The 2022 State of the City address was delivered by Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs on Wednesday, February 16.
It is a pleasure to be here with all of you tonight to provide an update on the state of our beloved city of Riverton. We have accomplished much over the course of the last year, concluding what was a busy first term for me.
Hellen Keller once said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” This rings true for us here in Riverton. The successes our community has enjoyed are because of many people working together, and I wanted to extend a heartfelt thanks to those who are here tonight.
First, I’d like to recognize our City Council and invite each of them to stand when their name is called to be recognized: Councilmember Sheldon Stewart, Councilmember Troy McDougal, Councilmember Tawnee McCay, Councilmember Tish Buroker, and Councilmember Claude Wells. Please join me in thanking them for their dedicated, tireless service.
I would also like to recognize other elected officials who join us tonight and invite them to stand when their name is called to be recognized: Representative Mark Strong, County Councilman Steve DeBry, and Jordan School District Board Member Tracy Miller. We appreciate the service each of you provides to the residents of Riverton.
If you serve on any Riverton City board, committee, or commission, or in any other volunteer capacity for the city, I’d like to invite you stand. Please join me in thanking these fantastic volunteers for their contributions to our city.
I would now like to invite all our city employees and first responders to stand. Our city government and emergency services would not function without the hard work of these incredible individuals. Please join me in thanking them for their selfless, professional service.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I would like to thank all the citizens of Riverton for their efforts to make our community a great place to live. One of our main goals as a city is to consistently increase citizen engagement. We have seen just that over the course of the last four years, most recently with a tremendous response rate to a citizen survey we conducted in December. An unprecedented 10% of the adult population completed the survey, with the goal to make our community better and help us plan for the city’s future. I was thrilled to learn that over 93% of our residents are satisfied with the quality of life in Riverton.
As a city government, we saw many successes in 2021. I would like to review some of them with you tonight.
- The city saw substantial improvements to our roadway infrastructure, completing two new major city streets: Old Liberty Way and Majestic Rise Parkway. These streets are located between Bangerter Highway and Mountain View Corridor and will be essential to providing connectivity to that area as it continues to build out. Our public works department was instrumental in planning these projects and seeing them through to successful completion.
- B. 244 was passed during the 2021 legislative session that will provide Riverton City with $700,000 dollars per year for the next 15 years for critical infrastructure projects. Additionally, the legislature appropriated $75 million dollars to go toward a freeway style interchange at Bangerter Highway and 13400 S in Riverton. Given rising costs, UDOT and the city are hoping to receive an additional appropriation this year that will be required to complete the project, which could begin this time next year. We greatly appreciate the work of our state legislators who represent Riverton and thank them for securing such critical funding, and for being advocates on our behalf.
- Construction of a freeway style interchange at Bangerter Highway and 12600 S took place through almost all of 2021. Just a week and a half ago, UDOT was able to restore movements in all directions at the intersection. We anticipate work being completed in the next two to three months.
- The city also completed major projects here on the east side of Riverton, including the re-construction of the “s-curve” on 1300 W and the addition of improved park space at property just north of Jim’s Restaurant on Redwood Road, cleaning up an area in significant need of improvement for many years.
- As noted on the “By the Numbers” card, we saw another record-breaking year for sales tax revenue in 2021. The city brought in $9.85 million dollars, an increase of nearly 19% year over year and an increase of 43% from four years ago. The growth in sales tax revenues allows us to maintain low utility fees and a 0% city property tax rate.
- We have been concerned since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic about its negative impact on businesses. This led us to launch the Economic Recovery Initiative and Business Blitz back in 2020. Wanting to do even more, we launched the Local First Riverton marketing and public education campaign last year. The goal of the campaign was to educate residents about the benefits of supporting businesses here in our own community and to encourage them to keep their spending dollars in Riverton. The campaign included a contest that incentivized nearly $630,000 dollars in local spending. At the conclusion of the campaign, we surveyed residents to gauge its impact. 64% of residents said they consider supporting businesses in Riverton more often because of the campaign.
- Costco Wholesale broke ground in 2021 and we eagerly anticipate their Riverton location opening in the next few months.
- Phase 2 of Mountain View Village really took shape in 2021. A grand opening for Phase 2 will be held over Memorial Day weekend this year. We look forward to the addition of dozens of new restaurants and retail stores as part of the development. The Cinemark theater in Phase 2 is slated to open around the 4th of July this year.
- Four years ago, our city was the first in the state to eliminate the business license fee for retail businesses. This initiative is part of our goal to promote a thriving business climate that supports the needs of our residents. To add to this goal, the city transitioned to a 100% online business licensing application and renewal process with an easy-to-use customer interface in November. This has made our licensing processes much more efficient, and we’re able to keep our data more up-to-date and provide quicker service to businesses as a result.
- Our debt per capita has been reduced by over 17% from $979 dollars per resident in 2017 to $808 dollars per resident today. This has brought us back to levels not seen since before the issuance of the Riverton City Park bond in 2013.
- Also as shown on the “By the Numbers” card, our utility fees remain the lowest of any of the comparable cities in the region, sitting at $756 dollars per year per household, or $63 dollars per month. Our residents pay $342 dollars less per year than Herriman residents, $260 dollars less than South Jordan residents and $158 dollars less than Draper residents. Our residents get a fantastic deal on utilities, and we’ve worked hard to keep it that way.
- We maintain a full-time employee count less than almost all comparable cities. We know this can sometimes place a burden on our staff, but I very much appreciate their willingness to make do with what they have and to continually find ways to make our city government as efficient as possible. Our staff’s commitment in that regard has not gone unnoticed.
- The Riverton Police Department hosted its first Citizen’s Academy this last year, providing a great opportunity for residents to get a firsthand look at what it takes to be a police officer. Our police department continues to find ways to establish positive relationships with those in our community and provide a high level of service.
- Our residents continue to save property tax dollars since leaving the Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area in 2018. To date, our residents have saved over $6 million dollars, collectively, in property tax that would have otherwise been collected. And we are now seeing annual savings of more than $2.5 million dollars.
- We have had fantastic, and in some instances, record-breaking attendance at Riverton Town Days and other city events this past year. We appreciate the work of our recreation and events department staff and volunteers who help us maintain a strong sense of community.
- The City Council approved a license agreement with Google Fiber in December, setting the foundation for Google Fiber to expand into Riverton using public right-of-way to offer high speed internet service to residents. They anticipate construction beginning in the second half of this year.
I don’t have enough time here to mention the rest of the positive things that occurred last year, but again would like to offer my thanks and most sincere appreciation to all who have contributed their time and talents for our great city.
City elected officials and administration met in January in a strategic planning meeting to set the course for the next four years. This included updating our vision and mission statements, as well as establishing new organizational values. These values include integrity, innovation, stewardship, collaboration, and service.
These values will guide our elected officials and city staff as we conduct the business of the city government and interact with the public.
Much of the discussion in the strategic planning meeting was related to the results of the citizen survey and identifying areas where our residents would like the city to go. In the end, the City Council identified four broad themes as part of the new strategic plan:
- Sense of Community
- Connectivity & Infrastructure
- Economic Development
A series of objectives and goals have been developed to support these themes, which will provide direction to city staff over the course of the next four years. A few of the major projects that are highly strategic in nature and that align with these themes include:
- The installation of new monument and wayfinding signage this year to help us further set our city apart as a community that our residents can take pride in.
- The continuation and enhancement of community events that bring our community together.
- A fiber backbone network that will connect Riverton City facilities, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings for taxpayers over the next decade while significantly increasing speeds and security for the city. This ring also has the potential of being utilized by the private sector, allowing for greater choice and competition that can improve speeds and costs for our residents.
- The re-engagement of the city’s Green Well, to supplement to the city’s water supply with a quality that is equal to or greater than that offered by Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. This can increase our water supply by more than 2000-acre feet while also saving close to one million dollars a year. Which, I believe, can maintain our water rates at their current levels for the next four years.
- The addition of two new city parks in the area west of Bangerter Highway near 13400 S and the improvement and enlargement of active transportation networks, to include public trail systems and pedestrian bridges.
- We have created two Community Reinvestment Areas within the Riverton Town Center area that have the potential to bring in restaurant, retail and office amenities that complement Riverton City Park and City Hall. This can truly be a unique, destination venue that will greatly enhance the eastern side of our city.
- Given the recent drought, and unprecedented levels of growth, the state has been legislating the requirement for cities to install secondary water meters at every connection, with current legislation accelerating that requirement. This is something Riverton has been out in front of, already installing meters on about one third of our household connections and putting a plan in place that will install the balance of the meters over the next two years, with no new debt, by partnering with the state, and through utilization of federal America Rescue Plan funds. This foresight allowed the city to retire a $12 million dollar loan, and with the anticipated savings in debt service, I project that secondary water rates can remain the same for the next four years.
Our city has strong leadership in our elected officials. We have a strong and dedicated staff. We are in a strong financial position. We have strong businesses and a strong local economy. Our outlook is bright. I urge citizens, families, businesses, and leaders to stay united in building a prosperous city that maintains that strong sense of community that we all love about Riverton. May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless our great city of Riverton, this state and nation.
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