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Talk with your Sandy councilors


City Council will conduct interviews to gain insight

The city of Sandy and its nearly 10,000 residents will face some tough issues and difficult choices during the next two years.

The City Council must make those choices with advice from city staff.

But the councilors don’t like to make choices without knowing how local residents feel about each situation they face.

Carl ExnerThey want advice from the people they serve, and they are trying to make it easier for local residents to connect with councilors.

Councilor Carl Exner and perhaps one or two other council members will meet residents during a monthly “Conversation with a Councilor” series, a one-on-one discussion of the issues important to residents.

Exner is pretty happy about the accomplishments of the past two years. And in today’s State of the City address, Mayor Bill King will express his delight that the city was able to achieve about 90 percent of its goals.

But Exner says that amount of achievement isn’t something the council does alone.

Exner wants to know what residents believe are the issues the city needs to address. He also wants local citizens to express their views — not to just identify issues, but to offer ideas and solutions.

For his part and the part of the other councilors, Exner says they are listening, and they are asking people to speak in whatever way they feel comfortable.

“Conversation with a Councilor” will be held from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Sandy Public Library, 38980 Proctor Blvd..

To Exner, this speak-and-listen exercise is important — very important.

After the Jan. 22 meeting, there are only three days before the council and staff gather in retreat for an entire day to form a list of the most important goals for the 2013-2015 biennium.

That list of goals is “front and center” throughout the two-year period. City staff uses that list to determine which projects are most important, and the council uses it to prioritize its work.

The list also is used to judge how well the public servants are serving.

“After two years of work, (the council has) accomplished more than 90 percent of our goals,” Exner said. “If we put (the list of goals) on the table and say this is what we’re going to do, we have a track record of being able to get it done.

“The goals on the list are what we focus our attention on. And I’m very pleased about how (City Manager Scott Lazenby) and the other directors of city departments follow through on the goals.”

Exner advised city residents to ask that any specific issue they feel strongly about be placed on the list of goals.

“I have always wanted to hear how people are thinking,” he said, “and what they’re concerned about, and what they want to see us focus on at council meetings. It always has been difficult to draw people into the process. So I’m looking for different ways.”

Exner said he has tried the “Conversation with a Councilor” before, but without announcing it in any widespread manner. Now he wants anyone who has concerns, ideas or solutions to issues to come and speak.

Exner gave examples of how this process works.

Two years ago, when Exner and Mayor Bill King were running for office, he said, they heard a request from business owners for a better connection to the Internet so they could become more competitive with businesses in nearby larger cities.

Now, Exner says, the city has installed fiber-optic cable that is available to businesses, and it is planning to install fiber cable that will be available to all Sandy homes.

They also heard more than two years ago from local residents who asked for an urgent care center in Sandy. Now that center has been operating for the past 18 months.

Exner said he has heard that some people want another motel or hotel in or near Sandy, but he knows there are other concerns.

He just wants people to talk to him — or any councilor.

For more information, contact any councilor by finding his or her contact information on the city website cityofsandy.com and clicking on “contact us” and scrolling to the “directory.”

Or better yet, says Exner, attend “Conversation with a Councilor” Tuesday, Jan. 22.