Mayor Staggs focuses on city progress, growth in State of the City AddressMar 08, 2023 03:44PM ● By Dylan Wilcox
Mayor Staggs delivers State of the City Address for Riverton. (Dylan Wilcox/City Journals)
Mayor Trent Staggs addressed an audience of community members, legislators, and school officials at the Old Dome Meeting Hall on Feb. 8. In his annual State of the City address, Mayor Staggs said that 2022 was one of the most “consequential years” in Riverton’s 158-year history.
“We have much to be thankful for and much to be optimistic about. It is an honor for me, as your mayor, to report on the state of our great city,” Staggs said.
The City Council created four strategic themes that will guide the city in the next four years which are economic development, sustainability, connectivity and infrastructure, and a sense of community.
Mayor Staggs focused on the robust economic growth that the city is experiencing. Within the year of 2022, Riverton experienced increased revenues with the establishment of new businesses being attracted to the area.
One major factor of the economic growth in the city is record increases in the sales and revenue tax, which is currently at $11.2 million, a 13% increase from the prior year. The sales tax revenue has increased more than 50% in the last 10 years. According to Staggs, the city has been able to pay off $4.5 million in debt, lowering the debt per capita for the city at $803, the lowest level since 2002.
Another factor of the increased economic activity has been the opening of new businesses. Costco opened its 160,000 square-foot facility with a gas station late last year. Additionally, Mountain View Village Phase 2 opened to the public adding thousands of additional square feet of commercial retail and office space. Included with that phase opening was Cinemark, who chose Riverton as its latest location for a 57,000 square-foot, 14-screen luxury theater. Overall, a total of 91 commercial businesses opened or started business in Riverton last year.
“Looking to the future, our western commercial district will continue to develop and will add additional retail space, flex warehouse, office space and other commercial development. Mountain View Village will add an additional 21 businesses this year and have another 19 retail spaces to fill,” Staggs said.
Another indicator of Riverton’s economic growth is housing. According to the city, an additional 306 housing units were added last year with over 1,700 units currently in construction or in the process of being constructed within the next two years.
The city has plans to enhance the Community Reinvestment Areas in the Riverton Town Center. “We are actively discussing redevelopment opportunities with prospective developers on this side of town and discussing improvements in and around the Riverbend Golf Course with Salt Lake County,” Staggs added.
The council’s second strategic theme of sustainability has seen steady improvement as well. A $3 million grant secured from Salt Lake County’s America Rescue Plan Act enabled the city to spend $650,000 on a reverse osmosis plant which will provide roughly 650,000 gallons of water per year, which saves the county $100,000 in water costs at the Riverbend Golf Course. The project is targeted for completion in June 2023 which will save the city $400,000 per year.
Additionally, the city has also secured $8.8 million from the state to complete installation of secondary water meters and the secondary water connections. This will allow the city to improve its water infrastructure and return a $12 million loan to complete the project which would have resulted in higher fees to do so.
Property tax savings have increased due to the city’s decision to leave the Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area and institute its own police force within the city district in 2018. “To date, property taxpayers have saved over $10 million – with over $4 million in savings just last year. Residents have also begun to realize savings in our transition from the Unified Fire Service Area to the Riverton Fire Service Area at over $270,000,” Mayor Staggs said.
Due to the city’s reduction in property taxes and proper management of its finances, Mayor Staggs said “I’m here to report that in light of our many innovations in city governance and with a thorough review of our five-year projections, I see no need to raise utility fees for the next five years. This is an enviable position to be in, especially given the city property tax increases and utility fee increases in other communities in the county have imposed.”
“This is a remarkable accomplishment in light of the massive inflationary environment we have today,” he added.
The third emphasis of the city is its improvement of infrastructure and connectivity of the residents and surrounding communities. The completion of the 12600 South freeway-style interchange last year was among the infrastructural achievements in Riverton, with more improvements in the works. The Utah Department of Transportation plans on beginning more freeway-style interchanges on Bangerter Highway at 13400 South and 2700 West with the goal of opening up the flow of traffic.
Besides the upcoming roadway improvements, the city is making strides in fiber optic broadband improvements. Riverton has implemented enhanced internet access through the expansion of Google Fiber installation in the area. Utilizing state funds, a plan is in place to connect city-owned facilities with better broadband infrastructure. The betterment of fiber optics has an estimated savings-cost of $50,000 a year.
“Looking ahead, we eagerly anticipate the construction of two additional parks on the west side of town in the areas being developed by Edge Homes and Suburban Land Reserve. The addition and improvement of city trails is in our sights, and we will continue to prioritize maintaining our strong infrastructure,” Staggs said.
Honing on the council’s fourth theme of sense of community, Staggs recounted the city’s achievements. Four major and three minor monument signs at major entrances in the city have been erected. Sixty-one signs have been installed to mark city boundaries. And the city has installed additional signage to mark important facilities and amenities in the Riverton Town Center.
Overall, the city made strides in communicating with its residents from city planning and council meetings, to recreational programs and theatrical events. The city also increased its online presence with more than 3 million content views on all website, social media, email, and text platforms.
The city will continue to build up on the progress it has made through effective policies and continued community input.
“The principles of our government, combined with the principles of our people, are the real foundation of our community’s strength,” Staggs said. “Because of this foundational strength, Riverton will continue to be a city of opportunity and prosperity.”