Welcome to 2014! It's hard to believe another year is gone and here we are in 2014. I was humbled and excited to be elected in November as Mayor of St. George. I really didn't set out to run against our wonderful mayor of 20 years, Mayor Dan McArthur. Rather I was running for mayor!
I feel so lucky to have learned many things over the last six years working with Mayor McArthur. My family and I have benefitted, as have all of you, from his leadership and commitment to the City and the citizens of St. George over the past 30 years. That's quite a commitment! I applaud him for all that he has done, and hope many of you had a chance to thank him in one way or another over the last couple of months. We will all benefit for years and generations to come from the accomplishments he and other elected and appointed officials have made.
Now it falls to the next generation of city leaders to build on what we've been given. I am excited to work with our new city council to set our combined vision of where we would like to go over the next decade. As I communicated during the campaign season, I would like to focus on three main areas:
- Over the last six years, the city has generally held public open forums quarterly on fifth Wednesdays. I will propose to the city council that we instead have an agenda item near the beginning of the first city council meeting every month that allows for comments from the public.
- I plan to re-constitute or create several new advisory boards that will allow more citizen involvement in key areas of our city government. Ones of great interest to me are the airport, animal shelter, water/energy, homelessness, human relations, and veterans/military. Watch for more information on these boards and let us know if you'd be interested in volunteering!
- I would like to be as available as possible to people wanting to talk about city issues. I will be active on social media, email, cell phone, and in direct meetings. As our city website is re-worked, I hope you will also find it easier to get to the people and information you need.
- There is already much planning that occurs at the city. I'd like to ensure that as our departments plan, we're all working under the same assumptions, and that we then roll it into one strategic plan. An executive summary version of that plan will then be placed on our website. It will be, as all strategic plans are, somewhat fluid, and will change sometimes as circumstances dictate. It will include topics such as infrastructure, public safety, downtown preservation (including a defined arts district), recreation/ leisure goals, organizational excellence and more.
- It is important to me that your elected city officials and every city employee have a shared mission, vision, and values. Some of our departments already have such documents and philosophies. I would like to make sure that there is a shared mission, vision, and set of values at the city that all of us will be committed to and that will guide us in our daily duties and as we interface with the public.
Third, Business and Education-
- Some of our existing ordinances need reviewing and reworking. The city council, city management and I will begin this process now. It will be an ongoing effort, as this part of our jobs is never really finished.
- We are now and will continue to look at things such as impact fees and taxes to make sure that we are appropriately and fairly structuring our revenue sources.
- We will review our operational structures for efficiency and make changes as necessary.
- I will foster a close tie between all levels of education (K-12, Dixie Applied Technology College, and Dixie State University) so that we can work together on initiatives that will improve results, enhance our workforce, increase our attractiveness to employers, and ultimately raise wages.
This is a framework that I have proposed to voters during my campaign, and now will propose to the city council for implementation. There will be changes and there will be more detail, but this is the start of what I hope will be a good foundation for the next decade of progress in the City of St. George. Please contact me or a member of the city council anytime with your comments, suggestions, and ideas. We are all looking forward to a new year and a new opportunity to work together and enjoy the journey into the future of our great city!