Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Standard-Examiner: Commercial Business License Fee Increase Recommended for Ogden

WCF reader query: Does this latest revenue raising proposal have merit... or is this just another taxpayer ripoff designed to line the pockets of Friends of Matt?

This morning's Standard-Examiner reports that "a task force is recommending that commercial business licenses throughout the city be increased by as much as $25 per year to help fund downtown events." Read the full story here:
Commercial business license fee increase recommended for Ogden
And here's the interesting wrinkle in the story:
Scott Parkinson, a senior vice president at the Bank of Utah who served on the task force made up of downtown property owners, presented the group's recommendation during a Tuesday night city council work session.
A citywide business license hike is an equitable way to generate funding for Downtown Ogden Inc., which is a nonprofit organization that operates a variety of activities, such as the Ogden Farmers Market, Parkinson said. "Downtown Ogden Inc. represents a large part of the branding of Ogden," he said, adding that businesses throughout the city benefit from the organization's events.
That's right folks, this task force proposal would extract increased license fees from businesses throughout the city; but the increased revenue would inure solely to the benefit of Downtown Ogden Inc events.

The ever-vigilant city councilwoman Wicks zeroes right in on the problem:
City Councilwoman Amy Wicks expressed concern regarding how a license hike would be received by business owners outside of the downtown area who may question the benefit of Downtown Ogden Inc events.
"Rocks will be thrown at us if we try to raise business license fees for business owners across the city," she said.
And in a pithy comment beneath this morning's SE story, regular WCF contributor Dan S. throws in his own 2¢:
Good to have this background information on Downtown Ogden Inc. So it's funded by tax dollars to the tune of $325,000 annually, eh? Then why the hell was its logo on the ads for a political fundraising event at the Salomon Center in June 2007? Mr. Musgrave should be required to give a full explanation of that episode before having any of his funding renewed.
So what about it, gentle readers? Does this latest revenue raising proposal have merit... or is this just another sleazy taxpayer ripoff designed to line the pockets of Friends of Matt?


Marc said...

I vote RIPOFF.

germ said...

Is there any way that I could get this little shit Scott Parkinson into a dark alley, late some Friday evening?

Just a thought.

This guy's just more example of greedy Ogden City fascist scum.

Drew Fan said...

Hey, if the Standard wants to go through the pretense of limiting their interviews to those candidates most likely to succeed, Why are they wasting their time interviewing Democrats?

Curmudgeon said...

Look, Councilwoman [and Weber County Commission candidate] Wicks has asked exactly the right question about this suggestion. And Dan has, yet again, rightly raised questions about the apparently cosy ethically challenged relationship between these quasi-public Ogden booster groups like Downtown Ogden Inc [and I'd add the Ogden City Foundation and the Historic 35th Street Merchant's Association] and City Hall. All that's so.

But "Ogden fascist scum"? Jaysus, guys, we're a long way from city storm troopers beating people up for walking on the grass at the Farmers Market and box cars carrying those who disagree with Hizzonah & Friends Inc. to concentration camps in Roy and Hooper.

got down sit on a bench said...

Rudi, Saw this on the standards web site. Do you know if the legislator that is spoken of in this article is that of Rep. Neil Hansen?
Then Hansen opponent says Ogden has no voice. Maybe he should pull his head out.

(UNEDITED)As a Psychology and Political Science student-intern at Weber State, I volunteered to help a local legislator. This legislator had just been contacted by a Weber County employee who suggested someone look into the County's financial records. I was interested in finding out more about Weber County government, specifically how tax dollars are truly spent, so I asked if I could join him in reviewing these records. When reviewing those records, we found a trip to Maui, Hawaii for a sports conference. Really? What was the purpose of that trip? What did the taxpayers gain from that purchase? Next, I questioned why an employee would use a County credit card to buy liquor at the Utah State Liquor store? What was the purpose of this expenditure and was it legitimate? Additionally, we found thousands and thousands of dollars of gift cards to restaurants, movie theaters, and other entertainment sources without any record of how those gift cards were distributed and to whom.

Another questionable expenditure was that of buying latex gloves (probably for the Weber County Health Department). It wasn't the specific item purchased that I questioned, but to spend in excess of $19,000 for the quantity purchased, when it's clear that this same item could have been found cheaper elsewhere just doesn't make sense. Simply putting office supplies out to bid could save the County thousands of dollars. A trip to Maui, latex gloves, gift cards, liquor . . . the list goes on. More alarming than these was the fact that a number of months of credit card records and receipts were missing and unavailable for us to review. Where are the checks and balances in County finances? It's obvious that some expenditures have gone unchecked and unnoticed because of complacency and lack of accountability to tax payers. When complacency creeps in, accountability leaks out. I, like other voters, would like to see a more balanced government this election cycle, so that I can feel comfortable that appropriate questions are being asked and that accountability can be restored.

Cameron Morgan

history tells all said...

This is a good web site for transparency.

Average Jane said...

Wait; what?

Dan S. said...

Interesting. If you go to the Foundation Center and look up the IRS returns of Downtown Ogden Inc., you find that on the most recent return (2008) they didn’t list the members of their board, as required; they listed only Executive Director Dan Musgrave.

The 2007 return lists five additional officers: Janith Wright (Clifton’s), Mike Gale (Wardle Insurance), Craig Summers (Wells Fargo), Mark Altice (Prescom Electronics), and Mel Sowerby (Woodbury Corporation). The 2006, 2005, and 2004 returns also list Steve Rush (Rocky Mtn. Power) and Brandon Stephenson (Ogden City Council). But Weber County Forum reported on October 18, 2006, that Mayor Godfrey was also a board member.

The returns indicate that essentially all of Downtown Ogden Inc.’s revenue comes from government grants. The amount reported for 2007 was $316,000, but for the other years it was only in the vicinity of $100,000.

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea: Raise the fees for downtown businesses that profit from downtown events.

How do all industrial area type businesses profit from downtown events?

What are the salaries and expenses for Downtown Ogden, Inc.?

Are all fascists storm troopers that beat people up?

Actually, I think fascists want to put people in jail for smoking grass, not walking on it.

you who said...

Off topic, but the Standard sees a snake in the grass. Stuart the snake.

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