Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Couple of Weber County Forum-topical Matters Set for Tonight's Ogden City Council Regular Meeting Agenda

Certification of 2011 Municipal General Election results and Revisions to Water Utility Service Fees are on tonight's Council calender

Here's a brief heads-up concerning a couple of Weber County Forum-topical matters which appear on the agenda for tonight's Ogden City Council Regular Meeting:

1) The City Council is ready to calender the certification of the November 8 Ogden Municipal Election results in what appears to be record time, by our book:

*** 6. Common Consent:
*** c. Board of Canvass for the 2011 Municipal General Election. Consideration of the certification of the results of the 2011 Municipal General Election. (Set Board of Canvass for November 22, 2011 – voice vote)
Hopefully the Council will be able to have the process all wrapped up by November 22d.

2) We've had some earlier WCF discussion regarding lame-duck Mayor Godfrey's last-minute effort to convince the Council "to address his proposal to lower Ogden's water rates." Whereas Godfrey had earlier announced his intention to "employ a rarely used executive privilege to call the city council into a special session, forcing them to address his proposal to lower Ogden's water rates," it seems that he's now hustled the matter onto tonight's Regular Council Meeting calender instead:

7. New Business:
a. Revision to Water Utility Service Fees. Proposed Ordinance 2011-55 amending the Ogden Municipal Code by amending Subsection 9-1-6.A to revise water utility service fees; and by providing that this ordinance shall become effective September 1, 2011.
In essence, Godfrey's proposed adjusted rate structure would "charge all users the same rate for the first 10,000 gallons of water, the amount the average home needs for indoor household use. It then proposes a tiered structure that provides for those without secondary water to pay less than those with secondary water."

Although Godfrey's stated object in seeking these rate revisions is to "create parity between those with and without secondary water," we're scratching our head wondering why Boss Godfrey believes it's fair to gouge those property owners who had the foresight to purchase properties with secondary water, and thereby in effect force them to subsidise those property owners without that amenity. Perhaps one of our Gentle Readers can enlighten us about that. It makes no sense to us.

You can review the full details concerning the above two Council agenda items by clicking on the Ogden City Council packet link below:
We'll dedicate this thread to any readers who'd like to comment about any of the items appearing on tonight's Council agenda, and will of course cordially invite anyone who attends tonight's meeting to report back with their post-meeting remarks after tonight's Council Session adjourns.

That's it for now, WCF Readers.

The floor's open for your ever-enlightening comments.

Update 11/16/11 5:10 a.m.: The Standard partially reports on the results of last night's Council Meeting. To Boss Godfrey's "extreme disappointment," "[i]nstead of adopting Godfrey's [half-baked] proposal, the city council [wisely] approved a resolution to begin a comprehensive effort starting next month to establish new water rates":
The new rates are scheduled to be in place by May 1, 2012, in time for the annual watering season.

A WCF Hat Tip to City Council Grownup Chairwoman Caitlin K. Gochnour who said, "the council is committed to embarking on a thorough public process to ensure the new water rates are in the best interest of residents and the municipality."

Update 11/19/11 8:57 a.m.: The video recording of Tuesday's regular Council Session is now online. Discussion of proposed water rate ordinance revisions begin at 12:00 minutes; the Council's voice vote rejecting Godfrey's knee-jerk proposal and instead approving a new comprehensive water rate study starts at 34:45; Mayor Godfrey's comments (wherein he expresses his "extreme disappointment," can be found at 39:01:


Kirk P. said...

You're right, Rudi.  Revising the water rates to require owners of secondary water rights to subsidize others who depend on treated culinary water for irrigation is an insult to those who bought their properties with a secondary water amenity.

Biker_Babe3 said...

Snuck up and added the part about secondary water users paying more (once again!). I seem to remember a couple years back, the secretary of the board of a local Irrigation Company saying: someone from Godfrey's office calling, wanting a list of all the shareholders (i.e. those who pay for their irrigation service according to how many "water shares" they own) and she advised the caller to talk with the company's attorney.

The idea was floating around back then about charging secondary water customers more than others for owning water shares and paying for services not provided by the city to another entity.  Sounds like Godfrey added an intro to make this attractive to citizens, put silk in front of their eyes before they read the rest of it.

Folks with secondary water are paying extra, just not to the city, and that pisses him off.


Rosemary said...

Godfrey's proposal ignores the fact that most of the water bill is for sewer, and Weber sewer.  Those amounts are helping pay for the sewer/water system repairs/upgrading  that were supposed to be paid for by BDO income.  I also don't know why I pay $6.91 for stormwater when I rarely use stormwater.

Choose the Right said...

Rudi - Thanks for update and Rosemary - great tongue in cheek comment regarding storm water - I think it's illegal to use grey water - is it grey

Thanks Biker Babe for paying attention years ago and wasn't Mr Cook's remark brilliant - yes, I think 98.2% of us would agree that $400,000 is a lot of money

Matt must be so frustrated to lose his hold on our fair city.  January  can't come fast enough

Thanks to Ms G for holding rational ground , especially for keeping the public in the loop and council who voted for rational approach.

Dan S. said...

The problems with the current water rates are real, and they're complex. But they've been in place now for nearly four years, and there's plenty of blame to go around. Godfrey is proposing a band-aid fix for one part of the problem, which could create new problems by cutting too deep into revenue. Congratulations to the council for telling him where to put his band-aid. It remains to be seen whether they (and the new mayor) will be up to the task of doing it right.

Danny said...

Do let us know if there was a Godfrey tirade.  Seeing an adult (the mayor no less) acting like a child is the best show in town.

Dan S. said...

Most council meetings are video recorded. No video of this one is posted yet but keep checking "meetings" section of the council web site.

rudizink said...

LOL, Danny.  First thing I did this morning, before even posting this morning's article, was to navigate over to the Ogden City website to see whether last night's council video had been uploaded.  You're absolutely right.  Boss Godfrey's snit fits ARE "the best show in town."  We'll continue to check back, and if the video ultimately does depict yet another "Godfrey Tirade,"  you can be sure we'll feature it here on WCF as another update.

Water Master said...

A question arises as to why Godfrey is pushing this so hard right now, at the end of his term.

The reason is as follows.  Developers in the west are constrained by water.  They always have to have water for development of raw land. 

If they can nullify the benefits of having irrigation rights, they can eventually hope to extinguish them, by making them irrelevant to their owners.  In this way, all water users will be on bended knee to the city for their water, and the contractors feel they can control the city to get what they want.

Why is Godfrey pushing this?  For the same reason he pushed a half-million-dollar slush fund for himself for East Central, right at the end of his term.

He's looking to pad the pockets of his cronies, to insure he'll have a job when he leaves offices.

It's not all that complicated if you think about it.

Read Luke 16:1-9 and remember Godfrey is a religious man, in the worst sense of the word.  The relevant verse is the last one:

"And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations."

Godfrey will be looking for ways to loot the system over the next few weeks.  Watch for it.

Dan S. said...

I've always had the sense that Godfrey is motivated more by what people think of him than by any potential personal financial gain. In this case, he wants to be remembered as the mayor who lowered residents' water rates (even after being the mayor who raised our water rates, and our sewer and storm sewer rates, repeatedly over the last several years).

blackrulon said...

What Godfrey is trying to accomplish is simple. He and his cronies are making a last minute push to implement changes that he thinks are positive. He is trying to make his time as mayor seem all positive. I am certain that with the help of Scott Schwebke, complaint editors at the S-E and friends writing letters of praise he believes he can leave office in a baze of g;ory. Look for many more positive and gushing news stories, guest commentaries and letters to the editor to obscure the real results of his years as mayor.

Gabber80 said...

Dan, if Godfrey cares a fig about what people think of him it has to be a very recent trait. I can't imagine anyone acting in the way G has over his years in office who cares about the public's perception of him.  

Dan S. said...

He certainly doesn't mind having enemies, as long as the newspaper and the Chamber of Commerce continually praise him.

Dorrene Jeske said...

What is being overlooked by everyone  is that whosoever receives secondary water pays for it with their property taxes Nov. 30th.   It used to be $100. for water that was available six months of the year, then it was adjusted to $128. 
According to our tax bill we pay:
the Weber Basin Water - General Fund       $14.81
the Weber Basin Water – Ogden Fund        $19.72
Central Weber Sewer District                        $58.27
Weber-Box Elder Cons (Pineview Water)  $128.04
A total of                                                          $220.84
Plus around $70.00 a month for Ogden City water which continues to increase every month making it about $840. a year for a total of more than  a $1,000. we pay for water.     
Of course Godfrey doesn’t want the issue studied.   He didn’t!  He just wants some scapegoats to stick it to.  Never mind that they DO pay for the water they receive.   I studied my sister-in-law’s Ogden City water bills when I was helping her after her husband died, and we paid about the same for Pineview water as she did using culinary water to water her lawn in the summer.
I know what we pay is nothing compared to the poor people whose water rates were figured incorrectly when the new rates went into effect.  The Council is doing the right thing by studying the issue and looking at all the problems with the current rates.

Dan S. said...

Video from Tuesday's meeting is now posted on the city's web site. The roll-call vote on the water rates resolution passed unanimously among the five council members present (Gochnour, Garner, Van Hooser, Blair, and Stephenson). Godfrey gave a seven-minute speech before the vote and another seven-minute speech afterwards. He put full responsibility on the council for the current problems with the water rates, despite the fact that he signed the ordinance that put those rates into place four years ago. He also said the issue is "very very simple", and claimed to have shown that the projected $400,000 annual loss of revenue that would result from his proposal wouldn't be a problem.

Godfrey stated that households without secondary water are currently paying about $5/month more, even for their indoor water, than households who have secondary water. This is approximately correct if they use 10,000 gallons per month as he stated. His proposal would lower their bills by this $5/month. According to the administration, there are 13,857 such households. But if you do the math, you find that the resulting revenue loss ($5/month times 12 months times 13,857 households) is more than $800,000. This doesn't even include the further revenue loss from charging these households less for their outdoor water during the summer. So Godfrey's numbers are actually inconsistent with each other. (I suspect that in fact, the average household uses less than 10,000 gallons per month indoors so Godfrey's $5 figure is significantly exaggerated.)

Again, there's a real problem here that needs to be addressed. But before they address it, the council needs to understand the various options and their consequences.

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