By Councilmember Sheldon Stewart
As I write this article, it is a somber moment, as I will soon be ratified as the next Salt Lake County Council member that will represent Riverton as well as other cities in the southwest. As I look back, it reminds me of the great honor it has been to serve in this great community where I grew-up and where I will continue to serve in a slightly different role. It is my love and gratitude for what Riverton was, what is has become, and where it is headed that continues to motivate me to serve.
During this time, the framework and structure of the community has changed with growth from the time when I was a kid to now. During my time on the city council, I have seen Riverton grow from around 30,000 residents to our current population of just under 50,000. We have faced many challenges that come with growth, and we have weathered these challenges well. We have strived to be innovative in our thinking and in how we have dealt with this growth. We have been prudent not only in our financial decisions but also in our planning. The city instituted and adopted plans early on that would set the tone for the future. These plans have established an infrastructure and management plan that keep the future in mind as we address the needs of our community. As members of past, current, and future councils continue our attempt to look into the future and make decisions today that will benefit us in next 30, 40, 50, and even 100 years, we must balance the demands with the limitations that exist.
We have worked to revitalize our historic downtown, grow, and develop the western portion of our city, and design infrastructure that satisfies our physical needs with water and roads, as well as the digital needs that have intensified in recent years. These are all programs established to benefit our residents and attract more businesses to our city.
As I move on to the county, there are several things that our residents need to be aware of that I will continue to fight as a representative of the southwest so we can continue to maintain this wonderful region. Key areas of focus will be addressing how southwest cities continue to subsidize the services utilized in the other areas of the county. This includes:
- UTA – The cost per resident is ever increasing while access to services are reduced.
- Salt Lake County Library – Utilization of physical services are reduced while costs are disproportionately assigned to Riverton with additional tax increases looming.
- Unified Police Department – We continue to pay a subsidy through our county taxes that is ultimately offsetting costs for members of Unified Police Department.
Moving on to the county, I will continue to be open to your feedback. I appreciate the confidence you have shown in me as I continue in a new role representing each of you.
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