STANCES ON ISSUES
Two years ago, the repeated water rate increases were a major concern for the people of West Jordan. Our rates increased by over 40% in order to maintain our bond and prevent the city from going into a significant amount of debt. In 2020 though, it was determined that the city was collecting more money than was needed. Despite the public outcry over our high water rates in 2018 & 2019, nearly $2.5 million dollars a year from our water services to the cities general fund. This is not a proper way to increase tax revenue, especially considering residents of West Jordan pay a disproportionately higher rate for water than our businesses do. West Jordan currently has one of the highest rates in the state and I am committed to reducing this burden.
Additionally, West Jordan still does not have a State Liquor Store despite being Utah's third largest city. In 2020, the DABC dispersed almost $30 million dollars to local municipalities. Until we get our own State Liquor Store, we are sending millions of dollars in yearly tax revenue to our neighboring cities.
The most critical component to police reform is accountability. During Utah's last legislative session, Senate Bill 0157 was passed, paving the way for cities to establish a Citizen Advisory Board. This board is responsible for reviewing police policies & conduct and the power to make recommendations based on their reviews. I was informed that the current plan is for the police department to make recommendations to the Mayor for who they would like to be on West Jordan's Citizens Advisory Board. This is an alarming conflict of interest and totally defeats the purpose of having a citizen led board. I believe the Citizen Advisory Board should not only operate without the influence of the police department, but should also be overseen by the City Council and not the Mayor.
Another tool to ensure accountability is body cam footage. Every year, West Jordan PD requests additional funds from the city for the police department. Unfortunately, purchasing enough body cams for every officer has not been made a priority. West Jordan is not immune from controversial use-of-force incidents and body cams must be a requirement for every on-duty officer.
Accountability is the most effective way to strengthen our police department, build trust in our community and ensure that people of all backgrounds and ethnicities are treated fairly and equitably.
Traffic in West Jordan is bad. As we continue to develop the western side of our city, it has gotten continually worse. It is not uncommon for people to spend 30-45 minutes in traffic just to get to and from I-15. Because the State of Utah owns most of the main roads we use during our commute, West Jordan does not have the power itself to make any of the required changes to address this issue. Our elected officials have made several attempts to make our road improvements a priority with the state, but up to this point, they have largely failed. It is now time for us to take dramatic steps help the people of West Jordan, and all options, including litigation must be on the table.
Utah is the second driest state in the country, making us extremely susceptible to the effects of climate change. As a state, we have done relatively little to address environmental issues creating an opportunity for West Jordan to lead our state in making the positive changes necessary preserve our way of life.
I intend to propose policies to dramatically decrease our plastic consumption, build a more robust program for recycling, offering incentives to reduce our water consumption & to create an emphasis on renewable energy.