Wednesday, January 11, 2012

City Council Update Jan. 11, 2012

On the second Wednesday of each month, the City Council has a work session. At the work session, they cannot approve any motions. This particular work session was dedicated to training on various matters.
Council Roles and Responsibilities
Attorney David Church presented on the city council's roles and responsibilities. We have a strong-mayor form of government, along with eight other Utah cities - Salt Lake City, Provo, Sandy, Ogden, Logan, Tooele and Murray.
This means the person who runs the day to day operations of the city is an elected mayor, while the city council acts as the legislative branch. In our form of city government, as defined by state law, we have two branches of government - the executive (mayor) and the legislative (council). The mayor is the chief executive and administrative officer, and performs or supervises the performance of the executive and administrative duties and functions of the city. 
We have five city council members, elected for four years by their district. The council, as the legislative body, has defined powers and duties. They include passing ordinances, appropriating funds, reviewing municipal administration, and performing all that may be required by law. The law places limitations upon the authority of the council members as follows: “The council shall not give orders to any subordinate of the Mayor or manager either publicly or privately, but may make suggestions and recommendations."(Utah code annotated 10-3-1217).
Community Development Areas
Economic Development Director Donald Adams and consultant Jon Springmeyer gave an insightful presentation on how tax increment financing works. They discussed Urban Renewal (RDA) projects that eliminate blight. They also spoke about Economic Development (EDA) projects that bring new jobs into the city, and Community Development (CDA) projects that have voluntary participation and may revitalize older retail establishments. 
Restating Compensation of Employees
Tonight the council discussed some changes to the employee salary ordinance. These changes would clean up a few confusing ordinances and place the control over deciding which grades apply to which positions back to the administration. (See first paragraph on powers and duties of the council and mayor.) 
There was much discussion on this issue, as Council member Johnson wanted to have specific positions next to each salary grade in the ordinance. The city attorney explained this could be problematic if the nature of an employees' position changed and the administration wanted to lower their grade, or add additional responsibilities to their job description and increase the grade. Since the council has full control over the amount budgeted in each department, it seemed that most of the council was okay with the ordinance change, but it will need to be passed during a regular city council meeting.
Other Discussions
Several other discussions were had to explain how the mid-year budget process will work, if the city wants to split the cost with Rocky Mountain Power on a beautification wall on 2700 W. 5000 S., and on Chapter 37 (Design Standards) of the proposed Land Development Code.

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