By City Councilmember Chuck Newton
Once again, we’ve been named #18 Best Place in the U.S. to Live.
In the process, we’ve reformed financial practices, cut unneeded staff, implemented new technology solutions to save taxpayer dollars and changed our fleet vehicle replacement procedures to save money. Other cities have been visiting us to see what we are doing.
The council has absorbed water rate increases, absorbed staff inflationary costs, and gave a 2014 property tax reduction while other cities are raising property taxes as high as 86 percent!
We used the Forrest City study to accelerate South Jordan’s economic development, helping keep your property taxes low.
Along Bangerter, The District’s added Habit Burger, Taco Bell and more. Oquirrh Mountain Marketplace opened Sprouts, and soon, Wendy’s, Papa Murphy’s, Planet Fitness and Potbelly’s Cheesesteaks.
Along 10400 South, there’s Costco, Jiffy Lube, Culver’s, Burger King and more. On Redwood, unneeded city property was sold, bringing an office building and family restaurant.
The east side brought Tim Dahle Nissan, plus two more car dealerships will soon break ground. By Front Runner, two major office buildings and a luxury hotel will start.
But wait – we’ve heard some residents complain while we’ve tackled some sacred cows like prison relocation, and our review of financial practices with the cemetery, the school district, Oquirrh Lake and Mulligans.
Preventing the prison relocation to our northwest border protected South Jordan’s economic west side future.
Overhauling cemetery operations, including beautification plans, will keep the faith with our forefathers, honor our war dead and expand final resting places for residents.
Reaching an agreement with Jordan School District saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. The mayors of West Jordan, Riverton, Herriman and Bluffdale supported our efforts as I met with them regularly. The end result, also praised by many in the Legislature, created a five-year school building plan for only six schools, not 14 (two in SoJo), a construction plan cutting costs 17 percent and selling five unneeded school lands to pay for the first school.
The Oquirrh Lake in Daybreak takeover is a wonderful opportunity for the residents, allowing city events like marathons, concerts, and weddings.
Some rumors spread by former council members are pouting about this and Mulligans. Clearly, this is an obligation, placed on the city by legal agreement. Really, it’s impossible for anyone to remember all 2,000+ pages of legal language they signed eight years ago, but such behavior is unfortunate.
With Mulligans’ finances reviewed by our outside auditor, verifying our concerns, and a recent survey of residents – what’s next? We’re changing some zoning around Mulligan’s to a new open space zone, and having a Mulligans Commission with staff and residents review adding some family-friendly features and consider an early bond payoff.
Some topics have dragged out as we review options and then discover more information to investigate. A resident that has disagreed with us about Mulligans issues made a very insightful comment to me at a December 2014 council meeting. He said he could see as we debated even the smallest of issues back and forth on various topics, that we take our jobs seriously and that it takes a lot of thought, care and experience. Thanks Mick!