South Jordan City answers questions live on Facebook
South Jordan City Manager Gary Whatcott recently shared the findings of the 2017 resident survey on a live Facebook event. Eighty-seven percent of residents believe the city is headed in the right direction, according to the survey. (South Jordan City)
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City Manager Gary Whatcott and Public Information Officer Tina Brown tuned to residents via a live video broadcast on Facebook Feb. 1. Whatcott and Brown discussed the results of the city’s annual citizen survey and answered residents’ questions on issues and projects around the city.
“I think this is a great way for the city to communicate with our residents,” Brown said. “We enjoy hearing from them and interacting with them. I've been so impressed with the questions our residents ask us during the live video.”
Whatcott and Brown began by discussing results of the city’s annual citizen survey, available online. More than 1,500 residents responded to the online survey, answering questions about overall quality of life and important issues surrounding the city.
“We’ve been doing this survey for about eight years,” Whatcott said during the broadcast. “Over the years, we have modified it slightly, but mostly it’s gauging how we are doing in delivering services, how we do interacting with the public and sharing information.”
The results are similar to last year, according to the survey. Residents are generally happy with the way the city is being run, and 87 percent of residents surveyed say that South Jordan is headed in the right direction. Most residents approve of the job elected officials are doing.
Safety, cleanliness, convenience and community are among the most commonly referenced positive aspects of living in South Jordan, according to the survey. Residents are most concerned about growth and related issues such as traffic now and in the near future.
The survey also briefly asked about the city’s fitness and aquatics center, a subject that was explored in depth in another recent survey sent out to residents. City officials have explored expanding the fitness and aquatics pool to add a competitive swimming pool large enough for Bingham High School swim team and other swim competitions.
“This survey was a primer to see if people would really want their taxes raised for these services,” Whatcott said. Expanding the aquatics center would require a vote from the general public because it would be funded through a general obligation bond that would increase property taxes.
“No decisions have been made,” Whatcott said. “The city is just wondering where the public is on this proposal.”
During the live event, residents asked questions on a variety of issues, including the possible fitness and aquatics pool expansion, green waste, Daybreak, Welby Park construction and road construction projects.
Whatcott said that the first major construction project is slated to begin this summer and will expand 10600 South to seven lanes. UDOT is starting to move forward on 11400 South and Bangerter Highway, and there are plans to have the latter run underneath 11400 South. Construction will also begin on 11400 South to remove the oval-about and re-design the intersections. Whatcott said this will take longer than one construction season.
As far as road maintenance, Whatcott said that the city “aggressively” follows a road maintenance schedule to save money.
“We can save a lot of money by preventive maintenance,” Whatcott said. “I think we will continue to pursue this as long as the [city] council is on board, and I think they are because it gives them the biggest bang for their buck. We have a very aggressive schedule on road maintenance.”
Phase one of Welby Park will also begin this summer and will include turf fields, parking, roads and open space.
Whatcott also touted the city’s financial record, referring to the 2016 comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) and related popular annual financial report (PAFR) that was recently published and available to residents online. Whatcott said the city has a solid budget, good savings and good growth, all which lead to a stable tax base and a sound financial record.
Whatcott and Brown finished the broadcast by thanking residents and city officials for their input. They encouraged residents who want to stay well informed to sign up for the city’s email list and follow the city on social media.