Herriman takes a 30,000 foot look at the futureNov 01, 2022 07:43PM ● By Justin Adams
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
For a while, Herriman City Council members have bemoaned the fact that the city doesn’t have a high-level strategic plan. Some combination of governing principles, long-term goals and settled priorities to which they can turn when they have to make tough decisions. To that end, the city council and city department leaders met for a strategic planning discussion last month on Oct. 19.
“The goal is to identify the top strategies for the city - not specific projects - but the ‘why’ of what the city does. What are the outcomes we desire,” said City Manager Nathan Cherpeski, who guided the discussion.
To begin the discussion, Cherpeski had council and staff write down their top 4-6 “why’s.” Then they gathered the ideas, combined redundant answers, and had everyone vote for the ones they felt were most important.
The answer that received the most votes was “providing basic services,” things like water, roads, police and fire.
“If there’s a failure for one of those things, it’s a disaster. Water, power, sewer, police, fire. If any of those things are failing, the community is failing. They’re the things you can’t fail at,” said Councilman Steven Shields.
The discussion then turned to follow-up questions, like which departments and city services don’t fall under the category of “basic services.”
Take parks, for example. Having nice parks isn’t as essential as having clean water. “People argue about how big our parks should be and what amenities they should have, but no one argues about whether their water should turn on or not,” Shields said.
On the other hand, participants pointed out that if a city does all the basic stuff extremely well, residents don’t necessarily notice because they just expect clean water to come out of their faucets, for example. Those things are a given, and people only care when they get messed up. So if they’re providing all those basic services, but there are no nice parks in the city for families to enjoy, people aren’t going to be happy.
Along the same lines, the group also spent some time discussing community events.
“The community has grown so we have to change the way we do some of these events. Cites the example of the Easter Egg event, which worked fine when the city was smaller, but not so much now,” Cherpeski said.
At last year’s event, the city had a few hundred Easter basket kits that they had prepared to hand out to residents, which turned out to be not nearly enough for the thousands of people who turned out.
Councilman Jared Henderson suggested that there might be an oversaturation of events and that he’d like to see the city reduce the total number of events and focus on making a handful really successful.
“If there’s something happening all the time, I don’t pay attention to it anymore,” he said.
For Mayor Lorin Palmer, finding a vision for creating a community identity should be one of the council’s top priorities in these ongoing discussions. He said he’d like Herriman to be “known for something,” citing the example of how Draper is known as a mountain biking hotspot.
“Everyone knows them as a big mountain biking community. But they don’t spend any money on those trails. They decided to make it a community value and that led to the creation of an outside nonprofit organization that maintains the city’s mountain biking trails,” he said.
From a staff perspective, Assistant City Manager Wendy Thomas said she appreciated the discussion and the mission to develop some permanent priorities.
“A lot of the stuff that you mentioned, staff are thinking about. But we are constantly reshuffling our priorities to get what’s in front of us done,” she said.
This meeting was just the first in what’s likely to be a series of many such discussions, so stay tuned for future updates from the city if you’d like to follow along.