Dan Armstrong decides ‘eight is enough’ years to serve on Taylorsville City CouncilAug 30, 2021 05:10PM ● By Carl Fauver
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
After working as a certified public accountant for more than 40 years—and serving on the Taylorsville City Council nearly eight years—District 5 Councilmember Dan Armstrong, 69, has decided it’s time to slow down a bit, and, as he put it, “Let my wife start calling more of the shots.”
Armstrong is now working with a couple of buyers in the sale of his CPA firm, “Armstrong Duke & Associates, LLC.” And he’s also chosen not to seek a third, four-year term on the Taylorsville City Council.
Instead, the next District 5 city council member will either be someone who served in that position before Armstrong—and also went on to be mayor—Larry Johnson or accountant and lifelong Taylorsville resident Robert (Bob) Knudsen. Those two finalists emerged from a field of three candidates in the city’s Aug. 10 primary election.
“I understand there is life after elections, but it is really hard to see Dan go,” Mayor Kristie Overson said. “I really rely on his skills as an accountant. We all rely on his wisdom with all things related to the city budget. It is easy for him. Dan’s decision (not to seek re-election) does not surprise me. But we will really miss him.”
Armstrong said if his children had enjoyed a safe walking route to school nearly 20 years ago, he might never have entered politics.
“The first time I became interested in city government was when my kids were walking on 2700 West to Bennion Junior High School,” Armstrong said. “There were no sidewalks on the west side of 27th. So, I went to the city council meeting to speak as a citizen. That was shortly after the ‘new’ city hall opened (in May 2003). I’m not sure how much my comments mattered. But it was not long before a sidewalk was put in.”
Several years after that successful pitch to the Taylorsville City Council, Armstrong’s good friend Larry Johnson told him he was going to run for mayor that fall (2013), and he encouraged Armstrong to run for his District 5 Council seat. He did, and both men won their races.
“I had known Larry for years,” Armstrong said. “He and I had conducted church services together—for inmates at the Salt Lake County Jail—from 2009 up until then. After getting released from that calling, Larry ran for mayor, and I ran for his council seat. We both celebrated victories on election night (November 2013).”
Armstrong defeated Kenneth Acker in that election and said he would have been satisfied with either of them winning.
“The way I felt, [constituents] could have voted either of us in, and the city of Taylorsville was going to get a good guy,” Armstrong said. “I really thought I was going to lose. I had hardly spent any money on the election—something like $800 on signs and door hangers. But I did have one advantage: I knew nearly everyone [in my District] from my years working as a Boy Scout leader.”
Over his many years as a Scout leader, Armstrong said he had gotten to know many kids and parents. So, his win did not shock him as much as his wife, Lorene.
“The next morning, she asked me, ‘Did you win?’” he said. “I told her, ‘Good morning my loyal subject, how are you today?”
Did he really say that?
“Yes, I did,” Armstrong said. “But I would not do it again.”
“I have really enjoyed working with Dan because he has brought such good wisdom to the city council,” Councilmember Meredith Harker said. “He sees the minute details and asks really good questions. That’s been so important to have on the council. We will miss it.”
Armstrong was raised in Idaho Falls and graduated high school there in 1970. Following a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand, Dan enrolled at Brigham Young University in April 1974. That’s where he met Lorene, marrying her three years later.
“At first, I was going to get my degree in Animal Science because I wanted to be a veterinarian,” he said. “But getting into vet school was such an uphill battle, and I was starting a young family. I ended up with a major in accounting and a minor in chemistry.”
Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Lorene Armstrong also earned a BYU degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude in secondary education.
The couple’s four sons and three daughters were born from 1979 through 1994. Three of the kids now live in Kentucky, Idaho and South Carolina, while the other four remain in Utah. The Armstrongs’ 20 grandchildren are ages 1 to 16.
Once his city council term runs out at the end of the year—and the sale of his CPA firm is completed, likely next year—Armstrong said Lorene will be calling more of the shots.
“We could leave on a Church mission as early as next year,” he said. “It’s up to Lorene; it’s her turn. She’s been so supportive of me for so many years. I took her to New Zealand in 2018 and showed her where I served my mission. She loved it. So, who knows, we might serve a mission there. She’s not sure where she wants to go.”
When the newest member of the Taylorsville City Council was asked what she thought of Armstrong leaving, District 3 Councilmember Anna Barbieri was succinct.
“That stinker,” she said. “It’s a great loss. He asks a lot of important questions. Dan’s not afraid to speak up. And he’s so well-versed in the budget. He’s a good man, solid. I will miss Dan.”
Armstrong believes a couple of the Taylorsville City Council’s biggest accomplishments during his eight-year tenure have come this year, with the completion of the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center and the reestablishment of the city’s own, independent police department.
“If you look [at the professional credentials of those hired into the new agency], we are probably one of the best-staffed police departments in the state,” he said. “We have a mayor and a council that support police. That is not true everywhere, statewide or countywide. Our officers are not perfect, but we have a very strong group, and we support them.”
He is also confident he’s leaving the city council stronger than when he arrived in January 2014.
“The eight years I was on the council, we never even had a vote to raise [residents’ property] taxes,” Armstrong said. “The mayor and council work well together. We have seen a lot of new business come to Taylorsville in the time I’ve been on the council. Perhaps I could have done more. But most of the things I wanted to do, we got done.”