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The City Journals

State of the City Address: Mayor ‘cautiously optimistic’

Apr 01, 2021 02:25PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Murray City Mayor Blair Camp delivered his State of the City Address remotely this year. (Photo courtesy of Murray City)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

In each of his State of the City Addresses, Murray City Mayor Blair Camp has presented it in a different venue, and this year was no different. As with all things during the pandemic, he presented this year’s speech via remote technology. 

“Now, I don't expect as many views as ‘Baby Shark Dance’ (referring to the popular online streaming show), but thank you for watching,” Camp said. “Nontraditional is one word that could be used to describe this past year. Nontraditional meaning new and different from an established norm or customary method. In fact, I'm delivering this year's State of the City Address in a nontraditional manner.”

Camp recalled how things have changed since his last State of the City, which was given in person, and how the COVID pandemic changed things for the city.

“2020 looked to be a very exciting year for Murray. Well, 2020 did turn out to be an exciting year but not in the way that any of us anticipated. Although a difficult year, it was a year that Murray demonstrated its resiliency.”

Calling out each individual city department head, Camp recognized them for adapting to the pandemic. He also expressed gratitude to all the Murray residents volunteering to serve on various city committees. Together, the city had to make difficult choices regarding offering city services.

“During the pandemic, the city implemented a temporary suspension of utility shutoffs for delinquent accounts as well as earmarked over $100,000 for utility assistance through the Utah Community Action Home Energy Assistance Program for residents needing help with their utility bills,” Camp said. “Difficult decisions were made, one after another, to cancel events that we enjoy every year—events that bring our community together, such as Fun Day…, cultural art productions, Public Power celebration, Arbor Day Program, Christmas tree lighting ceremony and others.”

In 2020, race riots and demonstrations rocked the nation. Murray was the scene of several peaceful demonstrations, and some residents inquired what the city’s policy was toward some police practices that spawned unrest in other states.

“I issued a joint letter with police Chief Craig Burnett to publicly address many of those questions and concerns, specifically about hiring practices, complaint processes, use of force, body cameras, and officer training. We also determined to implement a new public safety advisory board consisting of seven members of the community to foster understanding and communication between residents and business owners of the city and public safety departments and to review community needs and concerns expectations,” Camp said.

Mayor Camp summarized the state of the city in three words: capable, adaptable and resilient. He pointed out that the city had to endure budget cuts due to the loss of revenue yet managed to stay within the budget.

“All city departments were able to reduce their budgets while continuing to provide quality municipal services to its residents and businesses, demonstrating fiscal responsibility. As no layoffs were necessary and all financial obligations of the city were met,” Camp said.

In addition to the pandemic and demonstrations, Camp pointed out that the city also endured an earthquake and a severe windstorm.

According to Camp, “Murray City was adaptable and prepared to respond during crisis situations and willing and able to assist neighboring communities.”

Finally, Camp pointed out that Murray has made great strides in recovering from the economic recession caused by the pandemic.

“As a city, we will continue to plan for the future, invest in infrastructure, and strive for continuous improvement. We will continue to face the challenges head on. I'm cautiously optimistic as we dive into 2021, knowing that Murray City has not only survived but thrived, even during hard times, for the past 118 years….I’m looking ahead in anticipation of the return of our community events, where we can once again join as friends and neighbors.”