Murray City Council - Year End 2015
Jan 04, 2016 03:51PM
● By Bryan Scott
Murray - Of the many duties charged to the city council, budgeting and planning for the financial future of the city are of utmost importance. Council members are always cognizant that funding decisions mean they are spending residents’ money and choices must be made responsibly, based on vital needs of the citizens and businesses, as well as those that increase your enjoyment of life.
When the council adopted the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year Budgets for Murray City and the Library Fund, two new firefighters/paramedics, two new police officers and a streets employee were funded and have been hired. Public safety in Murray City is a priority to the council, and we believe these new positions will ensure continued protection for residents.
A major segment of the budget is money allocated for capital projects. The Capital Improvement Project (CIP) is a five-year look into the future for long term planning and prioritization of city assets, including land, facilities, streets, utility systems, technology, equipment and vehicles. Capital projects funded during the last budget cycle that will be enjoyed by all city residents include park pavilion and restroom improvements, playground equipment replacement, animal shelter enhancements, pickle ball courts and road maintenance. Other major capital projects approved include citywide phone system replacement, fire engine purchase, 10 police patrol vehicles with equipment, and various other city vehicles that meet replacement guidelines for mileage and age. Also approved were the cemetery irrigation system replacement, Murray Park armory concept plan, replacement of lighting in the amphitheater parking lot, replacement of picnic tables and the vita course equipment, and Murray Park roads and pathways. Approved for replacement was the ozone system in the Park Center pool and the purchase of new fitness equipment to replace some that is 10 years old.
Budgeted in the previous fiscal year, the city is in the process of implementing a complete new software program that will transform all document systems within the city.
Road projects approved include use of various techniques from pothole repair, slurry seal and overlays to complete rebuilds. Of the approximately 350 total lane miles in the city, this budget year 34 lane miles have been funded for maintenance. This amounts to nearly 10 percent of our roads. There is always sidewalk and ADA maintenance money allocated, along with radar speed signs to be erected, and the Jordan Parkway Trail resurfacing that was completed last summer.
The council adopted an Intent Document to explain council intent and general policy direction underlying the adoption of the budget. Included in this document is an environmental component to promote, encourage and model conservation and eco-friendly practices in our city. The council supports implementation of an education process to provide residents with information relating to improving air quality; water and power conservation; reuse, recycling, waste reduction; and responsible disposal of hazardous materials.
In providing transparency for the business of the city, the council has funded and begun video streaming of council meetings. You can watch live or tune in afterward by going to the Murray City website at www.murray.utah.gov and clicking on the link on the front page of the website. With this feature, we hope that residents will be encouraged to keep up with city government and get involved in ventures of interest.
To accommodate our growing bicycle community, bicycle lanes have been completed on Vine Street from the 5300 South Trax Station to 900 East, on 5900 South and on Winchester west of State Street. You will see shared lanes (bicycles and vehicles) in some areas, and a separate bicycle lane in other locations. Some travel lanes have been eliminated, however, turn lanes have been retained at intersections and on-street parking is allowed in front of residential areas. This is a great benefit to the Murray community for commuting or pleasure. We now boast a total of 10 miles of bicycle lanes in the city.
Downtown development is a priority for the council and administration. The council has approved, along with the Redevelopment Agency (RDA), an exclusive development agreement to pursue development of the Murray City Center District. This area is expected to have some of the following components: a new city hall, art center, parks and open space, trails and connectivity, commercial and residential projects, and one or more parking structures.
The goals for this area are to be pedestrian friendly and encourage use of transit options, to have a venue for dining, art and entertainment, attractive space for office and business uses, and to provide high quality urban living units to attract medical professionals, young professionals and empty nesters. Additionally, we hope to host community events and celebrations in open space areas. Our historic significance is an asset we will strive to include in development projects. This project is an exciting venture for our city; the transformation, development and construction will begin and continue through 2016 and 2017.
The General Plan is a guide document ultimately adopted by the city council to help decision makers evaluate growth and development proposals and implement desired future development for the community. The General Plan has an expected life of up to 10 years. We are 10 months into the 18-month process, and currently components of the plan are being drafted. The plan development included public input at an open house in the fall of 2015. The council approved elements of a scientific survey of residents to assist in the General Plan project. By late spring or early summer of 2016, the General Plan will come back to the city council for input and final adoption.
Land use decisions are another major responsibility charged to the city council. Numerous decisions were made to rezone specific properties in accordance with the current general plan. Amendments have been made relating to the Fireclay Transportation Master Plan, the Transit Oriented Development District Code, live/work units and landscape and façade improvements. Ordinances were enacted governing adequate public utilities for sub-divisions and developments, and relating to condominiums. Dental Labs were approved in the Residential Neighborhood Business District and string instrument manufacturing in the Murray City Center District.
The council has approved several resolutions to participate with surrounding cities, the county and the state to take advantage of mutual resources. We approved the Public Works Emergency Management Alliance; assistance to the State of Utah to fight wildland fires; Salt Lake County prisoner transport; Multi- Jurisdictional Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan; Salt Lake Area Gang Project; Salt Lake County Officer Involved Critical Incident Task Force; and an agreement between UPD and the city for major traffic collision investigation.
The city council approved an ordinance establishing citywide vote-by-mail elections. Our turnout exceeded 41 percent, almost twice that of four years prior. Districts 1, 3, and 5 all re-elected their council members to serve for an additional four-year term. That speaks well for the satisfaction of residents with their governing body.
Keeping Murray City as the premier Utah community is important to city leaders and the city council, as your legislative body, works in unity to strengthen our growing city and yet preserve the small town atmosphere that residents love.