Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Important Council/RDA Sessions Set For This Evening - UPDATED

A full slate of important items are on the various agendas

Here's a heads up concerning this evening's RDA and city council sessions, wherein the Council/RDA has a full slate of important items on the various agendas:

The council will first meet at 5:00 p.m. for a study session, followed by a 6:00 RDA meeting and a City Council session following immediately thereafter. Among the items to be considered by the Council/RDA bodies will be these matters, which have been extensively discussed on Weber County Forum at various times in the recent past:
1) Proposed Property Conveyance by Donation to St. Anne’s Center, Inc. Proposed Resolution 2010-14, determining the adequacy of consideration to be received for City Property at 3300 South and Pacific Avenue. (Adopt/not adopt resolution.
2) East Washington Urban Renewal Project Area Plan. Proposed Ordinance 2010-30, Adopting the Urban Renewal Project Area Plan dated June 21, 2010 and entitled East Washington Urban Renewal Project Area Plan. (Adopt/not adopt ordinance.
3) Fiscal Year 2010-2011 Budget and Capital Improvement Plan Amendment. Proposed Ordinance 2010-29, amending the budget and Capital Improvement Plan for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 by increasing the anticipated revenues and transfers for gross increases of $3,321,379 from sources as detailed in the body of this ordinance; increasing the appropriations for a gross increase of $3,321,379 as detailed in the body of this ordinance; reallocating Capital Improvement Funds for improvements to the Union Station.
The pertinent Council/RDA packets are available for viewing here:
City Council Study Session Public Meeting Agenda Packet
Redevelopment Agency Agenda Packet
Pertinent WCF background information for Item #1 can be found here; and our discussion of item #3, which involves (among other things) allocation of $564,000 for the Leshemville demolition, can be reviewed here.

We'd also like to direct particular attention to Item #2, a subject which has also received considerable attention here on WCF. Despite dire national economic conditions, Boss Godfrey's East Washington Urban Renewal Project Area Plan seems to be nevertheless moving forward at full steam; and it appears that the council may be leaning toward taking the crucial step of approving the plan and related budget tonight. As to this latter item, we'll be hoping that the council will act with due caution and prudence. Now is NOT the time, as we've said before, to enter into another risky multi-million dollar urban renewal project. Hopefully, if the Council does take the bait, and approves the East Washington Urban Renewal Project Area Plan, our City Council will have the wisdom to inform Boss Godfrey that plan approval does not provide our eager little borrow-and-spend mayor a green light for another round of reckless bonding.

We'll keep this thread open for any readers who'd like to submit post meeting reports; and we would of course be delighted if any reader might be willing (dare we hope) to live blog.

That's it for now, gentle readers. We'll keep the lights on and wait to see how it all shakes out.

Update 8/25/10 8:15 a.m.: Ace Reporter Schwebke offers this brief post-meeting story, reporting that the RDA/ Council took the bait, and approved the East Washington Urban Renewal Project Area Plan, by a slim 4-3 vote:
City officials OK urban renewal plan for four-block downtown Ogden area
Curiously, Mr. Schwebke reports that the urban renewal plan "includes language that prevents the RDA from using eminent domain to obtain property in the Project Plan Area;" yet our own examination of enabling ordinance 2010-30 (see City Council Study Session Public Meeting Agenda Packet) reveals these explicit provisions:
Section 6. Acquistion of Property. The condemnation of real property is provided for in the Project Area Plan. The agency may acquire real property within the Project Area by the use of the power of eminent domain, in accordance with the applicable principles of law.
Thus we're left in a condition of extreme cognitive dissonance, wondering whether a) Mr. Schwebke muffed his report, or b) the Council RDA amended the proposed ordinance to remove the power of eminent domain from the final Project Area Plan.

Perhaps one of our readers who attended last night's meeting can set the record straight on this aggravating discrepancy.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Council also approved the donation of the five acre parcel to the St. Anne's Shelter:
Ogden accepts land for shelter
No word yet on the proposed allocation of funds toward the Leshemville demolition.

20 comments:

Bert said...

Ogden citizens handily got rid of the 2005 Gang of Six Council.

It looks like its now time to remove the 2010 City Council in TOTO.

They're whores for the Godfrey Administration.

Gochnour is just like Safsten, except for different genitalia.

Curmudgeon said...

Well, Burt, let's see if your claim that the Council "in toto" are Godfrey sycophants and automatons can stand up on the evidence:

1. The Council refused to de-fund the Marshall White Center in anticipation of grants the Mayor was "confident" would replace city funding. [Which grants never appeared.] And the Council over-rode the Mayor's veto of its continuing funding for the Center, hardly the action of mindless sycophants.

2. The Council refused to drink the Kool Aid on the Mayor's year round outdoor downtown popsicle ice climbing tower and to provide the money the mayor wanted as seed money because he was "confident" private donors would come up with seven figures or so more. They didn't and the City, thanks to the Council, and in particular in this instance, Councilwoman Gochnour, did not funnel hundreds of thousands into the project.

3. As soon as the Mayor announced his plan to burn down the Leshemville Slum, Councilwoman Wicks objected, raising questions [soon backed by the medical community] about the health consequences of the plan.

As for your swipe at Mr. Safsten, let me remind you that it was Safsten who provided the crucial fourth vote that killed the Mayor's plan to have the city build, at its own expense and risk to lease, two additional floors on the office building at the SE corner of the Junction, against the advice of the City's own consultants. Had Mr. Safsten not voted "no" on that Godfrey brainstorm, Ogden City would today be paying tens of thousands of dollars more for construction bonds on two extra floors on an office building that, nearly two years after it opened, is still largely un-leased.

The Council majority does not always vote as I would have voted, which I agree is unwise of them. But to suggest that the Council as a whole, and every member of it, is a Godfrey sycophant who blindly follows orders from the 9th Floor of City Hall just will not stand up on the evidence.

ozboy said...

Off topic here, but there is a very good opinion piece in the SL Trib by the liberal columnist Leonard Pitts and why he likes the ever so conservative Huckabee - the man who would be President.

It is well worth the read:

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/50153560-82/mike-huckabee-guy-points.html.csp

Curmudgeon said...

Yes, it is, Oz. As is Pitts' point that there is nearly no conversation now about national problems and how best to solve them, there is merely a shouting of talking points by spokesmen of one side or the other, which is not intended to convince those who think differently by means of reason applied to evidence, but rather is intended merely to score points with their own true-believers, the "base" which already agrees with them.

Klaus Nomi said...

The council merely does what they feel is in their long term interests.
No one seriously wants to save/rebuild Ogden.

It would be much better off burned to the ground, ashes scattered to the wind.

I'mma tellin ya said...

just take a look who is behind the "other part" of the shelter project...oh yes, there is more on that site than meets the eye...and it's not Bob the Builder

Danny said...

Curm,

Near as I can tell, the council held the line on the velodrome too, and they did not build the 1.25 million gallon tank that would have subsidized destruction of undeveloped bench land. And they did not support Godfrey's 24/7 searchlight policy.

So I too agree they are far from rubber stampers.

Tea Party Guy said...

No more borrowing and spending, please.

I'mma tellin ya said... said...

but we have to borrow and spend to keep the cronies in buckos so the can give back....

sigh...its all there

Curmudgeon said...

Danny:

TY. I'd forgotten the velodrome entirely.

light in my eyes said...

What? No more friends with the stupid damn searchlight in the sky every damn night.

When the hell are the cops going to enforce that little infraction, rather than shaking down the little old ladies with brown spots on their lawn?

Curmudgeon said...

Light:

You might inquire of one of your council members, if you are an Ogden resident, about whether the searchlight is now in violation of the ordinance, and if so, when action will be taken to force the operator to comply.

bike rider said...

I rode by the place that used to shine the light. I think they are no longer in business.

Guess the light was crutial to their well being.

Bye bye stupid light.

googler said...

Their web site says they're still open.

Just a WCF commentor said...

I'm wondering what's wrong with Susan Van Hooser. She was THE SWING VOTE LAST NIGHT.

I'd hoped for better from this former Mayoral Candidate and Schoolteacher.

Maybe Boss Godfrey found some "dirt" on her.

Maybe Susie Van Hooser doesn't have the "sack" to stand up for fiscal conservatism.

Curmudgeon said...

On a related topic, the SL Trib is also running a story today on the River Project, and more specifically the rehabilitation of the Ogden River downtown into a prime trout stream with good public access via city- owned bankside park property [link here]. Headline reads: "Ogden River Restoration Reshapes Downtown."

It's worth a look, particularly in light of the addition of yet another RDA project to Ogden's groaning board of such projects. The Trib re-tells the tale of Ogden having to take over acquisition of properties for the project when developer G. Leshem, in the paper's delicate phrasing, "ran into financial problems." And it reports that some who sold their land to Ogden, acting as a purchasing agent for Mr. Leshem and his associates,
"complained they were forced to sell their properties too low."

Reading the Trib story, I couldn't help wondering if there was another way to have sparked a downtown renaissance along the Ogden River than Godfrey's fevered vision. Suppose instead of sinking all that money and effort into another Godfrey Grand Design and Grand Vision [flatland gondolas, downtown indoor water parks, urban sidewalk outdoor ice climbing towers, the stilllargely un-leased and not yet fully developed Junction project, hundreds of vacation villas for rich Arizonans in Mt. Ogden Park, etc.], the City had instead invested more modest amounts into acquiring stream-side properties to create the Ogden Riverside Park, and invested in cleaning up the river, restoring its banks and riparian areas --- the very things it is now doing. And then, as the new gem in the crown of Ogden urban parks, the river restoration, was completed and surrounding property became more valuable and more attractive to developers, sat back and watched smaller groups of investors put money into buying properties, building smaller condo units or apartments or townhouses as the market decreed, and on their own nickel.

Had a plan like that been adopted ---improve the public areas and let the private development follow --- might the River Project Area today be much further along in terms of rehabilitation than it now is? At least we might not be looking at the city spending more than half a million dollars to demolish a slum the city helped the developer acquire and which he can apparently now neither develop nor demolish, and wondering if we'll ever get the money back.

Just wondering....

Curmudgeon said...

Just a Commentator:

I don't think the Council acted prudently last night, but the fact is the Council was going to approve this project by a substantial margin, not one vote, in the end. According to the story in the SE, the only reason Stephenson and Stephens voted Nay on this proposal was that it did not include sufficiently strong language granting the city the right to use eminent domain procedures to acquire property from an owner who objected to selling. If it had failed, 4-3, presumably they'd have voted for an amended motion to go forward with the project with additional eminent domain powers included.

Apparently the only vote against the project on its merits overall, came from Councilwoman Wicks, who we should remember is a candidate for election to the Weber County Commission --- a body even more in need of cautionary voices on it than is the Ogden City Council.

Wall Commuter said...

There should also be a mandatory pedestrian bridge going over Wall just to the east of the new homeless shelter. I am surprised more of these not-paying-attention clients of st. Anne are not creamed swarming/slouching across Wall and 26th to the easy pickings of 25th street tourists.
The willing poor should be hard at work assembling military supplies in a poorhouse factory 14 hours a day or at church praying to a god of industry and clean living, and then shuffling home to a debtors prison.
Rehab; ptah.

oldguy said...

I'm by no means an apologist for the Council - some good moves and some not so good. All things considered, however, I agree with Curm - their good work far outweighs the mistakes, especially when you consider the Mayor they have to try to work with.

It's great to have the luxury of venting our frustrations on the WCF but it seems that some posts don't deal with the facts and show very little in the way of objective appraisal.

A call or email to a Council member on subjects that are a concern would go a long way toward limiting the "gleaming generality" complaints that appear on the blog. A better understanding of the problems confronting the Council might soften the frustrations we all feel under the Godfrey dictatorship. Hey, how about an email or call to the little despot himself expressing dissatisfation with his administration - couldn't hurt.

Danny said...

Speaking of Rudi's comment about "dire economic conditions", you don't see data like this very often.

House Sales

Notice how the red line spikes up, in response to the gummint program that paid people $8,000 to buy a home. Once that ended, the trend resumed. And what a trend.

Perhaps it is the economy that will save us from Provident Partners.

And what about the overall economy? There are LOTS of data like this.

Durable Goods

See how it is rolling off? And note that much of the durable goods bump was used to stockpile INVENTORY. Thus, as the economy resumes its decline, this inventory will have to be worked off, resulting in even less production.

Hopefully the city council insulated us from this project, meaning that in the case of default the city will not pay. Otherwise, they have set an anchor that will pull us all down when the time comes.

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