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The City Journals

Golf courses, businesses and taxes: South Jordan had a busy year

Dec 14, 2018 03:25PM ● By Jennifer Gardiner

By Jennifer Gardiner | [email protected]

South Jordan has undergone more changes in the last year than most, each one of them pushing the city that much closer to be one of the fastest-growing, most economically robust cities in the state. 

But that has not come without the hard work and extreme dedication from not just the South Jordan City Council, but the residents who want nothing but the best for their city. 

Introduction of a new Mayor

South Jordan elected its first female Mayor in January. Dawn Ramsey, who beat out her opponent during the November elections, came in with a full committed to protecting the city and a willingness to fight for what the city still needed. She has built a life around helping her community and children during her years of service on the Utah PTA Board of Directors and as Region Director in the Jordan District.

“There is great work to be done in our city over the next four years and I’m grateful for the chance to be part of the team,” Ramsey said. “We have a fantastic City Council and staff and I look forward to working together with them.

And work, she has. Ramsey said she logs an average of 50-60 hours a week as a part-time mayor. 

"Since being elected, I have kept my promise of working full time in behalf of the city, and it's making a difference. As part of that promise, we now have more representation than ever before on several boards at the county, region, and state level, giving us a much needed voice when it comes to things such as transportation funding and regional planning,” said Mayor Ramsey. 

“It's critical that South Jordan have a seat at the table,” she continued, “and I stand by my commitment to spending the time required to represent our local interests at every level. I also appreciate being invited to the White House to represent our city and to discuss the issues we face with administration, cabinet members, and other mayors from around the country.”

The mayor’s invitation to the White House came as a result of a recommendation made because of the significant voice that exists in the state. 

“After visiting with the other mayors I can assure you, things are going better here than they are in most places around the country,” Ramsey said. “There's a reason we've been named one of the Top 25 Best Cities in America to Live, ranking higher than any other city in the state. Every city has it's challenges, but South Jordan really is a most amazing place to live."

Voters also elected a new council member, District 5 councilman Jason McGuire. McGuire is the General Manager of a steel fabrication company and a board member & former President of the Utah Steel Fabricators Association, and a LiveDaybreak Community Council Member. Voters also re-elected District 3 councilman Donald J. Shelton for another term. Shelton has lived in South Jordan for 22 years with his wife and their five children. He is an independent financial advisor and the founder of The Oquirrh Wealth Advisors and has practiced personal financial planning for 25 years.

Glenmoor Golf Course preservation 

The year started off with an ongoing battle to save the Glenmoor Golf Course after a judge ordered the corporation to dissolve and the property sold last year. City officials promised the residents who showed up in droves to several town halls to voice their opinions and that they were working on a resolution that would preserve the course. 

After listening to input received by residents, city leaders put together two plans, a primary plan and a backup, both of which require the city to purchase Glenmoor, though

ultimate ownership of Glenmoor is yet to be determined. 

Bangerter Highway

No one can say the changes to Bangerter Highway haven’t been hard to keep up with, but with the completion of the 11400 South, drivers can already see and feel a difference. With a new underpass for those traveling north and south, the area is a bit hard to recognize if you have not been to this intersection during the year. At 10400 South and Bangerter Highway, that is still scheduled to be rebuilt in two years, and the southbound on-ramp is still planned to be built where 11 fairly new homes currently sit on Big Meadow Drive.

“I am thrilled to announce that the 10400 S. interchange on Bangerter Highway has successfully been moved up an entire year on the project schedule, and that UDOT has agreed to build it as an underpass, like 11400 S,” Ramsey said. “This is great news for several reasons, one being the economic impact for our city as our businesses will have significantly greater visibility from the highway.”

South Jordan was ranked sixth “50 Best Small Cities to Start a Small Business”

When Verizon ranked South Jordan sixth in its list of “50 Best Small Cities to Start a Small Business,” it added extra value to an already attractive place to live. 

Verizon used data to compile its list of cities from around the country. They mentioned the reason they do this is because smaller cities don’t always get the recognition they deserve because they are overshadowed by larger cities. Finding the “quiet” place in a busy world can often help small businesses succeed, and Verizon officials believe South Jordan is just that kind of place.

Nearly 300 cities from across the country were measured. Verizon officials based its findings on certain factors that make each of them unique and attractive for those considering starting a business. 

Each city falls between 50,000 to 75,000 in order to be considered a “small city.” Education was also a factor, and adults over the age of 25 who had obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.

Merit Medical 

Its appears small businesses are not the only ones attracted to South Jordan. Merit Medical recently announced an expansion of its facility in South Jordan which is slated to bring thousands of jobs to the city and nearly millions of dollars in revenue to the state. 

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development said the expansion would also bring an estimated $505 million in capital investment.

Ramsey said city leaders are thrilled to have Merit Medical expanding in South Jordan and that they have options as to where to grow their business so having them choose South Jordan is a big deal.

“Both myself and our director of commerce, Mr. Brian Preece, appreciate the chance to work closely with Mr. (Fred) Lampropoulos and his Merit Team in ensuring this expansion is able to take place,” said Ramsey. “Merit’s expansion will contribute to the strength of our economic base for decades, and we look forward to continuing our excellent relationship between the city and Merit Medical.”

New public safety building

What could be a better way to close out the year but with the addition of a new South Jordan Public Safety building and Civic Plaza? 

South Jordan City is near the completion of the new building which will be home to South Jordan Police Department and Court. The 44,000-square-foot building is located in the South Jordan Towne Center near the county library and the Pie Restaurant. City officials say the plaza will feature three interactive fountains, a walk-about area and library seating. 

The Public Safety Building will have a crime lab, an evidence room, a meeting and training room, a records storage and will be the home of the police department and fire administration.

The Public Safety Building is expected to open in early 2019. 

Property tax increase for sub-station

All these good things happening around the city, also means it comes at a cost. During a heated city council meeting in August, many came to voice their opinions over another tax increase to help fund another Public Safety Building but were cut short due to time restrictions. Many felt they should have allowed for more time and publicly made their dissatisfaction known during the meeting, prompting the mayor to extend the comment section to allow a few others to speak. 

“This was the first property tax increase by South Jordan in 11 years, and something no one on any city council ever wants to have to do,” said Mayor Ramsey. “But keeping people safe is our greatest responsibility, and with over 80,000 residents and up to 5,000 more expected to move in each year for the next decade, this police and fire station could not be put off any longer.”

The meeting was a requirement because part of the Truth in Taxation process requires any municipality wishing to raise property taxes to have a public hearing. Many residents seemed to oppose the property tax increase, citing city leaders should find the funds by budgeting existing allocated money and how the increases will affect those on fixed incomes. But council members were quick to express that while they do not like raising taxes, they are less excited about increased crime and burning houses and believe more in “having good public safety.” 

Fire Chief Andy Butler and Police Chief Jeff Carr both said a facility on the west side of the city is necessary. With the rapid growth of these areas, it has generated more calls to 911. Response times are suffering, indicating that a sub-station is needed for the area. 

The proposed increase would create enough money for a facility to include a new fire station, a police sub-station, additional administrative city services and some community areas. The estimated cost for the building is just under $13 million.

When it was all said and done, the council voted 4-1 to the property tax increase.