Thursday, January 20, 2011

RAMP Application Outlines Proposed Field House Financing - Updated

$15 million would come from taxing entities via RDA; $4.8 million from RAMP

By Dan Schroeder

The Ogden City administration is proposing to fund the $40 million field house project from a combination of public and private sources, as outlined in the RAMP grant application that it submitted Friday. The proposed funding breakdown includes:
  • Extension of an RDA area: $15 million
  • Private donors: $10 million
  • RAMP: $4.8 million
  • Ogden City: $3.2 million
  • Weber County: $2 million
  • Weber County School District: $2 million
The city’s RAMP application also provides itemized construction cost estimates from three sources, totaling from $33.8 million to $42.2 million. These figures include a new 416-stall parking garage but do not seem to include property acquisition or relocation of utility lines.

The proposed extension of a redevelopment area would divert property tax revenue from the various taxing entities to the field house project. Based on the $15 million total amount and the fraction of taxes that these entities currently collect, their lost revenues due to the extension would be approximately:
  • Ogden City School District: $5.9 million
  • Statewide School Basic Levy: $1.3 million
  • Ogden City: $2.9 million
  • Weber County General Fund: $1.9 million
  • Weber County General Obligation Bond Fund: $280,000
  • Central Weber Sewer District: $750,000
  • Weber Basin Water: $430,000
  • 911 and Emergency Service: $260,000
  • Paramedic Fund: $190,000
  • Mosquito Abatement District: $120,000
  • Weber / Morgan Health: $100,000
  • Library: $560,000
  • Assess & Collect: $320,000
To make up for this lost revenue, the taxing entities could either raise their tax rates or cut services. The city’s RAMP application doesn’t specify the time period over which the $15 million would be collected; nor does it mention any interest on bonds that would be used to borrow against this future revenue stream.

Approval of the proposed RDA extension would presumably require a vote of the Taxing Entity Committee, whose members represent several of the larger taxing entities. In 2009 the committee approved a 12-year extension of the redevelopment area that includes The Junction.

The $4.8 million being requested from RAMP would constitute essentially all of the RAMP funds available for major projects for the next five years, until the RAMP tax automatically expires after 2015. Major projects are those costing more than $200,000, and generally account for one third of all RAMP allocations.

The city’s RAMP application provides no evidence that any funds have been pledged by the other proposed sources: Ogden City, Weber County, the Weber County School District, or the unnamed private donors.

A full copy of the city’s RAMP application is linked here (pdf, 1.9 MB). I obtained the application through a government records request submitted to Weber County on Friday afternoon, and I am grateful for the county’s prompt cooperation. In response to a similar request, Ogden City also offered to provide a copy of the application.

Update 1/21/11 7:28 a.m.: This article is also part of the discussion on Charlie Trentelman's Blogging the Rambler Blog:
Surprise of surprises! Qualms about this nutcase project are evidently not limited to our Weber County Forum readership.

Update 1/24/11 8:00 a.m.: Per Dan S.: Today's S-E reports that the $15 million would come from a 5-year extension of tax increment collection from BDO beyond its scheduled expiration in 2019:


Jennifer said...

the application mentions that school districts contributing to the project will occasionally get free time for student groups -- does that mean since Ogden School District is forced to forego $5.9M, they will get their share of the time for their students?

Someone mentioned before that the daily cost would be prohibitive to a good percentage of Ogden's population of families living in the poverty level of the economy, and the application did not adequately address this when it mentioned all socio-economic groups in the area would benefit from the facility.

Just Say NO, RAMP!!!


Dan S. said...

That's right, Jennifer. The benefit to the school districts would be from getting to use the pool and the tennis courts and the infield. But it's unclear exactly how much they'd get to use these things, since they'd be sharing it all with each other and with WSU and with ordinary paying customers and with privately sponsored events.

Dan S. said...

Just as a reminder, last November the Tribune published an article comparing property tax rates across Utah. Among the 15 largest cities, Ogden's average tax rate was the highest:

Where Utah taxes are highest, lowest

Here are the numbers from the article, for the property tax on a $250,000 home:

Ogden: $2352
Salt Lake City: $2112
West Valley City: $2038
Draper: $1978
Sandy: $1917
Layton: $1861
South Jordan: $1786
Bountiful: $1765
West Jordan: $1742
St. George: $1722
Logan: $1713
Taylorsville: $1711
Orem: $1610
Murray: $1590
Provo: $1487

The ranking might be a little unfair because Ogden's property values are lower than most of those other cities. But wages are lower here too, so our property taxes as a percentage of family income would also rank quite high.

It shouldn't be too hard to do a ballpark estimate of how much the field house would raise Ogden's tax rate. Lemme work on that...

Friendly Mike said...

Big thanks to Dan and all who worked on this. This is absolute insanity. I can't believe the City has the gall to even propose such an absurd undertaking. Just goes to show how out of touch they are with the real needs of this community (and the realities of this world we live in). If this project were to move forward, I'm convinced it would irreparably harm our community for years.

RudiZink said...

Fine story and analysis, Dan!

I'll chalk it up as yet another cluster of reasons for our readers to contact RAMP Grant decision makers to register strong objections to RAMP Grant funding for this Boss Godfrey Boondoggle.

Curmudgeon said...

And if RAMP squanders millions on this extravagant project, that itself might raise serious questions in the minds of voters who supported the RAMP tax some years ago [which included me] whether it merits renewal when it comes up again. Voters for such specific-use taxes express, by their votes, confidence that the board allocating the money to projects will exercise prudence and good judgment in doing so. That confidence is beginning to erode. [E.g. RAMP approved funds for the downtown outdoor year round ice climbing popsicle.] Committing nearly five million dollars of RAMP funds to this project, for which so far no additional significant money has been allocated by anyone, would erode that confidence considerably.

ozboy said...

Although this is off topic here, the following article from today's Standard is pertinent in that it not only shows that local governments can and do go bankrupt, it also indicates some of the bad stuff that goes down when it does happen, and the people who end up taking it in the shorts as a result.

Beware Ogden citizens, under Godfrey the town is on a path of ruination and this Wonder Dome madness is only throwing fuel on the fire.

The Standard article can be found here:

Curiuos 1 said...

Ozboy, following your link on bankrupt cities it lists other bankrupt stories at the bottom of the srticle. One on Layton Mayors and the other on the hot tub girl Garn had to resign for paying off. I find it interesting that Garn cursed at the reporter when ask the original questions. She lists Garn as a creditor since she defaulted on not staying silent.

As always follow the money. Intersting in how they can write off money and not claim it as income for tax purposes.

A lot of cities and some states are close to being bankrupt. Caution should be the word in any tax payer funded scheme.

Frank said...

It is interesting that there is no mention of property acquisition costs in these figures. That would certainly be a very large number considering the amount of land in question and the location.

Adding to the mystery is that a lot of these properties seem to be owned by people close to the Mayor.

Could there be something fowl and odiferous bubbling under the surface with this circle of cronies, or are they all just pure hearted community boosters who are going to donate that land?

Danny said...

Curm, Ozboy and Frank make particularly interesting comments.

Curious 1 points us to other interesting articles.

Rudi's point about contacting the RAMP committee is very valid and everyone should do so.

But in reviewing this some, never minding the bad economy or Godfrey's claimed partners who will supposedly pony up dough but who in reality will not, overlooking the fact that Godfrey conned the RAMP committee and made fools out of them on the Ice Tower already and proved himself a liar to them, setting aside the fact that his staff are womanizing idiots who can only be relied upon to act poorly, and even ignoring the fact that this would swallow the RAMP funding whole and turn it into nothing but a food supply for Godfrey's sleazy campaign donors .... but instead, simply reviewing the self-serving Fieldhouse study and the RAMP request on its own merits, one has to ask,

Could anyone, ANYONE, be stupid enough to vote for this???

This is the Gondola times ten. Godfrey is completely insane.

Curious 1 said...

Another article in SLTRIB stated a Hilton Express coming to West Valley. The city is giving up $50K in inspection fees and the hotel is expected to generate $3M a year and $5M to build.

Ground breaking is Thursday with completion in Oct. I guess West Valley has a better economic team working for them.

Ogden needs to fire the economic tean if that is the best they can do, at least drop their salary.

So why do we have to give $1.5M to a private developer to build a Hilton here in Ogden to compete with the other hotels downtown. Seems not a very good deal for the tax payers to keep giving free public money to developers.

ND said...

Also....a hotel REALLY the best use of the corner of 23rd and Washington?

Adrian said...

I'm reading the RAMP application right now and noticed the following item on Page 4:

2013 Local Day Visitors: 57,493
Average Admission Price: $17.13

As I have said before I have concerns about the average taxpayer being able to afford this. Consider this, A family of two adults and 4 kids would spend $102.78 to use the facility for one day based upon the average admission price. If this same family visited Raging Waters arriving at 4PM they would only spend $79.80. I know as a parent I am usually exhausted watching my kids after a few hours. Why would I stay in Ogden when by driving to Salt Lake I can save over $20 and be at a bigger facility. Now granted, the Wonderdome will give me year round use, but it still is very expensive!!!

My other concern is when you look at the Local vs. Leisure visitors. While it is assumed most people will buy an annual/monthly pass the "Overnight Leisure" visitors make up 15,000 more visitors a year. If the Weber County taxpayers are the ones funding this, shouldn't they outnumber the Overnight Leisure visitors??

I asked the mayor about the cost of a pass at the presentation they conducted in the cold. It appears Ogden is charging more than the surrounding areas which I believe will cause it to be unaffordable for many residents in Weber County.
$585 for a yearly pass (2 Adults, 4+ children) equates to $48.75 for use of the Wonderdome alone. If the adults want the opportunity to work out they will need two passes to Gold's Gym at an additional cost of $40 monthly (because the Mayor doesn't want to compete with Gold's). At almost $90 I believe it will put the cost out of reach of many people. An Ogden resident willing to drive to Clearfield can get the same amenities of water, exercise, and weightlifting (excluding the Velodrome)for $55.00 per month. Non-residents using the South Davis Complex which includes an ice rink spend $50.75 per month. Now granted people in Weber County will not likely drive to Bountiful to exercise, but should we really be paying a $40 premium per month just because we live in Ogden?

Biker Babe said...


summed up quite nicely. an earlier post shows we are paying the highest property taxes along the Wasatch Front ... and you point out that our mayor's wonderdoom will be the costliest recreation facility along the Wasatch Front.

isn't Ogden one of those cities alolng the Wasatch Front with more schools/kids that receive free lunch? ... with more kids living below the poverty level? ... with more kids not getting enough to eat? ... and with the poorest and least-funded education system? ... and with lots and lots of $9 - $10 per jobs coming in the near future? ... and with rentals going up because our property taxes keep going up because godfree keeps mortgaging our taxes for doom-projects?



Too Funny said...


Gene said...

Curious 1

About that Hilton going into West Valley City with minimal subsidy by the city or government.

The big difference between that situation and the one in Ogden is that the one in WVC actually has been determined by the hotel builders as having a viable market to support it, and the one in Ogden does not.

If down town Ogden were actually a viable market for another hotel at this time, there is a number of different hotel developers who would have been competing to build one. As it is, there is no real viability in Ogden, therefore the Godfrey administration had to make it worth some ones while to build it. This of course is done by large public subsidies to the hotel people to take the financial gamble out of it for them.

In other words the risk of this particular Ogden hotel has been assumed by the tax payers of Ogden, and the hotel developer, Mr. Garn, has none.

I recently had a conversation with the hotel developers who are building one in Tremonton. I asked why they didn't develop one in Ogden and the response was that "Ogden is not a good market at this time and most likely won't be for a number of years"

you who said...

All of this Godfrey pipe dream spend what we dont have and worry later is nothing but a page out of Pureheart Pattersons play book.
Pureheart loaded the West Valley Citizens with an enormouse bourdon before he left to come here. Some of his taxpayer loosers include the city financed E-Center, Usana Amphitheater, the Multicultural center.
West Valley raised their property taxes approx 60 plus percent a few years ago to cover all of these loosers subsidized by their taxpayers.
The mentality of spending money we dont have and betting the house,wife and kids on a pipedream needs to stop. We all live within our means, with the exception of a few who spend and stiff the rest of us with bankruptcies. Why the hell shouldnt government?
Godfrey is one roll of the dice from putting Ogden City into a financial nightmare that will take years to recover from.

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