Mayor Keller's State of the City Address 2024
PRESTON CITY, "STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS"
January 8, 2024
As the Mayor of Preston, it is my duty to provide a report to the Citizens of our Community the status and condition of our fine town. I am pleased to report that the overall condition of Preston City is strong, safe and financially sound.
I want to personally thank the Citizens of Preston for trusting the reins of City government to me and the City Council for another four years. When I ran for the office of Mayor four years ago, I stated the following: "The proper stewardship of community assets is not only a primary, but solemn responsibility, it is also essential for a long-term, stable and vibrant city."
Like most other communities in Cache Valley and the State of Idaho, Preston continues to experience demands for growth as well as nearly insatiable unfunded mandates from State and Federal governmental agencies. I want to thank the City Council for working tirelessly to manage growth with the primary goal of not burdening existing residents and taxpayers. For the record; Preston City is the only taxing entity in Franklin County that has not raised property taxes each of the last four years. Also, Preston elected official's mindset is to work for solutions to issues using common sense coupled with conservative values.
The following are some issues, situations and accomplishments in regard to Preston in 2023:
- For the 4th consecutive year, Preston was listed as one of the ten safest cities to live in the State of Idaho. Thanks goes to Chief McCammon and all of our law enforcement personnel in allowing Preston to maintain this designation.
- Under the direction of the City Council, City Attorney Fuller and Councilman Dodge negotiated the purchase of 20 acres from the Franklin County Medical Center. Last year, I reported that Preston was the recipient of nearly $1.2mm in ARPA funding. 56% of these funds were utilized for this property acquisition with a long-term plan to complete a community center for the benefit of our citizens. As Preston continues to grow, the need for such a center is critical. We envision a multi-use facility that service clubs, schools, families, churches, and other organizations can use for numerous types of wholesome community events.
- In 2024, I will ask the City Council to consider and investigate funding opportunities for such an endeavor which may include a solicitation to citizens to approve intermediate indebtedness financing for completion.
- Preston City is now in the sixth year of a seven year project to construct a State and Federal mandated new waste water treatment plant. The daily status of this endeavor can be observed on the Preston City Website and I can report that this project remains within initial budgeted parameters. However, I again need to report that upon completion, (currently scheduled for year-end 2025), Citizen monthly utility bills will at least double.
- 3 years ago, Preston City was able to acquire Craner Park. Numerous improvements have been made to make this facility an attractive and family friendly recreational area. Due to the City Council's foresight, last fall, the parking area was paved. This will not only be cleaner, but safer and provide added parking in the support of events there.
- We are fortunate that Preston's infrastructure remains functional after decades of typical estimated useful life. Consequently, our City continues to experience numerous water leaks in our water distribution system. I want to thank our public works department under the direction of John Balls for keeping our city infrastructure operational. We continue to be fortunate that our City staff maintains adequate parts and supplies for our water system, but more importantly, has decades of experience to make necessary repairs. In 2023, funds were expended to provide flood mitigation, water line replacement and sidewalk upgrades of over 18 blocks (primarily for school children safety).
- Over nearly 125 years since Preston's founding, our culinary water system has been abundant, reliable and clean. However, Preston continues to have only one significant developed source. In 2024, I will ask the Council to use the remainder of the ARPA funds to make the Petterborg Spring functional so that a supplemental source of water can be utilized if ever needed. In support of this, I am assigning Councilman Terry Larson to be the City's formal liaison and representative to the Consolidated and Cub River Irrigation Company to oversee the City's interest in all water matters.
In conclusion, and as a refresher to the public, I will ask the City Council to continue in their assigned oversight as follows:
*Todd Thomas-City Tourism & Heritage
Liaison to Planning & Zoning
Liaison to Parks & Recreation
Liaison to S.I.C.O.G
*Terry Larson-City Infrastructure, (liaison to irrigation companies)
City Impact Area
Liaison to Airport Committee
Liaison to Envision Cache Valley and A.I.C
Law enforcement and emergency responder representative
Liaison to Consolidated & Cub River Irrigation Companies
*Brent Dodge-City Economic Development
City Comprehensive Plan
Preston Area Chamber of Commerce
Liaison to Preston Community Foundation
*Chris Larsen-City Public Relations
Liaison to County Commissioners
City Code Updates
Improvement of City Fiber Optics, Broad Band & City Website
Lastly- I acquired a hardback copy of the Academy Memories recently completed by Alexis Beckstead, John Olsen and Necia Seamons. I will end with quote from a Dewey S. Olson who taught at the Oneida Stake Academy in 1923. He stated: "Don't tell other people your troubles, for half of them are not interested, and the other half are glad you got what's coming to you."
Thank You for allowing us to serve you.