By Mayor Trent Staggs
Despite considerable challenges and headwinds due to the global pandemic, unfunded state requirements for secondary water metering, and commissioned rate studies that recommended substantial rate increases for culinary and secondary water, I am happy to report that our community has demonstrated an incredible resiliency and your government leaders have found innovative ways to restructure the budget to continue to keep costs low for residents.
Here are a few highlights from my proposed budget:
- Total budgeted expenditures are $51 million, compared to last year’s $59 million.
- I am proposing that all stormwater operational costs be rolled into the General Fund, lowering the stormwater fee for residents to about $1, and using the projected $5 per month savings to shore up our water and sanitation funds for years to come.
- Sales tax revenues have grown by 56% since 2016, approaching almost $9.2 million.
- Through reorganization efforts and planned retirements, the city’s full-time employee count has dropped to 160, saving about $1 million from last year, which is the lowest number of employees per thousand residents compared to any city in the region.
- Riverton City will receive approximately $5 million from the federal government’s America Rescue Plan. Given the legislation considers investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure as allowable uses, I’ve proposed $1.2 million be used this year to secure a city owned fiber backbone infrastructure. This will save the city money, improve connectivity to city assets, and set up the possibility of providing an open access network to all residents and businesses that can improve costs and availability.
- Roadway infrastructure continues to be a top priority, with $900,000 budgeted for asphalt maintenance. In addition, Riverton City will receive $700,000 annually for 15 years for roadway improvements due to the passage of HB244.
- This budget includes almost $400,000 to improve existing playgrounds, parking lots, trails and our community center. In addition, increased developer-paid park impact fees will support the addition of four new pickleball courts and one tennis court at Riverton City Park, as well as lighting and field improvements at the CR Hamilton Sports Complex.
- During the 2021 legislative session, legislators passed SB199 which requires that cities must meter all secondary water connections, and, by January 2022, “…establish a meter installation reserve for metering installation and replacement projects.” I am proposing a $2.50 charge to each residential connection to help fulfill this unfunded mandate.
- I am proposing paying off approximately $4 million in water bonds and eliminating $12 million in future debt liability, using newly available resources potentially to pay for the balance of the secondary water meter project. Let’s not have Riverton residents carrying the entire burden of this state mandated project.
- Total monthly utility fees for culinary water, secondary water, sanitation and stormwater are $63 for the average household, which is still the lowest in the region, and less than what most pay for internet service!
- The move to our own police department and taxing district continues to show huge property tax savings, approaching $180 per year for the average homeowner.
Through smart planning efforts, our city has proven to weather the past year’s unforeseen challenges. We continue to deliver best‐in‐class services and keep fees low for our residents. I am grateful for the dedicated work of our City Council. Their demonstrated vision and passion for the city has clearly made an impact. The significant contributions of our employees should also be recognized am grateful for their support and dedication in serving our great residents. I am also grateful for you, our residents, which continue to exemplify and set the standard of what it means to be part of a great community.
See my proposed budget at rivertonutah.gov/finance.