Constant dollars

Utah Valley mayors: As economic conditions change, city government can show leadership | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy of Eagle Mountain

Eagle Mountain Mayor Tom Westmoreland

Utahans have probably noticed a change in their spending lately.

The impact of inflation in 2022 showed how quickly circumstances can change. For example, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in Utah was $5.24 this week, up from $3.58 a year ago, according to AAA. Grocery prices also rose across many brands and categories, according to the Consumer Price Index released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

When change occurs, families often find themselves looking for additional income, or they may adjust their spending habits to ensure a certain quality of life is maintained.

Changes in economic circumstances are sometimes secular and sometimes the result of new approaches to public policy at different levels of government. While these movements are constant, they do not necessarily rule out the possibility that municipal governments have a role to play in helping their residents through these uncertain times.

It’s easy to recognize that local governments don’t have much influence over how federal politics is conducted. Municipal governments don’t negotiate with oil companies, we can’t set interest rates, and we can’t change market conditions to make housing affordable.

However, we can contribute in ways that help our residents better adapt to changes in these categories.

In many ways, the municipal government is going through the very things that impact our residents. Utah city councils are likely paying more for infrastructure projects than they were last year. Competition for employees has also become fierce. These challenges should help understand the impact that similar results have on residents.

These are extraordinary times. As Delta Airlines spokesperson Benet Wilson said in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary action.”

At Eagle Mountain City, we are proud to say that we have taken extraordinary steps and are considering additional steps in the future to help residents achieve a level of stability despite changing economic conditions.

Currently, Eagle Mountain is exploring the possibility of diversifying our water resources. We are in the process of analyzing and evaluating our economic development plans to better target businesses essential to the health of our territory. We work with developers to build attractive and relatively profitable housing. Eagle Mountain City is also in the early stages of using the open space of this area to improve agricultural technology to ensure supply lines and food availability for residents.

By focusing available dollars on drilling new water wells, Eagle Mountain residents are more likely to have fresh, clean drinking water during persistent drought conditions. These efforts will likely become increasingly important if Utah’s record-breaking droughts continue.

Working with external consultants to identify companies interested in our region also fulfills several needs for Eagle Mountain. Our residents need well-paying jobs, close to home and in a variety of industries to better support local families looking for housing and to assist them in the event of a severe economic downturn.

Eagle Mountain also has one of the fastest growing housing markets in the state. We work diligently with developers to provide attractive options for families and young professionals, and review proposals from those same developers to keep Eagle Mountain a relatively affordable place to live.

Finally, partnering with local businesses to deliver innovative solutions in the areas of agriculture will help ensure our residents stay connected to the land while utilizing technology that can dramatically increase the productivity of Eagle Mountain’s available land. With some advance planning, municipal governments have the potential to encourage local crop production, stabilize supply lines, and contribute positively to the agricultural industry in a way that benefits the region.

Some of these ideas may seem outlandish. Some of them may seem more tangible. What can be said is that they are all part of the municipal government which is developing effective plans to support residents through changing economic conditions.

As work is carried out over the next few years to realize these ideas, the wisdom of pursuing them will become clear.

Municipalities have a role to play. At Eagle Mountain, our residents will find future benefit by preparing for these eventualities and supporting our residents as they occur.


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