Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Road Closed

Due to a collapse in the road on Adams Avenue, South Ogden City will have Adams Avenue blocked off from 4400 South to Kiwana Drive. Signs have been posted and detours are available to get around the area where we are working.

We estimate that the road could be closed up to 4 weeks.

Joint Press Release

South Ogden City is planning on a joint facility with Weber School District for some additional gym space for our recreational programs. I sent a press release to the newspaper last week, but they haven't put it in the paper yet. So I'll post a copy of the press release here on the blog.

Weber School District and South Ogden City
Joint Press Release

Weber School District and South Ogden City will join together in helping create more recreation opportunities for their constituents and maximizing taxpayer dollars as the new South Ogden Junior High is constructed in South Ogden. The joint venture will create more gym space that will be utilized by the school district during the day and by South Ogden City in the evening for their recreation programs.

“We feel this is a great use of taxpayer money to serve the needs of two government entities by building one facility instead of two” said George Garwood, South Ogden Mayor. “This facility is needed to handle the growth of our youth and adult recreation programs. We see it as a once in a lifetime opportunity”.

Weber School District anticipates completion of the new junior high by August 2010 and an interlocal agreement will be made that outlines the time that each entity will use the facility. This is a joint use model that Davis School District has used with cities such as Layton and Clearfield.

“This partnership is a win-win situation to all involved.” said Jerry
DeGroot, Weber School Board President. “The result will be a facility
that provides expanded educational and recreational opportunities at a
cost savings to taxpayers.”

Weber School District has already secured the funding for the new junior high. South Ogden City will implement a slight property tax increase in order to fund their portion of the project.

The new junior high is located south of H. Guy Child Elementary School and will be annexed into South Ogden City.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Employee of the Year

Sorry for such a long gap between posts. The blog tends to be pushed aside as more pressing needs are considered. Now that I have my excuses out of the way, let's move on to the important stuff.

Sgt. Dave Labbe of the South Ogden Police Department has been named the 2008 South Ogden City Employee of the Year. Sgt. Labbe has been with the city for 15 years and has served in numerous capacities and has helped the department in various ways.

Some examples of this are: Developed a Sex Offender Tracking Program, instrumental in training of new officers, leads the Honor Guard, and is well liked and respected amongst his fellow officers and other employees of the city.

Sgt. Labbe was one of four nominees for the award. A nomination must be received from a fellow employee for consideration.

The other three nominees were:

Jaime Butters- Administration
Jason Brennan- Public Works
John McQuade- Building Inspection and Maintenance

Congratulations to our Employee of the Year and the fellow nominees.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sales Tax- Part II

In an earlier post I delved into the importance of shopping locally, mainly within the boundaries of South Ogden City. In case you missed it, here is a link to that post: Does it matter if I shop in South Ogden?

Sales tax is a vital tax for most cities in the State of Utah. For South Ogden City it represents roughly nearly 30% of our budget. Fortunately for us we have seen good commercial growth in our city that has slowly increased our sales tax revenues.

How is sales tax generated?

Sales tax is generated every time you purchase something whether it be at a retail establishment or a good that you purchase by another means. Sales taxes are sent from these establishments to the State of Utah where they turn around and distribute that sales tax to the various entities that are entitled to it.

How is sales tax distributed?

Once collected by the State, sales taxes are distributed by formula. A certain percentage goes to the State of Utah and a portion also goes to counties. Cities get 1% of all sales taxes generated statewide.

That 1% is then distributed to cities by another formula. This formula says that 50% of the city share is allocated by "point of sale". Meaning, if the store that the sales tax was generated is in your city limits then you get 50% of the city portion generated in that store. For example, sales in stores like Costco, Macey's, Albertsons, or similar places are critical to the success of our city due to the sales tax generated.

The other 50% is distributed by another formula that is based on population. South Ogden's population in relation to the state's population produces a percentage that is used. For example, South Ogden is currently .0059% of the state population. Therefore we get .0059% of the population portion of the sales tax revenues generated state wide.

It might sound confusing, but each month we get a printout from the State that shows our point of sale distribution and our population distribution.

What are sales tax revenues used for?

Sales tax revenues go in the the City's general fund. This means these revenues are used for the general services provided by the City. A good example of this are the parks in our city. We don't charge people to use our parks so we have to figure out a way to pay the cost to maintain them each year. This is picked up through general fund revenues in which sales tax is a large part of that.

What are the downsides to sales tax revenues?

Sales tax revenues are cyclical. Each year when we set our budget we have to estimate our sales tax revenues. Because they are such a large part of our budget we monitor these revenues monthly as they come in. A trend downward could cause us to cut back in some of our expenditures if necessary.

The last few years have been great for sales tax revenue growth due to a robust economy. As we projected our revenues for this year we were a lot more conservative due to the signs of the economy slowing down. Our revenues so far this year are pretty close to what we have projected. But as things slow down nationally we'll continue to monitor the effect that will have on our state and local economies.

I hope this has helped our resident's understanding of sales tax revenues. If there is something else that you've always wondered about local government please post a comment below and I'll do my best to find the answers.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nature Park Trail Paved

The Nature Park Trail has been paved and is ready for people to use. The 12' wide asphalt trail has three trail heads leading into the main loop of the trail. Two of the trail heads start from residential areas that surround the park. The other trail head originates at the Nature Park.

The Nature Park trail head is still not complete. We're waiting on a permit that is necessary to extend pave our trail over a buried water line. Once the permit is granted we will finish that part of the trail.

Some people have asked how long the trail is. If you don't count the trail heads, the main loop is 4546' for one trip around it. That is .87 miles.

We'll eventually have some signs at each of the trail heads that will have that type of information about the trail. It will also remind people that we don't allow motorized vehicles on the trail nor off-leash dogs.

We also have a few "nature" trails that are 4' wide trails. These trails aren't paved and are great for those that would like to do more hiking. They are more rugged and steep. They are also well suited for someone that wants to take a mountain bike on them.

From my observations we've already have had a lot of people come and try out the trail. For those that haven't had the chance please come and enjoy it before winter sets in. It's a beautiful spot for a trail.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Does it Matter if I Shop in South Ogden?

Sometimes we have choices where we shop and sometimes we don't. The question is: Does it really matter if I shop in South Ogden, Riverdale, Ogden or Layton?

The short answer is "yes". Whenever you shop in a particular city, a portion of your sales tax dollars go to that city.

The formula works like this. Whenever you shop at a store you are charged a sales tax. 1% of your sales tax goes directly to cities and towns. It's called the local option portion of your sales tax. Other portions of the sales tax goes to the county and to the state. I'll delve deeper into sales tax in a later post.

Out of that 1% of sales tax generated, half of that goes to the city that store is located. For example, if you spend $100 at Costco or Maceys then 50 cents will go directly to South Ogden City. If you are a resident of South Ogden and you choose to shop in neighboring cities that offer the same stores as South Ogden you are in essence sending your tax dollars to a neighboring community.

It is understood that South Ogden does not offer all the shopping needs a family may have, but if we do offer the same stores as a neighboring city we would encourage you to shop locally so that your sales tax dollars stay in our city.

As I mentioned before, I will write up a post that explains distribution of sales tax in more detail, the impact of sales tax on our budget, and what we use sales tax dollars for.

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 25, 2008

1550 East Project Completed

Many of you probably don't know where 1550 East is in South Ogden. But if you were given different coordinates then you would probably recognize it.

1550 East is where Harrison Blvd. and Highway 89 (Washington Blvd.) intersect in the southeastern part of South Ogden. It is where Kobe Restaurant is located as well as the new 5 story building that is going up. It is sometimes referred to as "Green's Junction" supposedly after some Highway Patrolman who had a couple of car accidents up there or so the South Ogden lore says. If someone is familiar with the "Green's Junction" story, please share it with us in the comments section.

If you were to drive straight south on Harrison Blvd. through this intersection, you would drive onto 1550 East. This road serves the Village Inn/Wal-Mart/Costa Vida commercial development, various medical and dental plazas, and the residential area including the Falls Apartments.

The issue with the road was traffic leaving (heading north) on 1550 E. to either access Harrison Blvd. or Highway 89. This traffic was often backed up and only continued to worsen as more development occurred. Last week we (in conjunction with UDOT) put in an extra lane of traffic on 1550 E. to help move the traffic through quicker. From my untrained eye it seems to be working pretty well. For anybody that works or lives up there and has to access 1550 E., it should be a nice improvement to the flow of traffic.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Splash Pad Last Day is September 1st

The Splash Pad at the Nature Park will officially close for the year on Tuesday, September 2nd. Monday, September 1st will be the last day that it is open. It will open back up on Memorial Day next year.

Due to some drainage issues out at the Splash Pad we will be doing some minor work on the pad after we close it for the year. You'll see those changes when you came back next year. We are hoping to continue to make it better to serve the community.

Overall we feel the Splash Pad has been a huge success. We realize that we've had people from all over the county and neighboring counties that have been using the pad. I have talked to a couple of communities that have seen the success of our Splash Pad and they are now considering doing one themselves. Once other communities get their own splash pad's it will thin out the crowds at ours in South Ogden.

Until then we welcome all who want to come out for a little relief from the summer heat.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Library Walkway

You've probably noticed the new library in town that is being constructed on Adams Avenue across from Ogden Regional Hospital. At the city, we get asked about it all the time. Maybe I can clarify a couple of things.

1) The new library is being constructed by Weber County. On your property tax notice you pay an earmarked amount that goes into the library system. Because Weber County is overseeing the project, the City doesn't know about their completion schedule.

I have had a chance to tour the facility recently. Once it is done it will be a very nice facility. It is also being constructed to be a "green" facility. They are taking a lot of measures to make it energy efficient. Once the building is finished it will be a nice asset to South Ogden and southern Weber County.

2) The new library is actually in Washington Terrace city limits. It sits on the border of South Ogden and Washington Terrace. In fact directly to the east of the library is our Public Works shops. Even though this library is not in our city limits it is still in a great location for access for our residents.

Speaking of access, the city will be constructing a walkway from Friendship Park to the new library. The access will run along the northern boundary of our Public Works shops and it will be a fenced in path so that people won't "accidentally" end up wondering around our public works grounds. It will be closed during the winter, but will be a nice access for those that live near Friendship Park that want to walk to the library instead of driving.

As a city we look forward to the new library. If you seek further information about it I suggest you call Weber County and they can give you the latest news.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Minor Change to Recycling Pick-up Schedule

In order to accommodate Waste Management in their quest to help keep fuel costs lower, we will be making a minor change to the recycling pick-up schedule.

First of all, keep in mind that the day your recycle is picked up is not going to change. If your garbage is picked up on Friday, your recycle will continue to be picked up on Friday. Also, your recycle will still be continued to be picked up every other week.

What is changing is the week that your recycle is picked up. Starting the week of August 18th-August 22nd, all recycle in the whole city will be picked up that week on your normal pick-up day. This will continue every other week. For some residents you will have you recycle picked up the previous week and then again the week of the 18th-22nd. For others you won't see a change at all in the pick-up of your recycle.

For a new schedule of the recycle pick up and a guide as to what you can put in the recycle bin please click on the following link:

New Recycle Schedule

Please call us at 622-2704 if you have any questions about the new schedule.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

South Ogden City Blood Drive

South Ogden City recently hosted a blood drive here at City Hall. Our fire department was the main organizer of the event and in particular, Cathy Donner, who serves as the administrative assistant for the department.

Cathy has emailed me a follow-up description of the event. I'll post is here so that those that want to participate in the future will know what the plan is.

The blood drive held by the American Red Cross and sponsored by South Ogden City & Fire Dept. “was a huge, huge success! We are so grateful to South Ogden City for use of the municipal building for the blood drive” states Daralyn Wilson of the American Red Cross.

Ms. Wilson went on to say that the Red Cross fell short of their goal in July, but South Ogden City’s great turn-out really helps so much. Thanks to all of you who participated.

Special thanks to the Texas Roadhouse and the South Ogden Fire Fighters Association for donating drawing prizes!

Due to the wonderful response and many requests from citizens of South Ogden City, we will be inviting the American Red Cross back for another blood drive in January 2009. Watch for details in the December and January Newsletters.

Please feel free to contact Cathy Donner, South Ogden Fire Dept., at 622-2753 if you have any questions or would like to be contacted for the January 2009 blood drive.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Nature Park- Phase II Update

I just got back from walking through the area where our new 12' asphalt trail will be laid this fall. The area has been staked out and they should start grading in the trail in the next two weeks.

This trail is going to be awesome! As it winds through the gully it will be scenic, it will have some trees for shade on parts of the trail, and it should have character. This will be quite a bit different than walking around the track at the local high school.

We are also grading in a couple of "nature" trails that will only be 4' wide and won't be paved. These nature trails will give those a little more adventurous a chance to see other parts of the park. They could also be popular for kids that are riding their bikes.

Once again these trails won't be ready until the fall, but it was exciting to finally get a visual of what this park can become.

Monday, July 7, 2008

South Ogden Days- Wrap-up

Well I had this nice running blog going until the organization of South Ogden Days grabbed me and held me hostage for a couple of days. All told South Ogden Days is an 80 hour week for me and over a 100 hour week for Christy Love, our Special Events Coordinator.

Then you throw in a week of vacation after South Ogden Days and here I am trying to get everyone caught up. Let's recap:

South Ogden Days- Day 4
Thursday, June 26th

Thursday is probably our lightest day for South Ogden Days. We are busy at Friendship Park getting all the vendors set up and the only event is the 3-on-3 Basketball. This year was our second year to try this event. Last year we held it at Friendship Park on the tennis courts. This year we moved it to 40th Street Park at our new basketball courts that we put in last year.

The tournament started at 6:00 p.m. and we had all age groups represented. I never got the total number of teams, but we more than doubled last year. The tournament lasted until about 11:30 p.m that night. The weather was slightly warm, but it wasn't enough to discourage anybody.

Thanks to Lifetime Products for sponsoring this successful event for the second year in a row.

South Ogden Days- Day 5
Friday, June 27th

This is the start of two days of fun out at Friendship Park. The main event (and the one that I'm in charge of) is the Mud Volleyball Tournament. If you've never seen mud volleyball you need to put it on your schedule for next year. The tournament is held at the baseball fields at Friendship Park at 6:00 p.m. the Friday of South Ogden Days.

This year we had 22 teams sign up which is 6 over our limit. Once again our largest participation ever. We had teams from all walks of life. We had businesses, friends, family, even a group of six girls that were in their pre-teens. The mud was at their waist while it was at everybody else's knees. But they had a great time. You'll see more smiles at mud volleyball from participants and fans than any other event (mainly because their faces are so caked in mud all you can see are their teeth).

New Image Day Spa was the sponsor of this event. I think they give away a free mud bath to the winners. I'm sure their mud is much better than the mud volleyball pit.

"The Power of One" won the tournament for the second year in a row defeating "USA-Peru" in the final. I have to give a mini-shout out to the "South Ogden Fire Department" for finishing third.

South Ogden Days- Day 6
Saturday, June 28th

Saturday is the most action packed day for South Ogden Days. Two of the bigger event are the Car and Motorcycle Show and the Dodgeball Tournament. The Car Show has been around for years and there are always some pretty neat vehicles on display. We have trucks, cars, motorcycles and even had a boat last year. Les Schwab Tires is the sponsor for this event.

The Dodgeball Tournament was held in the afternoon. This was the second year we tried this event and I think it was successful. It's kind of fun to see the rejuvenation of a grade school P.E. game.

The crowning event is the concert. South Ogden City has committed to keep this free of charge to the public. This is made possible by the sponsors of the concert Crown Bedroom and Maceys. Because of them we can afford to bring in a recognizable name each year and not charge people to see it. This year's performer was Sammy Kershaw.

I'm not a country music type of guy, but I thought Sammy put on a pretty good show. The audience sure seemed entertained and he kept it pretty lively.

Last, but not least, of all the South Ogden Days events is the fireworks show. I would have to estimate that with the concert and all the people that come to the park for the fireworks that we have close to 10,000 people in the park. That might be a high estimate, but there are a lot of people there.

Overall I felt we had a successful South Ogden Days once again. A big "thank you" goes to Christy Love for making this event successful. Also a "thank you" to the elected officials who remain committed to making this a high quality event.

So pull out your 2009 calendar and pencil in June 22-27 for our South Ogden Days Festival next year. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

South Ogden Days- Day 3

South Ogden Days Parade- Wednesday, June 25

The South Ogden Days Parade had its largest parade ever. We had over 80 entries in the parade. Once again we have had an event with its largest participation that we've ever had. You get a feel that the community is really getting into South Ogden Days and all of the events. We hope people continue to get involved.

After the parade was a picnic in the park. Maceys and Chick-Fil-A provided yummy dinners for those that wanted to sit in the park and eat some food. It was unseasonably warm, but most people were able to find shade in order to stay out of the heat.

Bed Races- Wednesday, June 25

After the parade we had the fifth annual bed race and once again we had our largest field ever (I'm sure you're all getting the pattern). This years winner was Costco with Remax taking second place. This is quite a unique event if you've never gotten a chance to see it. We'll be having it again next year so remember that it's always held after the parade on 39th Street just north of the park.

A special thanks to Mountain Ridge Assisted Living as the main sponsor of the bed race.

Next up: 3-On-3 Basketball Tournament
Thursday, June 26th 6:00 p.m.
40th Street Park

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

South Ogden Days- Day 1 and 2

Monday Night, June 23rd

The Movie in the Park on Monday night was the second time we tried this event. Last year we had about 200 people attend. This year we had between 400-500. It was kind of hard to gauge as a quite a few kids were there, some of which to hang with friends as opposed to watching the movie. Which made it more festive anyway.

Before the movie started we were entertained by impromptu music and dancing. We did the Chicken Dance, YMCA, Cha Cha Slide amongst other tunes. The weather was perfect and it cooled off just in time for the movie. I can't speak for the movie as my young kids couldn't handle the 9:30 p.m. start time. I'll assume that it was a good show. It was a fun time and great community builder. This event will definitely be a keeper.

Tuesday Night, June 24th

Last night was the South Ogden 5K race. This was the fifth year for this event. The first two years we held the 5K on a Saturday morning and had about 60-70 participants. The last three years we've held it in the evening and have had over 200 runners each time. Last night was an all-time high with about 300 runners. Once again it was another successful event with an all-time high in participation.

Just so you know your out-of-shape City Manager finished with a time of 41:42 which was good for 215th place. It humbles me to know that I was beaten by a 7, 8, and 9 year old.

Next Event- South Ogden Parade and Bed Races at 40th Street Park
Wednesday, June 25th at 6:00 p.m.

Monday, June 23, 2008

South Ogden Days- Day 1

Let's try a little running diary for South Ogden Days. Time will get a little tight by the end of the week, but I think we can get this done.

I'll try to bring the flavor of what a full week of South Ogden Days is like.

Monday, June 23rd- Golf Tournament

The golf tournament was held at Schneiter's Riverside Golf Course with a 7:30 a.m. shotgun start. We had 23 teams this year which is a record for participation in the tournament. We had beautiful weather for the tournament. I think in the five years we've had this tournament we've always had good weather.

The format is a four person scramble. The winning score was -16 under par (55) on the par 71 course. For those non-golfers that's a pretty good score for a scramble tournament.

A special thanks to Waste Management of Utah for sponsoring our golf event. Their sponsorship money helps make South Ogden Days a better event each year.

On a personal note: My team shot a -16 under par as well, but we lost on the tiebreaker. I guess we'll have to get them next year. Ultimately it's a fun time and it's a great way to start South Ogden Days.

Tomorrow's Report: Monday Night Movie at the Park

In case you're thinking of attending the movie, it is held at Friendship Park. We'll be starting around 8:00 p.m. to get people situated, but the movie won't start till dusk. Tonight's movie is "August Rush".

We'll have Dominos Pizza on hand selling pizza as well as regular movie stand-by's like popcorn, candy, and drinks available for purchase. The weather should be wonderful tonight as well so come and join us for a relaxing night in the park.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

South Ogden City Adopts FY 2008-2009 Budget

Last Tuesday the City Council adopted the Fiscal Year 2008/09 budget for South Ogden City. This is a process that takes us over 6 months to complete. To learn more about the budget process click on this link: http://southogdencityblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/budget-process.html

The new budget takes effect on July 1, 2008 and runs till June 30, 2009. While we are implementing our new budget we are also in the process of closing out our old budget. Budgeting is a year-round process.

Budget Numbers

South Ogden General Fund: $8,735,445

Total Funds (includes water, sewer, garbage, etc.): $15,737,000

Capital Projects

These projects are expected to be completed this fiscal year:

Nature Park Phase II
Yearly Road/Sidewalk Project
New Animal Control Shelter
Traffic Signal Emitters for the Fire Department
40th and Adams Traffic Signal Upgrade
Increase Capacity of 5600 S. Waterline for new South Jr. High School
Burch Creek PRV
Reline 40th Street Sewer Line
Install Sewer Line Maintenance Program
Replace Grate for Storm Sewer

The city was able to realize some budget savings this year on its health insurance and by combining our Public Works and Parks Department department head.

There were also a handful of items that city council has not funded due to lack of funds. This included additional personnel and fleet purchases.

Friday, June 13, 2008

What's the Latest at South Ogden City?

Neighborhood Meetings

The Mayor and City Council will be making a series of neighborhood meetings this summer at our various parks. Please come and share your concerns with your elected officials in an informal setting. All meetings will start at 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, July 22nd
Friendship Park
655 E. 5500 S.

Tuesday, July 29th
Nature Park
5874 S. 1175 E.

Tuesday, August 12th
Meadows Park
5775 S. 1900 E.

Tuesday, August 26th
40th Street Park
555 39th Street

South Ogden Nature Park Phase II

Phase II of the Nature Park consists mainly of any asphalt trail that will wind through the property just south of Phase I of the park. This trail will be wide enough for both walker/runners and bikers. It will also have three trailheads linking three different neighborhoods together. Look for the trail to be completed in the early fall.

Splash Pad

By the time you read this you might have already discovered our new splash pad. The splash pad is located at the Nature Park (5874 S. 1175 E.) and it is open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., seven days a week. Best of all, the splash pad is FREE of charge. Come and cool yourself off during the hot summer months.

Off-Leash Dog Area

We have recently opened an off-leash dog area at Club Heights Park (4150 Palmer Drive). This fenced in area is open seven days a week from dawn until dusk. We ask all that use it to observe the rules of the park to make it safe and fun for everyone.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Grand Opening of Off-Leash Dog Area

South Ogden City will officially open the off-leash dog area at Club Heights Park on Monday, June 9th at 6:00 p.m. Club Heights Park is located at 4150 S. Palmer Drive which is behind the Shopko in Riverdale. The off-leash area will be at the south end of the park.

The off-leash area is about 2 acres in size and is completely fenced in. The area will be open 7 days a week from dawn to dusk. The rules to the off-leash area will be posted on the fence.

We ask those that use the park to please take care of it particularly by picking up dog waste. We expect this to be a pretty popular site and so we ask that people be courteous to one another and enjoy the opportunity to allow your dogs to run free.

We would like to thank Costco, Goldenwest Credit Union, Burch Creek Animal Hospital, North Ogden Animal Hospital, and Brookside Animal Hospital. They have all donated money which will be used for a sign, bench and 3 Dogi-pots.

If any problems arise at the park please call police dispatch at 629-8221 and a South Ogden officer will respond.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Splash Pad is Open

The South Ogden City Splash Pad is now open for the summer! The pad is located at the South Ogden Nature Park which is directly south of the Ogden Athletic Club. There is no charge to come and play at the splash pad.

The splash pad will be open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It will be running seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you are at the pad between those hours and the water isn't turned on then rub your hand across the activation bollard located on the northeast side of the pad. It should get the water running. It will shut off after it runs through its cycle. If it ends and you want to play some more then just touch the pad again and it should start up for you.

Rules to the splash pad will be posted on the restrooms. We ask that these rules are strictly observed for health and safety reasons. We think that this splash pad will be heavily used on hot days so we ask everyone to be respectful of one anothers space.

Please come and enjoy with the whole family!

Thank You to Pride Day Helpers

Thanks to those that took some time out of the busy schedules on May 17th to come to the Nature Park and help clean it up. We had about 30-40 people show up and we spent two hours cleaning up the gully and around the first phase of the park.

We filled numerous trash bags and hauled a lot of junk. We even took care of some dyers woad that was growing around the park. As a reward we turned on the splash pad to cool off after a hot morning of work.

We hope to make this a tradition and continue to build on our community pride. In order for us to have a great looking city it takes a lot of effort from those that live in it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Why does the City do a Newsletter?

What's the South Ogden City Sound and what is its purpose? The South Ogden City Sound is the monthly newsletter that you receive in your utility bill every month. The newsletter was named by local elementary student Spencer Holdaway in a contest held two years ago.

The newsletter is one way for a city to communicate information to its residents. The front page is written by either an elected official (Mayor or Council member) or one the Executive Staff of the City (City Manager, Public Safety Director, Public Works Director, etc.).

The second page usually consists of a business spotlight for a South Ogden business and a listing of new businesses that have recently opened in our city. We also have regular messages from the South Ogden Senior Center.

Some of the more important information comes from individual departments in the city. The building inspection department could have a message about building sheds or fences on your property. The Recreation Department could have the latest sign-up dates for the sports that are in season. Public Works could have warnings that will help keep you out of trouble for issues such as storm drain regulations or on-street parking during the winter.

Public Safety could have a note or two about fire safety or ways to prevent crime in your neighborhood. These pointers are generated from observations made by public safety officials to give you a "heads up" on how to prevent them. Overall these boxes of information are to help you as a citizen stay in compliance with city regulations for the safety and well-being of all of our citizens.

The back page usually promotes the next upcoming event sponsored by the City. Your latest newsletter will have the full page dedicated to South Ogden Days. Past issues have promoted the Easter Egg Hunt or the City Old-Fashioned Family Holiday.

Remember that the South Ogden City Sound is just one form of communicating with our citizens. We have worked hard on getting all this information and more on our South Ogden City Website located at http://www.southogdencity.com/. We see that in the future a lot of our communication to our citizens will be through electronic media. Until that time please enjoy your monthly copy of the South Ogden City Sound.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

South Ogden Off-Leash Dog Area

Last night the South Ogden City Council unanimously approved of an off-leash dog area at the south end of Club Heights Park. The off-leash area will be fenced and will have rules governing the use of the area.

The off-leash area won't officially open until approximately June 9 so we ask dog owners not to allow dogs off-leash until we officially open the park. When the City gets closer to completing the park area we will announce an official open date and have a ribbon cutting ceremony.

We are attempting to keep this off-leash area for local use. We will allow anyone who has a licensed dog (by South Ogden or another jurisdiction) to use the park. However the off-leash area is about two acres and too many dogs could cause problems. As other cities open off-leash parks we anticipate the use of our park to decrease. Until that time we want to avoid the problems of overcrowding.

We hope that citizens look at this area as a privilege and work to abide by all the park rules. We want to provide a safe and fun venue for our citizens and their dogs.

Friday, May 2, 2008

New Trees at the Nature Park

South Ogden City would like to thank Corey Combe of Combe's Tree Farm for donating about $20,000 worth of trees to the city for the Nature Park. The trees were part of Phase 2 to be completed this summer, but because of his generous donation we are able to put them in this spring.

This in turn will save the city some money as we prepare to start Phase 2. Bidding will start soon and construction should start in the early part of summer. Phase 2 consists mainly of a trail that will extend through the south end of the park. It will also include some more trees, sidewalk and minor upgrades to Phase 1 of the park.

If you haven't had a chance to check out the park, go do it! The address is 5874 S. 1175 E. which is just south of the Ogden Athletic Club.

Don't forget South Ogden Pride Day coming up on May 17th from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. It will be a two hour service project which will include clean-up of the south end of the park. We hope lots of people join us as we prepare the park for Phase 2.

Also, stay tuned for an announcement of the Grand Opening of the Splash Pad at the Nature Park. We'll be making one shortly.

Friday, April 25, 2008

New Public Works Director

South Ogden City has promoted Jon Andersen as its new Public Works Director as of April 16, 2008. Jon has been with the city for 16 years with his latest capacity being the Parks and Recreation Director for South Ogden City.

At this point in time Jon will oversee both departments. If you need to talk with Jon his phone number is (801) 622-2903 and his email address is jandersen@southogdencity.com.

Congratulations Jon on your new assignment.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tree City USA- Arbor Day, April 25, 2008

South Ogden City has been designated as a 2007 Tree City USA. This is the seventh time that we have qualified for this distinction. In order to qualify as an official Tree City USA you have to meet certain criteria.

1) Designate a Urban Forestry Commission directed by a professional arborist.

We have created an Urban Forestry Commission made up of volunteers that serve four-year term in relation to trees in our city. Our Parks and Recreation Director Jon Andersen is the administrator for the Commission and he is a certified arborist.

2) The city must pass an ordinance that establishes the Urban Forestry Commission and allow them to create and Urban Forest Management Plan.

Our city just updated and approved our Urban Forest Management Plan at our last City Council meeting on April 15, 2008.

3) Establish an annual budget of $2 per capita dedicated to urban forestry.

Every year we designate money to be spent at our parks or otherwise that falls under this criteria. For example Phase 2 of the Nature Park will have about $50,000 worth of trees when it is completed.

4) It must organize an Arbor Day event complete with an official proclamation.

At our last City Council meeting on April 15, 2008 the City Council officially proclaimed Friday, April 25, 2008 as Arbor Day in our city. We will be holding a tree planting ceremony at Club Heights Elementary at 10:00 a.m. on April 25th.

Friday, April 18, 2008

South Ogden Pride Day

Have you ever thought to yourself, "How could I better serve my community" or "I would like to serve, but don't really know how to go about it."

The purpose of South Ogden Pride Day is to give our citizens a chance to give back to the community by creating a project that could help beautify our city and possibly save the city some money.

This year we have chosen the new South Ogden Nature Park. Phase 1 of the park is completed and Phase 2 is scheduled to be done this summer. However we would like to clean up a part of this park in preparation for Phase 2 (which is a walking trail around the wetlands).

This community project will take place on Saturday, May 17th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the South Ogden Nature Park. The park is located at 5874 S. Park Vista Drive (1175 East). The park is directly to the south of the Ogden Athletic Club.

We ask you to come and bring your families along with a shove, rake, and gloves if you have them. If you don't, we have things that need to done without garden tools. Water and treats will be available.

Please invite your family, friends, neighbors, even non-residents if they're looking for something to do on a Saturday. The more people we get the more we'll get done.

Now is your chance to help make a difference in your community.

Friday, March 28, 2008

South Ogden Easter Egg Hunt

Who Needs a Vacuum Cleaner?
Another year and another successful Easter Egg Hunt. Once again we had hundreds of kids (approximately 600-700) show up to gather their year's supply of Easter candy. Just a reminder for next year: Don't be late!!!!! It's over in less than a minute.

We'd like to thank all those that helped stuff Easter eggs in preparation for this event. Over a three day period we had over 200 hundred volunteers help get every little piece of candy into every egg we had.

After their three days worth of effort we had 25,000 Easter eggs ready for consumption. A big thanks goes out to the volunteers that helped set out all of those eggs which included our very own South Ogden Youth Council.

Just from my personal observation everyone got to take home plenty of eggs. It was fun to see smiles everywhere as everyone was taking to the eggs like a bandit to its loot.

Thanks to Christy Love and other South Ogden City staff who put this together. It really is a well-run event. We hope to continue that again next year.

Please check out the remaining photos taken at the park.

Signing up for the Free Prize

What's Everybody in Line For?

Ah Yes, the Easter Bunny, Of Course

I Thought Easter Was Supposed to be Warm

Friday, March 21, 2008

2007 Year in Review

As a city we spend a lot of time trying to plan for the future. We develop 5-Year plans, capital facilities plans, personnel plans, etc. all helping us prepare for the future.

So at times we need to step back and reflect on our accomplishments as a city to show that we are getting things done on a yearly basis. Each year the city staff puts together a Power Point presentation to show the council the accomplishments for the past year.

We want to share with you some of the more major accomplishments that have been achieved over the past year:
  • Completed Phase I of the South Ogden Nature Park

Phase I consisted of a restroom, bowery, two tot lots, a splash pad and some grass area. This project was completed in September of 2007. Phase II is scheduled to begin construction this summer.

  • Purchased a New Ladder Truck for the Fire Department

South Ogden City has a few structures that are over two stories in height. Because of this a ladder truck is necessary to give proper fire service in our city. Our old ladder truck was getting old and outdated. This has been a nice upgrade for our fire department.

  • Completed 40th Street Park Reconstruction

Due to the construction of the new South Ogden City Hall we needed to rebuild our tennis courts at 40th Street Park. We also took out our old basketball courts and put in some new ones. We removed the sand volleyball court and put sod in to replace it to enlarge our grass area play space.

  • Adopted the South Ogden Housing Program

In order to address the need of housing rehabilitation in our city we have set up a housing program. We have the general idea in place, but now we need to fund it. The funding will come from RDA monies on our RDA projects. It will be a couple of years before we have any money, but once we do it will give home owners on a lower income a chance to upgrade their homes.

  • Updated South Ogden City Website

We changed the whole look and feel of the website. Even though it is not perfect we have more information available online than we've ever had before. We are committed to continually make our website more user friendly with more information. You can visit the website at www.southogdencity.com.

  • Update the South Ogden General Plan

We spent over six months updating our General Plan for the city. This consisted of 4 citizen committee meetings, 2 open houses, 2 public hearings and a citizen survey. Once we were done we had a comprehensive plan that will help shape our city for the next 10 years. You can view it online on our website which is linked in the above paragraph.

  • Lowered Certified Tax Rate from .002825 to .002527

Because of growth to our assessed valuation we were able to lower our tax rate. You might ask yourself why you possibly payed higher property tax than the year before. A future blog post will address the complexities of property tax in Utah and the role of city government. In a nutshell, as a city as assessed valuations go up our tax rate decreases. Therefore we are NOT receiving any additional revenue because of the increase in the value of your home.

  • Replaced water and sewer lines, curb, gutter, sidewalks, and road on Raymond Avenue

This was a large summer project that was accomplished last year. It sure makes for a tough time for those residents that live on that particular street and we appreciate their patience. However it is nice when we have an opportunity to put in brand new infrastructure on an older part of town.

I hope this gives you a glimpse of some of the major projects that we do in the course of a year. Most of these projects depend on appropriate funding and it is nice when those funds are available. It is part of the continual process of renewing and updating our city.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Budget Process

South Ogden City, like most cities, has a fiscal year that runs from July 1-June 30. This means we are currently just over 8 months into our current budget, but because of all the planning involved we have already started putting our next year's budget together.

Next year's budget will run from July 1, 2008- June 30, 2009. We call it our FY/09 (Fiscal Year) budget. Through the budgeting process we will take roughly 6 months to put this budget together for adoption. It must be noted that the budget is always a work in progress and is constantly scrutinized, but we have a process that allows us to go from planning stages to adopting a budget.

January 2008

This is a critical time in the budget process. The Mayor and Council will get together either in a work session or possibly a retreat to re-evaluate the state of the city. During this time the city will talk about their goals for the upcoming year, their five-year plan, capital projects, and the general fund budget amongst other things.

This year we looked at the five-year plan and decided what could be accomplished this year or at least which projects we will start since some of them might take a few years to complete. Capital projects are generally done using one-time monies. These projects could include parks, water and sewer lines, or one time purchases. Capital funds generally come from the surplus from the previous budget year. Most capital projects are part of the five-year plan or the capital facilities improvement plan.

Once the goals are stated and the projects are discussed it is time to start putting projects into the budget with their corresponding price tag. Usually we have a long list of projects and a small amount of money. The Mayor and Council prioritize these projects as funding allows.

February 2008

The City Manager and Finance Director meet with the individual department heads to discuss their budgets. The department heads are responsible for the spending of their budgets once they are approved. We have been fortunate in South Ogden to have department heads that keep within their budgets on a yearly basis. Most of what is discussed is the operating budgets and what they need in order to continue their level of service. It can be a difficult time as needs always outweigh the resources.

Meanwhile the City Manager and Finance Director work together to come up with the revenue projections. Since most of our monies are through taxes or fees we have to do our best research to forecast what these revenues are going to be. This is not an exact science but we have always done pretty well in forecasting our revenues.

Once department budgets are submitted and approved they are put into the overall budget of the city. We match the forecasted revenues with the expected expenditures to see if we can fund everything that is needed.

Some of the major issues that we look at every year:

Increased wages
Increased benefits (Mainly health insurance which has exponential increases every year)
New programs the city wants to implement
Utility rates
Funding for capital needs
Possible new employees to meet needs of city
Smaller projects that might need completed

Generally by the end of February we have a rough budget that will continue to need work to balance it.

March 2008

March is a time where you want your budget to be close to ready to go by the end of the month. The City Manager and Finance Director continue to massage the numbers as we look for trends coming from our current year budget. Department heads are continually looking at their budgets to create priorities in order to make sure their needs are met.

By mid-March we hold a budget work session with the Mayor, Council, City Manager and Department Heads. The first copy of the budget is submitted to the Mayor and Council and we start prioritizing our city needs. We will discuss in detail all of the issues that are noted above.

We discuss the need to keep our employees salaries and benefits at market value. We discuss exactly what projects we can fund this year and which projects we need to move another time. We discuss the need to possibly add personnel. We discuss at length the need to increase utility rates in order to keep up with the ever rising costs. We discuss programs that can make our city better.

Once this meeting is over the city staff has a good idea as to what the Mayor and Council want to get done this year. It is usually right in line with the goals that were set earlier in the year. Some tough decisions are made at this time. It's never easy to let something go, because of funding, that you know would be great for the city.

April 2008

April is a time to monitor the current budget once again to make sure that financial trends are going to be met in our upcoming budget. We also do some minor tweaking as certain issues tend to arise. This also allows us again to review the budget, goals, and projects to make sure we can meet the needs of the citizens. At times we might have another budget work session if the need arises.

May 2008

The city is required to adopt our preliminary budget by the first council meeting in May. We hold a public hearing to take public comment on the proposed budget. The preliminary budget is usually pretty close to our final budget.

Once again we constantly evaluate things and even make some minor changes, but fundamentally we are ready to go.

June 2008

The city is required to adopt its final budget by the last council meeting in June. We do have a public hearing again and if we don't have any changes then we adopt our new budget that night. By this time we have a document that has a lot of hours put into it. It has been reviewed, re-reviewed, scrutinized, and reviewed again. This budget shapes everything we do in the coming year.

July 2008

Our budget starts and we as staff start looking at the budget needs for the next year. Although the process gets pretty intensive for six months it really is a year-round process.

I hope this gives you an idea on how we budget. This blog entry is a simplification of the process, but I hope you can appreciate all the planning and work that goes into adopting the budget. If you would like to see a copy of our budget when it is adopted we are planning on making it available on the website or you can come into City Hall if you want a copy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Where is the South Ogden Nature Park?

South Ogden has completed Phase 1 of its Nature Park, but the question is: Where is it located? I received an email from Jenica asking that very question. So I'll respond in a couple different ways.

The physical address is:

5875 S. 1175 E.
Directly south of the Ogden Athletic Club

Here is the link to MapQuest. It doesn't take you directly there because the road it is on is new, but it gets you close enough.

MapQuest of South Ogden Nature Park

P.S. My goal is to post at least once a week to keep the blog somewhat fresh. Sorry I missed last week, I caught the crud that was going around and it kept me from getting an entry posted.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Two New Planning Commission Members Added

At last City Council meeting two new Planning Commission Members were added. The two people are Jennifer Bunker and Jonathan Wright. They are finishing two terms vacated by Nancy Litchford and Donald Fulton. Jennifer Bunker will finish the four years left on Donald Fulton's term and Jonathan Wright will finish the one year left on Nancy Litchford's term.

South Ogden City ran a brief article in the newspaper soliciting applicants for the two positions. We were pleased to see that numerous people were interested in filling the positions. The Mayor interviewed interested candidates and appointed two of them to the Planning Commission. The City Council gave their advice and consent to the appointments in council meeting making the action official.

We welcome our new Planning Commission members and look forward getting them trained and geared up for future land-use issues in South Ogden.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Riverdale Road Project

It has been in the plans for quite a few years, but Riverdale Road will start getting it's upgrade this year. The funding this year is to widen the road to three lanes on each side from I-84 to the Weber River (viaduct). Funding for future widening from the viaduct to Washington Blvd. is still not committed to the project. Until it is committed this part of the project is essentially on hold.

Riverdale Road is a state highway and therefore is funded through the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). Riverdale Road from the Mattress Furniture Outlet Store and Cafe Rio to 36th Street is in South Ogden City limits. Because it is funded by UDOT we are at their mercy as to when they will complete this project. The best we can do at this point is to keep our citizens updated and wait and see if funding becomes available.

UDOT has set up website, email, and phone number for information.

Website: http://udot.utah.gov/vineyard
Email: vineyard@ppbh.com
Phone Number: 801-753-7343

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Easter Egg Stuffing- Volunteers Needed

It's that time of year to prepare for the South Ogden City Easter Egg Hunt. In order to successfully pull this off we need your help. Various businesses have donated plastic eggs, candy, and coupons for the Easter Egg Hunt. Actually 20,000 eggs in all. We need help stuffing them.

We have three days set up at City Hall (3950 Adams Avenue) for volunteers to help us stuff eggs. We will provide pizza and a family movie to those that want to come and join us.

Thursday, March 13th 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Friday, March 14th 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 15th 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

You can stay for one hour or all three if you can. If you are interested contact Special Events Coordinator Christy Love at 622-2705 or email her at clove@southogdencity.com.

In case you were wondering our Easter Egg Hunt will be held on Saturday, March 22nd at 9:00 a.m. Sharp! Don't be late. The Hunt is over in less than 5 minutes.

The Easter Egg Hunt will be held at Friendship Park (655 E. 5500 S.) in South Ogden. Children 12 and younger are invited to participate. The Easter Bunny will be available at 8:00 a.m. as well as after the event for pictures.

We hope to see you there!

Friday, February 15, 2008


You may have heard of RAMP, but have always wondered what it is. RAMP is an acronym for Recreation Arts Museums and Parks. RAMP is a tax that was passed a couple years ago by Weber County voters to add an additional 1/10 of 1 cent on the sales tax. This money is specifically earmarked for RAMP activities.

RAMP generates roughly $3 million dollars a year. Since it is a county-wide tax it is distributed to various entities throughout the county. Cities are one of the main recipients of these funds. For more information on RAMP you can click here.

Every city in Weber County receives a minimum of $5,000 for parks and recreation projects. If your city is over 5,000 people then you receive $1 per resident. The last couple of years South Ogden City has received roughly $15,000 each year. We have used this money to upgrade two baseball fields at Friendship Park. The money we will receive this year is earmarked to upgrade our baseball field at Club Heights Park.

In 2006 South Ogden received over $150,000 that went towards Phase 1 of the South Ogden Nature Park. Below are some pictures as to what that money was used for:

South Ogden Nature Park Small Tot-Lot and Bowery

South Ogden Nature Park Large Tot-Lot

The city also used some of this money for a restroom as well. Because of RAMP funds the city was able to move the project up a whole year which saved us money because of the ever rising costs of construction.

South Ogden City has applied for $275,000 of 2008 RAMP monies for Phase 2 of the Nature Park. The total cost of this phase is $550,000. The city already has the $275,000 match ready to go.

Phase 2 of the Nature Park is mainly a 12' asphalt trail that extends just south of the "traditional" aspects of the park. It will also allow for some trees and other things to be added to Phase 1. This trail will give residents a paved surface in which they can walk, jog, or bike. The trail will wind up through the gully just north of Brier Pointe subdivision.

The city should know by mid-March whether we have received the funding or not. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we'll be able to complete Phase 2 this summer.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Planning Commission

Thanks to BenJoe Markland for posting a comment and asking "What does the Planning Commission discuss?" So with that introduction I'll do my best to explain the Planning Commission and what they do.

Who serves on the Planning Commission?

The South Ogden Planning Commission consists of seven members who are all appointed by the Mayor with advice and consent of the City Council. It is important to understand this distinction because they are not elected officials. Therefore their role is substantially different than the City Council.

What issues do the Planning Commission discuss?

The Planning Commission mainly deals with land use issues. This ranges from subdivision approvals, amendments to the General Plan or Zoning Ordinance, annexations, non-conforming uses, etc.

How are they different from the City Council?

Their main function is to be an advisory body to the City Council. Most decisions that the Planning Commission make are sent to the City Council as a "recommendation". The City Council then has final say as the legislative body of the city. If the issue is minor in nature i.e. a conditional use permit then the issue does not go before the City Council.

When do they meet?

Our Planning Commission meets on the second Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. in the South Ogden Council Chambers at City Hall.

Is the public invited to attend?

YES. This is an open government meeting. Their agendas are posted at City Hall and in the Standard-Examiner.

Can the public participate?

Often times agenda items require a public hearing. The public is allowed to speak at that time.

Does the Planning Commission have an advisor?

The Planning Commission is advised by a professional city planner. The planner for South Ogden is Ken Jones. Ken will put all the information together including his recommendation to the Planning Commission on each agenda item.

Can you walk us through a typical Planning Commission issue?

Let's say a developer wants to put in a commercial building. They make application with the city and then the plans are sent to the City Planner. The Planner reviews the plans and makes his recommendations of changes that might be needed. The plans are also reviewed by other city departments as needed.

The City Planner makes a recommendation to the Planning Commission on the site plan. The Planning Commission will review the site plan and possibly make additional changes as they think necessary. This could include the look of building, the parking requirements, ingress and egress, landscaping etc. They can grant preliminary approval to the developer pending the requested changes.

Once the developer makes the changes necessary then final approval is granted and the site plan is approved for development.

I hope all this information helps as the Planning Commission is an important function of any city. If you have any further questions then post a comment or send me a email and I'll do my best to answer them.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

South Ogden City Council Meetings

South Ogden City Council meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at South Ogden City Hall (3950 Adams Avenue). City Council meetings are the cities doing their business in the public arena. We publish an agenda in the newspaper and on our website before every meeting. This agenda gives the public a chance to see what issues we are discussing during that particular meeting.

City Council meetings usually have pretty sparse attendance. Usually people show up if they have an issue on the agenda or if the city has a "hot-button" issue that is pending. Outside of a handful of people and the Boy Scouts we don't normally see people coming to the meeting "just to watch".

As a city we would love for our citizens to come to more meetings. We understand that they aren't always the most exciting thing to attend, but this is the citizen's business that is being conducted. Each meeting has time set aside for the public to make comments. These are times when issues can be brought before the City Council that maybe they weren't aware of. Once we're aware of the issue then we can take the steps needed to get it taken care of.

If you're not interested in a City Council meeting you can always attend a Planning Commission meeting. They meet on the second Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

South Ogden Business Alliance (SOBA)

Three years ago we had a planning session with the mayor and city council. One of the ideas that came from that session was to create a way to establish a dialogue between South Ogden City government and the South Ogden business community.

The idea to create the South Ogden Business Alliance was born. The purpose of the business alliance was to not only create a dialogue, but partner with our local businesses to help make them successful in our city. We have some pretty big businesses in our city, but the bread and butter of our community is the small businesses or home occupation businesses. SOBA has been a resource for any businesses that wants to take the time to participate.

When we originally started we had a pretty sparse attendance. Over time we have gained more and more support and participation. Our monthly meeting now consists of about 30 members with probably over 100 businesses that have joined us at least once over the last three years.

SOBA meets the first Wednesday of every month. Most meetings are held at the South Ogden City Hall in the Community Room at 12:00 p.m. Lunch is always served and it is free of charge. There is also NO cost to join SOBA. It has been a goal that we want people to come and participate without having to worry about ponying up any cash.

One of the things that has been very successful with SOBA is the networking between businesses. Most businesses have generated a client or two (or more) from their relationship with other businesses that attend the meetings. Each meeting has about 10 minutes set aside to network with others. We also have a table that allows you to bring promotional materials about your business to share with others.

Each meeting also consists of a business spotlight (10 minutes) and a guest speaker (20 minutes). We try to bring in guest speakers each month that help broaden your ability to do business. We also try to keep the meeting at one hour to allow people to get back to work.

We would invite all business owners in South Ogden to come and join us. Our next meeting is Wednesday, February 6th at 12:00 p.m. at the South Ogden City Hall (3950 Adams Avenue). Even if you are not a business owner you are welcome to come and see what we do. If you mention this blog we'll even give you a free piece of pizza. ;-)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Local Officials Day

Utah State Capitol Building

While the State Legislature is in session this blog will have a slant towards what is happening on the state level. Because of decisions that are made by the State we spend a good amount of time paying attention to bills that are being proposed.

With that, on Wednesday, January 23rd South Ogden City participated in Local Officials Day. Local Officials Day is organized by the Utah League of Cities and Towns (ULCT) and is an opportunity for mayors and city councils across the state to spend the morning with their legislators up at the Capitol. Most cities have previously met with their state representatives before the session starts, but this gives them a chance to watch the state legislature in action.

Along with local officials, youth councils from across the state were invited as well. The South Ogden City Youth Council had eight kids attend the event. It was an early start since we had to be to the Capitol by 8:00 a.m., but we were able to arrive in time to attend a couple of committee meetings. Because there were 450 youth council members in attendance it was kind of hard to find a seat at times.

Utah House of Representatives Chamber

At 10:00 a.m. we were able to watch the House of Representatives in action. Personally, I have always found the State Legislature to be quite fascinating. If you have never had the opportunity to be at the State Capitol to view them in person it is worth it to do it at least once. We didn't have a chance to visit the Senate due to time constraints, but I think it was fun for the youth council to see something they don't see everyday.

After that the youth council went to a session where Pat Bagley was the guest speaker. Mr. Bagley is a political cartoonist for the Salt Lake Tribune. He was able to show some of his work from the previous years as a cartoonist.

The day ended with lunch in which the youth council met back up with the local officials and the state legislators joined us at our respective tables. This time is important to cities as we continue to let our state legislators know about the issues that affect us. State legislators have a tough job because of so many competing interests so we make sure that they recognize that their constituents are also our constituents. We hope that decisions made at the state level will continue to support the citizens of South Ogden.

Friday, January 18, 2008

State Legislature- Soon to be in Session

The Utah State Legislature is scheduled to begin again on Monday, January 21st. This is an important time for South Ogden City as decisions made on the state level can have a serious impact on our ability to provide services to our residents.

South Ogden's two main revenue sources are sales tax and property tax. Because the State has the ability to change how these revenue streams are allocated we keep a close eye on the rumblings up on "The Hill".

South Ogden belongs to the Utah League of Cities and Towns (ULCT) which is an organization that helps protect the best interests of municipalities in the state. ULCT has a Legislative Policy Committee that helps shape the policies and issues that arise in dealing with the legislature. South Ogden City has three representatives that sit on the Legislative Policy Committee. They are Mayor George Garwood, Councilmember Vickie Mattson and City Manager Scott Darrington.

This committee normally meets monthly except when the legislature is in session. Then it's a weekly meeting. The committee looks at all the bills that affect municipalities and then supports, opposes or remains neutral on the bills depending on its impact on local government. This can lead to frustration at times as all bills don't help our cause. But we are actively pursuing the things that best help our city.

Our state representatives for South Ogden City are Representative LaWanna (Lou) Shurtliff and Senator Jon Greiner. Rep. Shurtliff is a retired school teacher and Sen. Greiner is the current Police Chief of Ogden City. You can see their profiles and contact information at this website:

Utah State Legislature Home Page

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Feature Enabled- Leave Comments

I have enabled the feature to leave comments to a particular post. However these comments will be screened before they are posted. Which means that you can make a comment, but it is possible it won't show up for a day or two. Or if the comments are inflammatory then they won't be posted at all. The idea of the blog is for information and not for banter.

If the comments are abused then we'll switch back to the previous settings. I'm hoping that as people have questions they can respond via the "comments" instead of sending an email. Then I can respond to the comments so that people can get the information they are looking for.

Clarification on Christmas Tree Drop-Off

We don't have it listed on the site as to the last day to drop off your tree. We usually try to wrap it up by the end of January. So this still gives you time to bring your tree by and drop it off. Hopefully it's not becoming a fire hazard. =-)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Swearing In the New Council Members

Left to Right- City Recorder Dana Pollard, John Bradley, Wayne Smith, and Sallee Orr (Sorry about the photo quality)

On Monday, January 7th the new members of the South Ogden City Council were sworn in by City Recorder Dana Pollard. John Bradley was an incumbent city council member while Wayne Smith and Sallee Orr are first time council members. Their terms run until December 31st of 2011.

On Tuesday, January 8th the city held its first council meeting of the year in which Mayor Garwood re-appointed City Recorder Dana Pollard and City Treasurer Holly Kenison.

John Bradley was appointed as mayor pro-tem replacing Alma Richins.

Nate Frost and Shannon Sebahar were both appointed to the Planning Commission for a five-year term replacing John Newton and Duane Beus respectively.

Vickie Mattson was appointed as the city representative to the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce replacing Shannon Sebahar.

All appointments were passed with advice and consent of the city council.

A big thanks to Alma Richins and Shannon Sebahar as outgoing city council members. Alma served South Ogden City as a police officer, police chief and city council member. All told he tallied 38 years with the city.

Shannon Sebahar was heavily involved with various committees within the city and will continue to serve the city as a new member of the planning commission.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Youth Council at the State Capitol

Last night in City Council meeting we swore in our new youth city council. This year we have 13 youth council members ranging in between 9th-12th grade. South Ogden has an open recruitment for youth council members each year and this year we've had our largest interest ever.

The youth council is involved in various things including attending Local Officials Day at the State Legislature on January 23rd and a Youth Council Institute held at Utah State in Logan that teaches kids leadership skills through guest speakers, workshops and a Youth Council Challenge. This event is held in March.

This year our youth council along with myself and the youth council advisor participated as volunteers at the State Capitol on Saturday, January 5th. The volunteering was part of the Capitol open house that has been going on this past week. Each youth council member was assigned to different areas of the Capitol for 3 1/2 hours to usher people through and maybe answer a few questions.

We had youth council members that were in the Gold Room, Rotunda, Senate Chambers and House Chambers. Some were asked to help direct traffic and maybe show off part of the "less interesting" parts of the Capitol. Overall the youth council had a great experience and represented South Ogden really well. We are proud that they are willing to take the time to be a youth council member and serve the youth of South Ogden.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Snow Removal

Thanks for the emails that have been coming in. I have received another email regarding snow removal in South Ogden. We tend to get a lot of phone calls here at the city after we get substantial snow so I figure some people ask themselves, "Are they ever going to plow the snow on my street?"

We do have a method to our madness when we remove (push) snow. First of all I'll start by clarifying a pretty major issue that can be confusing.

Two of the main streets that run through our city are Highway 89/Washington Blvd. and Harrison Blvd. Both of these streets are heavily used and are integral to South Ogden resident's ability to get around town. These streets are NOT pushed by South Ogden City. They are the responsibility of the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). We are not allowed to push snow on those streets.

So now we'll answer some commonly asked questions when it comes to pushing snow.

Question: Why do the snowplows come by and plow in driveways, after they have already been by once before?

Answer: When we receive a large snowfall our initial efforts are to just keep the roads open. In most cases the width of the plow blades does not allow us to make just one pass and move the snow all the way back to the curb. Once the snow quits, we try and go back to widen the streets for mail delivery and better traffic flow.

In the case of the heavy snowstorms it could be up to 48 hours before we can get back to do the final cleanup. It is frustrating, as a homeowner and a driver, to have your driveway plowed in after you have cleaned it. Unfortunately, as the plow goes by, the snow is always dumped in the only opening which is the driveway.

Question: Why do the plows come by so late at night even on the weekends?

Answer: Our plows run totally dependent upon the snowfall, and the schedule of our staff. We have six snowplows to clear approximately 50 linear miles of road. We split our crews to avoid excessive overtime and to make sure that the drivers are not tired. Once again, this works well with a basic snowfall, but when we get large amounts in a quick period of time it slows everything down. It takes approximately 10-12 hours to plow the entire city.

In a heavy storm or back-to-back storms we sometimes have our crews working around the clock to move snow as fast as we can. At times by the time we've finished our first sweep we'll start again and the roads won't even look like a plow has touched it. When snow is heavy and wet we have a small window to move it before it freezes. Once the snow freezes it is impossible to move.

Question: Why does my street always seem to be the last one plowed?

Answer: In some instances, that will be the case. In the city, we have what we call priority routes. Priority one are those streets that are intensely used, such as collector roads and roads with excessive grade. Priority two are arterial streets that carry traffic to collector streets. Priority three would include all other residential streets in a typical subdivision. And finally, priority four would include cul-de-sacs and dead end streets.

During extreme snowfall, it takes every plow in the city 48 hours before we even get to the priority three and four streets. These are the times the seem to frustrate residents the most. Heavy snowfall seems to be an inconvenience to everyone and we do hope that we are a solution to the problem and not part of the problem.

Question: How come we never see any sand on the roads?

Answer: South Ogden City does not use a sand mixture. We use 100% road salt. Although sand is a bit less expensive, the cleanup in the spring and the damage from the sand ending up in the storm sewer system is extreme. We have also found that a pure concentration works much better in very cold weather.

Finally, I would just like to point out that our public works and parks crews take great pride in how our streets are taken care of. They are willing to work weekends, holidays (we had guys out pushing on Christmas Eve this year) or whatever it takes to get the job done. For the most part our citizens understand and appreciate that. We are willing to try to make improvements in order to do a better job, so if you feel like you have suggestions that might help please email me at southogdencity@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

First Email- Where do I drop off my Christmas Tree?

A special thanks to Marshall for being the first person to email me via this blog. I'm glad somebody out there is reading it. Marshall asked about the Christmas Tree drop-off areas. I'm guessing that others are looking for the same information. Here it is:

40th Street Park - 560 39th Street in front of the bowery
Club Heights Park parking lot - 4150 S. Palmer Dr.
Madison Avenue Park parking lot - 4080 S. Madison Ave.
Friendship Park parking lot - 655 E. 5500 S.
Meadows Park – 5725 S. 2000 E. at the end to the cul-de-sac in front of the park

Please feel free to email me with questions or concerns about the city. I will in turn answer your questions and maybe even post the answers so that others can gather information through your questions.