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Mayor’s Message

The Road Ahead

Taking the wheel as the Mayor of Washington City has gotten me thinking about roads, both figuratively and literally. I can’t help but glance in the rear-view mirror with gratitude for the public service of those who have done so much for what was once a sleepy little “cotton town” in this often overlooked area, referred to as “Dixie” longer than Utah has been a state. At the same time, I’m wise enough to know that looking solely to the past can be quite dangerous. Therefore, I will be keeping my eyes primarily on the road ahead, looking through the front windshield. While we often concern ourselves with federal and state issues, and these certainly influence us in many ways, local government is where the “rubber meets the road”. In some aspects, local issues have an even greater effect on our lives. Here are a few of the “municipal roads” that impact us and how I intend to approach navigating them.

Public Services Road

A core function of municipalities is to provide services that improve our quality of life. In our homes for instance, we anticipate clean drinking water when we turn our faucets, lights to shine and appliances to function when we flip the power switch, and wastewater to flow away when we flush. Outside our homes, we want well-designed and maintained streets to drive on, rainwater to be channeled away, and places to gather and recreate as a community. These and other modern conveniences, often referred to as infrastructure, are the result of the important work and planning done by City staff every day. In order for infrastructure and utilities to be consistent, sustainable, and affordable, city leadership must continue to be forward-thinking and proactive in making decisions for the long-term benefit of our community.

Public Safety Road

Many of the health, welfare, and safety aspects of our city are provided by those in uniform, the selfless men and women who put their personal safety on the line in order to keep us safe. Of course I’m referring to our police officers, firefighters and paramedics. Among the benefits of living here is the low crime rate- a result of effective policing policies and efforts, as well as the fast, skilled, and caring responses to medical, fire, and other emergencies. There is no doubt that along this road, Washington City will continue to support our first responders in every way, including financially with adequate staffing, support, training, and equipment. The appreciation shared and shown starts with the mayor, and should permeate among all  residents of the city in a collective attitude of mutual trust and respect.

Public Spaces Road

City Hall is the place where open meetings are held on behalf of the city and those who live here. Transparency is part of the process in the work done by elected officials. Public hearings are opportunities for residents to give feedback and insight on discussions ranging from the budget to land-use, and a multitude of topics in between. Public places also include parks, trails, and open space. We must consider how these might look in the future. Shinob Kibe, The Boilers, Washington Dome, along with our hillsides, red rocks, and farm fields are important and defining landmarks worth preserving. The Cotton Factory, Relief Society Hall, and Covington Home represent our unique history and heritage. As we determine how both public and private spaces develop into the future, you will often hear me ask the simple question, “How does this benefit Washington City and those who call it home?”. I will encourage city staff in all departments, the Planning Commission, and the City Council to consider responses to this question on all items that come before them. We must plan ahead, be intentional and disciplined, and seek for uses that bring adequate value and harmony.

The future of Washington City is far too precious of a destination on the road map to settle for anything less.               

-Kress Staheli


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