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“It’s time for West Jordan to rise to our potential as the 4th largest city in Utah, and that begins with a new generation of leadership.” – Zach Jacob

“It’s time for West Jordan to rise to our potential as the 4th largest city in Utah, and that begins with a new generation of leadership.” – Zach Jacob

Some of the issues that I plan to tackle as mayor:

(Click the + sign to expand each section)

The west side of West Jordan continues to grow at an amazing rate. This growth comes with its own set of challenges. Any day now we’ll pass Provo in population to become the 3rd largest city in Utah.

In the next 4 years, the fields and weeds that currently make up 6000 acres of land in the west part of our city will be transforming into homes and stores, factories and offices. New schools will be built for our kids, and new parks will be set aside. Storm drains and sidewalks, streetlights and sewers will need to be built. By the time 2040 rolls around, the population of West Jordan is projected to be 170,000 making us the second largest city in the state behind Salt Lake City.

Having served on the Planning Commission for 3 years prior to being elected to the city council, I’m the only candidate in the race with the experience and familiarity with our zoning ordinances to effectively plan for the west side’s new growth.

One thing I hear often as a city councilman is that there are areas in our city that are run down, old, or poorly maintained, and that is negatively affecting property values along with the city’s image.

By improving areas of the city that need it most, we’ll see increased property values and more people—and businesses—will want to call West Jordan home. As mayor, I’ll work with staff, the city manager, and the finance department to find more resources to identify and improve these areas, so that the older or more run-down areas of the city aren’t a result of the city’s neglect.

Trasportation, especially as it concerns roads, is a huge problem in our city. As the city grows, traffic continues to increase, and we need to increase our road capacity to handle it, as well as work with UTA to increase transit accessability, especially on our west side.

Our city has been overlooked, with a majority of road funds going to other cities in the county and state. Cities in Utah are dependent on the state and the county for road funds. The Salt Lake County Council of Governments, the Wasatch Front Regional Council, and other intergovernmental agencies are tasked with distributing road funds to the cities.

I will work with state lawmakers and the other intergovernmental boards to get West Jordan’s transportation needs met. Additionally, I’ll work with UTA to improve bus service to the west side of the city and improve connectivity to the Trax stations.

I have a grand vision for the future of development in West Jordan.

Picture this: city planners, elected officials, concerned residents, and property developers sitting around a conference table, discussing the future development needs of West Jordan.

There would be no guessing what the other side wants, no wondering what the elected officials might support, no assuming what the neighborhood might object to. If each party came to the table (literally, in this case) with an open mind and in a spirit of collaboration and looking to do what is best for all concerned, imagine what could happen.

No longer would residents just think the developers are out “to make a buck” at the expense of quality of life. No longer would the developers look at the residents assuming they’ll oppose anything “in my backyard.” No longer would the elected officials be caught in the middle of two opposing sides, but would in fact be the facilitators of compromise and cooperation.

This is the grand vision I have for the future of West Jordan. I don’t think it’s hard, I just think that egos will have to be set aside for the benefit of all the stakeholders in West Jordan. Let’s work towards this, together.

Taxes and fees are how government generates revenue. As an overriding principle, I believe taxes and fees should be kept as low as possible to provide the necessary services that the citizens of the city as a whole require. These services include a police and fire department, roads and utilities, snow removal, sidewalks, and street lights. They may also include amenities such as parks, ball fields, and recreation centers, if the residents of the city decide that’s what they want.

I have been active in advocating that the city take a long-term approach to budgeting, especially when it comes to fees and taxes that the city can control, such as property tax and utility fees. I have not and will not support any property tax increase that hasn’t been discussed for at least a year, and I will continue to advocate for a rolling five-year plan for utility rates. The costs of aging infrastructure and the needs of new development should be able to be foreseen at least a few years in advance, so let’s plan for the future now.

I served for 3 years on the budget committee prior to being elected to the city council. I understand the difference between a budget and a balance sheet. I understand what enterprise funds are and what the general fund is and what the differences are. I have worked for Fortune 500 companies and for small businesses with less than 20 employees. I understand budgets, and I’ll continue to remember that the $140 million dollars the city operates on is not my money, and it’s not the city’s money. It’s your money.

The form of government issue has been brought up several times over the last several decades. Several times it has gone to the ballot and several times the citizens of our city have chosen the current form of government. That said, cities grow, cities change, and the city’s needs are also constantly growing and changing. I don’t think the issue of which form of government we have will ever truly be put to rest.

The Declaration of Independence states that “Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes,” and I believe that. I’m not sure which form of government is best for our city, yet. That’s why I twice pushed for the creation of a citizen’s committee to study the form of government and make a recommendation to the city council. This year, that committee finally was formed and is currently studying the various forms of government available to us under state law, and will be making a recommendation.

I pushed for the committee, and for more public hearings, so that I could get more information about what you, the residents of the city, want. When a change was proposed by another councilmember (and candidate for mayor), the public hearings that were held had one overriding theme: More time, more study, more information. That’s why I pushed to rescind that initiative and allow a committee to study the issue. I will consistently and constantly ask for more input as your councilman and as your mayor.

And once the form of government question is on the ballot, as I’m sure it will be sometime in the next few years if not sooner, it will be up to you, the people, and NOT any particular member(s) of the council to decide.

Economic Development is a buzzword you’ll probably hear from every municipal candidate for every office. It means attracting businesses and commerce to our city.

Why do we want to do this? Simple.

Businesses pay more in property tax than residences do, and they typically also bring in sales tax. This means that the city can continue to provide great services and amenities such as parks, swimming pools, and snowplows without placing a greater tax burden on the residents.

I’ll propose the creation of an Economic Development Task Force, consisting of the Economic Development Director, the Chamber of Commerce president, the mayor and a member of the city council, other notable business leaders in our community and engaged citizens to work together to set the vision and priorities for the city’s economic development efforts.

I’ll work with the Governor’s office and the county to find economic development projects that make sense and bring jobs and progress to our city, and I’ll work with our staff to get our city in its best possible condition so we “show well” to the companies that are looking to locate here. It’s a group effort, but it will pay off in the long run.

I will bring forward plans to create neighborhood councils, which will then be encouraged to organize and bring their neighborhood’s concerns to the city council. I will engage with concerned citizens to make sure their issues are brought up with the city council.

Some neighborhoods in the city have been very effective in organizing their residents to bring information to city council meetings and have had their interests heard and, in many cases, the council has listened to and agreed with the opinions of these neighborhoods. I’ll encourage these neighborhood councils to hold frequent meetings, and serve as a point of contact for the city when issues affecting their communities are being brought to the city council.

A lot of the issues we hear about as city council members—crime, gangs, graffiti, neglect—can be solved with a little more attention in our neighborhoods. As mayor, I’ll work with the police department to establish more neighborhood watch programs, more community activities, to get residents more involved in their communities.

Additionally, I’ll continue to push for allocating more funds to code enforcement, who are in charge of making sure abandoned cars and weeds, etc., don’t build up on your neighbor’s front lawn, and for our parks deparment, who are in charge of making sure our city-owned properties like parking strips and more (not just parks) are kept in tip-top shape. All of this will help our neighborhoods be safer, more inviting, and will help to increase our property values and sense of community.

For years our city motto has been “Home of the Good Neighbor.” I think it’s true, and I think there’s more that can be done from the side of government to help make that a reality.

I will propose the creation of a Mayor’s Citizens Advisory Board—a committee of involved citizens that can provide input on various city issues across a wide range of topics, such as the budget, parks, transportation, economic development, bonds, and more. Further, I will make sure that they regularly present their findings to the city council at least quarterly, so the city council and city staff can stay in touch with the needs and opinions of the residents.