Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Godfrey Administration Attempts to Defend Water System Plans

4/7/09 City Council Work Session Report

By Dan Schroeder

After its very short regular meeting last night, the city council held a work session to discuss the ongoing water projects, and especially the plans to put two new tanks above the top of 36th Street. I don't have time to write up a full report but here are a few notable points:

• The planned system will be adequate to provide sufficient water pressure to the entire east bench, up to the Bonneville Shoreline, above WSU and the golf course.

• Pressure to the highest bench areas will be provided by a new 1.25 million gallon tank whose site is yet to be determined. The engineering consultant's report shows this tank just north of Strong's Canyon, a little above the Bonneville shoreline on a corner of Chris Peterson's property. But the administration staff said they're now thinking of putting it south of Strong's Canyon on WSU property, to be accessed from the end of Beus Drive. In any case, it's clear that they haven't actually decided on a location yet and they indicated no intent to consult the city council regarding the final site selection.

• The city council pointed out that north of Strong's Canyon, the undeveloped bench areas are either city park land, or zoned as open space, or outside the city limits. The administration responded that they're designing a system to last for generations and we can't predict who might want to develop some of this property in the future. The city council also pointed out that having the water infrastructure in place will increase the likelihood of someone wanting to develop the property.

• When asked specifically about the golf course committee's plans for condominiums on city park land near Strong's Canyon, the administration staff said they didn't know any more about that proposal than what was in the newspaper, and that the water system was being designed without any specific development proposal in mind.

• Nobody asked outright why current Ogden water customers should be paying for a totally new water tank that won't be needed for decades. Yes, WSU eventually plans to build as high as the Bonneville shoreline, but not any time soon. North of Strong's Canyon, development high on the bench is prohibited by the Mt. Ogden Community Plan. The estimated cost of this tank, incidentally, is $1.6 million.

Ed. Note: Special thanks to Dan S. for the detailed writeup.


Rachel said...

Perhaps Godfrey anticipates selling water to South Ogden.

Curmudgeon said...

Perhaps off topic, perhaps not. There is a front page article in this morning's NY Times [link here] reporting on how bond advisers sold small towns and small cities on complicated derivatives as a way of lowering interest payments on municipal bonds for things like water system improvements and construction. Hundreds of towns accepted the advice and are now discovering that their annual interest payments have skyrocketed --- in some cases quadrupled --- as a result of the market downturn. Apparently, the towns and cities were unaware of the risks involved in engaging in the interest-reduction plans they bought into. It's quite a story and worth a read. [It turned out the investment bank selling the risky derivatives --- Morgan, Keegan & Co. --- was also advising the towns about how to finance construction projects, etc.]

So, naturally, I'm now wondering about Ogden' water bonds. Is Ogden facing a significant bump in interest rates now? [Note: I don't know the details of how Ogden funded its bonds for overhauling the city's water and sewer system. Having read the Times piece, I'm now curious. I hope the risky and complex allegedly interest-lowering arrangements that snagged many smaller towns and cities did not snag us as well. Anyone know?]

RudiZink said...

Interesting question, Curm. As WCF readers will recall, Ogden City ostensibly saved about $2.5 million in interest payments for its water infrastrucure repair bond package in May of 2008, when the bonding coincided with the concurrent tanking of the US stock market. The question of course would be whether these bonds were written to provide fixed rates, or variable rates. I don't know the answer to this question, but I'll bet somebody out there in WCF readership land can help us out on this.

Ahm' Confused said...

Sorry, but maybe I'm hopelessly out of the loop, but I am compelled to say this:

Within the "Separate Powers Doctrine" of Ogden City government, isn't it the City Council whose supposed to allocate funds to Ogden City projects?

Why I ask, is because Godfrey is moving without council appoval toward another big boondoggle, with a friggin' 1.5 million gallon water tank, in an area that's mainly blocked from development under current zoning.

Excuse me for my audacity in asking this question. I'm particulaarly out of the Mormon Ward Loop, which strangely continues to support this ex-Pizza Delivery Boy (Godfrey), who pulls all the levers and twiddles the dials in the Throne Room on Nine.

How the hell did we get into this mess, with a former pizza delivery boy running our city?

If we're not the laughing stock of America, we ought to be.

the lovely jennifer said...

Speaking of water,

Flowrider had a write-up sometime last week in the SE about how much fun it is, and the competitive events they have all the time. The top competitor recommends EVERYONE should go, they would be hooked!

Just phoned the Flowrider, and found out it costs $30 per person per hour, and most of that hour is spent standing in line waiting to get in the wave for 5 minutes. So you are not paying for an hour in the water, you are paying for an hour in the establishment.

Why would that be fun and/or addicting?

Don't know about anyone else, but I can make $30 bucks go pretty far at the grocery store, or fill up my car with fuel.

Are the people moving into the not-yet-existing condominiums going to enjoy in the expensive pastime at the Flowrider? Because us regular lumpencitizens cannot afford it.


woodstein said...

I understand that bulldog Standard-Ex reporter Scott Schwebke is now on Twitter. You follow him at You also can read his profile there. Joining twitter is easy and only takes a couple of minutes.
By the way I understand Scott just won a first place award from the Utah Press Association beating out the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. Scott is providing continous tweets and is looking for tips regarding shenanigans in Ogden city government. He tells me joining Twitter is an effort to better connect with Standard-Ex readers and WCF bloggers.

Curmudgeon said...

Top notch Curmudgeon comment promoted to the front page

fed up with the BS said...

"He [Schwebke] tells me joining Twitter is an effort to better connect with Standard-Ex readers and WCF bloggers.

What bullshit.

We don't need mindless "tweets" from Schwebke. Let's have a few more well-researched articles instead. Any moron can tweet. Schwebke is supposed to be a journalistic professional.

Skip the tweets, Schwebke. whatever happened to real journalism?

blackrulon said...

I am curious as to the name of the company/investment firm that helped Ogden with restructing bond debt? When the mayor spoke asking to keep Val Southwick out of jail and working to help pay back investors was it to help the deceived investors or were any Ogden city funds involved?

Curmudgeon said...

Curmudgeon comment bumped to top page

woodstein said...

Fed up:
Who says a reporter can't write quality stories, twitter, facebook, blog and use other tools to generate interest in those stories. In case, you haven't noticed the multi-platform media landscape is rapidly changing, my friend. Time to get with the program, don't ya think?

fed up with the BS said...

Internet fads come and go, woodstein. How much good journalism can Schwebke distribute in 140 characters, (including spaces)?

The real question is whether anyone in the dumbed down 21st century will notice the death of good journalism, as every nabob on earth is tweeting back and forth, in an idiotic torrent of moronic simpleton cacophany.

former flowrider said...

TLJ-Hope they misquoted you, or does anyone know if they have raised the price by $10 an hour?

TLJ said...


They said first time is 30 bucks, then 20 an hour per person after that.

but still a lot of time spent waiting in line to pay that much in a recession.


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