Generating positive community attitudes and bringing community leaders together have won Jay C. Andersen the state "Outstanding Citizen Award" presented by the Utah Chamber of Commerce Association.
The mayor was cited for an "efficiency in government," a budget approach to city government; for his "Our City" campaign to help solve community issues and get suggestions from residents; and for helping obtain improved facilities for golfing, swimming, baseball and softball.After completing his first term as mayor, Andersen says it has been frustrating but full of challenges.
When he took office, Andersen confronted some resentment from residents toward city government, but those feelings seem to have faded during Andersen's first year in office. Well-liked by his associates before his election, Andersen seems to be carrying these good feelings over into his city administration.
Andersen gives credit for his administration's success to "a strong foundation established by previous mayors and city councils." He also praises residents for their "positive attitudes" and "many good suggestions . . . instead of just telling us about the problems and expecting us to come up with the magic solution."
Andersen said suggestions have come from beyond the boundaries of Richfield, including surrounding communities in Sevier County and from people living in towns in neighboring Wayne, Piute, Garfield, Sanpete, Beaver and Millard counties.
The mayor said residents' support has made it possible to complete a $1.7 million water project, allowing 4.6 million gallons of water storage instead of the previous 1 million. Extremely low water pressures were also improved, providing better fire protection.
The importance of people shopping in town is emphasized by Andersen, who praises "a very effective chamber of commerce and a group of very progressive retail businesses and service agencies." He says everyone who has bought anything in Richfield has helped pay for projects through sales tax revenue.
"We still have many problems and areas that need improving, but we're giving them our best efforts," the mayor declared. "If (the people) will allow us some more time, we'll get some more of them (problems) corrected during the coming year. He says city officials are accepting challenges in a manner that portrays the comments of Winston Churchill: "It is not enough to say I will do my best. We must succeed in doing that which is necessary."
Andersen outlined some of the problems the city is working on, including a cave-in of a well at the city yard, water system problems because of cold weather, a couple of lawsuits, some personnel problems, a need to continue improving animal control, access to new businesses on North Main Street and lights at interstate offramps.
The mayor proudly cited the efforts of resident John Hales, stating "Isn't it great to have people like this in our area?" Hales, owner of Hales Sand and Gravel, donated 150 tons of dry sand to put on slick intersections following snowstorms, which Andersen says could have "maybe saved a life."
As he begins his second year in office, the mayor said city officials have possible solutions to some of the problems but that they will take time to solve. "But they will be solved as we work together to make our city better at accomplishing the city's motto: `People Serving People.' "