Sunday, December 20, 2009

Important Council Meeting Coming Up On Tuesday

Boss Godfrey's proposed 5-million gallon 36th Street water tank is on the agenda (item #1 on the list of top Emerald City open space threats)

We'd like to provide our readers with a quick heads up about an item appearing on the agenda for this coming Tuesday's (12/9/09) Ogden City Council Meeting. Over past months we've devoted a fair amount of electronic ink to the subject of the Godfrey administration's proposed top of 36th street waters tanks; and this subject now returns to the calender for the council's consideration and deliberation:
7. Administrative Reports.
a. CIP Amendment – 36th/46th Street water tanks and transmission line. Consideration of proposed Ordinance 2009-72; an ordinance modifying the FY 2008 through 2012 Capital Improvement Plan by making adjustments to project WU095 and adding projects WU100 and WU101 as detailed in the project briefs. (Receive public input; adopt/not adopt ordinance – roll call vote)
In connection with this, we also link the council's 12/22/09 council packet, which consists of a brief summary of the Administration's proposal, an analysis of project obstacles and proposed solutions, fiscal notes, a necessarily-lengthy chronology of events, a proposed municipal ordinance amending the city Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), three exhibits and several other associated documents, etc..

In a nutshell, the Administration is proposing that the council go ahead with the 5 million-gallon 36th street tank (whose cost seems to have increased), and that the council allocate the remaining $800,000 to engineering studies and land acquisition--but not construction--for the 1.25 million gallon tank and associated transmission lines.

Reading between the lines, it's also apparent from the series of documents enclosed in the packet that council leadership and staff have devoted a fairly substantial amount of effort over the past few months, in cooperation with the city's administration and engineering staff, to work out the "kinks" in the project. Moreover, and much to our alarm, it seems pretty clear that council leadership has probably committed itself to approving the Administration's proposal, even though the matter has never been deliberated by the full council, nor fully addressed by the public.

Adding insult to injury, information in the packet reveals that council leadership may be growing wary of a provision in the underlying Water Horizon bonding documents, which purportedly requires that 85% of bond proceeds be spent by June 11, 2010. As to this latter wrinkle, we'll speculate that Boss Godfrey is once again up to his old tricks, and has again painted the council into a corner with his usual calculated strategy whereby Godfrey gives the council nothing but yes/no choices, where "no" is unacceptable (i.e., don't spend the bond money at all) so they have to say "yes."

As we editorialized back in May of this year, we at WCF are also wary too... wary of at least three items in Boss Godfrey's bag of tricks which threaten our east bench open space. The 36th Street water tanks are of course at the top of the list.

Emerald City lumpencitizens urged the city council at least four months ago to hire their own independent independent engineer. Since then the council has however apparently been sitting on it's collective thumb. We're therefore going to go out on a limb and predict that the council's approval of Boss Godfrey's 5 million gallon 36th Street water tank is probably a fait accompli.

Nevertheless, we'll encourage our more optimistic readers to attend Tuesday's council session, and to contact the council with their own viewpoints through our WCF council contact link in the interim.

In a worst case scenario, meeting attendees can report back to WCF about the big smile which will be on Boss Godfrey's face when he receives his early Christmas present. And who knows? Maybe we'll get lucky. Maybe the council will rethink the whole half-baked situation and we'll experience a holiday miracle.

9 comments:

blackrulon said...

This seems similar to the lame duck city council that was pressured into approving the demolition of the old Ogden City mall.

Trail Lover said...

On the subject of preserving open space east of Ogden, does anyone know what the updated road at the top of 27th street is for?

Dan S. said...

Trail Lover,

That road is to access the site of yet another new water tank, which the city council has already approved.

Danny said...

I thought Godfrey lost the election.

I thought the open minded people won.

So why is this on the agenda, three days before Christmas, no less?

Hopefully this is something Godfrey put on the agenda, and does not reflect a done deal as Rudi suggests.

Make no mistake. These tanks are for water to build out the east bench, and garner Godfrey some much needed developer money for his next mayoral campaign. There is no other purpose for them.

Rob Garner said...

Rudi,

It would appear that the administration is once again trying to wear down the city council into just washing their hands of the issue by just offering up the same project again and again without any real modifications to the administration’s original plan. The administration wants to build an unneeded 5 million gallon tank simply because they want the foot print where the current two tanks on 36th Street sit.

The existing tanks, contrary to what the administration claims, are not in bad physical shape especially considering the city’s neglect of them nor do they cost as much to maintain in order to get many more years use out of them as the administration suggests. Nor are there any State requirements for any increased storage up there or an actual requirement for larger tanks at that location within the Ogden water system to operate safely or efficiently. Simple put this is a land grab to further the administration’s vision of a development up there. This 5 million gallon tank will cost the residents some 6 to 7 million dollars without improving the operation of our current system one iota.

Worse is the fact that bonding was raised under the Water Horizon Project to address several deficiencies within the city’s water system. One of which was the potential short fall of water service in the area served by the tanks at 46th St. The administration’s diversion of funds to the tank at 36th St is at the cost of addressing those identified deficiencies that were to be accomplished in the Water Horizon Project at 46th St. If the CIP amendment as proposed by the administration is passed, those indentified deficiencies in the areas serviced by the 46th St tanks will not be remedied until the city raises more money with another bond offering or raises our water rates again.

This is simply inexcusable on behalf of the administration and the City Council can not in good conscience approve this fruitless spending of our money. The City Council should not approve this modification of the CIP but rather seek out their own independent engineering firm to review the various studies that have already been put together for the city to assist and guide the Council through these studies to come up the most cost effective way to use our remaining bond funds. A simple review of the already existing studies by an unrelated third party engineering firm will neither cost a lot of money nor take a lot of time. The city still has a lot of projects to address and dollars to spend relative to resolving our water supply system issues. Let’s not throw 6 to 7 million dollars away when it could be spent much more effectively in more needed aspects of our city’s water system than this unnecessary water tank.

rob Garner said...

Rudi,

Relative to the amended CIP that the Council is looking at is the $800,000 dollars that Rudi mentions in his article ($500,000 for the engineering and land acquisition cost for the pipeline and $300,000 for the engineering cost for the 1.25 million gallon tank). Both of these costs are way high for the work and land acquisition costs by any estimates for the size of the jobs.

Possibly these costs are inflated to cover the possible (and probable) cost overruns that most likely will be encountered constructing the proposed 5 million gallon water tank. Keep in mind that the tank, as proposed, is going to be built into the mountain side where they already know they are going to be encountering solid rock. The construction bid estimate warns of possible significant cost overruns if rock is encountered, which by the way was encountered in the separate geotechnical report.

Rob Garner said...

Rudi,

Relative to the suggestion by the city that the triangle area in the Southeast Ogden area may not be served or may be underserved with water pressure if the transmission line is connected from the 36th St. location to the 46th St. location is a simple fix. The engineering department knows that as well. But they don’t want the City Council to know that.

Let me explain. The triangle area in discussion is the area that extends by drawing a straight line from the 46th St. tanks north at the same elevation of the 46th St. tank across the hill side to just above the 36th St. tanks (first side of the triangle). Then west to the lower elevation of the 36th St. tanks (second side of the triangle), then drawing a straight line back to the 46th St. tanks (third side of the triangle). This is the triangle area of discussion and the area where development will possible happen south of 36th St.

By running the pipeline directly between the two tank locations you are placing the pipeline on the bottom of the triangle (lowest elevation of the triangle area being from the 36th St. tank to the 46th St. tank). Thus the area east of there (and higher up the mountain) in this triangle is not well served. Rather than that, simply run the pipeline due east up the mountain side until it is at the same elevation as the 46th St. tank (which is higher than the 36th St. tank), then put a right angle in the pipe and run the pipeline parallel to the 46th St. tank (highest elevation). This simple put the line at the top of the triangle and thus provides the water supply and pressure needed to serve this triangle area. There is no difference in electrical operating costs and insignificant differences in construction costs to accomplish this.

Curmudgeon said...

Comment bumped to front page

Dan S. said...

Late this afternoon I received an email from the city council stating that the water tank proposal has been pulled from this week's agenda. I don't know whether it could come back as soon as next week, or whether there will even be a city council meeting next week, given that quite a few folks are likely to be out of town.

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