Thursday, May 05, 2011

Standard-Examiner: Godfrey's Budget Proposal Projects Tax Revenue Boost

A few quick off-the-cuff observations as we commence the public process, and an invitation to our resident bean-counting "numbers people" to throw in their own 2¢

The Standard-Examiner heralds the beginning of the Ogden City annual budget adoption process with this morning's Top of Utah section story:
The Salt Lake Tribune is all over this story too:
The big news is that "Mayor Matthew Godfrey's proposed $153.3 million budget for fiscal 2012 projects a nearly $9 million increase in revenues from sales tax, property taxes, a sewer rate hike and other sources."

We'll offer a few quick off-the-cuff observations as we commence the public process, which if all goes well, will result in the state law mandated adoption of a final budget by June 22nd.

1) "Godfrey said in a budget letter to the city council that sales tax likely will begin to rebound in fiscal 2012 because of a WinCo Foods store that opened in April 2010 at 12th Street and Wall Avenue and a Wal-Mart Supercenter preparing for operation at 20th Street and Wall Avenue."

Our retort to that? Godfrey ought to be a little more cautious in this projection. In the local grocery business, retail sales tax revenue generation is akin to a zero-sum game. Barring population or individual income growth (which ain't happening), it's most likely that sales tax revenue in Ogden will merely be redirected during the next fiscal year away from traditional grocers, and toward discount mass merchandisers like WINCO and Wal-Mart. For what it's worth, this is one area where Ogden taxpayers shouldn't count the chickens before they're hatched.

2) At least one position will be eliminated in the Economic Development Department.

Our retort? This is one area where our City Council could realize some genuine municipal cost savings, if they have the political will to do so. The last time we examined the bloated Ogden City Economic Development Department there were 33 positions, generating an annual city obligation for salaries totalling $2,026,378. Cutting one or two positions isn't even a half-assed start. If the Council and Administration are serious about adopting a fiscally-conservative 2011-12 FY budget, they should look at the prospect of clearing out more of the Economic Development Department dead-wood.

3) "Godfrey's proposal calls for a 1.8 percent increase in water, sewer, storm sewer and refuse fees to offset additional fees the Central Weber Sewer Improvement District imposed on the city to help fund construction of a $140 million upgrade and expand its wastewater treatment plant."

Our retort? These fee increases could be avoided or mitigated if the Administration weren't continually dipping into the Business Depot Ogden revenue stream to fund Boss Godfrey's hare-brained and money losing economic development schemes. Our City Council originally sequestered BDO revenue to pay for increased infrastructure costs (such as water and sewer) but the overreaching Godfrey Administration (and at least one overly Administration-compliant City Council) long ago gutted those taxpayer-protective provisions.

That's it for now, O Gentle Ones, although we'll invite our resident bean-counting "numbers people" to provide their additional analysis of this embryonic proposed budget, if they wish. It should be fairly apparent that we haven't even "scratched the surface" with our own brief analysis, so we'd appreciate all the help that we can get.

And speaking of the proposed budget, you can find it here:
Have at it, WCF readers!


Dan S. said...

I'm actually opposed to using BDO revenue to subsidize utility services. Our utility bills should reflect the full cost of the service we're receiving. But the other side of this coin is that we shouldn't be diverting utility revenue to projects like the Ogden River restoration--something that would have been an excellent use for BDO revenue.

The big picture is that Godfrey has been raising utility rates year after year after year, and siphoning off revenue from all the county's taxing entities via the RDA (forcing these entities to levy taxes at higher rates), all while bragging that he hasn't raised Ogden City's direct property tax rate. What matters most to the citizens is the total amount we pay, not the details of how we pay it.

Dorrene Jeske said...

I think what is really disgusting in this budget is that Godfrey is short changing the city employees again. There are no funds projected towards giving them a well-deserved pay increase. For several years Godfrey has claimed that there was no money available because of the economy, but he always has had money for the projects and studies that HE wants.
He makes a big deal that the city is paying almost 100% of employee insurance premiums, but he doesn't tell the public that their deductible is $1,000./per family member.
I hope the City Council uses the power that they have with the budget to provide justice (pay increase) for the employees and harnesses Godfrey's spending spree for his wild ideas.
The increased sales tax should be used for infrastructure, employee wages and public services. Godfrey NEVER has had his priorities right!

Ozboy said...


While I agree with your over all take on this, I do think the "zero sum" thing as it applies to the projected sales taxes for the two new stores is a little more complicated than what you portray.

Given that both new stores are relatively close to the city borders, I think it safe to assume that a good portion of the customers will be coming from stores that are out side of the city limit, therefore there most likely will be an increase in sales tax revenue to Ogden City - at the expense of the surrounding towns.

I doubt however that the amounts will be as significant at Godfrey sayeth they will be. After all, the little Wizard is just about as incompetent at business as any on who has ever held office in Utah and he is known to lie about virtually everything to do with the city administration, so why should we believe his budget projections?

rudizink said...


For the sake of brevity, I neglected to mention the possibility that these two big box discount stores might to some extent be "regional draws;" so you're right that my off-the-cuff "analysis" was overly simplistic.

Nevertheless I do believe you and I are on the same page with your expression of doubt that "the amounts will be as significant at Godfrey sayeth they will be..."

Thanks for helping me out with this clarification...

Wade said...

Hi All! Weber Pathways is putting on a trail repair project today for your cinco de mayo plans:

Trail work session this Thursday, May 5th at 5:30.
Meet at Rainbow gardens at 5:30.
We will work on the Bird Song Trail to try to repair damage from the winter.

Please bring work gloves and water.

I don't know if any of you have been on this trail since spring, but it is in terrible shape and needs love. Many hands make light work.

See you there!

Rdyznk said...

But, the chubby and drunk ass-clown who wrote this tripe does not even live in Weber County.

He is just a pustule on the ass of Utah.
As is been obvious to everyone.

Rdyznk said...

for the record, i can post here whenever i want, no matter how many times you take them down, asshole.

I choose to just post these so you can see them *)

if you wish me to stop posting, please send a request to:

and say please.

What a fucking retard.

Ozboy said...

I just simply luved old lard ass Johnson's shameless lie in the Tribune article. It is where he was attributing the increase in sales tax this year over last to Winco's and the Junktion! Never mind that the Junktion is a massive black hole in the middle of Ogden that eats up close to a million a year in subsidy from the towns only true money maker - the Biz Depot. Yep, Johnson, who has his nose so far up the Mayor's keister he don't know Monday from Thursday, would have the world believe that the Junktion is actually a money maker instead of a huge tax revenue eating loser.

One thing for sure with Johnson, (he was the one who wanted the city to buy him a Hummer to haul his lard ass around town) is that he has been an apt student of his boss' mendacity training. The fat boy can tell lies with the best of them!

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