Sandy City Council Year in Review
By Stacy Nielsen
Sandy - With the start of a new year comes an opportunity for residents to stay informed about what’s happening in Sandy City and to be engaged with local city officials, who spend countless hours making decisions for the growth, development and improvements around the city. The Sandy Journal asked each city council member and the mayor to provide a brief biography, and to provide an update on two issues: What are major highlights from 2015? What is anticipated in the districts and the city for 2016? We received the following responses:
District 1 - Councilmember Scott Cowdell
The Sandy Journal did not receive a response by press deadline.
District 2 - Former Councilmember Dennis Tenney and newly-elected Councilmember Maren Barker
“With respect to activities and events which enhanced the quality of life for residents of District 2, through careful budgeting and planning, Sandy City was able to construct and successfully operate the new splash pad on the northwest side of the Amphitheater, which has been a huge success. Due to its popularity, we’re now constantly being asked when will Sandy City be able to construct other splash pads throughout the city. Other important events include contribution of funds from Sandy City and Salt Lake County to enhance the capabilities of the new performing arts theater at the newly constructed Mount Jordan Middle School so that it is now truly a community theater, as well as the ground breaking of the new Hale Center Theatre complex west of City Hall. We continue to expand and maintain highly popular urban trails throughout the city, including Dimple Dell Park as well.
“When I reflect upon the 30-plus years of my service in Sandy, the single word and concept which immediately comes to my mind is ‘gratitude’ to the good citizens of District 2 who allowed me to render some small service for so many years. I wish my successor, Maren Barker, much success during the coming years ahead,” Tenney said.
Councilmember Maren Barker
“My goal is to better serve the residents, and one way to do that is help them have better access to information and be more available. I want to set up neighborhood meetings and really meet people and hear their concerns. My hope is to create an atmosphere where my district feels comfortable in coming to me with their issues, big or little.
“My goal is to foster relationships with the city and other council members so we can meet District 2’s concerns and to advocate on their behalf to city council and the administration. It will be a challenge but not insurmountable,” Barker said.
District 3 - Councilmember Kristin Coleman-Nicholl
“Sandy City continued to grow geographically in 2015. 439 parcels, including 395 homes, were added to the city. Of those 439 parcels, 223 were added through the traditional annexation petition process, while 216 were added as a result of the November election. Notably, all of these parcels annexed through the petition process were in District 3. I believe more people will choose to annex into Sandy in 2016.
“We have also significantly modernized our Animal Services Department by moving to a no-kill model. The program not only significantly reduces unnecessary animal deaths, but will also reduce animal-related nuisances by better controlling feral populations. We also eliminated the use of the gas chamber when euthanasia is required for mortally injured, terminally ill, dangerous or wild animals.
“Sandy City will continue to provide high quality services such as police, fire, local street maintenance, utilities, and parks and recreation programs--all with one of the lowest property tax rates in Salt Lake County. We can also expect construction to continue on several projects in the Cairns District around City Hall, which will add new residential, commercial, and office opportunities to the city,” Nicholl said.
District 4 - Councilmember Chris McCandless
“To the Sandy residents who recently voted for me, thank you for your confidence! Through surveys, comments, and conversations I’ve had with citizens, I believe I understand what they want and expect from their city: to continue to keep our tax rates lower without compromising our quality of life. That “quality of life” includes police and fire protection; parks, trails and access to various recreational amenities; after school programming; elderly care; and affordable, family friendly activities.
“The city council needs to stay focused on our revenue stream, which changes constantly in response to our local businesses, especially the large retail outlets and the automobile dealerships along our freeway corridor. We need to support their efforts to keep their businesses vibrant.
“We need to find new sources of revenue to pay for aging roads.
“And finally, we need to identify and help those who are truly in need. We are seeing more homeless and more residents who are struggling to find housing, especially single parents. There seems to be more addiction problems with pornography and illicit drugs, both of which ruin lives and can become a cancer that lasts for generations. Our challenge in the forthcoming years will be to identify how we as a community can better serve them and help them become productive citizens in our community,” McCandless said.
At-Large – Councilmember Steve Fairbanks
“Utah is the economic star of the American West, and as such, is experiencing tremendous growth. Statewide, our population just reached three million people and is projected to surpass five million by 2050. The inevitable consequence of this is change, something Sandy saw in 2015.
“With our desirable proximity to I-15 and Front Runner, our four Trax stations as well as our position at the mouth of the Cottonwood Canyons, Sandy has a unique position in the Salt Lake Valley, both geographically and economically. People want to be here, but Sandy today is nearly fully built out.
“We’ve seen a shift in what growth and change look like. In Sandy, rather than just watch it happen, we’re choosing to guide it. 2015 ushered in the realization of the Cairns Master Plan, an undertaking years in the making. As the economy improves, developers are now moving forward with projects, many of which were on hold for years. The release of this backlog has resulted in an onslaught of new development in our city. It must be acknowledged we’re seeing a shift to higher density, transit-oriented and mixed-use projects as attitudes toward land use have evolved.
“All over the city, established neighborhoods are well maintained, or in the process of revitalization. The South Towne Mall, under new ownership, is undergoing a multimillion- dollar transformation. 2016 and beyond will see responsible growth and the careful preservation of everything we’ve already built as a community,” Fairbanks said.
At-Large - Councilmember Linda Martinez-Saville
“I am so proud to be a Sandy City councilwoman and am grateful to the community for again putting their trust in me. I was able to visit with many people while running for reelection this year, and was pleased to hear how much they loved Sandy City. I do believe, with all my heart, that it is because those who serve you, elected officials and city employees alike, all care so much about the families and the safety in our city.
“The city council has worked hard on behalf of the residents of Sandy City. One such accomplishment is their continued support for The Sandy Club: A Safe Place for Boys & Girls.
“In addition to city support, we are grateful for the many private donations we have received that made it possible to build a new, expanded Club. Through this generosity, the new Sandy Club: A Safe Place for Boys & Girls is currently under construction and will soon be operational and able to help so many families in our community.
“One wonderful new addition to the Sandy Club includes a donation room that will have food, clothing, school supplies, coats and many other things that will help our families in crisis. We also remain dedicated to continuing to help people find jobs and housing.
“Our focus on education will be expanded with a new program for children at an earlier age. Helping children to read at an earlier age is highly indicative of greater educational success later in life. Without our expansion, we’d be unable to meet the needs of these younger children and help them achieve greater success.
“We as a city council look forward to a year that promises to hold exciting developments, the continuation of quality, reliable service and a heightened dedication to informational outreach with our residents,” Saville said.
At-Large-Councilmember Stephen Smith
“Sandy is a city in transition, as demographics and economics change the need for services and challenge our ability to provide them efficiently. As the economy improves, development is again coming to Sandy, particularly in the civic center corridor. Sandy is becoming known as a destination city for employment, housing and recreation.
“New office buildings are sprouting, South Towne Mall will soon undergo renovation and Hale Centre Theatre has broken ground. All these activities contribute to the quality and vibrancy of life in Sandy.
“2015 saw the beginning of a process to stabilize the city’s revenues. The past reliance on fluctuating sales tax revenues is being balanced with more stable property taxes. While admittedly unpopular, such a move improves Sandy’s financial health and provides for flexible and innovative ways to provide services at a reasonable cost to residents. The city council has also recently undertaken initiatives to improve our efficiency and enhance our communication with residents. Sandy is a unique city geographically within the Salt Lake Valley. This position provides both challenges and opportunities.
“As we move into 2016, the city council will roll out new tools for the city to conduct its business, becoming more transparent and providing greater opportunities for communication, input and dialogue. We will look for ways to focus on our core services and the ability to deliver them at the standard our residents expect. It is an exciting time for Sandy. We are a recognized leader in Utah for innovation, service delivery, fiscal responsibility and responsiveness. The city council is committed to strengthening the city in these areas during the coming year,” Smith said.