In his State of the City address, presented on Jan. 20 during a city council meeting, Mayor Ted Eyre described 2014 as, “One of the most rewarding and memorable years of my life.”
During Eyre’s first year as mayor, the city continued to grow, with new hotels, development at Fashion Place Mall and more than 500 new business licenses issued. The Fireclay Transit-Oriented Development also attracted new tenants as the townhomes and apartments in this commercial/residential area were in high demand.
“Because of our central location in the valley, and with easy access to alternate transportation, this innovative concept combines to attract new residents and allows many of those who grew up in Murray the opportunity to remain here and establish their individual roots in a city they love,” Eyre said.
The mayor mentioned the city’s AAA bond rating; Murray is one of only six entities in the state that can boast the high rating. Murray joins the State of Utah, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County and Davis and Weber Counties as AAA-rated government agencies.
Eyre has instituted regular meetings with the city’s police and fire chiefs in order to stay on top of areas of concern or commendation. Murray’s criminal division handled more than 13,000 criminal cases in 2014, while small claims cases jumped from 600 in 2013 to more than 1,200 during the last year.
“This put an increasing burden on the staff, but they have worked hard to keep the filing time and deposition time as minimal as possible,” Eyre said.
The Public Services Department continued to handle programs including parks and recreation, cultural activities, cemetery maintenance, Heritage Center programs and upkeep at the Murray golf course, which includes funding a new irrigation system. The Park Center had more than 14,000 participants during 2014 taking part in fitness classes, swimming lessons and other events.
Eyre commended the staff at the Murray Library for providing more than 650 programs to 24,000 participants. Visitors at the library totaled 400,000 in 2014, checking out more than 600,000 items and utilizing library services.
As the Murray Power Department remains the only municipal power company in Salt Lake County, Eyre said he has learned a great deal about the city’s power grid and everything it takes to keep the lights on.
“[The power department] works to maintain our existing infrastructure to keep it running at optimal levels,” he said. “You will often see city arborists trimming trees around the city to keep lines clear. They coordinate Arbor Day each year, and we have received the Tree City, USA distinction for 37 years in a row—longer than any other city in Utah.”
The one area Eyre considered a disappointment was not finding a solution to UTOPIA by the end of his first year. He said a proposal put forward by the Macquarie company was unexpected and time-consuming, but he felt the city made the right decision to reject the proposition.
Through a collaborative effort with city leaders, department heads and senior staff, Eyre rolled out the Murray Fiber plan as part of the effort to address the issue regarding the fiber-optic network.
“I know of no other program that has the long term financial impact on our city than UTOPIA has,” he said. “Because of that, it must be dealt with with continuous, even renewed commitment, and with leadership that is both responsible and accountable.”
Calling Murray “A city without equal,” Eyre thanked the residents of Murray, the 372 full-time employees and the nearly 500 seasonal employees.
“I would like to express my appreciation to the citizens of Murray,” Eyre said, “for their willingness to volunteer, their desire to serve each other and our community, and their commitment to keeping our city great.”