Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pet Fest Coming this Saturday!

Don't miss this fun opportunity to learn more about pets, participate in activities, and have some good family fun!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mayor's Message

By Mayor Russ Wall

This month I want to give a shout-out to our city staff, city council members, and volunteers here in Taylorsville. We have one of the smallest staffs per capita of any city in Utah. There are 29 employees in administration and community development, and 14 staffers in the municipal court. They work very hard and sometimes do the work that two or three people do in other cities. I also want to tell our city council members that I appreciate all they do. They have had some hard decisions to make this year and are currently busy with their recent Fire District decision. I know that each of them spends hours going through information and they make decisions with the best interest of the city at heart. We are so grateful for our volunteers. There is no way we could have such a lean staff without the 250+ volunteers who work to make Taylorsville a great place to live. Many of you also volunteer in your schools, churches, and neighborhoods. This spirit of volunteerism is one of the many reasons why it's great to live in Taylorsville!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

SL Trib Prints Incorrect Information

In yesterday's newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune printed some misinformation that we wanted to correct. 

In the Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 21, 2012 A-7 section, they reported that Taylorsville residents would see an additional tax increase of $345 per year or $28.71 per month by joining the Fire District. That is incorrect. Residents would see an additional tax increase of $106 per year or $8.83 per month.

We were told yesterday that a clarification would appear in today's paper.

If you need further information about joining the Fire District, please see the post prior to this one.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

City Council Update 9/19/12

At this week's council meeting, city council members passed a resolution to cut the city tax in half next year, if we join the Fire District. This would help compensate for the additional fire tax that would be added to property taxes. Since this issue is the hot topic of the day, I am posting information that taxpayers will receive next week in the mail. 

If you have further questions, don't hesitate to call City Hall - 801-963-5400.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Volunteer for the Mobile Crisis Response Team!

Mobile Crisis Response Team:

These individuals will respond to everything and anything that an officer or detective deems necessary - including but not limited to domestics, rapes, suicides, child neglect, child abuse, assist with death notifications, homicides and, if needed, transportation to a shelter, Christmas Box House or a safe place with family or friends.

Volunteers must have no driving infractions on their record as use of county vehicles is required to provide transportation for victims and survivors.

This team will be hand-picked and highly trained to work with law enforcement, ensuring the utmost professionalism and preservation of confidentiality. They will also understand and respect the chain of command. The volunteer will also be required to attend the following trainings:

40 HR Domestic Violence Certification
40 HR Rape Recovery Training
Policies & Procedures
Medical Examiner-as available
Evidence Sensitivity- training by a UPD Staff member S.W.A.V.O.

Monthly/ Quarterly Meetings

A 15-20 minute response time is what we strive for. This is so we can assist the victim(s) with their immediate needs. We must be timely and effective in our response to continue to strengthen our collaborative relationship with officers on scene.

We ask our volunteers to be available to respond on scene for a minimum of three shifts that include a weekend and 1-2 days during the week. We are, however, flexible and value any time offered by our team members and make adjustments and revisions to the calendar as needed. Shifts begin at 6 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. at which time we have staff readily available to assist volunteers through difficult calls.

For more information, please contact Nubia Pena at 801-743-5860 or Lisa Kocherhans at 385-468-9366. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fire District Hearing

Tonight the Salt Lake Valley Fire District held a public hearing on whether Taylorsville City should be annexed by the Fire District.

The Taylorsville City Council voted to join the District during their budget hearings in June. Joining the District means Taylorsville residents would become part of a special improvement district which would fund fire service with Unified Fire Authority.

Currently the city is a net importer of fire services, which becomes problematic as other fire departments are asked to assist the city for emergency fire and medical services. Taylorsville uses 15 percent of the UFA budget, but only pays 8.2 percent into the budget.

"On principle, it is just not right to expect others to pay for what we use. It's time we pay our fair share," said Mayor Russ Wall during the public hearing.

Almost 100 residents attended the public hearing and dozens spoke against the change. Most had concerns about the seemingly high increase in taxes. Others were concerned that the city council was giving up their taxing authority.

As we spoke with residents in the lobby, we realized that many did not have enough information about this issue. Residents want to know exactly what their taxes will be. By law, the council must lower the city tax by at least 20 percent. After getting input from the residents tonight, several council members expressed a desire to make that decision as soon as possible so residents know what the tax impact will be.

Another item that needs to be clarified is the amount of savings that joining the District will be for Taylorsville taxpayers. If taxpayers are going to pay for the fire service that is used, they will need to, at a bare minimum, fund additional staff and equipment. With the current proposal by the District, approximately 12 additional firefighters would be added to serve the city. If the city were to fund just the personnel, it would be $1.4 million per year. That would be roughly a 34 percent tax increase just for personnel, if we did not join the District.

Another way to look at the savings is to consider that currently our contract with UFA is $3.9 million. If we join the District, the amount of tax collected by the District equals $4.2 million. For $300,000 per year, we are getting over $1.4 million in personnel, a new fire station, and added equipment.

We will be running the numbers over the next few days and will post our findings here and on the city's website. Stay tuned...

Click here to learn more about the pros and cons of the Fire District

Monday, September 10, 2012

Winners Announced at "Taylorsville's Got Talent"

Saturday evening 15 Taylorsville residents and Taylorsville’s city council and mayor performed on stage at Taylorsville High School at the annual, “Taylorsville’s Got Talent” community talent show. Winners of each division were: Megan Frost and Kamerin Ekker - youth division, Tanner Gilgen - junior division, and Leah Jacobs and Chelsey Curruth - adult division. The winners won a cash prize and the opportunity to perform during Taylorsville Dayzz next summer.

Most of the performers sang, but one resident did a magic show and another did a comedy routine. The performers ranged in age from 12-69.

To kick off the evening, the five Taylorsville City Council members and Mayor Russ Wall performed a number together. The six elected officials wore white gloves and patriotic hats, and used chimes to play, “Yankee Doodle.”

Mayor Russ Wall and Councilmembers Jerry Rechtenbach, Dama Barbour, Ernest Burgess,
Larry Johnson, and Kristie Overson "tune" their chimes prior to performing.
“We’ve worked very hard on this performance and are excited to show our support for the Taylorville Arts Council,” said Wall. “Taylorsville residents are a very talented bunch... unfortunately they may find that their elected officials are not so musically inclined.”

“Taylorsville’s Got Talent” is an annual event sponsored by the Taylorsville Arts Council. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

City Council 9/5/2012 and the Fire District

Citizen Doug Shupe spoke during citizen comment time to give kudos to the city for their good service. He was thrilled that public works started on Labrum Park, happy that the police department responded so quickly to a graffiti call, and grateful that the fire department responded so quickly to a medical call.

Jerry and Shirley Milne won the "Best of Taylorsville" award this month for their beautiful and well-kept yard. If residents could do one thing to help their neighborhood, it would be to weed their own yard and help weed someone else's yard.

Battalion Fire Chief Jay Ziolkowski gave his quarterly report. During his report and at the end of the council meeting questions were asked about joining the Fire District. Here is some additional information about the Fire 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 approved a move to 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.
Joining the Fire District means residents would see a separate line item next year on their property tax notice for fire services. The City Council would then lower the city tax. The law requires at least a 20 percent decrease, but during last year's budget, the council mentioned possibly lowering it 50 percent or more.

The decision on how much to lower the city portion of property taxes will be made next June when the next fiscal year budget is discussed.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mayor's Cup Challenge

This month is the Salt Lake County's 5th Annual Mayor's Cup Challenge. Mayors throughout the county challenge each other to see who can garner the most points by exercising.

City staffers are also able to participate, so yesterday 31 Taylorsville staffers started wearing pedometers and tracking their steps. We want to beat the other cities!!

The contest goes for four weeks, beginning Sept. 2 and ending on Sept. 29.

I put on my pedometer yesterday when I woke up. Mid-day I had my family guess how many steps I had taken to that point. My husband guessed 1200. My kid's guesses ranged from 700-2500. Luckily I had done 3200 steps already! Now my kids are all begging to wear pedometers!

Taylorsville is trying to be a healthy city, so join in the fun! Track your progress over the next four weeks and let us know how you are doing!!