Herriman City Council's Message: Promises Kept
Oct 31, 2016 09:16AM ● Published by Bryan Scott
By Councilwoman Nicole Martin
Herriman, Utah - During a recent city council meeting, resident John Olsen stood during the public comment period and expressed a concern for government transparency. He referenced another city that had postponed a vote on a controversial issue due to public clamor, only to quietly put it on a future agenda and vote for the measure in an attempt, in his view, to stifle negative public input.
I assured him publicly during that meeting, and I repeat to all of you, that this city council will NEVER use such tactics! We are dedicated to a high level of government transparency and are, in fact, constantly seeking out ways to improve in our collective resident outreach.
During my campaign, I vowed to use both my communications background and my city government experience to improve the dialogue between the city and its citizens. I made three promises to residents and I am pleased to report significant progress with all:
- Advocate for a citywide resident satisfaction survey
- Encourage mandatory resident input on development projects
- Contribute to a well-functioning city council
Citywide Resident Satisfaction Survey
I strongly believe a city cannot properly serve its residents unless it understands their wants and needs, and the only way to truly know is to ask and then LISTEN, most importantly. As such, I proposed to the city council, and they unanimously agreed, to institute our first ever statistically-valid resident survey.
The purpose of this survey is to establish a baseline on the city's performance in regards to service delivery, events, amenities, employee performance and development, to name a few. In addition, we will be able to identify concerns of which we may be unaware, determine the funding priorities of our residents and rank issues of importance.
We have made significant progress in the fulfillment of this policy with an approved budget, the selection of a vendor currently underway and a planned administering of the survey during the first quarter of 2017.
Not only have we agreed to this comprehensive resident satisfaction survey, but we've all agreed to an ongoing policy of measuring citizen opinions and perceptions of our performance so we can identify our strengths and make improvements, as necessary.
Mandatory Resident Input in Incoming Projects
Our residents have chosen to make Herriman City their home because of its quality of life. As a result, they have a vested interest in how well it develops.
We already meet the required standards for public meetings, but I am encouraging a higher standard that recognizes that educating the public earlier in the process and soliciting feedback will, more often than not, improve the final project and certainly make the process less painful and more pleasant for all involved.
In essence, we would require developers to meet with the affected area (typically 300 feet surrounding the project, although some projects would require greater outreach) at the outset of the project as a mandatory step for approval. This is not a city meeting, but rather an informal meeting with the developer and residents with the intent of explaining the vision of the project, gauging concerns, answering questions, hearing suggestions on better implementation, outlining timelines and educating on the general project. These meetings are best held in the area in which the project is proposed, such as a resident's home, a clubhouse, a park, etc. It then becomes the developer's responsibility to fully inform the public and advocate for their project.
I have seen this process effectively implemented for more than two decades in Sandy City. Not only does it NOT discourage development in the city, but it encourages developers to become partners with the community and it allows residents to be actively involved in the projects that impact them.
The City Council has unanimously agreed to the principle of this policy and have now tasked the staff with researching its feasibility and implementation. We will keep you posted as it develops, but regardless, we will be encouraging more public feedback, earlier and more often, as it pertains to the development in our city.
Well-Functioning City Council
Few things are more harmful to the forward progression of a city than a dysfunctional city council. Yes, we advocate for our individual district concerns, but we are only successful when we operate as a body of elected officials. We have all seen firsthand or heard of cities that do not work well together and, without exception, the city is harmed and, by extension, its residents.
I have witnessed city councils who could not or would not work together and I ran for office to do my best to encourage and participate in a well-functioning council who respects one another and are committed to working together. I can say, with conviction, that we have succeeded on both fronts. That certainly does not mean we agree on all issues, nor should we, but we do value the opinions of all, we demand civility with each other and we are committed to working together in the best interests of those who elected us--you, the citizens.
It has been a pleasure to serve you! It has been a joy to work with this council during such a pivotal time in Herriman. I encourage your feedback to me individually, to the city council and to the city staff as we all work together to build a city we can be proud of--one that showcases smart development, ensuring reasonable taxes and sufficient revenue for sustainability while maintaining a high quality of life.
With my promises kept, I now make a new one to focus on more one-on-one outreach through social media, an issues blog and an ongoing campaign to educate on city government issues. I also continue to welcome your input on how I can personally serve you better.
Please visit my Facebook page, NicoleMartinForHerriman, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (801) 871-5775.