Monday, November 26, 2012

Strategic Plan Meeting Summary

On Saturday, Nov. 10, elected officials, staff and members of the public gathered to discuss the city's vision for the next 10 years. Here is a summary of the items discussed:

Mayor Russ Wall reviewed items from the Strategic Plan that were accomplished during 2012. He described the 10 initiatives included in the plan, as follows:

Initiative 1: Customer Service – A Dan Jones Survey was conducted to evaluate community service in Taylorsville. Mayor Wall reviewed results of the survey. He cited improved communication with residents, businesses and customers at City Hall through social media means, and updates to the city newsletter. He noted that the city newsletter is now distributed by email to those who are interested.

Initiative 2:  Economic Development – Mayor Wall discussed efforts to improve and increase retail businesses in Taylorsville.  He specifically reviewed plans for the following properties:  DDR/Taylorsville Family Center; 5400 South Bangerger; UDOT Property at 6200 South Bangerter; 4100 South Redwood; 4800 South Redwood; and 6200 South Redwood; 

Initiative 3:  Transportation and Infrastructure – Mayor Wall discussed the 6200 South Extension at Labrum Park; 1300 West Reconstruction; and 4700 South Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Environmental Study. 

Initiative 4: Quality of the Built Environment – The Mayor reviewed efforts made to improve weed abatement and maintenance of rights-of-way.

Initiative 5: Neighborhoods and Code Enforcement – Mayor Wall discussed code enforcement efforts within neighborhoods and cited the city’s Good Landlord Program.

Initiative 6:  Parks and Recreation – The Mayor illustrated photos of the Community Garden at City Hall and cited the many trees planted within the City. He listed parks in Taylorsville and discussed park rehab improvement projects. He also described new and future parks planned in the city. 

Initiative 7: Public Safety and Law Enforcement – Mayor Wall noted that the city made the move to the Unified Police Department (UPD) this past year. He recognized Precinct Commander Tracy Wyant and cited the smooth transition to UPD.  He described improved services available through UPD. The Mayor cited a need to rebuild Fire Station #117.

Initiative 8: Volunteers, Staff and Resources – Mayor Wall recognized city volunteers in attendance and described recent volunteer efforts, i.e. cleaning up graffiti and streetscape. City Administrator John Inch Morgan cited 23 Eagle Projects performed in the City to help with cleanup efforts. Mayor Wall mentioned other volunteer cleanup projects that have occurred, i.e. cleanup along the Jordan River; Arbor Day celebration, etc.  He cited the valuable contributions of city committees.

Initiative 9: Environmental – Mayor Wall described strides towards becoming a “paperless City Hall.”  He discussed recycling programs and recycling sites in the City.

Initiative 10: Arts, Culture, and Entertainment – The Mayor described plans for the Taylorsville Veterans Day Event on Sunday, November 11, 2012.  He described the Veterans Memorial completed during the previous year at Taylorsville City Hall.

3. Strategic Planning Process Introductions – Mark McGrath

Community Development Director Mark McGrath reviewed the 10 initiatives outlined in the 2013 Strategic Plan. He discussed city planning that he was recently able to personally observe in the City of Boulder, Colorado. He illustrated designs to facilitate bicycle and pedestrian transportation.

4. Individual Planning Initiatives Discussion and Survey – Mark McGrath, Facilitator

McGrath distributed responder devices to citizens and gave directions for operating units in response to a survey. Citizens in attendance responded electronically to survey questions.
  1. Initiative #1: Customer Service
City Administrator John Inch Morgan and Mayor Wall discussed administration’s customer service goals.

Rhetta McIff suggested having a TV screen on the main floor of City Hall to display pertinent city information for citizens who are waiting, etc. Suggestion was also made to install a kiosk.

Several citizens commented on ideas regarding customer service.  The need was noted to provide an image that better identifies the city. Demographics were discussed.

The Arts Council and Historic Preservation Committee expressed desire to have a more easily accessible page for community events on the city website. 
  1. Initiative #2: Economic Development
Discussion was held regarding priorities for economic development in Taylorsville.

Ideas were presented regarding capitalizing on baseball/softball tournament events held in Taylorsville.  

Community identity ideas were further discussed.  Economic Development Director Donald Adams stressed the importance of revitalization in neighborhoods.  He explained that the city must be willing to invest in itself in order to draw businesses that are willing to invest in Taylorsville.

Gordon Wolf suggested that building a performing arts center could be a key element in drawing retail businesses into Taylorsville.
  1. Initiative #3: Transportation and Infrastructure
Discussion was held regarding transportation issues in Taylorsville.

Additional discussion ensued regarding the importance of providing transit stops in Taylorsville, in order to generate revenue from those traveling through the city.

McGrath defined bus rapid transit as being similar to light rail transportation.
  1. Initiative #4: Quality of the Built Environment
Comments were made regarding beautification walls and streetscapes in the City.
  1. Initiative #5: Neighborhoods and Code Enforcement
Code enforcement issues were discussed. The suggestion was made that efforts be made to help neighbors who are unable to maintain their yards. Property rights were addressed.

Mayor Wall gave clarification on code enforcement issues and the need to provide balance.

McGrath explained the way that special improvement districts operate and how assessments may be made. Keith Sorensen commented that a Special Improvement District should have been implemented to cover cost of the 4100 South Wall Project.

Community revitalization ideas were discussed. City Administrator John Inch Morgan cited programs, i.e. Adopt-a-Street, Adopt-a-Neighborhood. It was noted that community councils could help implement such programs.
  1. Initiative #6: Parks and Recreation
Park maintenance was discussed. Questions were addressed regarding the implementation of new community parks. Mayor Wall noted that current parks in the city are over utilized. The necessity of maintaining and developing quality parks in relation to economic development was emphasized.

The importance of community trails was reviewed and voted upon.  Efforts were cited to connect park spaces to trails. The need for urbanized trails for students was referenced.

Recreation facilities in Taylorsville were discussed. Bringing in Classic Skating and other similar family recreation businesses was suggested. Economic Development Director Donald Adams noted that these types of businesses have been targeted.

LARP Chair Rhetta McIff presented ideas for utilizing existing parks and closing off streets for neighborhood/community recreational events. McIff cited a need to teach youth bike safety and biking techniques through school programs, etc.
  1. Initiative #7: Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Emergency Management
Discussion was held regarding public safety issues and needs.  Judge Michael Kwan suggested incorporating a performance center into a potential new Justice Center.

The need to make improvements to Fire Station 117 was cited and Battalion Chief Jay Ziolkowski described specific conditions of that building.

Jon Fidler suggested that a new third fire station in the southeast part of the city does not make sense.

Emergency Response Coordinator Lisa Schwartz explained the purpose for a community emergency operations center.

Chief Ziolkowski, Chief Wyant, and Schwartz gave numbers for responders per citizens in Taylorsville. It was noted that Taylorsville’s ratios are much lower than other cities.

Judge Michael Kwan gave explanation on court services and special court programs.
  1. Initiative #8: Volunteers, Staff and Resources
The need for additional volunteers in the City was cited, i.e. the Public Safety Committee, the Ordinance Review Committee, and the Arts Council.

The suggestion was made to initiate a regular day each month to gather volunteers and assign them to volunteer projects. It was recommended that information be placed on the city website and that ideas be submitted for project initiatives on the city website.  The idea of working with religious or church groups was presented. The Mayor described ways that the city currently works with church groups. The return value of a paid volunteer coordinator was cited.

The importance of establishing community councils in organizing neighborhood volunteers was noted. Ideas were discussed for incentivizing volunteers. Mayor Wall cited the Volunteer Appreciation event where volunteers are recognized and rewarded.

Rhetta McIff suggested that volunteers should help with improvements in the city for the “feel good” effect that serving inspires and to personally invest in their own community. Ways to inspire volunteerism were addressed.
  1. Initiative #9: Environmental
The importance of environmental factors was noted. Ways to improve environmental factors in the city were addressed, i.e. recycling; improving energy efficiency; maintaining clean energy; preservation of open/natural space. It was noted that the City Center is geo-thermal.
  1. Initiative #10: Arts, Culture and Entertainment
The importance of cultivating cultural arts and entertainment into Taylorsville was discussed. John Gidney cited the lack of a venue for monthly activities that are sponsored by the Taylorsville Arts Council. He referenced the positive impact of cultural activities on economic development and described ways of drawing people and revenue into the community. He cited Taylorsville demographics that contribute to the need for improved cultural activities. He listed ways that local events are advertised.  

Arts Council Chair Susan Holman noted that pricing is kept very reasonable for Taylorsville events. Gordon Wolf described the type of facility needed.

Input was given on public art, performing arts, neighborhood activities, community activities (i.e. Taylorsville Dayzz, Farmers Market, etc.) in the community.  

5. Closing Comments

Community Director Mark McGrath recognized the quality caliber of conversation during this meeting and praised the great ideas that were presented.

Chairman Rechtenbach recognized the valuable ideas that were discussed and invited those present to continue giving input. He noted that most ideas must be budgeted for and funded. He cited the large number of people that were invited to this meeting and the relatively small turnout. He asked that those present invite their neighbors to provide input and participate in city discussions.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What is Mayor Wall Grateful For?

We asked Mayor Russ Wall what he was grateful for on this Thanksgiving. Here is his list:

1. My wife, kids, and grandkids. I am grateful to have a family that supports me in the things I enjoy doing. They stand behind me even when life is rocky and I love all of them.
2. Volunteers who help make the city a better place and save us money.
3. Employees and contractors who are the life-blood of the city. Nothing happens without our employees - our roads are paved, lawns get mowed, emergencies are handled.
4. Our businesses who help generate sales tax revenue that pay for the services we all need. They add to the quality of life to our residents.
5. Those who provide our public safety and emergency services. We are honored to be part of the Unified Police Department and Unified Fire Department.
6. Well-maintained and safe parks for my grandkids to enjoy.
7. Neighborhood watch groups who are taking charge and taking a stand against crime in their neighborhoods.
8. CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) volunteers who spend countless hours training for something that we hope never comes.
9. The Taylorsville Food Bank and those who are thoughtful enough to donate to it to help those less fortunate.
10. People who are willing to put themselves out to run for public office. I am grateful for those who are courageous enough to make hard decisions for residents of our city, county, state and nation. Thanks to our city council - Councilmembers Burgess, Overson, Johnson, Barbour and Rechtenbach - for all they do for the city.
11. Religious organizations in the city who provide an opportunity to worship how we please. I am grateful for that freedom of religion.
12. Beautiful mountains that surround us and provide beauty and recreation.
13. Signs of recovery in our recession. I still think of those who continue to struggle and wish the best for them in their individual situations.
14. Friends and neighbors. I am also grateful for the many new friends I've gained as a result of being involved in the city.
15. People willing to share their talents - acting in plays, singing at "Taylorsville's Got Talent," or displaying their art.
16. Grateful for the privilege of serving as Mayor. It is an honor to represent the 60,000 people here in Taylorsville. I appreciate their patience and forgiveness when I have made mistakes.
17. A great education system that teaches our kids from preschool through college. It will prepare them to make our world a better place.
18. Many non-profit groups that take care of people when they are down and provide assistance.
19. That I can look out my window and see an American flag flying and remember the many freedoms that I enjoy. I am so grateful for the men and women who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for these freedoms.
20. Two dogs and a rescue cat at home that love me unconditionally, no matter what my political philosophies are.
21. I am grateful for Atomic Fireballs, Life Savers Wint-O-Green, and Hershey Chocolate Candy bars.
22. I am grateful for the way residents of Taylorsville give back to their community, help their neighbors, and make this a great city to live in. I love hearing the many great stories of residents who are every day doing something to help their neighbor or community.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why Do We Enforce Our Codes?

By Mayor Russ Wall

Sometimes I get asked why our code enforcement officers are giving tickets for things people are doing on their private property. Other times I get asked why we don’t do more to enforce the laws and ordinances that we have adopted to keep our city looking nice. 

When ordinances are established, there is a fine line between property rights and affecting other people’s rights and property values. We are always trying to balance this and in doing so, find many reasons why enforcing our ordinances is a good thing.

For example, if your neighbor let weeds in their front yard grow six inches tall, parked their car on their grass (or weeds) or let their garbage litter their property, it would affect the neighborhood. Statistically speaking, crime increases in neighborhoods where property is not kept up, property values would certainly decline, and rodents or other pests may invade surrounding areas.

We want to keep the city looking nice to protect all residents. Enforcing our ordinances not only helps with property values and decreases crimes, but it enhances our economic development efforts as we try to attract high quality businesses here. 

Thank you to those of you who take the time to follow the ordinances and keep your property looking nice. To those who struggle, please help your neighbors by taking the initiative to improve your property. It benefits everyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sanitation District Separates from Salt Lake County

By Pam Roberts, Executive Director
SLCo Special Service District #1 (Sanitation)

In 2013 the Sanitation District becomes its own organization and manages its own employees and funds.  Please note that sanitation funds are fees paid by customers.

History and Background:

The Special District was established in 1977 by the Salt Lake County Commission under State Statute 17 B. The name of the district is Salt Lake County Special Service District #1 (Sanitation). The county commission served as the board of trustees for the district and had all governing authority over the district. The purpose of the district was and still is to provide waste collections for what was then the unincorporated Salt Lake County. The County Sanitation Division was designated as the service provider for the district and was set up and still functions as an enterprise fund within Salt Lake County.  

Since 1977, the cities of Taylorsville, Cottonwood Heights, Holladay and Herriman incorporated and remained in the service district and the sanitation division remained the service provider through Salt Lake County. As you know, the citizens of the county voted to change the government structure from three county commissioners to nine council members and a mayor. The county council then became the board of trustees for the sanitation district.  

As time progressed and the concept of local control developed, in November 2009 the county council created the nine member Administrative Control Board (ACB) to be effective January 1, 2010. The board consisted of one elected official from each of the four cities, four county council members and the county mayor, or designee, who is Patrick Leary, PW Department Director.

Over the past two years both the county and the board have voiced a desire to have the district function as its own independent entity. The district would hire its own employees and manage its own funds rather than have Salt Lake County provide employees and manage funds for the district. 

On May 23, 2012, the ACB passed a resolution and requested that the county allow the district to transfer the sanitation employees from the county to the district and to transfer funds from the county to the district effective January 1, 2013. To be clear, these funds are fees paid by district customers and not county tax dollars. On June 5, 2012, during a Committee of the Whole and the  county council meeting, the council approved and ratified the ACB resolution and gave direction for a county resolution to be drafted to establish the Sanitation District as its own fully functioning organization transferring sanitation employees from the county to the district. 

Why the Sanitation District should be its own fully functioning organization with its own employees and managing its own funds:
·   The District is all ready its own entity and it’s confusing and unnecessary for the county to provide employees for an independent entity.
·   The change acknowledges the rate payers (customers) get to control the District as an independent entity.
·   In essence, the rate payers will be the owners and managers of the company (District) that provides their waste and recycling collection services through their elected officials on the Board.
·   It reduces the amount of management the county government has to perform due to the reduction of managing human resources and accounting functions. (Small reduction with 76 employees)
·   Reduces the need for the county to maintain separate budgeting as an enterprise fund.

If you have further questions on this issue, you can contact the sanitation district directly at 385-468-6325.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

How to Live Healthier as a Veteran

Happy Veterans Day! Today we honor all those who served and sacrificed so much for our country and for each one of us. We hope all veterans can feel of our appreciation. Don't forget to join us today at 11 a.m. for the Veterans Parade and 12:15 p.m. for the Veterans Day program at City Hall. Here are some tips for veterans (and all of us) on how to live a healthier life:

By Emily Walsh

Being a healthy and happy veteran is more than just going to the local VA once or twice a year.  There are so many things you can do as a veteran to improve your health and your life in general.  By doing these things, you will notice that psychological issues become less pronounced and you feel better about yourself, despite the fact that you may have a military-related condition.  There are quite a few different things you can do to improve your health, whether you are dealing with PTSD or were recently diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer.

The very first thing you can try is to begin including dieting and exercising into your daily regimen.  Diet and exercise are great for improving overall health and for releasing endorphins that cause you to feel good.  Many people who are dealing with depression find that regular exercise helps to ease their symptoms.  It is up to you on what type of exercise you will want to try.  Many veterans are finding it beneficial to join local gyms so that they can mingle with other people.  You might find it even more beneficial to begin taking regular walks or jogs in the local park.

When it comes to healthier eating, it is so important that you speak with your doctor before making major changes to your diet.  You want to make sure that you are taking a healthier approach to life as opposed to following a diet that causes you to feel bad or miserable.  Eating healthier can mean something as simple as switching out sugary afternoon snacks with fruits and vegetables.  There are so many things you can do to add healthier foods to your day without even making much notice of the change.

Most veterans should also consider joining support groups to receive the help that they need.  Support groups allow you to talk with other veterans who might be dealing with similar issues as you.  You might find that many of the veterans in the group have PTSD or that some of them have physical ailments that were caused by their time serving in the military.  You will find many of these support groups in your local area, but you might also want to consider the benefits of joining one of these groups online.  Joining a veteran support group online will enable you to speak with other veterans without having to leave your home.

Many veterans have a difficult time knowing how to life a healthy and productive life.  Many of them simply take medications that their doctors have given to them and don't do anything else concerning their health and well-being.  It is amazing what a regular exercise and diet program can do for you when coupled with joining a support group online.  You will find that it is easier for you to live with your condition no matter what it happens to be once you get the support that you crave on a more regular basis in your life.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

City Council Update 11/7/12

LARP (Leisure Activities Recreation and Parks) Chair Rhetta McIff asked the council if the city could sponsor the "Race for the Cure" event next summer. 

Resident Doug Shupe distributed info to the council regarding emergency response ideas. He will be following up with the city's emergency management coordinator.

Mayor Wall thanked everyone who performed their civic duty to go vote during the recent election.

Karen Eells was appointed to serve on the LARP committee.

Youth Ambassadors were appointed for the 2012-2013 term: Andy Ho, Sidney Huff, Gabriela "Gabby" Magallanes, Taylor Moulton, Erin Penrose, and Hannah Wright. They will represent the city at various functions including ribbon cuttings, awards banquets, and parades. They will also be performing service throughout the city.

Chief Tracy Wyant recognized Officer Jason Richman as Officer of the Month for September 2012. The chief described extraordinary efforts by Officer Richman to remove a sexual predator from the streets of Taylorsville. Detective Denise Ikemyeshiro was recognized as Officer of the Month for October 2012. She has helped confiscate drug paraphernalia in Taylorsville.

Chief Wyant reviewed data for general offensees within each council district for the third quarter and gave clarification on stats for burglaries, alarms, over time, drug confiscations, escapes, etc. He confirmed that follow up can be done on suspicious license plate numbers acquired by citizens. Wyant gave an explanation regarding traffic overtime money received by the city. The impacts to safety issues in regard to traffic enforcement were discussed. It was noted that safety is the primary focus and the need for additional traffic officers was cited.

UPD Sergeant Stanton VanWagoner reported on illegal activities involving the use of spice, a synthetic narcotic. He outlined the various types of narcotics that have been confiscated.

Battalion Chief Jay Ziolkowski presented information on the citizen petition recently filed with the Salt Lake Valley Fire District regarding the potential annexation in the Fire District. He said over 2,400 signatures were validated, which puts this issue on the ballot. The recommendation was to put it on the November 2013 ballot. 

Judge Michael Kwan presented his quarterly report. He said fines and forfeitures are down for Q1 and expenses currently exceed total revenue by $128,708. He noted that court expenses thus far are less than last year. Traffic cases were down, criminal cases were up, civil/small claims cases were up.

Taylorsville Prosecutor Tracy Cowdell reported on prosecution services in Taylorsville. He recognized his partner and fellow prosecutor Chad Woolley.

Public Safety Committee Chair Peggy Saddler reported on recent activities of the Public Safety Committee. She asked the council to support a "Night Out Against Crime" in August 2013 to be held on City Center property. This would be held the second Tuesday in August in conjunction with the national event. This committee is looking for more members, so please call City Hall and talk to Maria, if you are interested - 801-963-5400.

Youth Council Chair Erin Penrose reported on recent activities and upcoming events of the Youth Council. They will be providing "Thanksgiving Boxes" to four Taylorsville families and donations were provided by local businesses.

City Attorney John Brems presented a resolution to authorize funds for legal expenses. There was litigation on the City Center property when a business tried to purchase the property, didn't fulfill their obligations, and the city backed out of the real estate deal. Brems described the economic reasons that it makes sense for the city to settle this case. He noted that the matter would have gone to a jury trial with no guarantees for financial results. The resolution passed unanimously.

Mayor Russ Wall presented the administrations proposal for the 2012-2013 budget adjustments. He cited a $2 million deficit to pay the remainder of the Unified Fire Authority contract once the move to the Fire District was reversed. He recommended the council cover the deficit by borrowing from the city's fund balance (savings account). The mayor noted that this will not fix the budget deficit, but provide a temporary fix. The deficit will need to be addressed by either joining the Fire District or increasing taxes. Council Chair Rechtenbach asked each council member to review the budget and come back with specific solutions and budget adjustments.

Economic Development Director Donald Adams presented the draft economic development plan for discussion.

City Engineer John Taylor updated the council on the new flex lanes that officially began operating this week. He cited general concern over the brightness of the lights and UDOT's intent to reduce brightness so they don't blend in with intersection lights.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Taylorsville's Exciting Weekend

This weekend there are some great things going on in Taylorsville on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Friday, November 9, Vocal Point performs at 7 p.m. at Taylorsville High School. This nine-man a cappela group from BYU and NBC's "The Sing Off," is sure to entertain your family. This event is sponsored by the City of Taylorsville and the Taylorsville Arts Council. Click here to purchase your tickets.

On Saturday, November 10 at 8 a.m., elected officials, staff and the public will gather to discuss priorities and the 10-year vision of the city. Anyone is welcome to attend. Although, we'd appreciate an RSVP so we can send you a packet of materials ahead of time, you can just show up. 

On Sunday, November 11, the city will host the 2012 Veterans Day Parade and Program. The parade begins at 11 a.m. at 5000 S. 2700 W. It continues south on 2700 West to 5400 South and then turns east into the City Center. At 12:15 p.m. the program begins and will feature Major General Jefferson Burton. Come enjoy the beautiful Taylorsville Memorial as we honor those who have served our country.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Taylorsville Exchange Club Celebrates National Day of Service

Last weekend our Taylorsville Exchange Club did a service project at the Family Support Center at 4805 S. 1760 W. in Taylorsville to celebrate the National Day of Service.

The project was organized by Child Abuse Prevention and the Community Service committee. Those chairs are Renee Sorensen and Jay Ziolkowski. 

Exchange Club members, Richard Russell, Renee Sorensen, Keith Sorensen, Carol Daly, Linda Hardman and Jerry Milne, spent four hours painting the board room and sanitizing toys in the nursery. Jay Ziolkowski organized the supplies. The project amounted to 25 hours of community service.

Renee Sorensen sanitizes toys in the Family Support Center nursery.

Keith Sorensen, Carol Daly and Jerry Milne paint at the Family Support Center.
We are lucky to have such an active Exchange Club in our city. Their mission statement is, "Working to make our communities better places to live." Their core values are family, community and country. The group meets every second and fourth Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at Taylorsville City Hall - 2600 W. Taylorsville Blvd. A light breakfast is served. Anyone is welcome to join. For more information, please email current president Richard Russell at