WEST VALLEY CITY — Mayor Mike Winder laid out goals for 2013 in his State of the City address Tuesday, asking for a more visible police presence, increased community involvement and expressing hopes for attracting more college-educated residents.
Winder touted West Valley City's growth, reporting that more than 400 building permits were issued in 2012, ranking the city fourth in the state for construction activity. He praised the city's dedication to open space and improving conditions of roads and public transit in the area.
"Part of why people love West Valley City is that they feel welcome here," the mayor said in his fourth State of the City report.
Winder also reported an 11 percent drop in crime between 2009 and 2012 and said his first goal for the upcoming year is a more visible police presence to deter criminal mischief.
"People feel safer when they see the men and women in the blue driving down their streets, patrolling a neighborhood shopping center and out in the community," he said. "Criminal mischief is discouraged in areas where these protectors of the peace frequent."
In response to demographics revealing that just less than 13 percent of West Valley City residents hold a college degree, the mayor proposes increasing the number of college-educated residents by partnering with Utah schools to offer jobs and housing that will attract graduates, as well as finding ways to educate current residents.
"There are enormous societal, financial and demographic benefits to having more college graduates in West Valley City," he said.
To enhance neighborhoods and draw on the experience of current residents, Winder proposed creating new neighborhood associations and looking for ways to encourage homeowners to reinvest in the area, as well as asking that 132 residents — 1 percent of the city's population of 132,000 — become involved in city employment, city boards or neighborhood associations by the end of the year.
Other goals include long-term fiscal planning to ensure a sustainable budget and calling on the city's staff to make the city more "unique, meaningful and interesting."
"We are original, and we want to continue to build upon that," Winder said.