Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mayor Restricts Fireworks, Asks for a Ban

Due to the high fire hazard this year, Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall has signed an executive order to restrict fireworks in certain areas in Taylorsville. He urges residents to individually ban using fireworks this season. 
“We will be putting on a great fireworks show at Taylorsville Dayzz Friday and Saturday evening at 10 p.m.,” said Wall. “Count that as your July fireworks and donate the money you would’ve spent on fireworks to the Taylorsville Food Bank.”
With the increasing number of wildfires, city officials want to make sure potential emergencies are mitigated. “Our number one concern is the safety of our residents and businesses and the protection of their property,” said Wall. 
A map with areas that are off-limits for fireworks is attached to the order. It includes large open spaces, parks, schools, trails, golf courses, and the Jordan River parkway. A 500 foot buffer from these areas needs to be maintained when operating fireworks.
Wall said additional police officers will be on patrol during the July holidays to make sure fireworks being used are legal. Additional fire crews will also stand ready.
Wall said the Taylorsville Dayzz fireworks held this Friday and Saturday are done by professionals and fire department personnel will be on hand to make sure there are no problems. 
Checks made out to the Taylorsville Food Bank, can be mailed to or dropped off at Taylorsville City Hall - 2600 W. Taylorsville Blvd, Taylorsville, UT  84129. 

Mayors and Residents Cycle on Taylorsville's New Bike Lanes

Friday morning, June 29, at 7:30 a.m., Taylorsville residents will participate in a ribbon cutting and bike ride to celebrate Taylorsville’s first set of commuter bike lanes. The event will be held at 6540 S. 2700 West and the bike ride will go north on 2700 West to Valley Regional Park at the Taylorsville Dayzz location. Mayors Russ Wall and Ralph Becker will lead the bike ride.

The bike lanes were encouraged by resident cyclists, two of the city’s citizen committees, and Councilmember Dama Barbour. 
“My constituents approached me about the need for bike lanes,” said Barbour. “I saw a need, as they did, to promote a healthy city.”
Dan Fazzini, Jr., an avid cyclist and Taylorsville resident, was one of those who encouraged the city. “2700 West is a good connector from I-80 all the way to Daybreak. We’d love to see our surrounding cities finish the bike lane both north and south of Taylorsville,” said Fazzini.
Mayor Russ Wall is excited about the changes. “It’s been in our plans for a long time. Thanks to a push from Councilmember Barbour and others, we are trying to be a more bike-friendly city.”
City officials will have a bike valet during Taylorsville Dayzz festivities to encourage more biking to the event on Friday and Saturday evening.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Taylorsville Celebrates 16 Years with Taylorsville Dayzz Events

On July 1, 1996 Taylorsville officially became a city after 70 percent of residents voted to incorporate. This year the teen city will be 16 years old and residents will celebrate with a parade, carnival, entertainment and fireworks at Taylorsville Dayzz on June 28, 29 and 30.
Thursday at 8 p.m. the Utah Symphony and Wasatch Cannoneers will perform at a free concert at Valley Regional Park - 5100 S. 2700 W. 
Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. the Taylorsville Symphony will perform. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beach Boys, Surf City Allstars will perform all their favorites Friday night at 8 p.m. Following the free concerts will be a fireworks show around 10 p.m., all at Valley Regional Park.
Saturday morning residents will have an opportunity to “Beat the Mayor” in a 5K Family Fun Run beginning at 8:20 a.m. at Taylorsville City Hall - 2600 W. Taylorsville Blvd. At 9 a.m. the parade begins, and at 11:30 a.m. is the city’s Veterans Memorial unveiling at City Hall. 
Later Saturday evening Jay White will perform a Neil Diamond tribute - a free concert also at Valley Regional Park - at 8 p.m. and a fireworks show will finish off the events at 10 p.m.
The carnival and other entertainment will take place at the park Thursday and Friday from 4-11 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
“We celebrate the decision we made to control our own destiny when the incorporation vote was taken in 1995,” said Mayor Russ Wall. “Taylorsville is a great place to live, work, and play. We have fierce city pride here in Taylorsville.”
For more details on Taylorsville Dayzz, see

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Council Summary 6/20/12 - UPD approved

The majority of the city council meeting was spent trying to get a 2012-2013 tentative budget approved.

Councilmember Dama Barbour made a motion to adopt a tentative 2012-2013 budget. It included joining the Salt Lake Valley Fire District and a 15 percent tax increase which yields $615,000 and will pay for a block wall along 4100 South for public safety ($400K) and increased maintenance along streetscapes including weed abatement ($200K). It failed 2-3 with Rechtenbach, Burgess and Johnson being the dissenters.

Then Council Chair Jerry Rechtenbach made a motion to lower the tax increase to 10 percent, but it did not receive a second and the motion died.

Councilmember Ernest Burgess asked to reintroduce Barbour's original motion for the 15 percent tax increase to do the wall along 4100 South and increase maintenance for streetscapes throughout the city. That motion passed 3-2 with Rechtenbach and Johnson being the dissenters.

The next motion was to approve an interlocal agreement to join the Unified Police Department for all police services. Overson made the motion to approve it and it passed 4-1 with Johnson being the dissenter.

The tax increase would be approximately $2.43 per month on a $197,000 home. On August 14, 2012, city officials will hold a Truth-in-Taxation hearing where the public will be invited to give input on this proposed tax increase before it is official.

Here were some of the great quotes of the evening:

"We chose to become a city, and we now need to support our city. I trust Taylorsville. I trust the employees, the administration and the council. I trust the businesses. We've got to move forward. We either block the way and say this can't happen, or we jump on board and make it happen." - Councilmember Kristie Overson 

"We voted to incorporate because we were tired of being under the county's leadership. To even approach some of those visions, it's going to require more (money) than we have here." - Council Chair Jerry Rechtenbach

Monday, June 18, 2012

Eagle Projects in Taylorsville

From time to time we have scouts call who want to do their Eagle Scout project to help the City of Taylorsville. We have Eagle Scouts who have gathered supplies for the emergency caches, made wood backboards to transport injured in case of emergency, cleaned up the UDOT property on 6200 South off the South Jordan Canal Road, and helped make cribbing or bandages. 

One recent project included several days of painting walls that had previously been painted with graffiti. Isaiah Vealoloko chose this as his project.

Last week this same scout troop helped with the garden boxes on the east side of City Hall, spending several hours Saturday and Monday.

The Scout Committee Chair, Luci Makalio, has helped 11 boys last year and seven boys this year get their Eagle Scout award. She has made a difference in the lives of these scouts, and in the quality of life for all Taylorsville residents. Some of the other  Eagle projects she has helped with include painting all the fire hydrants in the city and cleaning up a park.

Thank you to all of you who help make Taylorsville a better place!

If anyone is interested in doing an Eagle Project in the city, you can contact John Inch Morgan or Lisa Schwartz at 801-963-5400.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Council Meeting 6/13/12 - Discussion of the Budget

Much discussion was held on the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget. The council discussed their philosophical approaches to funding items. Historically Taylorsville has been a "pay-as-you-go" city. Our City Hall was built with cash and our city councils have always thought long and hard before bonding for any items.

Currently Taylorsville has a storm drain bond, and last year a bond for economic development was approved by the council. Knowing the need to rebuild one fire station (station 117) and building a third fire station will be necessary, Councilmember Rechtenbach felt like philosophically it made more sense to join the Fire District rather than bond for those items. He said the "pay-as-you-go" program saves taxpayers money on interest and then does not encumber residents with debt for 10-15 years. He asked the council for other ideas to move the city forward. Councilmember Johnson did not like Rechtenbach's budget proposal, but no other council members had any other ideas. Councilmember Barbour commended Rechtenbach for looking outside the box and coming up with some solutions.

Mayor Wall asked the council to give the administration direction so they can have the final budget proposal ready for next week when the budget must be approved. (By law the budget must be approved by June 22.)

The city council did a straw poll to see which direction they wanted to go for next week. (They can't take any official action during a work session.) Four of the five council members voted to use UPD for all our police services, join the Fire District, and not have any property tax increases for 2012. (Johnson was the dissenting vote.)

Because joining the Fire District in January 2013 means that we only need a half-year contract with UFA, the council was able to make up $1.9 million in savings, which meant they didn't need the property tax increase to cover expenses.

In 2013, joining the Fire District would result in an increase to property taxes of approximately $11.82 per month on a $197,000 home. Residents would get an additional fire station, rebuild of fire station 117 and additional fire personnel with joining the Fire District. It would also leave revenue for the city to use for capital improvement projects so they wouldn't have to bond and could continue the "pay-as-you-go" philosophy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Information on joining the Salt Lake Valley Fire Service Area District

Currently the City of Taylorsville is a member of Unified Fire Authority (UFA) through an interlocal agreement for our fire, emergency medical services and other related emergency responses, and pays approximately $3.9 million annually for these services. 

The city has the highest population density of any city in Utah, and because of that warrants a higher need for public safety response. Elected officials take this matter seriously, and have stated that the safety of our residents is their number one priority. 

At present, Taylorsville is a net importer of fire services, representing just over 15 percent of the overall UFA responses but contributing only 8.2 percent to the overall budget.  Additionally, one national standard suggests a staffing level of one firefighter per thousand residents, but current levels within the city are just over .6 per thousand.  As you can imagine, asking for charity from our neighbors can only work for so long, as other agencies on a regular basis enter into the city to augment emergency needs.

Because of these issues, the city council is considering a move to the Salt Lake Valley Fire Service Area District, which is also a member of UFA. 

The Salt Lake Valley Fire Service Area District does not provide the actual fire services, but is a funding mechanism to pay for the services. The District has the ability to levy property taxes which are then forwarded to UFA for our fire services. Currently unincorporated Salt Lake County, Herriman, Riverton, and Midvale are part of the District. 

Pros of Joining the District: 
  1. The city receives additional coverage - one additional person at Station 117, and two additional at Station 118, with consideration given for more personnel once the new station is complete (see point two).
  2. Immediate plans for construction of a third fire station built within the city.
  3. Necessary capital improvements can be made to an aging Station 117, which the city does not have funds for at present, nor would the city need to worry about future capital improvements to Station 118.
  4. The above stated fits with the city's historical "pay as you go" mentality. The District covers all the costs of major infrastructure expenditures.  For example, the city would not need to bond for a $3 million dollar fire station.
  5. Some previous revenues used to fund fire services are freed up for the city to use in other vital areas.
Cons of Joining the UFA District:
  1. The city council gives up their taxing authority over the fire department (but does have an elected official vote at both the District Board and UFA Board levels).
  2. Long term commitment: Removing the city from the District would require a referendum majority vote of the people.
We don't know how this would impact property taxes until the city council decides how they would structure it. If we join the District and the additional District tax is added, the council may then decide to lower the city portion of property taxes to help offset that. They will discuss specific numbers in the next two council meetings. A decision on the final budget is expected on June 20.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Council Meeting 6/6/12 - Budget Public Hearing

We had a packed house at the council meeting. Between the budget public hearing and the GIFT awards, there were 90+ people.

Ruth and Don Breitling, 805 West Taylors Hill Cove (about 4850 South) won the Best of Taylorsville award for this month for their beautiful landscaping. If you are interested in nominating someone for this award, please email

The Taylorsville Green Committee recently had a contest - GIFT - Green Ideas for Taylorsville. Students answered the question, "What we can do to help Taylorsville be a more "Green" community?" Students ages 5-12 who live in Taylorsville were invited to send in an entry.  The Green Committee awarded the GIFT awards. The $50 Grand Prize went to Aspen Earnhart from Plymouth Elementary. The $25 Gift Certificate Winners are Bridgett Raymundo - Vista Elementary, Kiana Eskelson - Fox Hills Elementary, and Henrie Holder - Bennion Elementary.

Erin Penrose, Youth City Council Chair, gave a report from their council.

Jay Ziolkowski gave his UFA report. He shared a video clip of Councilmember Overson's experience at Fire School. He and other UFA officials presented Mayor Wall with an award for his service on the UFA board.

The City Council approved the transfer of property from the county to the city for Labrum Park on the South Jordan Canal Road. This large, special-use park will be getting a face-lift later this summer.

Council Chair Rechtenbach invited the UFA Chiefs to talk about joining the Salt Lake Valley Fire District. (More info will be posted on Monday about this District and what it means for Taylorsville.)

The budget public hearing opened and residents were evenly split on whether or not they wanted to see a tax increase. 

The council went through a few items in the budget and Rechtenbach ultimately suggested that they look at a budget next work session that took out the block walls and subsequent bond, removed the tax increase altogether, had the city join the fire district, removed the Sister City funds, and kept UPD in. The council voted 4-1 (Johnson dissenting) to see that budget and discuss more next week. The vote does not mean the council has made any final decisions on joining UPD, the fire district, or the final budget. Most likely those final decisions will be voted on June 20.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fire School 101

On May 12, 2012, Taylorsville city officials had a day they will never forget...

... the opportunity to be a firefighter!

Councilmembers Ernest Burgess, Kristie Overson and Dama Barbour, along with myself, got to attend the Unified Fire Authority's "Fire School 101."

We showed up at 6:30 am, donning plastic fire hats that said...

The UFA does this event to help officials understand what it's like to be a firefighter. They educated us on the importance of having enough personnel when responding to emergency calls. They demonstrated two different scenarios - one with only three people responding and one with four. We were able to see how much better the situation was handled when there were four people to work on a heart attack victim.

We went outside and watched a fire emergency. Firefighters work in pairs and one pair cannot go into a burning building unless there are two others working outside. They showed us how much slower it is for response when only three are on one truck and they have to wait for a second truck to show up.

We had our own fire gear and suited up, ready for our events of the day.

Here is the Taylorsville delegation - Burgess, Barbour, Overson and Newton.

Our first task was to put out this major fire. We had to use oxygen masks and got to use the fire hoses to fight the fire. The heavy hoses had some kick-back when we turned them on, so someone had to help us hold and maneuver the hose.

It was an incredible experience being so close to the fire and feeling the heat through our gear, but still being able to breathe normally.

We all had firefighters assigned to be our host for the day. These men volunteered to participate on their own time. Here is Councilmember Barbour and her host.

We had the opportunity to climb this 100 foot ladder in our firefighter gear. It was so scary, but we did it!

Councilmember Overson and her host - a firefighter who works in one of our Taylorsville stations.

Councilmember Burgess and his host...

Another activity included wearing our gear and mask and having our eyes covered so we could only feel with our hands. We learned how the fire hose is the life line for these brave men. We had to learn how the hose felt so we knew if we were going the right way out of the building. I ended up soaked from crawling through water.

Another activity included getting to use the "Jaws of Life" to cut open a car. The tools were so heavy, but it was very interesting.

They even put our names on our fire helmets.

At the very end some of us wanted to drive a real fire truck. We rode down the street in this fire truck and then each took turns driving. 

We were so exhausted when we finished our long, 12 hour day. We were also pretty sore the next day. But this was such an incredible experience and one we will never forget. We learned how important it is to have sufficient coverage for our city. An extra five minutes makes a huge difference in saving lives and property when there's a fire!

 Here are some clips of the news coverage of this great day: