My name is Tricia Pilny and I am running for Mayor of Layton City. As a military family, we have lived all over this great county and we decided to make Layton our home over 10 years ago. I’m originally from a small town in Southwest Georgia. I loved where I grew up and when we moved to Layton, I had that same feeling of loving my community.
As a business owner, I do business and economic development for companies of all sizes all over the country. I build relationships and collaborate with companies to help them grow from within. I also work with both the private and public sectors to accomplish managed growth and in their communities.
New Fire Station and Tax Increase
I know that we need the new fire station. We have been growing as a community and with that, our need for public services is growing as well. What I do not know is why after the Fire Station has been in the plans for many years, why hasn’t properly paying for the fire station been in the plans. There has not been a great deal of transparency from city officials in regard to the “savings fund” for the fire department. It should be line itemed in the current budget as to exactly where the money is allocated and what fund in the budget it is coming from
I oppose any new tax increase. Cities all over the country pay for public service buildings and pay for it without raising taxes. Has the City looked at other options? We don’t know, because the citizens of Layton were not involved in any of these conversations. My biggest frustration is that current city council members act as if this is no big deal. Well it is a big deal to me and as Mayor, I would not support any of the current city council members in raising our taxes.
Growth, Housing and Open Space
I know that the traditional path our city has been on will make it difficult for us to adapt to the changes that are coming our way. Layton is expected to reach 100K people by 2030. That’s the largest population growth we have had since WWII. That means our infrastructure, public services and our housing will be severely strained. We are at a point as a city that we need to be proactive on our growth and stop being reactive. We need to be planning our infrastructure, our roads, our public services to handle the next 10 years and longer. We need to be working with State agencies to update antiquated plans for State owned properties and roads within our City, and we need to work with land owners to development our mixed uses and housing options in the appropriate areas so that we don’t continue putting a strain on our neighborhoods and local roads.
We will also need to continue building apartments and townhomes. The market demands it and our cities growth demands it. I know it seems like we already have a lot, but we are still at over 70% single family homes in our city. My plan for this is to help guide multifamily and townhome development in the appropriate areas of the city. This will allow for our neighborhoods to stay our neighborhoods with open space and the yards we want our children to grow up in. There is also a desire in our community to offer homes with smaller yards and more shared community spaces. As a city, we should be offering that as well. The healthiest and most successful communities have a mix of all housing options, so that people of all income levels, family sizes and stages of life can live and grow together. To me, this also means keeping our open space, our open space. Offering a quality of open space over quantity of open space. We also should be recruiting the companies we want that bring the higher paying jobs that we will need and the business we want in our city. This means that our children and grandchildren who want to, are able to live in our great community and enjoy the quality of life that we have now.
The Mayor of Layton needs to be an ambassador for our City, to guide growth that is in line with our values, to bring in creative economic development strategies and to establish a more transparent government. The Mayor of Layton also needs to be an ambassador for our citizens. That means working to bring in higher paying jobs and a higher tax base so that our citizens aren’t hit with unexpected fees and taxes.
I want our citizen to be proud of the fact that we have a more transparent government, that has easier access to our long term plans, that are able to have a conversation with elected officials and city staff and know that they have been heard and to have the transparency of long term city budgets without the concerns of unexpected fees and tax hikes. All city work meeting (that do not discuss individual city staff), and public meeting, should be live streamed. There is no reason why we cannot stream to YouTube, Facebook Live and Instagram Live. There should also be more interaction from City Senior Staff with the community. Department heads should be attending more city level meetings as well as participating in my proposed Citizens Community Council meetings. I also believe that we should be doing more to get the word out on upcoming meetings and city events or issues. Currently, Layton uses Facebook, Instagram, the cities website and mailers in our utility bills. Many think that is enough, but apparently, there are still issues. I do not know exactly what the right mix of how we get the information out is, but I am definitely open to any new ideas. That to me is a big part of a transparent government. Knowing when you don’t have all the answers and knowing when to ask for ideas.
Citizens Community Council
Our city staff and our elected and appointed officials are not the best representation of our diversity and demographics in Layton. I will establish a citizen outreach/community council made up of people from every background, income level and age group. This citizens community council will work with me to be the voice for the people who are never heard. This council will help to foster creative ideas that will create an environment of respect and progress. I also plan on having regular open town hall style meetings for people to come and talk about their issues without feeling intimidated or without the formality of official City meetings.
The most Common Questions I have Received
1. Will there be a change in City Staff if elected?
As a part time mayor, Layton’s mayor does not have this ability. The City Council acts as the executive and legislative body’s for Layton City. In our Cities form of government, the city council functions as the executive and legislative body. The council’s executive powers are exercised when they hire and/or fire city executive and senior staff and when they set the city budget. The City Council sets policy and interacts as a body with the city manager. The city manager carries out the council’s policy directives. When acting in its legislative capacity, the council enacts ordinances, passes resolutions and sets the city budget.
2. What has been your role as a planning commissioner in approving all these new developments?
The role of a planning commissioner is administrative, whereas the City Council is legislative. A Planning Commissioners role if specifically outlined by state and local code, and we strictly must follow what our duties have been outlines as.
Per the Layton City Code:
2.30.070 Powers and duties
The Planning Commission shall:
(1) Prepare and recommend a general plan and amendments to the general plan to the City Council as provided in this Code;
(2) Recommend zoning ordinances and maps, and amendments to zoning ordinances and maps, to the City Council as provided in this Code;
(3) Administer provisions of the zoning, subdivision, and sign ordinances, where specifically provided for in this Code;
(4) Recommend subdivision regulations and amendments to those regulations to the City Council as provided in this Code;
(5) Approve or deny subdivision applications as provided in this Code;
(6) Make recommendations to the City Council on matters as the City Council directs;
(7) Hear or decide any matters that the City Council designates, relating to the physical development of land in the City; and
(8) Exercise any other powers:
(a) necessary to perform its functions; or
(b) delegated by the City Council.
Ord. No.97-35, Recodified, 6/19/1997
Ord. No. 12-23, Amended, 7/5/2012
Ord. No. 14-07, Amended, 4/17/2014
Please excuse my wording, as I am not an attorney, but here is my definition of the role of a planning commissioner. Planning commissioners must guide developments per the City Code and Ordinances. What the above does not state, is that if at any time we question a development on health or safety issues, there must be proof of this. Utah law is vague enough that is does not state what is specifically health or safety issues. If we do not agree with the traffic or density of a project, if it is within code or studies have been done in favor of the project, it likely must be passed. That is state law. Anything outside of a planning commissioners’ approval or recommendation is up to City Council. As for open space, if a project has the required open space, a planning commission can recommend there be more, but can do nothing outside of that.
3. How would you fix the Cities budget?
First things first, I am not an accountant either, but I do understand when a budget is not successful and meeting the financial needs of a community. Layton City is not meeting those needs, hence the 25% tax increase. We need to look at each line item and division of the budget and cut an unnecessary spending. We also need to be bringing in a higher tax base to help with keeping our services at the needed levels. A one-acre mixed use development can provide more tax revenue for a city versus a 5-acre single family home development with quarter acre lots. My plan would be to provide for opportunities for these mixed-use areas so that we can keep our single-family home developments for those of us who want the neighborhoods with our yards. Recently, we have passed the general plan amendment and there was overwhelming feedback from the community for these types of developments.
As a lot of us have all come to realize, the traditional path our City has been on is not sustainable. Our residents, our infrastructure and our community as a whole are struggling, and our current direction will not lead us into the transformational changes we are facing. We need to be both aspirational and grounded in our reality of the upcoming growth. As a community, we need to be asking the questions as to why we aren’t prepared for the future fiscally? Why don’t we have more transparency? Why do we lose great businesses to our surrounding communities? As Mayor, I would use my experience as a business owner, as a design and construction consultant, and as an ambassador for our City, to guide our future growth that is in line with our values, to bring more creative economic development strategies and build an environment of transparency, collaboration and public involvement.
I have the experience and capability to bring national knowledge and experience to Layton that will help us in the growing pains we are facing over the next generation. I am focused on creative economic development, managing our growth while protecting our quality of life, and establishing a more transparent government that involves our citizens, not one that alienates them.
With the growth we are expecting over the next several years, I want us to come together as a community and write our own narrative and tell the story that we want to tell. I have watched from the sidelines as a planning commissioner, a business owner, as a member of several local and national land use and advisory boards and as a citizen of our community and like you, I care about the direction of our City because “We are Layton”.