Monday, February 14, 2011

Breaking: RAMP Board Rejects Money Requested for Field House - Updated

RAMP application rejected for lack of proof

Submitted by: Blackrulon

Happy News for the taxpayers of Ogden/Weber County! A breaking story on the Standard-Examiner website reports the RAMP Board has rejected the Godfrey Administration request for funds:
The city/requesting authority has not meet several requirements to qualify for funds, i.e.:
  • A letter of intent from other donors and revenue sources.
  • Confirmation of project approval from the city's Redevelopment Agency.
  • Proof that the RDA has secured the property for the project.
Who will be the first to comment on this encouraging news?

Update 2/14/11 3:00 p.m.: Thanks to sharp eyed reader Ray, we learn that the Salt Lake Tribune is now carrying "a more enlighting report" by Cathy McKitrick:
Despite today's RAMP setback, the ever-optimistic Ogden City CAO John "Pureheart" Patterson assures everyone nonetheless that "the project is not on life support and it’s certainly not to the morgue.”

Update 2/15/11 3:50 a.m.: Not to be outdone by Ms. McKitrick's detailed SLTrib reporting, SE reporter Scott Schwebke cranks it up a notch and provides his own expanded story this morning:


ozboy said...

Unfortunately, as Dorrene pointed out under the article below, people saying no to the mayor often doesn't mean much.

He is an empty suit with a calling and it would be foolish to count him or this foolish idea down and out.

ND said...

Shhhaawing....and a miss...

Ray said...

He may be down but not out. A hearty thanks to the RAMP board for not falling for the bait. The RAMP program is too important for working citizens of Weber Cty to fall prey to Lord Godfrey's pipe dreams...

Ray said...

Here is a more enlighting report from on line Salt Lake Tribune story by Cathy McKitrick.
Browser link:

ND said...

Hmmm....Even the Field House location at 24th Street and Kiesel Avenue could be in flux, Patterson acknowledged, with discussion of other potential sites still on the table.

And where might that be?

blackrulon said...

The fieldhouse project did not receive any votes in favor of funding. If the alleged supporters failed to support the project it faces a very difficult path to future taxpayer funding

KB said...

The taxpayers get a win on this one.

Biker Babe said...

Oh, to be a fly on the wall - any wall - of the 9th floor today

js, BB

Dan S. said...

Cross-posted from the Standard-Examiner site:

The RAMP board’s caution is well justified. Here’s a little history.

In 2007, Ogden City was awarded a $200,000 RAMP grant for the proposed ice climbing tower, which was to be erected at Big D Park at an estimated cost of $400,000. Almost immediately after the grant was awarded, however, Patterson told the Standard-Examiner that the city wanted to move the location to downtown--while expressing confidence that “it will go up this year”.

The city then began spending the RAMP money on architectural and design work for the tower. Soon the plan grew more ambitious, including an enclosure to allow year-round use, raising the cost to $1.8 million.

Around the end of the year, RAMP officials informed the city that the RAMP grant could be spent only on actual construction of the tower, not on design. Patterson wrote an apologetic letter to RAMP saying that “this has been corrected” and “we will not make this mistake again.” RAMP then approved a one-year extension on its grant, and the city kept spending RAMP money on design work. By mid-2008, these expenditures had reached $62,950.

The matching funds, however, never came in. In January 2009 the city had to repay the RAMP grant. Six months later, the illegal $62,950 deficit was finally corrected when a private citizen, John Gullo, wrote a check to cover it.

Even though RAMP eventually got its money back, it effectively loaned the city $200,000 that should have been spent on shovel-ready projects in a more timely manner. RAMP should not be in the business of making loans for mere proposals, with undetermined locations and costs, that depend on speculative matching funds.

The RAMP program and board deserve great credit for adopting policies that have prevented this kind of fiasco from happening again.

Michael said...

I am no fan of RAMP (theft by taxation is matter the amount), but I am pleased by the action of the RAMP board in denying the funding request for the latest of Mayor Godfrey's projects.

However, as other posters have indicated, the Mayor and his stooge (Patterson) aren't likely to give up this "dream" of theirs easily.

Ray said...

A tax imposed by a majority of voters in an election is hardly "theft".

Jennifer said...

RAMP is a good thing -- what is it? -- 1% of 1% of sales tax goes to RAMP, that's one PENNY out of ten DOLLARS: dude, lighten up!

It's for Recreation, Arts, Museums and Parks ... things national and local governments are cutting back on as we bicker over that penny.

Schools are cutting out art programs, nation is cutting out funding for the Arts & Humanities (can you say Public Television, Educational TV, PBR, art/music exposure/expression for the next generation?

At this local level, RAMP is helping to cover that governmental control wall we're facing.


ND said...

Oh the ignorance...

"It's difficult when we don't have the perceived support of the community," he said.

Thats because you DON'T have the support of the community!

sees both sides said...

I voted for RAMP, because it guarantees that a certain amount of money will be spent on recreation and arts programs which I strongly support. However, I can think of several valid reasons to object to RAMP:

1. Many of these projects would be funded anyway from other sources, so it may just be freeing up those other funds for the government to spend on programs that I don't necessarily support.

2. Sales tax affects low-income people more than income or property tax, so it's not good to shift the tax burden to sales tax from these other fairer taxes.

3. Sales tax hurts local retail businesses, encouraging more people to make purchases through the mail where they don't have to pay sales tax.

Tom said...

Cross posted on the Standard site:

"It's difficult when we don't have the perceived support of the community,"

This according to either the mayor or his right hand stooge "Pureheart" Patterson.

My question: So what? Support from the community, or lack thereof, has never stopped this cabal of mayoral cronies from looting the public treasury for one dumb deal after another.

The main example of this is the ill advised Junction which has dug an enormous financial hole for the tax payers of Ogden, one which will take several generations to pay off. The debt from the Junction and other massive financial boondoggles will be on the backs of our grandkids long after the junky buildings themselves have been torn down.

The only thing remotely resembling a "study" to determine the feasibility of the Junction, and the public support for it, were several polls taken by the Standard before the damn thing was approved by the council. Those polls showed a very large margin of the people of Ogden were against it as built. That didn't matter a bit to the mayor and his cronies, they built it anyway, thus enriching those above referred to cronies at great public expense.

blackrulon said...

I noticed in the SL Tribune story that the funded RAMP projects included walking/biking paths in Marriott-Slaterville and West Haven, Plain City's Pioneer Park and tennis courts at Snowcrest Junior High n Eden. These are true outdoor recreation projects.

Shannon said...

It appears that the City's process for getting anything done (whether it by erecting ice towers or gondolas or changing bus routes or altering historic district zoning reg's) is just to plow through and hope enough people, especially decision-makers, buy their pitch.

Danny said...

A large thank you goes out to the RAMP committee. They made a responsible choice.

Michael said...

@Ray and Jennifer...

Taxation is legalized theft...

If a majority of people vote to beat the tar out of you, is it no longer a beating because a majority said it was OK?

Yet, you claim that a majority voting to take money that I don't want taken isn't theft...

Government isn't entitled to my money or your money and a majority voting for such a thing doesn't grant any legitimacy to the theft taking place...any more than my "beating" example above.

If the projects funded by RAMP funds are so vital, why won't people willingly donate to them? Perhaps because there are plenty of individuals who don't want to donate, and they shouldn't be forced to do so. So a "majority" of participating voters (which isn't a true majority) decide to simply steal money they want for projects THEY think are important, but refuse to fund themselves.

The amount doesn't matter...theft is theft.

My main point, however, was to simply applaud the RAMP committee for their refusal to fund Godfrey's latest boondoggle.


Michael, Would this be a more effective analogy to make your point? Since the appropriate number of people voted for Blain Johnson when he won his city council position, it was okay for him to allegedly set up a "shell" non-profit organization using his personal office as headquarters, use alleged illegally attained campaign funds to finance his election to better represent those in the area where he was elected. If the majority vote for it, it must good for everyone.

Dan S. said...

I'm hearing rumors that there is *strong* opposition on the city council to the proposed fieldhouse location. So the administration now has two big obstacles to overcome: location and money. Nevertheless, the administration is determined to keep fighting for this project. I wonder what their next move will be...

Numbers cruncher jr. said...

When Dan S crunched the numbers and posted his superb work on the WCF, I noticed there was no cost for property acquisition and/or demolition. Did I miss this; did Dan forget it; or it it just one of those things that has slipped by? It certainly has to be considered a cost of development, doesn't it?

I do tip my hat to those who acquired the property for the IRS campus, and I know for a fact that that went into the budget.

Dan S. said...

Numbers cruncher jr.,

I certainly haven't forgotten costs of property acquisition and demolition. But I'm not sure what "work" you're referring to. The feasibility study was intended to analyze ongoing operating costs and revenues, not initial costs of construction or anything associated with construction.

Numbers cruncher Jr. said...

Dan S.,

Your interpretation of the "feasibility study" makes sense and it is that "work" that I refer to (putting together the numbers, etc. must have taken some time and effort), therefore the term "work." But we're getting caught up in minutia here, verbal volleyball so to speak.

When one considers putting together a development, doesn't one have to come up with the cost of said development, along with the feasibility of whether or not said development can stay afloat, once it becomes a real thing? That, the initial cost to build the thing, is the first dollars to come out of the developer's pocket. If the developer can't get the project built to an "up and running" stage, all else is meaningless.

So, again, I'm curious as to why I haven't seen much, or any, data, on what the cost to build the field house would be. To build this field house, the City would have to acquire the land and demolish the current buildings, and get the site ready for building. It is only after that that anything else comes into play, including the cost of operations, the financing, et al.

Just curious to see if anybody knows what the build out costs would be, such costs going along with maintaining the operation of said facility.

No criticism toward you, as your "work" was superb as I stated. But,it was lacking in the totality of the WHOLE project, every bloody dollar of which needs to be "crunched" and also accounted for.

Dan S. said...

NC jr.,

Have you looked at the Fieldhouse RAMP application? It includes three estimates of the construction cost: one from Van Zeben and two from local construction companies. There's also a summary sheet that adds in pieces that were left out of the various estimates. The totals then range from $33.8 million to $40.6 million. This includes a parking garage (assumed to come in at the low end of the separate attached estimate), but it doesn't seem to include property acquisition or utility relocation. Of course, it's all tentative, since none of the actual design has been done yet. And of course, construction costs vary with the economy. Perhaps a reasonable estimate of the total capital cost would be $35 to $50 million.

NC Jr. said...

Whatever the number, it certainly appears to be a nice piece of change, doesn't it?

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