Councilmembers, legislators, county officials, school officials, Riverton City committee members and staff, and Riverton residents - I can say with confidence that 2022 was one of the most consequential years in Riverton’s 158-year history. We have much to be thankful for and much to be optimistic about. It is an honor for me, as your mayor, to stand here and report on the state of our great city.
It can be easy to become discouraged about the direction government takes. Nationally, we see many examples that highlight the dysfunction of government, and of our country’s political discourse. At the local level, the government closest to the people, this is not the case. We have proven in Riverton that we can work collaboratively together, find innovative solutions to problems, and keep costs in check for our residents. Unfortunately, local government doesn’t produce the flashy headlines and public conflicts that other levels of government do, so you often don’t hear about much of our success.
At the beginning of 2022, the city council established four strategic themes that would guide the city’s efforts for the following four years. These include economic development, sustainability, connectivity and infrastructure and sense of community. I will report on progress made in each of those strategic areas.
First, 2022 was a significant year for Riverton in terms of economic and housing development.
- Costco Wholesale opened a 160,000 square-foot facility and gas station.
- Mountain View Village Phase 2 opened to the public, adding hundreds of thousands of additional square feet of commercial retail and office space.
- Cinemark opened a 57,000 square-foot, 14-screen luxury theater.
- 91 new commercial businesses opened in Riverton.
- 306 housing units were added last year with over 1,700 units being constructed or planned to be constructed in the next two years across the city.
Our robust economic development efforts have resulted in record sales tax revenue for the city at over $11.2 million, an increase of 13% from the prior year and more than doubling in the last 10 years.
Looking to the future, our western commercial district will continue to develop and will add additional retail space, flex warehouse, office space and other commercial development. Mountain View Village will add an additional 21 businesses this year and have another 19 retail spaces to fill.
The city has established two Community Reinvestment Areas in the Riverton Town Center, near our main park, as we work toward our goal of enhancing this area. We are actively discussing redevelopment opportunities with prospective developers on this side of town and discussing improvements in and around the Riverbend Golf Course with Salt Lake County.
In 2022 we made considerable progress in the area of sustainability. Establishing sustainable water sources and ensuring stewardship of city facilities are key functions of local government. Here are a few of our accomplishments in the last year:
- The city secured $3 million from Salt Lake County’s America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and allocated $650 thousand of the city’s ARPA funds for the installation of a reverse osmosis plant on the city’s well next to the Jordan River. This innovative project is a win for Riverton City, a win Salt Lake County and a win for the state. It will produce over 650 million gallons per year, and through a strategic partnership, Salt Lake County will save $100 thousand per year in watering costs at the Riverbend Golf Course. In a time of drought throughout the state, this well significantly increases water resources in our region. We anticipate this project to be completed in June and that it will save the city over $400,000 per year since the city won’t have to purchase as much water from Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District.
- We’ve paid off nearly $4.5 million in debt, leaving the city with only $803 worth of debt per capita - the lowest our debt load has been since 2002.
- We’ve secured $8.8 million from the State of Utah to help us complete the installation of secondary irrigation water meters on the remaining two-thirds of secondary water connections. This state funding allowed the city to return a $12 million loan to complete the project that likely would have resulted in an increase of secondary water fees to pay for it.
- The city was awarded $1.2 million from Salt Lake County grant funds to allow for a mucheded renovation to the first floor of the Sandra N. Lloyd Community Center this year.
Additionally, our residents continue to see property tax savings since our city left the Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area and formed a city district in 2018. To date, property taxpayers have saved over $10 million – with over $4 million in savings just last year. Residents have also begun to realize savings in our transition from the Unified Fire Service Area to the Riverton Fire Service Area at over $270,000.
Residents have experienced just a $2.55 net increase in utility fees over the last 10 years, and as we stated, a reduction of over $10 million in property taxes. Tonight, I’m here to report that in light of our many innovations in city governance and with a thorough review of our five-year projections, I see no need to raise utility fees for the next five years. This is an enviable position to be in, especially given the city property tax increases and utility fee increases other communities in the county have imposed. This is a remarkable accomplishment in light of the massive inflationary environment we have today.
Our third strategic theme, connectivity and infrastructure, continues to be prioritized.
- The Bangerter Highway / 12600 S freeway-style interchange was completed last year.
- Google Fiber began installation of their network in Riverton, which will give most Riverton residents an additional option for high-speed internet service by the end of this year.
- UDOT will soon begin freeway-style interchanges on Bangerter Highway at 13400 S and 2700 W. These interchanges will greatly improve traffic flow through our city when completed. We are incredibly grateful to our state legislators for their work getting these interchanges funded.
- The city has received $2 million in funding from Salt Lake County for improvements on the Welby Canal Trail between 12600 S and 13400 S, which can include a pedestrian bridge over 13400 S.
- Utilizing ARPA funds, a plan is now in place to connect city-owned facilities with a fiber optic broadband infrastructure. We anticipate this critical infrastructure saving the city as much as $50,000 per year. This infrastructure will create an opportunity for a future public-private partnership that could pave the way to offer residents an additional high speed internet service option and even create a potential revenue stream for the city.
Looking ahead, we eagerly anticipate the construction of two additional parks on the west side of town in the areas being developed by Edge Homes and Suburban Land Reserve. The addition and improvement of city trails is in our sights, and we will continue to prioritize maintaining our strong infrastructure.
Finally, our fourth theme, sense of community, is of utmost importance to me and the Riverton City Council. We constantly hear that what separates Riverton from other cities is our strong sense of community. Regardless of where a Riverton resident lives in our city, we want them to feel part of our community and provide opportunities for them to engage with the community. Here’s what we accomplished in 2022:
- We installed four major and three minor monument signs at major entrances to Riverton.
- We installed 61 signs to mark our city boundary that can be seen as residents and visitors enter our city.
- We installed wayfinding signage to mark important facilities and amenities in the Riverton Town Center.
All these signs have common elements that tie our community together, regardless of what part of our city someone finds themselves.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.” Along those lines, one of our main priorities under our sense of community theme is to actively engage and inform residents to ensure they feel part of our community. We continue to have a large impact in this area:
- We had over 50,000 engagements with our city in some way from people attending a city event, participating in a recreation program or attending a meeting in 2022.
- We had over 3 million digital content views across our website, social media platforms, email platform and text platform combined last year. This includes over 1.4 million website pageviews and over 450,000 email opens, both more than we have ever had.
What all this together means is that Riverton City is better positioned than perhaps we’ve ever been to address the challenges we face and seek out opportunities that are ahead of us. Our city is managed well financially. We are both innovative and conservative in our approach to local government and have saved our residents literally tens of millions of dollars as a result.
I would now like to recognize several individuals for their contributions to the prosperity and success of our city, and if they are present tonight, invite them to stand when their name is called.
I would first like to recognize the dedicated members of the Riverton City Council: Councilmembers Andy Pierucci, Troy McDougal, Tawnee McCay, Tish Buroker and Claude Wells. Please join me in thanking these councilmembers for all they contribute to the city.
I would also like to recognize our state legislators for all of their support and work on our behalf, including Senator Dan McCay, Representative Candice Pierucci, Representative Mark Strong, Representative Jay Cobb and Representative Susan Pulsipher. Please join me in thanking these state lawmakers for their contributions to our community.
I am grateful for the support and partnership from our county officials, including Mayor Jenny Wilson, Sheriff Rosie Rivera, the entire county council, and in particular, Councilmembers Sheldon Stewart, Laurie Stringham and Dave Alvord. Please join me in thanking these dedicated county officials.
I also wanted to recognize officials from the Jordan School District for their partnership, including Board Members Tracy Miller, Darrell Robinson and Brian Barnett, our Superintendent Anthony Godfrey and Associate Superintendent Mike Anderson, as well as local school principals, some of whom are here this evening, including Principals Rochelle Waite and Donna Hunter. Please join me in thanking these dedicated school officials.
I would like to invite any member of our Riverton City planning commission or any other committee or commission to stand, including members of the Riverton Youth Council. These individuals willingly give of their time to help make our city better. Please join me in thanking all who serve on a volunteer committee or commission.
I would now like to invite any Riverton City staff who are present to stand. These are the folks who execute on the strategic priorities and policies established by the city’s elected officials. Please join me in thanking them for their hard work for our city.
In Riverton, our local government holds true to the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility. This is evidenced most readily by our city government being smaller than any of our neighboring cities, having fewer employees per 1,000 in population and our utility fees remaining the lowest in the region.
In Riverton, our citizens hold the principles of personal responsibility and individual liberty in very high regard.
The principles of our government, combined with the principles of our people, are the real foundation of our community’s strength. Because of this foundational strength, Riverton will continue to be a city of opportunity and prosperity.
May God continue to bless our great city, state and nation. Thank you.
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