Bluffdale says goodbye to longtime mayor Derk TimothyJan 27, 2022 01:08PM ● By Travis Barton
Former Mayor Derk Timothy served in the position for 12 years having lived in Bluffdale for the past 30. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
That was the word former Bluffdale mayor Derk Timothy used to describe his city multiple times as his farewell open house came to a close.
The city organized and hosted the event on Jan. 4 as a way for friends and residents to thank Timothy for his 12 years of service as mayor.
“Bluffdale has been unique in the fact that whether it’s residents or staff, we try to make it a family environment,” Timothy told the Journal at the end of the open house. “I really have some deep personal relationships (here in the city), we try and be like family members when we work through things. I really consider everyone family.”
Newly minted Mayor Natalie Hall can vouch for that. Having worked for the city for the last seven years, she remembers how he treated residents.
“When people had problems he would go to their door and talk to them face to face,” she said. “He was really good at just problem solving.”
Timothy and his immediate family first moved to Bluffdale 30 years ago looking for more open space, somewhere they could set up a mobile home on their one-acre property while building their home. He remembered tilling weeds on the property when people would walk up and introduce themselves, stopping by to say hi.
“People don’t normally do that,” he said. “It was just kind of the atmosphere of the city.”
It was almost two decades later, in 2009, that Timothy decided to run for the mayor position. Attending city council meetings regularly, he said he wanted “to make the city more united, unified in what they were doing. I felt like I had something to add there and I really think that’s what I’ve done.”
Timothy won the 2009 election with 57% of the vote before running unopposed in 2013 and 2017.
A lot changed in the city during his 12 years at the helm. The city more than doubled in size during that timeframe. City Hall moved from what is now the public works building to what is now a fire station to what is currently City Hall. Which, according to Timothy, should take care of Bluffdale through the city’s future buildout.
Three terms means there’s plenty of accomplishments that stand out to the former mayor.
“If you compared our roads 12 years ago to now, our infrastructure is top notch,” he said, noting the city now has plenty of curb, gutter and overall stormwater control. Where it’s no longer so rural that one rain storm will flood a basement.
The city’s water system is high on his achievement list as well, pointing out the creation of secondary water within the city while remaining prudent and strategic about it. He said they waited until roads reached their natural rehabilitation point to put in pipes for secondary water at the same time as they repaved the roads, saving the city about 70% of the cost.
Three water tanks were built in the last 12 years. “Our water system can handle anything that could come,” he said.
Porter Rockwell Boulevard is another notch on the belt which, Timothy noted, required patience and strategy rather than rushing a job to get it done. Getting the legislature and transportation commission to buy in to get more funding.
“That whole road is a very expensive road, but our Bluffdale residents have never seen an impact in their taxes since we did it very strategically,” he said.
Hall described Timothy as a “visionary.”
“He had this vision from day one to bring in Porter Rockwell,” she said. “He was committed, wanted to see our city grow the way it needed to be successful. I have never seen anyone put so much time and energy into a city.”
All that work was part of his effort to lessen any potential impact on residents. Though the city’s done various improvements, they’ve done so “without killing our residents in property tax,” Timothy said.
“We treat our residents as family and we don't want our family members to pay any more taxes than they have to,” he said. “But we want them to have the things they need.”
All of which was made possible, Timothy was quick to point out, because of the unity of elected officials and city administration where there wasn’t bickering or fighting or demanding.
Twelve years “is a long time to serve,” Hall said during the inauguration, thanking him on behalf of the council.
In fact, the last time Bluffdale had a new mayor, “Avatar” had just opened in theaters.
She noted he had a full-time job on top of his part-time job as Bluffdale mayor. She said he would get up at 3 or 4 a.m. every day to do both jobs.
But after 12 years and three terms, Timothy said the time was right to step down. Being a family man for Bluffdale, it was time to focus on his immediate family.
“We just decided that 12 years was probably enough,” he said. “Even though it was a hard decision, it was the right decision.”
As part of his ride into the sunset, Timothy said they’ll remodel the house and continue fixing up a salvaged motor home they bought and are rebuilding. “We’re gonna travel, go camping with the grandkids.”
As for the city’s future, he said his door is always open if Hall ever wants his help, but he’s not worried.
“She knows the city already,” he said. “I don’t need to give her much because she brings a lot to the table. The city’s in good hands.”