Friday, May 27, 2005

NSL Cities Water Conservation Plan

How is North Salt Lake City planning on handling the problem of water conservation, and the added cost of flouridation? Especially, since they are considering the development of more Parks? One quote from their plan interested me greatly. (Hat tip to Steve Rawlings for pointing this issue out to me.)

"Maximizing the amount of secondary water used for outdoor water use within the City has multiple benefits. These benefits include smaller increases in required volumes of culinary water in future years and reduced cost in developing new culinary sources.

In order to maximize the use of secondary water, there are several steps that should be completed:

  • Require all new developments to include secondary water where available.
  • Enforce watering restrictions during the hottest part of the day by issuing tickets with fines that increase if the offense is repeated.
  • Provide educational materials that discuss how to determine the amount of water necessary for a healthy lawn.
  • Determine the amount of water necessary for healthy landscaping at City Parks and the golf course. It is typical for such locations to be overwatered by anywhere from 25% to 50%. Correcting any overwatering done by the City will reduce the demand on the irrigation system and reduce waste.

Conclusion: Secondary water saves an enormous amount of culinary water from being used in outdoor watering. This resource needs to be maximized by being made available to as much of the City as possible, and by using this resource in a manner that is educated and non-wasteful."

Meeting with Steve Rawlings

I met with Steve Rawlings this morning, and it was a pleasant experience. I learned some things that I will summarize below.

  • The State of Utah is paying, roughly, half of what it should to Davis County for housing the 100-150 Prison inmates at Davis County Jail. They've committed to pay 75% of the total cost.
  • The County plans on using many of the Jail inmates to landscape the new Jail extension to save money.
  • Davis County pays about $10,000 a year into Cable 17.
  • Davis Counties population will be at 500,000 in about 30 years (not 5).
  • Those parts of the County that only have culinary water are paying extra, thanks to the added cost of flouride. (North Salt Lake has especially high cost in taxes because the Golf Course is watered in this fashion) North Salt Lake residents pay an extra $40 average, whereas other areas with secondary water can pay as low as $1 extra.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Clipper:Legislatures in 'hot water' over jail

Utah's legislature became the subject of a stiff rebuke at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Davis County Jail. Davis County houses between 100-150 prison inmates, and is supposed to be reimbursed for them. Apparently, we aren't getting enough, since we are not reimbursed for capital expenses, according to County Auditor, Steve Rawlings. “It leaves us way short. We’re talking $1.5 million to $2 million a year” when all expenses are considered, Rawlings said.

Note: Money was offered to other Counties, besides Davis, if they would expand their Jails, and they, wisely, said no. They didn't trust the State Legislature, and it appears they were right. Welcome to the money pit.

Legislatures in hot water over jail

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Why Limit Government? [Bluegrass Institute]

Why Limit Government? [Bluegrass Institute]: "At the heart of our core body of principles with regard to government are these unassailable truths: Government has nothing to give anybody except what it first takes from somebody, and a government that’s big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you’ve got."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

CAGW: Pig Book Criteria

All items published in the Citizens Against Government Waste: Pig Book meet at least one of the following criteria. Most meet at least two. Were a local Piglet book to be published for Davis County, what would meet these criteria? (Where applicable, substitute the word Mayor for President, and public for congressional)

  • Requested by only one chamber of Congress;
  • Not specifically authorized;
  • Not competitively awarded;
  • Not requested by the President;
  • Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;
  • Not the subject of congressional hearings; or
  • Serves only a local or special interest.(i.e. Rec Center built, in part, Bountiful with County funds)

Monday, May 23, 2005

What are Davis County's greatest challenges?

During last weeks Townhall meeting, the Commissioners were asked what they thought the greatest challenges Davis County faces over the next three years. Dannie McConkie, replied that the population in the county is anticipated to boom to 500,000 by 2010(figure supplied by Steve Rawlings is 30 years from now). The previous estimate on the County website estimates 310,000 by 2010. As a result of the boom, Commissioner McConkie promised more tax increases for education. McConkie's flawed logic assumes that the tax base will remain the same, while the population will double. Doubling the population in five years, increases the tax base, and will actually bring in more money, not less. (Considering that the original dates were wrong, I'll have to ask McConkie whether he plans on raising taxes while he is in office. He certainly anticipates the County raising them in the next 30 years, but that won't be on his watch.)

Commissioner Page had previously noted that the citizens have always approved tax increases for education, seemingly, signaling her intention to ask for further increases. Is education really the black hole for funding that Page says it is? When I think of my personal finances, I cannot think of a single item in my budget that does not have an upper limit. I even have limits on what I can spend on my healthcare. The false assumption is that by paying even more money into public education, the quality of the education will improve. The opposite approach; taking money from public education, would actually place more responsibility for education on the parents. Public funds cannot replace the love of a parent for their child. With the majority of our taxes going to education, and the increased revenue generated from a growing population, a tax increase cannot be justified.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Cable 17: Sponsorship questioned

In attending the Townhall meeting for the County this week, I raised the issue of the Government sponsorship of Cable 17. I was surprised to hear, in response, that Davis County does not sponsor the station. Surprised, because the County website declares, "Davis County Government is proud to sponsor Davis Cable Channel 17..." I pushed on that issue, and it ultimately was admitted, by Commmisioner McConkie, that the County does make a monetary contribution. My point is this, I've learned not to take anything at face value. If pressed, most people will reveal their true feelings on an issue, so press them. Be vocal and respectful.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Davis County: Townhall meeting results

I went to the Townhall meeting last night and spoke plenty of my mind. I would hope I did not disappoint those whose cause is the same, but knowledge is greater, and methodology is different. I was not cautious in my statements, and trust that my comments were recieved in good spirits. The atmosphere was decidedly more friendly that other political forums in which I have participated. Unfortunately, there were only about a dozen citizens(non-elected, non-appointed, non-officials) there. Some immediate good did come from this for me, in that I will be sitting down with the County Auditor, Steve Rawlings to go over the budget in the next week. Thus begins my education in County Government. How can more people be influenced to get involved in local and national issues? Post a comment on your experiences in politics.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Town Hall Meeting Today!

Just a reminder! The South Davis County Townhall Meeting is 2 hours away. Details here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

slcspin: Tom Dolan and the Art of Backstabbing

Sometimes the politics of neighboring cities can affect us here locally. We'll see how this play's out. The situation, here, is that Salt Lake City has, unofficially, asked North Salt Lake to contribute, to the tune of millions, to build a soccer facility close to North Salt Lake's boundaries. I don't know how sweet Mayor Briggs is on that deal? For a small community of 10,000 that is too much money. Now, elsewhere, I hear about a soccer stadium that could be built either downtown Salt Lake, Sandy, or Murray. I'm almost positive these to facilities are not the same. It would be too ambitious for Salt Lake City to pursue two soccer facilities, unless they were leaving their options open, until the right deal could be reached. More information is on SLCSPIN.

slcspin: Tom Dolan and the Art of Backstabbing

Monday, May 16, 2005

China, Cuba, Davis County, Iran

What do the China, Cuba, Davis County, and Iran all have in common? No, it isn't that they have, or want nuclear weapons. Free tickets to a Television Pilot screening to the first person that answers this question correctly.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Clipper: Rec Center Plans were too grand

This belongs to a category, the fleecing of Davis County. The Recreation District has exceeded their budget, prompting some, like "unpaid consultant", Tom Hardy to ask that they begin taxing us for 'maintainance' of the facility, though it has not been built. Even still, the facility is going to be made smaller, but at the same cost as before. When a contractor goes over budget like this, they should be made to cover the extra cost. There has not been enough outrage about this issue.

Clipper:Rec Center

Friday, May 13, 2005

The State of the Beehive:SL County could be in trouble for having too much money

The State of the Beehive has an excellent explanation of the excess funds that Salt Lake County has on hand, and what they can do with it. On May 18th, be sure to ask the Davis County Commissioners about their stewardship over the General fund? Based on the amount of money Davis County has in it's General Fund, the County should have no problem funding the Jail expansion, and paying Salaries, without increasing taxes.

Davis County School District sponsors special interests

This would fall into the category of old news if it had ever been reported by any news outlet. Did you know that Davis County School District was a backer of special interest? Back on February 24th, at an awards dinner that was held by the National Conference of Community and Justice, Davis County School District was listed as a sponsor. NCCJ lobbies to establish public policy affirmitively for issues such as Hate Crimes legislation, Employment Discrimination, and Native American Mascots. More information is available on Citizens for Tax Fairness. Does a public school have any business backing a group such as this?

Aside: The former leader of NCCJ, recently made a statement characterizing the yet, unfinished movie, The Passion of the Christ, as Anti-semitic for filming scenes that follow the thread of the Gospels, rather than playing down any Jewish involvement in the crucifixion, as some would like. Of course, actual reviewers of the movie, including Orthodox Jew, Michael Medved, fully endorsed the film.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

North Salt Lake: Recreation Meeting

Last night, I attended the Focus Group held by the Planning Commission to discuss the building and preservation of Parks, Trails, and Open Spaces for the City. As is often the case in these meetings, some of those that attended had the most unrealistic of desires for the city. I was impressed, however, with how responsible the Planning Commission, and the Mayor, themselves were. They seemed to understand that, to be fiscally sound, the City should not get into greater debt. Below, I summarize, what seemed to be the frightening consensus of those in the Focus Group.

  • North Salt Lake should contribute to the building of the Multi-million dollar Soccer Facility proposed by Salt Lake City (SLC is asking for seven million dollars from NSL).
  • The hundred acres, eighty of which rests in Salt Lake County boundaries, should be left as open space, and not developed(although, developing this land could provide ample revenue to provide for some parks and trails).
  • A park, the same scale of the North Canyon Park, should be built down the street from the former park.
  • The Focus Group would like a pool, and basketball courts within city limits (despite the fact that NSL voted against the 23 million dollar Recreation Center that is to be built anyway in 2006).
  • In addition to the above, the Focus group would like all 25 miles of proposed trail to be built, with ample parking at the head of the major trails.
I think a common misconception about communities that build their own large facilities is that they will earn a profit and pay for themselves. If that were the case, then private industry would lead in building the Mega-facilities, and Government would stay out of the business of recreation. I hope North Salt Lake will act moderately, in providing the community with their Parks and Trails.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Town Hall Meeting:: Update: May 18th

Yesterday, on the County website, details were finally posted about the Town Hall meeting (PDF) that I blogged about last week.

The 7 p.m. meeting will be in Room 230 at the Davis County
Memorial Courthouse, 28 East State Street, Farmington.

Tax Foundation: Tax Policy Blog

Check out the Tax Policy Blog. They also have an RSS feed, and links to well written analysis of Tax Policies across the country. Research areas include Social Security Reform, State Taxes and spending, and Utah


The Standard-Examiner is going to be doing Midday Updates. StandardNET/Standard-Examiner: "The Midday Update offers a quick glance at breaking news. It runs Monday-Friday on StandardNET."

Friday, May 06, 2005

North Salt Lake City: Recreation Planning Workshop

If you live where 'everybody is somebody' please attend the Planning Workshop. The evening is going to be catered. Remember the following bullet-points.

  • We don't need another park
  • We don't need another park
  • A cemetery might be nice
Date: Wednesday, May 11th
Time: 6:30-9:00 P.M.
Place: Eagleridge Golf Course Clubhouse

Questions? Call Natalie Gordon, NSL Planning Commission 397-2145
Please RSVP to: NSL City Offices 936-3877 x100

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Water Resources

Charley Foster, at The State of the Beehive, linked to Davis County Watch, so I took a second look at his profile and was pleased to find this blog to which he is a contributer. It makes economic, not just environmental, sense for Utahn's to conserve water.

Water Resources (Water policy, law, science, engineering, use,...)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Are Blogs the New Journalism

For those who want to know the impetus behind my starting a blog on Davis County read this article. Blogs have become a powerful medium to drive change, and I want what has happened nationally, to occur locally.

Are Blogs the New Journalism?

The Hidden Costs of Subsidies

IN OUR VIEW Drop the water subsidies :: The Daily Herald, Provo Utah: "Water is vital to Utah. If it weren't for water, and the discipline to
use it wisely, Utah's pioneers would never have been able to survive in
the Great Basin."

This is the kind of thinking that Davis County needs to adopt as well. This would be a great issue to raise with the County Commissioners at the Townhall meeting on May 18th. When you go, be sure to hold Dannie McConkie's feet to the fire. He sits on both the Utah Water Users Association, and the Weber Basin Water Quality Management Council.

I found this article originally referenced on The State of the Beehive, and I would recommend it.