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

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.