Presented by Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs at the Riverton State of the City & Peak Awards on Thursday, February 13, 2020.
Good evening and welcome. It is my honor to stand in front of you tonight and update you on the state of Riverton, our beloved city.
Before I do, I want to start by thanking some individuals, who have contributed so greatly to the current state of our city. For it is through their collective efforts that we are in the enviable position we are today.
First, thank you to our council members for all their hard work in the creation of a clear vision and plan for the future. Leadership strength is a function of an articulated vision, and an unwavering persistence in the actualization of that vision. As it has been said, “where there is no vision, the people perish”. Your Riverton elected officials have created, for the first time, a city vision and mission statement, coupled with 8 key strategic priorities. This year, we said goodbye to two councilmembers and welcome two new ones. Thank you Councilmembers Tingey and Johnson for your service, and welcome aboard Councilmembers McDougal and Wells.
Thank you to our state elected officials, school board members and other community leaders and teachers. Your work is instrumental in our success.
Thank you to our first responders, members of the armed services, veterans, and gold star families for their service. Your work, in the protection of life, liberty and property, is arguably the most important function of government. You not only keep our community safe, but also provide us with the level of protection that makes all our economic and social endeavors possible.
A big thank you to our exceptionally hard-working employees who works tirelessly to run the day-to-day operations of our city. As mayor, and with the help of the city council, we can create goals and plans for the future, however, it takes a special team to make those plans and goals a reality. I truly believe our city is fortunate enough to have the most dedicated and hardworking employees in the state.
Thank you to all our volunteers and engaged residents. Those of you that serve your community on our various committees, planning commission, youth council or other volunteer projects. Or whether you attend one of our city events, council meetings, recreational activities, plays or find another way to participate civically, your involvement makes our community truly prosper.
Thank you to Greg Summerhays and the South Valley Chamber for offering to partner with us for this event.
Last summer our governing body evaluated the needs and desires of our business community, and we felt as if the South Valley Chamber could provide a boost to our local businesses here in Riverton. With name recognition, a large member pool, and access to innovative trainings and resources we decided to officially join the South Valley Chamber last August.
From day one Greg and his team hit the road running and we have already seen a substantial benefit to our community and business leaders.
It seems only natural to present business, service, and personal awards at the same time as the State of the City, and we look forward to giving out various awards at the end of this address.
Riverton City had another excellent year in 2019. More than ever, you, our residents, have become more engaged. As mayor, I love seeing our residents involved, and I hope to see that trend continue as we all work to make Riverton an even better place to live, work and play.
Over the last year our elected officials and staff have worked tirelessly to make sure we accomplish all of the strategic priorities and initiatives we created in 2018. Although these initiatives were planned to be completed by 2022, I am proud to announce that we have accomplished approximately 75% of all the initiatives. As we look into 2020, I have every reason to believe it will continue to be one of great accomplishment, furthering the state of our city as one that is strong, prosperous and growing.
I would like to highlight a list of major accomplishments for 2019:
- Launch of the Riverton Police Department – The Riverton police department officially launched on July 1. We have 9 more officers in precinct today than what we averaged historically with Unified Police Department, all at a cost of not more than we were paying UPD for service. Our police force is top of the line with seasoned men and women who come to work every day with the desire to keep our city and residents safe. Since the inception of the Riverton Police Department I firmly believe that we have already seen a noticeable, positive difference in service level and responsiveness than we have ever seen before.
- No New Fee Increases – Replacing the Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Area with the Riverton Law Enforcement Service Area has now resulted in a 20% tax savings, or approximately $1.2 million for Riverton taxpayers! And we are now moving into our third year of the new city controlled law enforcement service area without a single tax increase. Riverton City itself continues to have a 0% property tax rate, had no utility fee increases, and boasts the lowest combined fees in the entire valley. 25 to 50% savings
- Financial Outlook – Our city is in a good position financially, and this includes the amount of debt we owe. The city continues to maintain its General Fund balance (rainy day fund) near the state allowed maximum, which is now at $3.1 million. Other fund balances for our enterprise funds are in a strong position as well. Our principal balance in total debt has decreased by 27% in the last five years, from $49.1 million in 2015 to $35.4 million today, this equates to a drop from roughly $1,118 to $828 per capita. And, we are one of the few cities in the state with a AAA bond rating from the Fitch rating agency. Increasing sales tax revenues continue to show the growing economic vitality of our city and reflects the success that businesses are seeing. Sales tax revenue has increased from $5.6 million to $7.5 million since 2014, an increase of 43%. The ability to grow this key source of revenue is a main reason why your elected officials can keep fees and taxes low.
- Groundbreaking of Mountain View Village Phase 2 – This last year we broke ground on phase 2. We have already seen great value added to our community with excellent shopping and dining locations offered in phase 1. Phase 2 is even more exciting with plans for a 14-screen luxury Cinemark theater. It will also bring in many specialty retail and dining locations. Phase 2 will really make Mountain View Village a gathering place for our community, with excellent landscaping and places for outdoor leisure. It will also provide some office space, and hundreds of new jobs. At build out, Mountain View Village will have approximately 1.6 million square feet of office and retail, estimated to bring millions of dollars in new sales tax revenues to our city treasury.
- Expansion of the Riverton Cemetery – The expansion of the Riverton City Cemetery was completed and plots in the new section went on sale back in July. The expansion makes it possible for more of our residents to be buried in our community. In total we had just under 1000 new plots available, and to date we have already sold 385 plots.
- Launch of the Southwest Vision Project – We launched the Southwest Vision Project to map out how the southwest cities of Riverton, Bluffdale, Copperton, Herriman, South Jordan and West Jordan can best address growth and infrastructure challenges – as we are projected to see the number of households and jobs double in the next 30 years! The project has three phases and we have recently completed phase one. The importance of phase one cannot be overlooked as it gave residents, employers, visitors, and others from around the region a chance to identify major issues and recommend potential solutions. We must all work together to ensure the right planning is in place, and execution of that plan so our quality of life doesn’t diminish.
- Launched Opioid Disposal Initiative – The health and wellbeing of our residents will always be the number one priority for our governing body. In an effort to help combat the state and local opioid epidemic, we partnered with a Utah based company which offers the first ever solution that renders unused or expired pharmaceuticals immediately non-retrievable. In doing so, we became the first municipality in the state to proactively fight against this national issue. Our efforts led to the formation of a partnership between Riverton, our Utah Attorney General, DEA agent in charge, the Utah Opioid Task Force, and Riverton Intermountain Hospital. For the benefit of our residents we have on site destruction sites available at the Riverton Police Station, and personal take home bottles are available for free at the Southridge Pharmacy located within Riverton IHC.
- Installed a Veterans Monument – The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for this great nation is the deepest form of love and devotion one could ever show. To honor these heroes, we unveiled our new veteran’s monument. Every veteran buried in our cemetery will have their name engraved to serve as a reminder of the sacrifices they made so that we all can enjoy the freedoms we have today.
- Renovations at City Hall – For many years our city hall and community center have been neglected. If you have driven past city hall within the last year you may have noticed some changes taking place inside and outside of our building. With funding from our council we have been able to update the front of our building with additional parking, a beautiful fountain and flag poles. As you move inward you will notice we have redone the flooring in the public areas of the building and added new artwork. We are also putting the finishing touches on the renovations to our council chambers and completing the renovations to our pre-function lobby within our community center. In the spring we look forward to hosting a ribbon cutting and hope that all of you will join us.
- Transportation and Connectivity – One of the largest issues facing our region of the valley is connectivity and traffic. With the completion of Mountain Ridge High School located right on our border in Herriman, and the growth of Mountain View Village, it was imperative that we provide additional connectivity in that area. With the help of Herriman city we were able to build and open Sentinel Ridge Boulevard, which connects 13400 S at Mountain View Village to Mountain Ridge High School. As we have already seen, this new road has greatly improved the connectivity in the area. We look forward to the completion of the grade separated interchange on 12600 S and Bangerter, along with other major roadways in the area between Bangerter and Mountain View Corridor in our city that will help alleviate congestion and improve mobility.
- Focus on Emergency Management – For the first time in our city’s history we have hired an Emergency Management Coordinator. Scott Chatwin is our new EMC and he brings years of experience to our city to help lead our emergency preparedness efforts and to ensure the city has an operable emergency management plan.
- Increased our Efforts to Engage and Inform Residents – Our communications department has been hard at work utilizing multiple tools to better inform and communicate with our residents.
- In 2019 we had over 610 thousand pageviews on our website.
- 20,500 print newsletters were distributed monthly.
- The email newsletter reaches close to 13 thousand residents.
- This year we also unveiled a new text message alert system. We use this tool in case of emergencies or quick reminders on important city events. To date we have close to six thousand contacts.
- The Riverton Connect mobile app currently has over three thousand downloads.
- Our social media continues to grow as we now have over 15 thousand total online followers, and we had over 3.5 million content views in 2019.
- Lastly, we have almost tripled our digital content views since 2017. In 2019 we had over 4.2 million digital content views.
Your city government has accomplished a lot over the last year. We have also seen great growth which has brought about new opportunities and challenges.
The progress and accomplishments we have seen will continue as we realize the vision, mission and strategic priorities laid out by the governing body.
More than ever before our city is financially secure, safe, and prepared for future growth and challenges.
Rest assured, your governing body is listening, we are learning, and we are continuing to lead. We should all be proud of our progress and confident in the future outlook of our city.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the City of Riverton.