Taylorsville mayor touts economic growth, increased tax revenues in State of the City address
Jun 23, 2017 09:33AM
By Carl Fauver
Taylorsville residents and elected officials look on during the mayor’s speech. (Carl Fauver)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
With sales tax revenues up by more than two-thirds of a million dollars and city debt down more than $4 million since he took office, Taylorsville Mayor Larry Johnson had plenty of good news to share during his first-ever State of the City address.
“In the past three years, we have reduced the city’s debt obligations from $12.9 million to $8.6 million,” Johnson told a gathering of about 50 residents, elected officials and city staffers. “We have accomplished this without a tax increase. And our sales tax (revenues) have increased $668,000 since 2014.”
Johnson said he’s proud of the city’s accomplishments during his first term in office. And he’s also proud of his Taylorsville roots.
“I grew up here in Taylorsville,” he said. “My Mom, sister and I lived with my grandparents on a small farm, just a few blocks from where city hall is now located. I can honestly say I have never been more excited to live here in our wonderful community. There are so many remarkable things happening in the city.”
The former operator of a family business in Taylorsville (J & J Tire), Johnson said he came to his elected position with experience balancing books and making payroll.
“When I was elected, I decided to roll up my sleeves and get to work,” he said. “I knew I needed to approach the job with the same energy and enthusiasm that I did with my own company.”
Working with the city council and staffers, Johnson said one of his top priorities was to streamline Taylorsville government to make it more cost efficient.
“By reorganizing departments and making hard decisions, we have reduced government spending by a total of $1.1 million,” he said.
Some of the city’s reorganized departments include the courts, attorney’s office, and the building and economic development departments.
City officials have also aggressively sought to refill vacant store fronts over the past several years.
“When I was elected, we were in the middle of a downturn in the economy,” Johnson said. “Nearly every day, Economic Development Director Wayne Harper and I promote the city to business and commercial developers.”
Johnson said part of that effort has included attending the annual conference of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Johnson said contacts made there have led to the sale and revitalization of the area formerly known as the Family Center.
Now called the Crossroads of Taylorsville (south and west of Harmons near Redwood Road and 5600 South), the site is home to the new 60,000-square-foot Regal Crossroads 14 & RPX movie theater.
“If you have not been there to see a movie, I highly recommend it,” Johnson said in his address. “The Regal Theater is amazing.”
Johnson is also proud to have played a role in the scheduled construction of a near half-billion dollar housing project, on 6200 South, just east of Bangerter Highway.
“Ground will soon be broken on the new Summit Vista life plan community,” he said. “It is a more than $450 million private development, to be built on one of the largest remaining (land) parcels in the city.”
Also during his speech, Johnson discussed the future Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center, improvements at city parks and the community senior center, as well as safety repairs at crosswalks and in city lighting. He noted crime in Taylorsville is down 10 percent over the past year. He also reminded residents, the city is now home to a brand-new Unified Fire Authority station.
After his State of the City address, Johnson said, “I know some mayors give these kinds of speeches every year, but I wanted to wait until I truly had a lot of good news to share.”