Thursday, December 29, 2011

City of Taylorsville Highlights of 2011

As we near the end of 2011, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the events of the past year. Here are a few:

On Nov. 11, we held our annual Veterans Day program and parade. The first sculpture for the Veterans Memorial was displayed. The Memorial will be finished by Memorial Day 2012.

It was fun to have an Apache helicopter land prior to the Veterans program. We also enjoyed hearing from Governor Gary Herbert.

Taylorsville Dayzz, at the end of June, is always a fun event. We have the best fireworks display in the whole state. It was great to have Abracadabra perform an ABBA tribute, as well as an Elvis impersonator. Carnival rides, booths, and a parade help to celebrate Taylorsville's birthday celebration. This year we celebrated our 15th birthday as a city! 

The Taylorsville Arts Council hosted the very first, "Taylorsville's Got Talent," a fun community talent show. We hope it becomes an annual event!

To kick off the first year, we had a special guest band - BTO (Bennion Taylorsville Overdrive) perform, "Taking Care of Business." (Senator Karen Mayne, Rep. Johnny Anderson, Rep. Wayne Harper, Senator Michael Waddoups, and Mayor Russ Wall were the performers.)

Wow! This past year Taylorsville residents have had to increase their patience while driving through the city. We had a plethora of construction projects - mostly new CFI (continuous flow intersections) - which are now finished. We look forward to 2012 for the Flex Lanes project on 5400 South and the new road on 1300 West being completed.

Good news on the financial front! Sales tax revenue in the city is beginning to improve. In the past five months we had a five percent increase in revenue. November 2011 saw an 11 percent increase over November 2010. Overall we are up 2.64 percent over the previous year.

The City Center property got a new look in 2011! After years of dusty, dirt fields, the eastern portion of City Center was sodded, thanks to a grant which funded the project. The Mayor, using his creativity, traded a four-day use of the property for the Samoan Festival, in exchange for mowing and other maintenance year-round.

It's a sled dog race without the dogs and without the sled. Folks grabbed their four best buddies (of the non-canine variety), got a shopping cart, created costumes, and decorated their cart for the ride of their life! This crazy event is called the Taylorsville Iditarod! It was a fun "race" by the LARP committee that began in 2011 and will become an annual Taylorsville tradition. (Put March 3rd on your calendar to participate in 2012.)

Lastly, Taylorsville City committed to improving resident communication in 2011. We now have various forms of social media - this blog, as well as city accounts on Facebook (over 580 users - make sure you are one of them!), Twitter and YouTube. Our city website was also re-designed in 2011!

We are looking forward to a great 2012! See you next year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Taylorsville Employees Give Back

Every year Taylorsville City employees find families and individuals that they can help personally for Christmas. This year employees were able to provide a nice Christmas for a Taylorsville family and several residents at the Golden Living Center retirement home.

After putting together a list of needs, the city Christmas tree was decorated with cards. Employees have the option to take a card and purchase a gift for someone in need. 

Pat Kimbrough, executive assistant, was instrumental in putting together this program. "Our employees always come through," she said. "There was one card left on the tree and one of our employees took it, and collected funds so we could buy the father a nice pair of work boots." 

Brandy Stephens, administrative assistant to the police chief, and one of the organizers, went with several Taylorsville police officers to drop off the gifts.

"When we dropped off the gifts to the family, the dad was so grateful," said Stephens. "It was great to be able to help them."

Mayor Russ Wall is proud of the employees who spend their personal funds and time to give back to residents in need. "We have great employees who are always willing to help someone at Christmas."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Taylorsville's Christmas Street

When Alan Adams was a child, he loved it when his parents took him to Christmas Street on the east side of the Salt Lake valley. When he grew up and moved to  Taylorsville, he came up with the idea to have a Christmas Street of his own.
Adams presented the idea to his neighbors at a neighborhood barbecue over 25 years ago, and the neighbors loved it! They found various books of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and found the pictures they wanted to have on each house. Alan got the boards, painted them white, borrowed an overhead projector, got a book from the library and projected on the boards so they could pencil in the drawings. The neighbors all met in one of the garages and painted the boards.
On the street there are only four of the original people. All the rest have come and gone.   When neighbors sell their home, they inform new buyers of their responsibility to keep Christmas Street alive. They almost always leave their decorations and then new owners add to it. If someone does not have enough decorations, neighbors will pitch in and help.
 Kathy Reed, one of the original residents of Christmas Street said that their five grown kids still come back to help decorate. “We love to do this for the community,” she said. 
Reed said that they don’t even mind the inconvenience of getting in and out of their driveway when traffic becomes heavy. “We try to do as much shopping and coming and going during the day.” Sometimes if they need to run home for a minute, they will park on another street and walk to their house.
The lights go on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. At 6 p.m. neighbors start at the first house and turn on lights and go from house to house. Then they meet in a neighbor’s garage for donuts and hot chocolate.
Christmas Street begins at 5295 South 3310 West in Taylorsville. Last Saturday I took my 7 year old and he loved it! In fact, Santa was standing in front of one of the homes handing out candy canes. Adams said Santa volunteers his time and they split the cost of the candy.
“Every once in awhile we get a letter that says how the lights have given someone joy and hope in their lives,” said Adams. “That’s the reason we do this.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

City Council Update - Dec. 14, 2011

The council meeting began with an open house for outgoing council members Bud Catlin and Morris Pratt.  Council Chair Jerry Rechtenbach began the meeting by recognizing these two council members for their years of service. A proclamation for each of them was read, signed by the council chair and Mayor Wall. 

Catlin's proclamation honored achievements including helping to form the City of Taylorsville Police Department, organizing Public Safety and Healthy Taylorsville promotional events and in advocating for his constituents.

Pratt's proclamation honored achievements with preserving the Taylorsville-Bennion area’s history, caring for citizens in need by championing the creation, construction and operation of the Taylorsville Food Bank, and by his general advocacy for his constituents.

City administrator John Inch Morgan said in an email, "In as much as I am unable to attend Wednesday, please extend my heartfelt appreciation for these men. In writing the proclamations I realized how much of an impact these individuals have had in bringing the city to where it is today."

Mayor Wall also shared his appreciation for the time these men have spent away from their families to serve the city. He said the city has felt their impact and will for years to come.

Pratt and Catlin had an opportunity to speak. "It's been a great ride," said Pratt. "I am grateful for this city - one of the best cities in the state."

Catlin said he started his public service in the mid 50's. He said, "It's been fun and I will miss it."

Other Council matters:

Dave Ballou was appointed to the Ordinance Review Committee. 

Police Chief Del Craig discussed the VAWA and VOCA grants and gave his quarterly report.

The council unanimously accepted a $500 grant from the Utah Department of Health - Division of Disease Control and Prevention. Catlin praised the Healthy Taylorsville committee for their involvement in this.

The council had a discussion on prohibiting smoking on or in city-owned parks, trails, and recreation facilities. The Council asked to have it brought back at a future meeting.

A discussion was held on the proposed Land Development Code. Chapter 32 was site plan review, which states the process the city goes through in reviewing a plan. Chapter 33 was the conditional use permit chapter. It establishes the standards for granting conditional use permits and brings the city into compliance with state law in relation to conditional uses. Chapter 34 is on appeals and variances. It articulates the process the city goes through when they hear an appeal or a request on a variance. The Council had few questions on these chapters.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Farewell to Council members Bud Catlin and Morris Pratt

This Wednesday evening, Taylorsville residents will have an opportunity to bid farewell to two of our city council members - Bud Catlin and Morris Pratt.

The city will host an open house prior to their last council meeting from 6-6:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers.

I have tremendous respect for anyone willing to spend time away from their family, withstand public scrutiny, and give their best to improve their city. So I would like to highlight some things that these two council members have done over the years.

Council member Bud Catlin

Catlin was elected in 1997, and began his term 1998. He is the longest serving council member in Taylorsville. Catlin was involved in getting City Hall built and the Senior Center finished.

When Bud and Donna Catlin moved to Taylorsville in 1989, there were no sidewalks on the north side of the road by Fremont Elementary and he was concerned for the safety of the students. He was instrumental in getting a sidewalk put in, along with a fence, to provide safety for elementary school children.

Catlin felt it was important to put streetlights in all the neighborhoods and wanted to see that happen. He also helped secure the Taylorsville Rec Center and participated in building the skate park.

Catlin is proud of his record of voting against a tax increase.

"He has loved being on the council and being involved," said Donna Catlin. "I think he's really going to miss the camaraderie with his fellow council members. He has made a lot of long time friends."

Thank you for your 14 years of service, Council member Catlin!

Council member Morris Pratt

Pratt has served two terms, representing District 2 on the city council.

He is very proud of his role in helping the Taylorsville Food Pantry open. He would like to ask residents in Taylorsville to please make a donation to the Food Bank.

Pratt was instrumental in creating a plan for the city to own and operate the Taylorsville cemetery, thus helping to keep the maintenance up and preserve this historical place.

He was a big proponent of the Millrace Dog Park, and helped see that to fruition. Pratt was also instrumental in getting the Freedom Shrine Memorial completed on 4500 South by the Jordan River.

Probably some of Pratt's most active volunteerism has been to keep the historical area around 4800 South intact. He served as the advisor over the Historical Preservation Committee, and was supportive of the efforts of the Taylorsville Bennion Heritage Center.

Thank you for your eight years of service, Council member Pratt!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

City Council update for Dec. 7, 2011

Mayor Russ Wall gave his Mayor's report and included an update on visiting the Silvercrest senior living facility on 2099 W. 4700 S. It is a newly-built facility that will eventually house 186 units.

Royce Larsen was unanimously appointed to the Budget Committee.

Aubrey Thompson from the Youth Council gave a report. The Youth Council is currently working on their annual Sub-for-Santa project.

Ed Erickson and Rob Wood with Hanson, Bradshaw, Malmrose & Erickson, did the 2010-2011 annual financial report and fiscal year audit report. They said that the city's net assets decreased by only $300K. The city's reserve fund balance is $4.3 million. He deemed the fund balance to be "very healthy." We are in the upper part of the range for the maximum, which is 18 percent. Council member Dama Barbour said, "I'd like to thank the firm for their hard work, and also thank the administration. I like to see these kind of reports." City administrator John Inch Morgan said, "This is really a report card for Scott (Harrington) and he got an A+ for a job well done." Council Chair Jerry Rechtenbach continued the praise, "We've had a clean report for so many years now, and it says a lot about our administration."

The council unanimously approved a minimum bid for property at 1881 W. 6200 S. for $140,000.

John Inch Morgan presented an inter local agreement for the development of a Taylorsville-Murray transit corridor study. The total cost would be $420K. Taylorsville would pay $80K, with UTA bearing the largest cost. This has been a very important project to the Mayor and the community development department. Council member Catlin was concerned about giving money to UTA for fear that we wouldn't get anything out of it. Council member Barbour made a motion to approve it. Council member Johnson was the only dissenting vote and it passed 3-1.

Tonight the council reviewed the proposed Land Development Code. Chapter 29 was Addressing and Street Naming, Chapter 30 was Subdivision Review, and Chapter 31 and Condominium Development. There was relatively little discussion on these chapters and the council approved the draft as submitted.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fishing Finds in Taylorsville

By Dave Ballou

Top five things my 4-year-old daughter has said to me:
5. “Daddy, you have a really big nose.”
4. “I really love Rammstein!” (German Heavy Metal... and yes, she really does.)
3. “Daddy, I love you way more than mom.”
2. “Ewww, that car has one of those ugly red U’s on it – I don’t like those. Go Cougs!”
And last, but not least:
1. “Daddy, can we go fishing today?  I want to fish all the way until tomorrow morning!”
To me, with the exception of a hot tracer bullet fired at close range, there is nothing in this world that warms the heart quite like spending time on the water with my girls. Normally, we’ll load up our gear, jump in the car, and drive an hour or so to Strawberry, Rockport, or Jordanelle – all great fisheries.  Unfortunately, with the price of gas soaring and the lack of excessive free time, we haven’t been able to get out as often as we’d like.  
During the first part of this year, I would often think to myself, “Self...this stinks!  We need to go fish, but gas prices are ridiculous! It’s all Russ Wall’s fault!” (Isn’t it always the mayor’s fault??) But as the summer rolled on I noticed my inner thoughts started getting a little bit crazy. We were all getting cabin fever, and clearly something had to be done. A few Google searches and a few phone calls delivered the goods; I’ve lived in Taylorsville for almost four years now and never realized that there are two quality fisheries right in my back yard. 
Millrace Pond
1200 W. 5400 S.
Much like the Utah Vs. Colorado State game, this place is a hidden gem.  With over three acres of clean, green, fishing heaven, Millrace Pond might just be the perfect solution to your next, “If-I-don’t-get-the-kids-out-of-the-house-and-out-of-my-hair-in-the-next-ten-seconds, I’m-going-to-shred-the-closest-object-into-oblivion” moment.  
The city secured half a million dollars in funding from Salt Lake County and funds from the Division of Natural Resources. The Division replenishes the fish in the pond, and the city is responsible for the maintenance. It has become a great birdwatching site for bird lovers around the state because of the rare species of birds that are sited around that area of the Jordan River, too.
Along with large mature shade trees, the pond also includes covered picnic areas, clean restrooms, a fish cleaning station, and fishing pier.  To top it off, you can catch five different species of fish with relative ease: Bluegill, Green Sunfish, Large mouth Bass, Channel Catfish, and Rainbow Trout.
Here is a shot of a little Rainbow Trout that we hooked into just last week: 
The Jordan River
If you don’t know the address, then you should stop reading this article and go get help.
I know what you’re thinking, “The Jordan River is gross and the fish that come out of there will probably have toes growing out of their third eye. Why would I want to subject myself to that?” Well, this has been my thought for pretty much my entire life, so I don’t begrudge you your opinion. But truly, the Jordan River has become one of my all-time favorite places to fish. Not only is the action fast, but you can bet your life that along with severed limbs, crocodiles, countless flushed goldfish, turtles, and snakes, that the state record of several species of fish is hiding in those murky depths. A simple worm and a sinker will allow you to catch any number of fish, including: Channel Catfish, Mud Cats, White Bass, Walleye, Trout (seriously, I’ve seen photographic proof!), and most importantly, Carp.  This particular beauty is only 4” short of the state record, and took me only thirty minutes to land: 
Here is a 20” Utah Sucker that we hooked into just a few weeks ago – the fight was phenomenal: 
In short, don’t let the old hubbub about the Jordan River scare you away.  The cities surrounding the river have made dramatic improvements to access and availability, the state has implemented many new laws and codes that are keeping a lot of the pollution that used to be dumped in, out of the river, and there are plenty of spots that you and your family can take a lunch and relax for a few hours. And seriously, there’s never anything wrong with catching a whole bunch of fish. (Unless you’re at a pay-per-fish trout farm, and then it’s not cool at all!)
I know that Old-Man Winter is swiftly making his way to our front doors, but take advantage of the waters that are within 10 minutes of your front porch and invite your family to get out and have some fun. I’m just sorry that I didn’t realize what T-ville had to offer sooner.
Tight lines, and I hope to see you out on the water in a few short months! Oh, and if you need a fishing partner, give me a ring:
Dave Ballou
Cell - 801-641-7641

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where Do You Shop in Taylorsville?

As the holidays approach us, we encourage residents to spend their shopping dollars in Taylorsville. The greatest revenue source for the city is from sales tax. As residents shop in the city, they keep that revenue within Taylorsville.
Here are some of the places in Taylorsville our elected and newly-elected officials may be shopping for the holidays: 
Council member Dama Barbour loves Jo-Ann’s, PetsMart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Famous Footwear, T-Mobile, and Sally’s.
Council member Bud Catlin and his wife, Donna, will be shopping at Harmons and Wal-Mart this season.
Council member Larry Johnson visits Harmons to purchase items for their holiday feasts. 
Council member Morris Pratt tries to shop at any store in Taylorsville.
Council member Jerry Rechtenbach frequents Mr. Mac’s and Seagull Book. His wife, Teresa, loves Ross Dress for Less.
Council member-elect Ernest Burgess shops at Shopko, Sports Authority and Dollar Tree. He likes to use FedEx/Kinkos to mail packages. His kids love the Guitar Center.
Council member-elect Kristie Overson said The Army Navy Surplus is a great place to buy creative stocking stuffers and emergency preparedness items.  
Mayor Russ Wall enjoys shopping at Mr. Mac’s and Skechers. He bought his bikes at Taylor’s Bike Shop, and is hoping Santa shops for him at RC Willey (in the electronics department - hint hint)!