Sunday, August 17, 2008

Powder Mountain Update: Two More Articles from Ogden Valley Forum

A County Commission meeting reminder, and some eye-opening tax analysis

Just to keep our readers up to speed on the Powderville situation, we'll highlight two new Ogden Valley Forum articles this morning.

First, we find a reminder of the County Commission's Tuesday hearing. The text is brief, so we'll incorporate it in full:
This is a call for all Valley residents to attend the Weber County Commission meeting on Tuesday, August 19th at 10:00AM. It appears that the Weber County Commissioner's will name the makeup of the Powderville town council.
It will be noteworthy to see if they name a representative council, or a town council packed with Cobabe family members and employees from Powder Mountain.
Since there are so many potential conflict of interest issues with the original list submitted by Powder Mountain, we will find out how much intestinal fortitude our Weber County Commissioners are willing to display.
It's our understanding that the Commission will now be choosing from a significantly expanded Powderville citizen candidate list, rather than a narrow roster of the ethically-conflicted "gang of six" whose names were cherry-picked and arrogantly submitted by the developer for a "hoped for"Commission rubber stamp. Indeed, Tuesday's meeting will give the lumpencitizens a golden opportunity to see exactly what the Commission is really made of. Will the Commission select a town government which represents a cross-section of the regular folks who were dragged unwillingly into the developer's company town; or will the Commission meekly roll over, and commit several scores of its constituents to fascist-style dictatorship, under the jack-boot of the developer's corporation? We guess we'll find out on Tuesday, won't we?

Next, we'll turn to the latest Kim Wheatley tome, in which Dr. Wheatley provides some thoughtful tax analysis, founded upon a fair amount of diligent research. Among Dr. Wheatley's conclusions, based on Weber County tax records: Upon completion of the town incorporation process, the Powder Mountain developer will enjoy the bulk of the economic benefit flowing from the incorporation of Powder Mountain Town, while the citizens who are unconnected with the developer's resort project will pick up 95% of the economic tab.

Don't let the cat get your tongues, O gentle ones.

3 comments:

Caesare said...

While it is true there may be more citizens available for the town council list this time, Powder Mountain has already stated that they will demand that the original list they submitted full of cronies and lackeys be used by the Weber County Commission. Let's hope the Commission sends them back for another two weeks or forces them to sue Weber County.

RudiZink said...

I agree, Caesare. And if you look at the operative paragraph of the original SB466, it's arguable that a stiff-spined Commission can put the town incorporation sponsors into a lengthy political stalemate.

Here's the pertinent paragraph from the "grandfathered" statute:

(6) (a) Upon the granting of a petition filed under this section, the legislative body of the county in which the proposed town is located shall appoint a mayor and members of the town council from a list of qualified individuals approved by the petition sponsors.

Notably, the statute DOES NOT require the Commission to choose from the town sponsors' approved list; nor does it even authorize the sponsor to prepare and submit such a list. With regard to the manner of preparation of a candidate list, the statute is really quite vague.

And there's another important question: Although the statute "seems" to provide the town sponsors' absolute veto power over appointments which are unapproved by the sponsors, is that really true in a legal sense? Although I haven't had time to carefully research the question, it seems to me that a sponsor's refusal to approve an otherwise qualified candidate in "bad faith," without grounds based on reason, is not a result any legislature (even one so ham-handed as the 2007 Utah legislature) would intend. It seems to me the Commission ought to construe the para 6(a) appointment provision as impliedly requiring good faith and reasonable conduct on the town sponsors' part.

Lacking that, the Commission could send renewed lists back to the developer til hell freezes, AFAIC.

Better yet, the Commission could take the bit in their teeth, disregard "bad faith" rejections, and appoint a slate of otherwise well qualifed candidates, on the basis of the sponsors' bad-faith failure to cooperate.

It gets interestinger and interestinger dunnit...?

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

You wrote: it seems to me that a sponsor's refusal to approve an otherwise qualified candidate in "bad faith," without grounds based on reason, is not a result any legislature (even one so ham-handed as the 2007 Utah legislature) would intend.

Wanna bet?

We could, of course, ask Mr. Curtis and Mr. Bramble if they intended to give the petitioners [i.e. developers] a free hand in choosing the new towns' first mayors and councils, thus depriving County Commissions of any say whatever. From the evidence we have so far, I'd say the smart bet would be that they did. The whole purpose of the Developers Dream Bill, after all, was to eliminate entirely the County Commissions ability to make any substantive decisions about the incorporation petitions, or subsequent zoning, or the staffing of the developers' puppet town governments.

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