Friday, March 28, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
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 Our old ladder truck was getting old and outdated.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
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.
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.
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 benefits (Mainly health insurance which has exponential increases every year)
New programs the city wants to implement
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.