Monday, February 14, 2011

Ogden City Council/RDA Meeting Heads-up

Remember... the world wide blogosphere is sitting on the edge of its seat, waiting to find out what our gentle WCF readers think

In accordance with our regular practice of providing advance notice of pending Council/RDA Board agenda items, we'll provide a heads up concerning several items of interest coming up for tomorrow night's Council/RDA meetings:

1) BDO Bond refinancing. According to tomorrow night's council packets, the Administration will be delivering reports at both a Special RDA Meeting and the regular Council Meeting, concerning an Administration-proposed refinancing of Business Depot Ogden (BDO) bonding. For your convenience, we'll display both council information packets here:
At first glance, the Administration's proposal seems innocuous enough. Although the principal loan balance will increase to around $6,150,000 from the current $5.79 mil after the refi, with interest reductions the whole deal is projected to save the taxpayers around $120 thousand.

So what about it gentle readers? Is this a good deal for the taxpayers... or are we missin' somethin'?

2) Capital Improvement Rules Revamp. Among other things, the Administration proposes to raise the threshold for discretionary Administration capital expenditures from the current $10,000 to $30,000 before the administration is required to go to the City Council for permission to spend additional taxpayer dough. Another troubling feature of the Administration proposal... the establishment of an array of "slush funds," a frightening proposition, given the Little Lord's well demonstrated "spending propensities," we believe. How about it gentle readers? We invite you to read the applicable City Council packet, and tell us what you think about this:
3) Non Discrimination Ordinance. In the wake of last month's chirpy announcement that Boss Godfrey was finally onboard with Ogden City's long-awaited anti-discrimination ordinance, it seems that the Administration has now thrown a wrench into the works. As set forth in the Council Work Session Packet (linked directly above), the Administration has now suggested amended language to the still in-the-works ordinance, which would create a legal loophole for "moral or religious" objections.

Rather than go through he whole rigmarole, we'll link to this gay activist website, which forcefully (even if not elegantly) explains the main issue which now seems to be on the table:
Here's the suspect language in Boss Godfrey's newly-proposed ordinance text:
This chapter shall not be construed to limit or prohibit the expression of a person’s moral or religious beliefs, opinions or views. Evidence of a person’s moral or religious beliefs, opinions or views, or expression thereof, shall be inadmissible to prove violation of this chapter.
At risk of seeming overly long-winded, here's our additional take on this new wrinkle in the anti-discriminitation ordinance story. The above carefully-crafted language would unfairly prevent a complainant from offering evidence of moral or religious bigotry to prove discrimination under that ordinance; yet there's nothing in the proposed language to prevent an accused respondent from offering the same evidence to prove any act of discrimination does not fall within the ordinance. That's our interpretation, in any event. In legal parlance, the ordinance as proposed, would allow the respondent to use the ordinance "as a shield," while a complainant would be prevented from citing an incidence of moral or religious discrimination "as a sword."

We do hope our City Council is careful with this. Boss Godfrey's newly proposed ordinance "exception," would render the new ordinance entirely unenforceable as practical matter, wethinks. It would be a real shame to see a council which has been working on an ordinance for almost a year, to ultimately enact one with no teeth.

Please don't hesitate to chime in on any of the subjects relating to tomorrow night's Council RDA meetings.

Remember... the world wide blogosphere is sitting on the edge of its seat, waiting to find out what our gentle WCF readers think.


ND said...

Increasing disrectionary funds! A big NO please City Council!!!! What is up with that, are better kiosk's needed at the Newgate Mall?

Dorrene Jeske said...

My experience is that the Mayor is forever trying to increase the amount of money that he can legally put his hands on. My recommendation is that the Council refuse his request even though it won't do any good, because he will just take the money (without approval) any way. He always is able to get money for whatever he wants.
There needs to be a stop to that activity, but he has money hidden in so many places that it's next to impossible for the Council to stop his unapproved spending.

Naysayer said...

Dorrene -

I've said it before and I'll say it again; some credible, outside party needs to do a thorough independent audit of Ogden City finances. Then the mayor wouldn't have any hidden (or non-existant?) money at his disposal.

Do we even really know how bad the city's debt situation is? Or is everything so convoluted with the RDA shell game, future BDO lease revenue, etc. that we can't figure it out?

Is there anything the citizens can do to lobby or petition for such an audit?

OneWhoKnows said...

We need to get the City Council to develop a backbone with the urging from Ogden City concerned citizens and interview and approve an outside accounting firm, with no ties to Ogden or Godfrey and have John Arrington open the books to them. Start in the spring and finish up by mid summer. The timing would be perfect and it would prevent the mayor from running again for re-election. All the dirt would be out there so that the next heir-apparent would have an idea of what he / she would be inheriting. That way, FOM2, (Foes of Matt Too) won't have to get the real dirty stuff out there to assure no fourth term for the crooked administration.

City Council needs to act immediately on this or their political future will be similar to Mayor & CAO. We'll be watching your actions, if any.

curious 1 said...

We can only hope their arrogance trips them up so bad the county attorney or state attorney can't shy away from their illegal money laundering. Where does the mayor hide the funds coming in from elevated water and sewer rates. Seems like a few folks in city hall should be getting nervous. Of course they could stone wall the financial data until after the election if the city council just sits on their hands. It will be a fun election year.

Michael said...

@curious 1-

Don't even get me started on water rates...$84 on my last the middle of winter??!?? What the...?

Michael said...

I should add that the $84 isn't unusual...I've asked my neighbors what their bills are and they're all in the same range. Guess I won't water the lawn in the summer!

Auditor said...

I believe that any council member could ask for an audit of the Administration during the time of year that the council chooses an outside auditor to come in for a look-see. Such audits costs the City 65K at the minimum, and look not only at the dollars but at staffing, job descriptions, number of empolyees in that particular department, and so on. I don't recall the formal name of this yearly audit selection process, but Dorreen might, as it was she who (rightfully so) got the council to select the Fire Department for such an audit. If memory serves me correctly, this audit showed the Fire Department to have a deficit of 2 or 3 fire fighters, which was, I believe, one of the major objectives of Ms. Jeske. The general feeling was to ensure that when the fire fighters fought a fire, they did so with the proper manpower besides the right equipment.

This was a good call on Dorreen's part, and the audit findings go a long ways into rectifying the problem.

So, if the council wants to take a look at how the Administration is spending money, and where the money is coming from, all they have to do is have a council member toss that request into the audit pot, discuss it and then vote on it. If there are any financial shenanigans going on, that audit would find it and then the council could act on it.

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