By Councilmember Claude Wells
As I reflect on the close of my four-year term as a Councilmember for Riverton City, Council District #5, I am humbled to have had the privilege to represent the great residents of our city! I have learned a great deal about how our city runs and made the best of it by studying and researching the issues faced by our city through an unprecedented pandemic, and extensive growth in the South Valley.
I met a lot of people over the last five years including campaigning for elected office and have made a lot of friendships I will carry forward. We watched Mountain View Village become an important anchor with the development of phase two which will bring in additional sales dollars which puts our city in great shape economically and financially going into the future.
There were so many opportunities for training that I took advantage of to be educated on issues so I could help make the best decisions for our city. Some of the highlights were participating in the first Citizens Police Academy for RPD and the United Fire Academy (UFA). I was able to visit all 32 of our Water pump houses when I first got into office. Water is our most important resource provided by our city. I also had the opportunity to be appointed to several boards.
During these assignments, I had a chance to meet with and work with several like-minded colleagues where we could learn from each other’s experiences I have had the opportunity to work with great city staffers and the best employees over my term. I was able to ride in a snowplow to see what challenges our snowplow drivers encounter when cars are parked on narrow streets or in small cul-de-sacs. I watched Old Liberty Way get built in the middle of the night to see what goes into building a road from scratch.
There were so many opportunities to learn from professionals to make sure I understood budget needs and constraints. We went through four budget cycles and did not have to increase taxes for residents other than Police and Fire to keep competitive in the marketplace.
Some of the other highlights were participating in city events and activities like the parade, the rodeo, the car show, State of the City, serving breakfast to our community during town days and representing our city businesses with countless ribbon cutting activities. The most humble event was Wreaths Across America and our Riverton Veterans programs with American Legion Post 140.
I was involved with several public hearings at Council meetings where the Council would vote for or against developments that were either good for our residents or we needed to protect the property rights of our community. I am proud to say that we kept out all new high-density housing in District 5 in the last four years. There is a place for high density, but we already were compliant and had enough in our district. I did my best with other Councilmembers to keep taxes and service increases down during my term in office. When I ran for office, I devoted my time to helping as many residents as I could and listened to their concerns. Every issue has two sides, and it is important to do your research and help residents understand the challenges of a middle size city with limited resources. I feel that our Council was fiscally responsible and that we made solid decisions based on those resources. It was a privilege to serve with six different Councilmembers, and our Mayor during my tenure. I will miss helping to shape our city and making a difference in our community. My goal was to be a good public servant and not a politician. I made decisions based on research and facts rather than future election chances.
I am grateful for the confidence residents put in me to represent their values and goals for our city! There is a lot I will miss, but it is time for me to spend more time with our growing family. When I was elected, we had two grandkids. Now we have 10 grandkids with 8 grandkids under age five.