My take on key issues... policy over politics
The following issues are important to me and the community. This is where I have encouraged the city to put attention and resources. Please contact me to discuss these issues and other issues that are not specifically mentioned here.
The council has placed a high priority on water infrastructure in the past four years. We have re-piped the culinary line that comes from the canyon spring; we have moved and rebuilt the chlorinator station; we have continued to replace old water lines; and we started work on a large water line expansion/rehabilitation extending from the mouth of the canyon through the city. I see water and sewer as one of the most basic and important services of the city. I will always be interested in, and advocate for, responsible and healthy water systems.
I am an avid supporter of funding for public safety. I see our police force as an essential piece to our growing community. During the past four years, we have added 10 police officers to the force, including vehicles and gear. We have coupled that increase in police force with strong prevention programs, de-escalation trainings, crisis intervention trainings, and mental health response support to provide holistic, practical community safety.
Fire and Rescue
Our fire station continues to be the busiest fire station in the county, with over 4,000 calls for service last year. To keep up with this need, we have added 22 fire/EMT personnel and replaced or purchased 7 fire vehicles (fire trucks, brush trucks, ambulances). Part of this increase was due to a new contract with Cedar Hills to provide fire and emergency medical services for Cedar Hills. Fire-fighting and emergency medical care is a fundamental service of the city and will continue to need attention and support as the city grows.
I was instrumental in facilitating a partnership with the city and Deerfield Elementary to repaint and install flashing crosswalk signs for a crosswalk that creates a safe walking route. This might seem like a small thing, but it means something to me to help kids get to school safely.
Over the last four years, the city council has budgeted $9.5 million toward road maintenance. This represents an increase over previous years. As you may be aware by driving on our roads, there is more work to be done here. Although the increase in funding is not enough to cover all roads that need work, it is an indication of its high priority. I will continue to look for reasonable and responsible solutions to maintaining our roads.
Employee costs account for the City’s largest general fund budget expenditure. Responsible use of taxes requires a productive workforce that is well managed. As part of the management of the city, I advocated for the implementation of a periodic, anonymous employee satisfaction survey. The city is a service commodity; our strength lies in people. As a council member, I find the survey to be a useful tool in assessing needs of a wide variety of individuals and departments.
I believe a healthy savings is essential to smart planning and to safeguard against natural disasters, sharp downturns in the economy, unexpected events, or other emergencies. During my first year in office, the city’s general fund balance, which is essentially its flexible savings account, was 11%. At that time, Utah State law required a fund balance of at least 5% but no more than 25%. Since then, I have encouraged the city, and looked for ways, to increase the size of our savings. As of May 2020, the state increased the allowable amount to 35% and this June, we were able to budget 32% of budgeted revenues to the general fund balance.
The city has maintained a very low level of debt. Our current budget puts us at 14% of the amount we are legally allowed to borrow. Our current debt comes from obligations from the installation of the pressurized irrigation system, the new fire station, and water infrastructure upgrades. I believe debt has its uses and allows the city to capitalize on current needs. I also believe that low debt obligations puts the city in a good position for the long run. I monitor this level and strive to maintain a low level of debt.