January 14, 2014
Mayor McAdams rallies county residents around “The Future We Choose”
Salt Lake County, UT – Mayor Ben McAdams today urged residents to build on the solid foundation of a fiscally healthy county government as they look forward to a bright future. Mayor McAdams talked about recent successes—such as expanded access to preschool and streamlined 9-1-1 dispatching-- and urged the county to tackle new valley-wide collaborations.
“The future we choose is one where we are a thriving metropolitan network that still has a small town feel,” said Mayor McAdams. “The future we choose is one where opportunity is available to all our residents to be happy, safe, and secure for themselves and their families, if they reach out and grab it.” Mayor McAdams noted that the rapidly-changing demographics of Salt Lake County means that we’re not even in the same place we were in 2007. That requires putting aside business-as-usual and designing and implementing services in new, more conservative ways.
“Our community is evolving rapidly. Accelerating trends we see today create energy that will profoundly affect the nature and character of our future community. Whether that energy burns like a wildfire, threatening destruction—or like rocket fuel propelling us towards the stars—depends on choices we make today,” McAdams said. McAdams highlighted the innovative partnership between the county, the private sector and local nonprofits resulting in access to high quality preschool for an additional 600 children in the Granite School District. He introduced the mother of one of those students and noted that “we opened the door to opportunity and this mother held her daughter’s hand and walked right through it.”
McAdams also spoke about dedicating a significant amount of the budget to refresh and restore existing county properties, rather than just “kick the can down the road” when it comes to addressing the deferred maintenance. He said the county is on target to significantly reduce that backlog over the next five years.
He also spoke about engaging the public in a proposal to renew the extraordinarily successful Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) fund, by voting on whether to continue the county’s quarter-cent sales tax to fund local groups that serve county residents. And he highlighted the effort to update the science education exhibits at the Clark Planetarium, where children from around the state come to gain science education in a fun and imaginative environment and to be inspired about our planet and the universe beyond it. McAdams introduced several new initiatives, such as a countywide 3-1-1 system, where residents could get answers to questions regardless of which government entity was in charge, such as business licensing or graffiti removal. He also touted the county’s recent completion of the Wasatch Choice for 2040 collaboration. It produced a high-tech “toolbox” that local communities can use as they begin to imagine better neighborhood sand communities with greater access to transit and other amenities.
“The future is hurtling towards us. 2014 must be a year when we recognize that as a metropolitan area, we are actors, not subjects. We have everything we need—assets, experience and values—to ensure a bright future,” said McAdams.