Riverton extends support to military families
In a recent meeting, Casey Staheli, of the Utah National Guard, approached Riverton City Council members, proposing the city join the Community Covenant program, a national program devoted to supporting service members and their families.
With immediate support from Mayor Bill Applegarth, Staheli met later with Councilman Al Leavit, and Assistant City Manager Jeff Hawker to discuss the exact provisions of the program.
According to Staheli, the Community Covenant program is applicable to all branches of the military, and exists to establish individual community support for servicemen and women, as well as the families they leave behind during times of service.
“The program entails just mainly cooperation and support from Riverton City for members of the military and their family, and for there to be a point of contact within the city,” Hawker said.
The program includes the creation of a partnership between military families and the community, which will serve to improve their quality of life. The program invites communities to commit to support them in all phases of service.
Hawker and Leavitt will take on the role of that point of contact or liaison for the military, representing the support city officials are pleased to offer.
“It’s something that the mayor has asked us to become involved in,” Hawker said. “Our elected officials are very supportive of our troops and would like to assist in any reasonable way possible.”
In the meeting r Applegarth addressed the fact that the city is already reaching out to service families in the community by offering special discounts for city services during times of service.
Hawker specified those benefits, stating the city already waives all fees for any individual that is deployed.
“They bring into our utility billing department evidence of deployment,” Hawker said. “As of that date, they will not be charged any culinary water fees, secondary water fees, garbage fees, or storm drain fees … while they are deployed, the city collects no fees from them.”
Upon return, individuals simply report back to the city, and billing returns to normal.
By adding the Community Covenant program to current services for the military, Riverton will extend beyond just financial service and focus on family well-being.
According to Hawker, requests from families through the Community Covenant program could be as simple as seeking more frequent police drive-bys to ensure home security, putting the city in a position to strengthen, support and comfort families during the absence of those they love.
In conjunction with Veteran’s Day services, the city is presently planning to hold a Community Covenant ceremony in November, but will continue to reach out and support military families until that time.
“I think in a very specific way, Riverton City is benefitted by our troops, and their families are supported,” Hawker said. “… All things are enhanced when our military is enhanced, and therefore, [this program is] something very worthwhile for our city to participate in.”