Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Council Update 5/16/12 - Budget and UPD

The City Council meeting opened with a half dozen comments from residents who had comments about the budget and the possible joining of Unified Police Department (UPD).

Seghini's UPD report
Mayor Wall turned his Mayor's Report time over to Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini. She spoke about Midvale's experience joining UPD and UFA. She spoke about the $2.5 million savings that Midvale experienced. She said the police reserve was increased, that all their Midvale police officers and firefighters transition over with jobs and proper equipment. She said the citizens had the same level of service. Their call response times went from 10 minutes down to 4 minutes. She said they increased the quality of their departments. The council asked many questions about response times, how the contract works, transitioning, etc.

Changing Street Name
A group of neighbors got together at a barbecue a few years ago and decided they wanted their street to have an actual name instead of numbers. The city is proposing that all eight residents on that street, along with Councilmember Rechtenbach and City Engineer John Taylor, be the committee to make a decision on the street name. The street name currently proposed is Crimson Court.

Economic Development Report
Economic Development Director Donald Adams gave his quarterly Economic Development report. Adams said there are approximately 17,000 jobs in the city. He said the unemployment rate in Taylorsville has been going down. In 2010 the rate was 8.2% and today it is 6.2%. Income levels in Taylorsville have been increasing over the past few years. Adams said that when businesses are trying to decide where to locate, they drive around the community and notice streetscapes, how neighborhood and parks are maintained, and if the city looks like a viable place, in addition to demographics. He updated the council about some specific projects that are considering a Taylorsville location - a large entertainment business, a couple of restaurants, and announced the opening of Dickey's Barbecue.

Budget Committee supports UPD
Budget Committee Chair Lynn Handy gave a report and recommendation of the city's Budget Committee. This committee is comprised of Taylorsville residents who have a financial background. They review the city budget and give recommendations to the council. Tonight Handy focused on UPD. The Budget Committee unanimously agreed that Taylorsville would be better served by going with UPD. The committee has met with UPD and run all the numbers. They believe it would be less expensive to take advantage of "economies of scale" by pooling services with the other cities. Handy also reported that the committee supports giving all employees an average raise of 3 percent. Employees have not been given raises for the past four years.

Police Budget
The council had a discussion on UPD. Police Chief Craig, City Administrator John Inch Morgan, CFO Scott Harrington, and Mayor Wall all participated in the discussion. One good question Councilmember Johnson asked was how easy it would be to get out of UPD. The city can leave UPD at any time and take all assets with them. Of course there would be some hassles - repainting cars, hiring a new police chief, etc. The Mayor stated that he thinks when elected officials join UPD they will be happy with the service and financial savings and will not want to leave UPD.

The council did not take any action on the UPD issue and will not be taking a vote on it until June.

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