West Valley City Council Update
Jan 04, 2016 03:32PM
● By Bryan Scott
West Valley - With the start of a new year comes an opportunity for residents to stay informed about what’s happening in West Valley 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 West Valley 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:
Mayor Ron Bigelow
Ron Bigelow has served as mayor of West Valley City for two years, being elected in the fall of 2013.
He was state budget director for Utah in the governor’s office during 2011 and 2012. He represented West Valley City in the Utah House of Representatives for 16 years from 1995 to 2010. He served in House leadership for ten years, with eight years as the house chair of the budget committee, where he prepared budgets for all of state government.
Ron has extensive experience in accounting, budgeting, and auditing. He was a certified public accountant and worked for 28 years as a manager of finance for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has also worked in both Mexico and Chile in their administration offices.
He has also worked for several land development, construction and management companies, the University of Utah and been an adjunct professor at Salt Lake Community College. He has owned and operated a retail store and multiple apartment units. He has worked as a tax and management consultant for small businesses.
For thirteen years, he served as president of The Bigelow Society, a national genealogy organization of over 700 members, and currently serves on their board of directors.
Ron is a graduate of Salt Lake Community College and University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Councilmember District 1 Tom Huynh
At age 19, I escaped Vietnam by boat. We were lost and ran out water and food, but finally arrived in Palawan Refugee Camp in the Philippines. I immediately volunteered to work as a deputy commissioner to assist other refugees in the camp for two years.
I am truly grateful for this country that took me in and gave me the opportunity to grow and learn. Serving on the West Valley City Council is one of the ways I can contribute to the community that I love.
West Valley City is continuing to grow and prosper. Valley Fair Mall and the development along 5600 West are examples of the growth that has brought revenue and jobs to our city in 2015.
I frequently visit with my constituents who share their concerns with me regarding public safety, taxes, the city’s image, and other pressing issues. As 2016 approaches, a majority of my constituents are concerned about public safety. In 2013 I began a long-term commitment to get to know the local crime issues and our city’s response. I have been riding along with our police officers for two hours each week since that time. This effort has been very rewarding. I have come to know the dedicated men and women of our police force and the criminal problems that they face each day. I have met with our city manager to find effective ways to improve the safety of our citizens. I believe I am making a difference.
I sincerely want to thank to the citizens in my district who re-elected me this year. I pledge to do my very best to represent them and to maintain their trust.
I am married and have two sons and a daughter. We are proud citizens of West Valley City.
Councilmember District 2 Steve Buhler
I decided to run for city council because I live and work in West Valley City and want to preserve the good that we have and make it a better place to run my business and raise my children. As an attorney, I have met with thousands of WVC residents in my office and have discussed not only their personal needs, but the needs of the community as well. I enjoy being busy and working to make things better. Serving on the city council gives me the opportunity to do both of those things.
I am excited for 2016. Our economic development department is always busy bringing jobs and businesses to our city. I am excited to see what develops and what new opportunities for shopping and dining arrive in the coming year. I am also excited to see how our concerted efforts to diversify and improve our housing stock in the city develop over the next year. We have worked hard at making WVC a place where people of all socio-economic backgrounds can comfortably live together.
I am proud of the continuing work the city has done in 2015 in being the first city to fully equip its police officers with body cams. We have also partnered in building another idea house in District 2 that helps inspire improvement of the neighborhood. We have continued recognizing the good immigrant residents of our city who want to integrate into our society through the English Language Initiative. Great things are happening here, and better things are on the horizon.
Councilmember District 3 Karen Lang
West Valley City is my home. I have spent the past four years on the city council and before that I was on the planning commission for a decade. I wanted to be on the council, not only because I live here, but because my business is here as well. I want to be involved.
I enjoy talking with my neighbors and those in my district about how they envision our city. I want this city to thrive and I am glad that I have the chance to be a council member and develop policies that strengthen our city.
I am excited about the growth in my district and the many changes we have seen in the past year. Freeport West continues to grow, attracting many new businesses. We have a new Intermountain InstaCare under construction in the Highbury area, and 5600 West is flourishing. Existing businesses continue to invest in our community through major upgrades and expansion.
With so many businesses, restaurants and entertainment options, is there ever a reason to leave West Valley City?!? This is a terrific city and I am proud, not only to be a council member, but a West Valley City resident and business owner.
Councilmember District 4 Steve Vincent
My wife and I built our “starter home” in West Valley in 1980 just one year after we were married, and we have been in the same home ever since. We raised our four children here in the city, and we now have 4 grandchildren that we love to have around.
I became involved with the city in 1999 and was appointed to the city’s Board of Adjustment and served for two years, one year as chair. In 2001, I decided to run for city council and was elected and began representing council district 4.
West Valley is seeing great growth in both the retail and business sectors. Ground breakings of new businesses that are locating here in the city are becoming common events. Granger Medical will be building a new 4-story regional medical building in the heart of our City Center Project; Intermountain Heath Care is also building a new facility near the new movie theaters on 5600 West. New hotels and restaurants also are coming on line as our economic development moves along.
Salt Lake Community College opened its door with a satellite campus on 5600 West and 3500 South. This just adds another great piece to our growing community.
There will be a new development near the Maverik Center as Real Salt Lake builds a soccer stadium for their minor league team, the Monarchs.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve the community. I love the place I live.
Councilmember At-large Lars Nordfelt
My wife and I grew up in West Valley and we chose to make this the home for our children. I decided to be on the council because I am proud to be from West Valley City and I want my children to say the same thing 30 or more years from now. I take my stewardship very seriously and make every decision with a long-term vision of our city forefront in my mind.
The past year was great for our city:
Many businesses, small and large, moved to or expanded in our city, increasing jobs, services, and tax dollars.
Our police department continues to improve and build stronger relationships with our residents.
The fire department added equipment that will help us in a catastrophic emergency.
We added a new city park and continue to maintain the parks and recreation facilities for the enjoyment of our residents.
We upgraded the home construction minimum requirements in order to improve the quality and variety of homes.
Our animal shelter maintained “no-kill” status.
I am most proud of the work we did in clean energy. We were the first in the state to help a commercial business utilize the state’s C-PACE program that helps companies acquire loans to make clean energy improvements to their facilities. We also replaced electrical fixtures on city properties that will reduce energy and costs for many years to come.
This year I am hopeful we will continue on the path to a better city just as we have done this past year. We live in a wonderful city, but there is always room for improvement. If you have suggestions, please feel free to contact me.
Councilmember At-large Corey Rushton
Corey Rushton was first elected to the West Valley City Council in November 2007. He was selected from a field of seven candidates during an election that recorded the highest voter turnout in the history of West Valley City Municipal Elections. In addition to serving as Councilmember at-large, Corey Rushton has been elected to serve as mayor pro tem of West Valley City.
“I serve because I love my WVC community and like the five generations of Rushtons that have lived in this area I want to see this great area continue to be a meaningful area, and interesting place to be,” he said.
“Major highlights for the city in 2015 has been the constant investment and reinvestment into the community to make it a better place. We have better housing and neighborhoods, new businesses, buildings, and jobs, and the soon-to-be home of the REAL Monarchs soccer stadium near the Maverik Center. Overall West Valley City is a great place and well known as used by people from all over the region. Some just come for great entertainment and recreation, others might come daily to work at one of our great companies or business parks, and others have lived here for a long time. There is something for everyone in West Valley City.”
“2016 will be a great year for WVC as we will see continued quality growth and jobs in our Fairbourne Station development and other corners of the city. Also looking forward to the addition of WVC first skate park, soon to be located near the WVC Family Fitness Center.