beginning January 2021, Riverton will no longer be a member of the Unified Fire Service Area (UFSA) as the means of paying for fire and emergency services provided by Unified Fire Authority (UFA), and will instead pay directly for UFA services using this newly created Riverton Fire Service Area (RFSA). Residents will only see RFSA and no longer UFSA on their property tax statements, with the RFSA rate projected to be lower than the proposed UFSA rate in 2021.
Although we are leaving the Unified Fire Service Area, we will continue to receive fire and emergency medical services from UFA. The services we have received from UFA have been exceptional and we look forward to our continued partnership. Some have asked me what the difference is between UFSA and UFA. Simply put, UFA is the service organization that provides fire and emergency services, whereas UFSA is like the bank account which pays for those services. In creating the Riverton Fire Service Area, we are simply changing the way we pay for the services provided by UFA.
As Riverton continues to grow and get closer to build out capacity, we must be willing to find ways to innovate our services to remain fiscally responsible. Currently, UFSA collects taxes and funds services in many communities including: Brighton, Eagle Mountain, Herriman, Kearns, Magna, Midvale, Millcreek, Taylorsville and others. The decision to create the Riverton Fire Service Area was determined when UFSA announced their intention to bond for millions of dollars to pay for new fire stations in communities outside of Riverton. With no additional services being allocated to Riverton, and with Riverton having paid for its fire stations in the city, your elected officials felt it would be fiscally irresponsible to make Riverton residents pay additional taxes for services that will never directly benefit them.
In forming our own taxing district within Riverton, the Mayor and City Council members serve as board members and will be able to ensure local control of property tax dollars. The fire stations within Riverton will revert back to city ownership. This is anticipated to save Riverton property taxpayers money in both the short and long term; with a proposed property tax increase for UFSA in 2021 that we will avoid and as property taxes collected will only be used to fund fire and emergency medical services in our city. This is very similar to the move away from the countywide taxing district for law enforcement to our own Riverton Law Enforcement Service Area.
As always it is an honor to serve as your Mayor. My goal, and that of the city council, is to always seek ways to provide you with the very best services at the least financial impact.