Monday, August 29, 2011

Taylorsville - the City of Volunteers!

Friday night Taylorsville City held a volunteer picnic to honor those who give of their time in the city. It has really got me thinking about all the great people who make Taylorsville what it is.

I know many cities have citizen committees, but there is something different about our city. Ever since the inception of Taylorsville, we have had hundreds of people willing to give time and resources to benefit our community.

I have heard people ask, "How can I be involved?" Well... let me give you a list to choose from:

Arts Council
Budget Review
Economic Development
Green Committee
Historic Preservation
LARP  (Leisure, Activities, Recreation and Parks)
Ordinance Review
Public Safety
Healthy Taylorsville

Generally these committees meet once a month. If something jumps out at you, call City Hall and get more information - 801-963-5400.

There are other groups that utilize citizen volunteers. The Planning Commission is a group of citizens, appointed by the City Council to make decisions regarding planning and zoning. Taylorsville Dayzz is an enormous production every year and needs several hundred volunteers to make it happen. CERT is a community emergency response team that is used for city emergencies.

Currently we have several hundred volunteers in the city and we are always looking for more! If there is something that looks interesting to you, call City Hall.

*If I've missed a committee, please leave a comment or email me so I can fix it. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Road Construction Updates

‘Tis the season for road construction in Taylorsville! This is not something we necessarily brag about, but hopefully we will all be happy when it’s over and driving through the city is smooth sailing.
Here are a few updates on road construction in the city:

1300 West from 5550 - 5400 South Due to the heavy rains and flooding this summer, 1300 West is closed, possibly until next spring. Taylorsville City engineers noticed movement on the canal bank and settlement within the roadway, which has caused concern for the safety of vehicles. The City is being very cautious due to the potential hazards created by the utilities in the roadway, including large gas and water lines. They are concerned that the vibrations of vehicles going over the roadway may cause additional movement and have closed the road. Taylorsville engineers have had a geotechnical investigation done and are waiting for the results. Based on those results, they will be determining the best course of action to mitigate the issues. There is the potential that the road could be closed until next spring while they work through a solution for design and construction of the new roadway.
4700 South and 3200 West - Currently 3200 West is down to one lane in this area. City engineers are repairing storm drain issues. 
The following projects are being done by UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation) --
5400 South Redwood Road intersection - The new CFI’s (Continuous Flow Intersections) are a priority for UDOT. This particular one is now operational (after a bit of a rough start this week). It should be all completed in the next three weeks.
5400 South Bangerter Highway intersection - This CFI has been operational for about a month and a half. 
Speaking of 5400 South... - The flex lanes between Redwood Road and Bangerter Highway are planning to be operational in October.                                                      
6200 South Bangerter Highway - This intersection will also transition to a CFI. Currently one lane is closed, depending on rush hour. (So if you are headed westbound down 6200 South in the morning, you will most likely encounter some congestion.) The construction in this area should be complete next summer.
5400 South 4015 West - In this area, 5400 South will change so that left turns are not allowed and “median u-turns” will be available. Construction on this project is scheduled to begin soon.
To get more information from UDOT on any of these projects, you can go to their website at www.udot.utah.gov


I continue to update the Taylorsville City Facebook page with road construction updates, so "like" our page at www.facebook.com/TaylorsvilleCity if you want to get city updates through Facebook. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Taylorsville Fallen Soldier Changes Lives

Today I had the opportunity to attend the funeral for Jared William Day, a Navy Tactical Communicator, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. It was an amazing experience. I have a new perspective on war, pride, and freedom. Seeing the many men and women in the military who protect us, was humbling.

Last Wednesday, Mayor Russ Wall, Council member Dama Barbour, and Police Chief Del Craig, attended the homecoming of Jared Day. Here is their story...


Taylorsville Council member, Dama Barbour, has two grandsons serving in the military. They have both been to Iraq and one is awaiting his next assignment – possibly to Afghanistan. But as a council member, Barbour had a life-changing experience on Wed., Aug. 17, 2011, when she was part of the Taylorsville City delegation attending the homecoming of Navy Communicator, Jared William Day, who was killed in Afghanistan this month.


“How do you sort through so many feelings at once?” Barbour said. “Sadness, pride, beauty – I can barely put into words the things I felt while watching the Day family accept the remains of their only son.”Barbour recounted her experience at the arrival of this fallen soldier. “There were 36 American flags held by the Patriot Riders – motorcyclists who are holding an American flag for a fallen soldier. How ironic that those Patriot Riders, there to show support and protect this family from harassment, are needed because of freedom. The same freedom Jared died fighting for.”

As she watched his mother, Barbour said, "I wondered if she was thinking about the birth of her son, maybe his 2-year-old birthday party, or maybe the day when her 6-year-old son told her he wanted to be in the Navy. She sobbed and was heartbroken, but she was obviously very proud of her son,” Barbour recalled.


Del Craig, Taylorsville Chief of Police, had similar feelings as he watched the plane land on the tarmac. “It was an honor to be there and to see how it was handled by the staff at the Air Guard, the Patriot Guard and the police,” Craig said. “It was humbling to know that we have men and women in our communities who are willing to put their lives on the line to ensure our freedom.”

Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall was filled with emotion as the family received the casket, draped with an American flag. “All servicemen were at attention and everyone else had their hand on their heart,” he said. “Jared believed in his service and was willing to do it, no matter the price. I thought, as a parent, how difficult this must be.”

Barbour found it fascinating that Jared’s friend from elementary school, Paul Seal, was his escort on the plane. His family is also from Taylorsville and he is in the Air Force.

“It is amazing to me that military personnel are with the family at all times,” Barbour said. “This experience is one I will never forget as long as I live. When I act in the capacity of a city council member, as we pass laws and ordinances, I will remember that it’s people like Jared Day who make it possible to have our government – to have our freedom.”


Navy soldiers carry Day's casket.


Day's casket is loaded into the limo.


Jared Day's plane arriving

Thursday, August 18, 2011

City Council Update - Aug. 18, 2011

During the Citizen Comments portion, a citizen in Misty Hills spoke about her flooding problems. She asked the city to find a solution. She commented on how responsive the city was and John Taylor, the city engineer.
Healthy Taylorsville chair, Brett McIff spoke during citizen comments. He and LARP Chair, Rhetta McIff provided healthy snacks for the elected officials during the council meeting to kick off the County-wide “Commit to be Fit” program.
Mayor Russ Wall reported on attending Jared Day’s homecoming. Taylorsville resident and Navy SEAL, Jared Williams Day, was killed in a chopper crash in Afghanistan. Mayor Wall, Police Chief Del Craig, and Council member Dama Barbour were at the homecoming with the family. The family has been so appreciative of all the thoughts and prayers from Taylorsville residents.
A new Economic Development Director was approved unanimously by the council. Donald Adams has experience in large retail development and a master’s degree in planning and economic development. He has worked in economic development in Taylorsville, Riverton, Salt Lake County and in the private sector.
Planning Commission members Anna Barbieri, Dan Fazzini, Jr., and Dale Kehl were reappointed to the Planning Commission.
Israel Grossman was appointed to the Economic Development Committee.
Two Boy Scouts gave reports on their Eagle Projects. Matt Tibbitts and Adam Westover led projects to better our city, including replanting trees in Millrace Park and doing clean up on 6200 South. If anyone looking for Eagle project ideas, talk to John Inch Morgan.
Taylorsville contracts with West Valley Animal Control for services. Kelly Davis from WV Animal Control gave his quarterly report and commented on how great the volunteers are. People can go and walk dogs, pet cats, clean stalls, etc. at the animal shelter.  Pet Fest is on Sept. 24. The animal shelter has been up and running for a year and they want people to come and see it.
Chief Craig gave his quarterly report. Robberies, assaults, and burglaries have increased in the last quarter. Calls for service were a little lower than the previous year. The PD will be doing a study on the CFI intersections to see if the reconfiguration of those intersections have had an effect on accidents there.
Judge Kwan gave a report showing the court revenues are up.
Mark McGrath, Community Development Director, led the discussion on the Land Development Code.

FUTURE EVENTS:
Aug. 27 is the Community Yard Sale from 8-1. Contact Jessica and jspringer@taylorsvilleut.gov for more information.
Aug. 31 is the Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting. It is in the City Council Chambers and will be “open house” style from 6-7:30 p.m. Residents are invited to come and meet with the Mayor, staff and Council members.
Aug. 30-Sept 9 is Early Voting for the Primary Election. Voting can be done at Taylorsville City Hall from 10-4 on weekdays.
Sept. 13 is the Primary Election Day. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Working at City Hall

Approximately two weeks ago I started working at City Hall. I've been handling the PR and communications for Taylorsville. I work as a contractor, which means I'm not an "official" employee who gets benefits - just paid an hourly wage. I work about 30 hours per week.

The first day at work, the HR director took me around and introduced me to everyone. Because of my years of involvement in the city, I knew most of the employees in Community Development and Administration. I got to meet some new people in the police department and court. Everyone was very friendly.

One thing I don't like is that I sit at a desk in the middle of the administration office and everyone can hear everything I say. I have been so used to working from home and having privacy, so this has been a big adjustment.

The thing I am most impressed by are the employees. What a great group of people! They all work hard and do their best for the city. It is so great to see how well everyone gets along. They all have each other's backs and it's kind of like a family.

It has been interesting to hear people comment on how we don't have funds for this and that, but then they try to make things work on a limited budget. Taylorsville doesn't have the fat that a lot of cities have. (Take my job for instance -- another city in the valley has a five-person communications department.) Many of these employees do the job that two or three people do in other cities. They all work very hard to make things happen for the good of the city.

Another great aspect of my job has been the interaction with our citizen committees. We have so many amazing volunteers in Taylorsville! Seriously, I am in awe by people like Brett and Rhetta McIff, Steve Ashby, Connie Taney, and so many others who donate time and resources to the city, and save taxpayers a lot of money!!

I am truly finding that it's the people that make Taylorsville special - employees, volunteers and residents. I am proud to be a Taylorsville resident!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Council update for Aug. 10, 2011

The city council work session began this evening with a discussion on electronic meetings procedures. This would enable council members to participate in council meetings via phone or the internet. The statute requires you can hold an electronic meeting, but you must have an ordinance in order to vote. Some of the council felt like there still should be a quorum (three or more council members) physically present. The city attorney will now write a draft ordinance and bring it before the council at a future council meeting in September.
The council originally had planned to discuss several chapters of the new Land Development code, but decided to move it to their next meeting.
Council member Pratt gave some information on “Celebrate Your Museum Day” on Sept. 24. I will find out more info on it and post it on our website and Facebook page.
Council meeting ended after only 25 minutes. Some say it set a city record for the quickest council meeting ever!
One more item… Taylorsville has a Facebook page. If you “like” the city, you will receive our city updates. See www.facebook.com/taylorsvillecity.
Also, if you are interested in following Mayor Wall and the City on Twitter, follow @MayorWall and @TvilleUT.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Taylorsville's new Land Development Code


By Mark McGrath
Community Development Director
 
Over the next few months, the city council will be reviewing a new proposed Land Development Code for adoption. This code has already gone through city staff and then was presented to the Planning Commission for review and an official recommendation to the City Council. At this point there is about a year's worth of effort in the project.
 
Essentially the Land Development Code project is a complete re-write of all of our development codes, (i.e. zoning ordinance, subdivision ordinance, etc.) and unification into one comprehensive document.
 
When the City of Taylorsville incorporated it was largely to gain control over land use and development issues. Ironically, however, we pretty much just brought over Salt Lake County's development ordinances. Our original general plan (1997) and comprehensive update (2006) established a new vision for the community. But without the appropriate ordinances in place, it has been difficult, if not impossible, to implement that vision. Generally, the primary motivation of this project was to marry the two documents (general plan and development ordinances) by adopting regulations that will help create the community that we envision in the general plan. More specifically, the primary objectives of the project were to:
1.       Bring our ordinances into complete compliance with recent changes to state law.
2.       Update the codes so that they better address current trends and land uses.
3.       Create flexibility in order to enhance economic development opportunities.
4.       Streamline the entitlement processes.
5.       Establish higher design standards for all new projects.
6.       Establish higher architectural design standards for commercial buildings.
7.       Make the codes more user-friendly by including more illustrations.
 
In all, the proposed development code has 37 chapters. The proposed code, as recommended by the Planning Commission, can be found at this link.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

City Council Update for Aug. 3, 2011

The Mayor reported on the Samoan Festival that took place at the City Center Property. The Samoan Community agreed to maintain the new lawn in front of City Hall in exchange for use of the city property for their annual Samoan Festival.
City engineer reported on the homes that were flooding. Over the past eight days Taylorsville has had an immense amount of rainfall. At 6200 South 2700 West, the storm drain failed and there was minor road damage, causing an intersection closure for a couple of days. Most homes are flooding because of the amount of rainfall.
The LARP committee gave recognition for the Best of Taylorsville Home and Business Beautification Awards. Several residents were nominated because of their beautiful landscaping. The winner was chosen and a plaque and gift basket was presented.
David Gourley, from Granite School District, gave an update on the Hartvigsen School that is being built by Taylorsville High School and Plymouth Elementary. Enrollment is 225 and the students are non-driving students and will be bussed. The principal for Hartvigsen said one reason they wanted to locate there was so there could be interaction with the students at Taylorsville High School. As I understand it, because the school districts are a separate entity they don’t have to go through the planning process or inspection process. They have no obligation to receive “approval” by the Taylorsville Planning Commission or City Council. The council asked to have the school district present the plan to the surrounding neighbors just so they would know what was going on. The council wants the school district to take the needs of the adjacent residents into account.
When the city bought property in conjunction with the continuous flow intersection on 6200 South Redwood Road, there was a small piece of property left once the roads were reconfigured. The property has three roads surrounding it. The city is looking at selling the property for less than market value to Habitat for Humanity home. By selling it and having a home built through this organization, it would ensure that an owner-occupied home was built there.  Residents had various concerns and the council tabled the matter. The city engineer will be working with the neighbors on this item.
MY FAVORITE MOMENT OF THE EVENING: Bruce Wasden, former city councilman and one of Taylorsville’s “Founding Fathers” came and spoke about concerns for 6020 South and respecting the area.  As he walked from the podium, out the door, Council member Rechtenbach reminded him to stop and fill out a comment form before he left. Wasden responded with, “She knows who I am. Write it up, Cheryl!” And then he promptly exited. The audience had a good chuckle!
The City Council approved a monetary contribution for the Taylorsville Arts Council and Youth Little League. They will be giving $1000 to each organization.
The council accepted the 2011 VOCA Victim Assistance Funds in the amount of $33,065. They accepted the 2011 Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) Taylorsville PD equipment replacement program in the amount of $5000. They also approved accepted a grant from the Administrative Office of the Courts in the amount of $1000.
Each council meeting the Community Development Department will be presenting several chapters of the new Land Development Code for discussion only.
The RDA meeting was held right after the council meeting. The details were discussed on an RDA bond. The city council approved a $10 million bond, which is basically a line of credit. Their plans are to use it for economic development efforts in the city. (With revenue declining in the city, the council feels it’s important to beef up our revenue source – which is business sales tax revenue.) The first draw on this line-of-credit is in process - $4.6 million. The plans for these funds will be for land acquisition and infrastructure, in the area of 5400 South and west of Bangerter Highway. It passed unanimously.

Monday, August 1, 2011

This blog will be changing...

Last week I was offered a contract to handle marketing and public relations for Taylorsville City. This contract includes fostering better communication with businesses, residents, employees, citizen committees, elected officials and the media. My goal is to improve the overall image of Taylorsville.

I mention this here because this new position affects this blog. Since I will be working with the city as a contractor, I feel it would not be appropriate for me to be so opinionated in a forum such as this. I originally started this blog for a few reasons. First of all, I hoped to help shape public policy. I see some things that I think should be different and my hope was to educate involved citizens so good decisions would be made. Secondly, I wanted to communicate with Taylorsville residents. I have found that residents are hungry for the sort of information posted here. Not everyone can attend every city council meeting, and yet many residents want to know what their elected officials are doing. The absence of open dialogue is a warning sign for any community. It ramps up emotions and prevents good policy discussion. Lastly, it was good therapy for me. When I was frustrated with some of the decision-making, it helped to write out my thoughts.

That being said, it has been a tough decision to post for this new job. I really like being a citizen activist and standing up for what I believe in. I love helping with campaigns and sharing my opinions. I know working for Taylorsville will change my role in the city. After many sleepless nights and some good advice from friends, I realize that I can impact the city more in this new role, so I am walking away from a nine-year mortgage business and redirecting my efforts to help Taylorsville prosper.

I have had some ask, "What will happen to Taylorsville Tidbits?" 

Beginning tomorrow you will see some changes to this blog. Instead of being a soap box for my opinions on politics, it will be an informational source on things going on in Taylorsville. You will still get information about the issues and details of city council meetings. But instead of hearing what I think about those issues, you will get a chance to figure out what you really think.

Another new change -- this blog will host guest writers from time to time. 

I am excited about this new adventure and appreciate those of you who are faithful readers of Taylorsville Tidbits. Stay tuned...