I recognize the great deal of trust that the almost 40,000 residents in Riverton place in me. I promise to value that trust by listening to the requests of our residents, informing residents on issues and to be prepared and actively participate at meetings. Please take a few minutes to review my philosophy on the role of City Government, as this will be the paradigm that will guide my actions as your Mayor. Of course, the US Constitution and Utah Constitution are the utmost guiding documents, and I have sworn an Oath of Office that “…I will support, obey and defend” them and “…discharge the duties of my office…with fidelity.”
The Proper Role of Government
Before discussing what I believe to be the proper role of city government, I would like to discuss generally the proper role of government.
I firmly believe that God has granted every individual on this planet the right to life, liberty and property, and that it is the duty of every moral government to protect those rights. This is what our founders described as “inalienable rights”; in other words every human being automatically receives these rights by virtue of their arrival into this world. These rights are not granted by government. If government could grant them, then they would also be able to take them away. Although these basic rights are granted to us by our birth, they are politically protected. Sadly, we see in too many parts of the world that tyrants reign and usurp power to deny these fundamental rights to their citizens. This is why I believe so resolutely that we need to have an active, engaged citizenry.
I believe that our founders created a Constitutional, Republican form of Government to secure our inalienable rights and to limit the scope of federal government. Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution clearly defines the powers of the Federal Government. Unfortunately, the Federal Government has well overstepped their Constitutionally defined powers over time and usurped much of what was originally intended to be left to the states and the people. I believe that government closest to the people is the best form of government.
My Philosophy on the Proper Role of City Government
- Ensure the highest quality, essential city services are available to its residents for the most affordable price.
- As discussed above, the most important role of government and therefore services it can provide are tied to those that protect life, liberty and property at the local level. Law Enforcement, Emergency Services, codes and ordinances that promote health and safety are among the most important services a city can offer its residents. In addition to those fundamental services, cities also choose to incorporate so that they can provide other essential services at preferential costs and access. Culinary water, secondary water, roads, santitation, animal control, parks and programmable recreation are other services that the bulk of residents deem essential for health and safety, and to also provide a sense of community that improves ones quality of life. I believe that these are essential services and largely the reasons why cities are incorporated to begin with. I also believe that a city should provide essential services only in circumstances where it can provide them more efficiently and affordably than private industry, or larger governmental agencies such as the county, state or national government. Building certain roadways to ensure inter-connectivity of cities and enhancing commerce, prisons, and courts have proven to be more economical and efficient if provided by the county and state. National defense, and the other roles identified in Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution, are best done by the country.
- Provide zoning and planning that incorporates a proper balance of residential, commercial, parks and transit areas.
- Creating that proper balance of lands with different uses is one of the essential roles of city government. There must be enough commercial space that will ultimately result in enough tax revenue to shoulder the cost of general fund and other city services. Additionally, there must be adequate transportation areas and open spaces for residents to traverse
- Establish and enforce the minimum amount of ordinances necessary within the city limits that promote safety, health and good relations among residents.
- The establishment and enforcement of ordinances are a necessary and proper role for City government. However, these ordinances should be minimized to only those that are required for the safety and health of its residents, and also those that promote good relations among residents. Doing any more than this creates an environment of over-regulation and a sheer inability of enforcement – even those ordinances that are the most important.
- Encourage its residents to advance their skills and knowledge in areas that will make them succeed.
- The education and skill level of Riverton’s residents will directly impact the amount of business creation, business attraction, tax base and overall ability to contribute to the city. Riverton’s elected officials should do everything they can to encourage its residents to advance their education, skills and knowledge in areas that will make them more successful.
- Promote community participation and appreciation.
- For Riverton to truly prosper there must be an abundance of participation by its residents. Without the pride, appreciation and contribution of its residents, Riverton could never attain its highest potential. The needs of residents are constant and varied, and even with the best run essential city services, planning and zoning, and code establishment and enforcement, it would be impossible for the city government to truly prosper without the glue of community participation and appreciation.
- Opportunities for volunteerism must be openly and often communicated, publicly recognized and promoted at every occasion in ways where residents can see them.
- Community events must be balanced and encourage broad based participation.
- Create the environment necessary for businesses to thrive.
- Recognizing that bulk of the revenue for general fund purposes comes about by sales tax and ancillary revenue tied to business activity, the city must do its part in creating the environment for business creation and success. Attracting strong businesses to Riverton will ensure that the tax burden is shouldered by these businesses while simultaneously creating great job opportunities and convenience for its residents. The city does its part by keeping taxes and fees low, limiting rules and regulation such that they do not stifle or inhibit growth, and constantly promoting the city as business friendly and working with trade groups and incubators to attract businesses to operate within the city.