Monday, April 09, 2012

Ogden City Projects Update... Time for a Priorities Reset

Time for a change of tune from the Mike Caldwell Administration?

Here are a coupla Ogden-related items which we'll just post here, if only for archival consistency.
Granted, both of these Mayor Caldwell projects involve fairly unambitioous projects, compared to those of the previous Administation. But the public cost of these projects still adds up a little short of $ 1 mil anyway, in truth and fact, right?

Natural followup question: Should the Mike Caldwell Administration (and the Ogden City Council) abandon any further economic development projects altogether, whilst turning their attention to accumulating the necessary cash for the most pressing item of all, i.e., Ogden City water infrastrucure improvements?

In re this question, howbout chiming in with your vote in our new poll?


Don't let the Cat get yer tongues, O Gentle Ones.

10 comments:

Reality Strikes said...

Wake up, people.  The asleep at the wheel Mayor Mike Caldwell is being run around by the nose by Boss Godfrey's still-in-place economic development department

LibertyinUtah said...

Both Jen Neil and I ran on this idea, that we should worry about the important things, like infrastructure.


The voters decided otherwise.
So, I doubt that our spending spree is coming to an end soon.

Rob Garner said...

Dan
I do not disagree with your conclusion that the water department projects could be handled with the ongoing cash flow that the department currently gets from water rates. That said though the administration does have a couple of very large projects that need immediate attention. Those being the pipeline down the canyon from the water treatment plant to the mouth of the canyon, and the water treatment plant itself. As I recall these two projects themselves equal about 20 million dollars.
What if the city was to bond for just those two projects and as an offset the city give up the entire franchise fee that they charge the water department and one half of the property tax that they charge the same department. This would allow for the immediate work on these large needed projects and provide the water department the means to pay all or a large portion of the bond note out of the department’s cash flow. An increase in retained revenues by virtue of not having to provide as much to the general fund would amount to roughly a million dollars per year or about half of the departments past contributions to the general fund. All other lower priority projects could then be accomplished through the increased revenues that the water department would have and on an as funds are available basis. This would also reduce the need for such a large increase in the water rates to the residents.
Yes resident would still most likely see a rate increase but this would also allow the city to immediately address the two most urgent projects.
The forgiveness of the contribution of these funds of the water department to the city general fund would be an appropriate recognition by the administration of the city's need to prioritize the revenue resources of the city for the best interests of the residents.
This would amount to a compromise by both parties for the greater good of the city.

blackrulon said...

If future economic development continues to follow the same methods as used by the Godfrey administration nothing will change. One area that needs to be watched is whether any proposed development requiring tax increment money or city assuming costs to correct problems prior to development benefits the city or just large contributors to Caldwells election fundraising. Even after all this time Caldwell has not returned campaign funds given to him by Gadi Lesham.  If any plans go ahead the city council needs to take a serious look at the legality or ethics  of dealing with contractors who are being sued by the city for unpaid property leins.

Dan S. said...

Rob,

I see two separate issue here: the "fiscal charges" (that is, the tax levied by the general fund), and the question of whether to bond for these two large, urgent projects.

The fiscal charges from the water, sewer, and refuse funds currently add up to nearly $6 million per year. The city (general fund) is addicted to that revenue and I don't see it kicking the habit cold turkey. I'd like to see the fiscal charges cut to about half their current level, but that would probably have to happen over a time period of quite a few years. This won't help significantly with large, urgent projects.

The current proposal is to pay for the canyon pipeline with a low-interest loan from the state Department of Environmental Quality. This is a type of bond but the interest rate is so low, the city would be crazy not to take advantage of it. But my impression is that getting the $9 million for the canyon pipeline is about the most the city can hope for, at least in the short term, from this source.

That leaves the filter plant itself, which is currently priced at $11.6 million although they could get by with an older technology costing only $9.8 million. Either way, it appears to me that the water fund can be in a position to pay cash for that project by FY2014 if it (a) keeps operating expenses under control; (b) enacts a small rate increase of about 5% per year, plus inflation, each of the next two years; and (c) dips into its cash balance which currently stands at about $6 million. The consultants don't like drawing down the cash balance but I say that's better than bonding and paying interest over 30 years.

Bob Becker said...

Doesn't strike me that the only options in re: city involvement in development are (a) all or (b) not at all.   Nor do I think the Administration and Council endorsement of these two relatively low cost programs means, as some above are claiming, that "nothing has changed" with the advent of the Caldwell administration and departure of the Godfrey administration.  When/if Mayor Caldwell starts proposing pie-in-the-sky mega projects like downtown outdoor year round ice climbing towers, and flatland gondola systems at city expense, they'll have a point. Nothing remotely like that has emerged from the Caldwell administration yet. 

Modest programs with a proven track record in other similar cities aimed at neighborhood improvement, if open to all within on an equal basis [and not limited to administration-pre-selected  recipients, an important qualification for any such program as Councilwoman Wicks has noted] don't seem to me to beyond the reach of effective city government.  

Smaatguy said...

didn't Watson Chevorlet just get some RDA tax increment mumbo jumbo for thier new project?....now there will be more for the same type of businesses?....

OneWhoKnows2 said...

Ogden is back being the town of crime, embezzelment, lying, cheating and overall confusion and lack of direction.  All this has happened before in the 20's , 30's and 40's  so I say let's come full circle and bring back illegal booze and whores for the dega-vue mission statement of the new administration.  At least its more than what we've heard from the new leader and we would have a real reson to come to town again.

googlegirl said...

Test

Biff said...

Looks like the anti-socialist are winning out.

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