Residents of Eagle Mountain City, it is my great pleasure to share with you once again the State of our City. I want to begin by acknowledging an important milestone. Eagle Mountain will celebrate our twentieth birthday this year. As we look forward to 2016 and the blessings that await us, let us also remember the public servants who have gone before us. In 2015, former Eagle Mountain City Council Member and Mayor, Robert Bateman passed away. Robert served as mayor from 1998 to 2000, and served a crucial role in forming the backbone of our city government. We thank him for his service and offer our condolences to his wife Candy, and to his children.
2015 was a transformative year for our city in many ways. Utah’s economy had another pace-setting year, which translated into northern Utah County’s continued growth. Within north Utah County, Eagle Mountain continues to offer exceptional value for homebuyers interested in buying a little slice of heaven. Developers remain just as eager as ever to invest their capital in Eagle Mountain. Developers recorded twenty-three plats in 2015, the majority of those being dedicated to building residential units. This continued investment has resulted in considerable new housing inventory in 2015, as reflected in the 490 new residential building permits that were issued. We are now also seeing an emerging commercial market in Eagle Mountain. Precious People Day Care Center, Domino’s Pizza, Sunset Storage & RV, Central Utah Clinic, Ace Rents, and the Questar Western Regional Offices Building were all granted building permits this year. It is truly an exciting time to watch our economic development successes unfold in front of our eyes.
Eagle Mountain is in fact in the best financial position of our twenty-year history. There is a universal rule in financial management: cash is king. A strong cash balance enables us to operate from a position of financial strength. We should strive to manage our cash position carefully and to keep our reserves strong. Currently, Eagle Mountain City has the maximum “rainy day fund” allowed under state law (25% of budgeted revenues). This money coupled with the proceeds from the sale of our gas and electric utilities places us in an enviable position. Our strong financial position has allowed us to make many meaningful investments, which will continue into our next budget cycle. We were able to complete significant road projects such as Mt. Airey, Half Mile Road, Sunset Drive, Pony Express Parkway from Sandpiper Drive to Ranches Parkway, and others. We were also able to make significant park improvements. Our parks department completed two remaining acres of Pioneer Park, completed landscaping at SilverLake Amphitheater, repaired and improved the skate park, and built a new fitness park in City Center.
There are three ways which we can use our financial strength to directly benefit our residents. First and foremost, we can focus our spending on completing long-needed projects, many of which are remnants from years when our City did not have the luxury of significant cash balances. These projects span many categories such as completing the unfinished portion of Bobby Wren Blvd, completing various sections of missing trail to bring connectivity, and completing street side landscaping throughout City Center.
Secondly, we can invest in new amenities and make improvements to existing amenities. Projects such as building restrooms at City parks, building unique and functional features at Cory Wride Memorial Park, and upgrading medians along Pony Express and Ranches parkway to water-wise landscapes are all worthy investments which will improve the brand equity of Eagle Mountain.
As we make these investments, we will do so with prudence, ensuring that the expense of caring for these amenities fits well within our existing budget, and without depleting our cash balance.
Lastly, we can use our financial strength to insulate and protect us from any economic downturns. Managing and maintaining our cash balance at or near the State-allowed 25% of budgeted revenues will ensure that any economic downturn will not result in immediate cuts to services. In the event of economic downturn, this strategy will allow Eagle Mountain the time it needs to make sound strategic decisions after careful deliberation. The best time to make important decisions, after all, is when you don’t have to.
With the support of City Council, we will remain on this path of sound financial stewardship and fiscal restraint. To our residents, I wish to communicate clearly that the investments we are making now and will continue to make in our parks, roads, trails and other amenities, are a product of fiscal restraint and sound financial stewardship.
Eagle Mountain is a special place. The natural beauty of this high desert is unique and breathtaking. From the jackrabbits, to the night skies, the raptors, and the painted sunsets, we have something special that cannot be purchased or created. It is our responsibility to protect and preserve these natural treasures. The natural habitat around us is what makes us who we are, and is far too valuable to take for granted. This year, much was done to protect these resources, which are part of our identity. Two accomplishments stand out. First, in partnership with concerned citizens, members of City staff worked to create a historic preservation code. This code establishes guidelines for cataloging historical artifacts and creates a system to incentivize private property owners to protect and preserve our history. Some of Eagle Mountain’s treasured petroglyphs have already been preserved under this code.
Preserving our natural beauty extends to our birds of prey, too. This year a resident by the name of Shon Reed worked with Austin Robinson, an Eagle Scout, to build nest boxes for American Kestrels. Shon also worked with Brian Smith from Rocky Mountain Power to get utility poles in the ground for mounting the nest boxes to. He also organized volunteers to place these boxes throughout the City. The next step is to get those boxes on a map so residents can observe the birds as they use the poles and boxes. This work is a testament to the selflessness of the people who live here.
Just like the stewardship of our financial resources, we will be taking intentional steps to take care of our water resources, too. While we do have enough water to grow well into the future, the right thing to do is to be mindful of our environment and to manage our water as efficiently as possible. We are now working with Utah State University to implement new software to help manage our landscape irrigation better. The days of accepting water on the roads are over and this will begin with better management tools, and with investment in the landscape medians. It will take time to solve all of the problems, but we will start with the work this year.
Whether investing in water-wise landscaping, placing American Kestrel nest boxes, or building unique new park amenities, our efforts are all aimed to build value into our community and into our brand. Eagle Mountain is a special place with a lot of appeal. The fact that we aren’t like other cities is an asset if we allow it to be, and hopefully you agree that we want to keep everything special about Eagle Mountain just as it has been for the last twenty years.
There are so many wonderful things ahead for Eagle Mountain this year. So many in fact, that I have hardly scratched the surface in this address. The fact is that we are in times of abundance such that we have never before encountered. Our future is bright and it is an honor to have the opportunity to shepherd this great City into 2016 and beyond. We truly live in the greatest City in the State. God bless America, God bless Utah, and God bless every resident of Eagle Mountain City.
For a list of some of our accomplishments click here. Thanks to all of our employees for another wonderful year. Without them, Eagle Mountain wouldn’t be the success story that it is today.