Thursday, February 28, 2013

Combination Fire Station Considered

In November of this year, the citizens of Taylorsville will have the opportunity to vote in favor of, or opposition to, joining the Salt Lake Valley Fire Service Area (the Fire District) as a member of the Unified Fire Authority (UFA). Regardless of that outcome, City officials and UFA administrators recognize the need to employ additional fire personnel and construct a new station within the City, and are drafting plans for the next fiscal year.

For several years, there has been a desire to construct a third fire station near the southeast quadrant of the City in order to handle the emergency call volume and offer better response times. In addition, there is growing need to rebuild Station 117 (4545 South Redwood), which was constructed in 1964 and is no longer fully suitable.

On February 13, 2013, under the direction of Mayor Rechtenbach, fire administration presented to the Council a new concept with respect to the aforementioned construction needs and additional personnel. Rather than build a third station and rebuild Station 117, it is now proposed that one larger station be built farther south along Redwood Road. This would accommodate two fire companies, which could then respond both north and south, handle the respective call volume, and respond in a reasonable timeframe based on current standards (mapping, statistics numbers, estimated costs, etc. were presented to the Council and will be made available for public exhibit in the coming weeks).

In addition, it is proposed this station be built with a large community room which could handle promotion and graduation ceremonies for the organization, as well as training opportunities on a regional basis. This room would also be made available for meeting purposes by City officials, various sub-committees, and volunteer groups. Construction of an internal tower for additional training purposes is also being considered.

Given the various dynamics within the City and for UFA, this proposal has merit in many respects, as it would ultimately save tax dollars (constructing one station instead of two), meet the emergency response criteria, and serve to draw others into the community on a regular basis for the various aforementioned activities.

Monday, February 25, 2013

City Council Update 2/20/13

At the city council meeting last Wednesday, the council voted unanimously to support the Bus Rapid Transit line going from Murray (IMC) up 4700 South to the Salt Lake Community College. 

The council also unanimously approved its withdrawal of a notice to withdraw from Salt Lake Valley Emergency Communications Center. On the last day of 2012, the council gave a notice of withdrawal, in case other cities were also withdrawing. Taylorsville is fully committed to VECC and participation in the center.

During citizen comment time at the council meeting, Rhonda Isaksen presented the council, and specifically Councilmember Burgess with a large, poster-board card. The card thanked the council and Councilmember Burgess for funding the block walls on 4100 South, which improved the aesthetics and safety for residents bordering 4100 South. It was signed by many neighbors in the area. 

The highlight of the council meeting was a presentation to recognize any Eagle Scouts who did their final Eagle project for the city. Bry Davis, President Elect of the Great Salt Lake Council, thanked elected officials and the scouts present for their efforts. Mayor Rechtenbach cited the high caliber of youth in Taylorsville and congratulated the Eagle Scouts on their accomplishments. Tokens were given to each of the Eagle Scouts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mayor's Identifies Priorities in State of the City Address

Today Mayor Jerry Rechtenbach gave his first State of the City address. Rechtenbach identified his top three priorities – public safety, economic development and neighborhood revitalization.

The new mayor wants to make sure UPD officers have more of a presence in the nine elementary schools throughout the city. “We will be starting a program to help teach values, accountability, anti-bullying, and self-esteem,” Rechtenbach said. “We will also still focus on traditional law enforcement concerns – drug awareness, gang resistance, and stranger danger.”

He told residents that a new fire station will be need to be built to better serve the southern part of the city. Since one of the city’s two current fire stations needs to be rebuilt, he announced that city leaders are looking at a “hybrid station” that could meet in the middle of the two areas of need and could house two fire companies. “This would save taxpayers $2 million dollars,” said Rechtenbach.

Rechtenbach said that sales tax revenues have been trending upward for over a year and the city enjoys an excellent bond rating. “But we must focus on economic development as a means of preserving quality of life in the city and stabilizing our tax base,” he said. “Businesses want to locate in communities that take pride in themselves, and people want to live in neighborhoods that are safe and attractive. For that reason we have assembled a Neighborhood Revitalization Team.” He said the city is enlisting planning interns to take part in a city-wide neighborhood inventory that rates neighborhoods on items such as streetscape, sidewalk condition, landscaping, code enforcement, crime, and a number of items.

“Taylorsville has made significant strides in recent years and months,” Rechtenbach concluded. “I firmly believe that working together as a team, with our citizens and businesses as partners, the best is yet to come.” 

Trib article on Mayor's State of the City

Mayor's State of the City speech in its entirety

Monday, February 18, 2013

Garbage/Recycling Billing Changes

As you may have heard, Salt Lake County Sanitation became its own independent organization as of January 1 of this year. They are now Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District.

Although their name has changed, you will still find the same great service and customer care that you have been experiencing. Nothing with your service will change and even your fees this year will remain the same.

The Salt Lake County Council made this improvement to bring control of sanitation closer to the people, allowing the cities and townships served to have ultimate authority.

There is one change that we want to bring to your attention and that is their new billing system. Previously your sanitation fees were added to your property taxes. Legally they can no longer bill fees through property tax, so you will be receiving a bill for your 2013 sanitation services over the next few weeks. 

To make it as easy as possible, you have the option of paying this fee in one or two payments through a check, or one, two or six payments through an Xpress Bill Pay online system. They will also accept checks or walk-in payments at their office, located at 604 W. 6960 S.

Wasatch Front Waste has a team who have been involved with taking care of your garbage and recycling pick up for over 30 years. Taylorsville residents received services from them before we were a city and continued to partner with them after we incorporated. They have had a 97 percent satisfaction rating from our residents, and we appreciate their great service!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

City Council Update 2/13/13

At the City Council work session, Attorney John Brems did a training on open meeting laws and elected officials roles and responsibility.

The City Council discussed rescinding their notice of intent to withdraw from VECC (Valley Emergency Communications Center). On December 31, the council voted and gave notice of their intent to withdraw from this valley-wide emergency dispatch center, as they were concerned that other cities involved may also be withdrawing.

Representatives from Stanley Consultants and UTA presented the locally preferred alternative for the proposed Taylorsville Murray Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project planned. This project would extend from downtown Murray and the 5300 South light rail commuter rail station into Taylorsville along 4700 South and terminating at the Salt Lake Community College. The consultants presented findings from the recently completed environmental study report and illustrated the preferred route.

Ordinance Review Chair Monnica Manuel presented a few maps for possible community councils. The council gave direction to have the boundaries follow council district boundaries and include two community councils per district.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Don't Miss This Year's Taylorsville Urban Iditarod!

Many races draw a crowd, but the Taylorsville Urban Iditarod does it a little differently - with shopping carts. This annual race pairs teams of costumed runners with a themed shopping cart for a race without a set course. This is the third year for this unique race, held March 2 at 10 a.m., patterned after the Alaskan sled dog race held the same day.  

“This race is a way to promote health, fun, and economic development for the city,” said Mayor Jerry Rechtenbach. “The concept of an Urban Iditarod is not new, and Taylorsville joins other cities, such as Portland and Chicago, in this fun event.”

The Urban Iditarod is a chance for local businesses to reach out into their community, and a way to promote healthy activity to groups that are not the usual race-going crowd.  Participants race between challenge locations, competing in a variety of unusual contests such as last year’s rubber chicken launch for distance, trivia contests, and operating fire hoses to knock over obstacles.  The goal of the event, according to race organizers, is to experience “the most fun you have had with a shopping cart.”

The Taylorsville Iditarod has a bigger purpose – teams must bring food to the finish line to donate to the Taylorsville Food Pantry. Additionally, proceeds from the race go to the YMCA Healthy Kids Day. “Anyone can run or walk a 5k, but it takes real bravery to run down the street dressed as a chicken,” says organizer Rhetta McIff. “We hope that supporting our food pantries makes dressing up a little easier.”

Here's a video clip to help you understand what the Taylorsville Urban Iditarod really is. This is our footage from last year's event:

Register here for the Taylorsville Urban Iditarod

Thursday, February 7, 2013

City Council Update 2/6/13

Mayor's Report
The Taylorsville City Council meeting began with a report from Mayor Rechtenbach. He reported that in the last UPD meeting Taylorsville was awarded additional funds for overtime for our officers. He also notified the council of Pastor Warren's Day of Service on March 9. Several community churches will be bringing volunteers to tackle city service projects. Rechtenbach also reported that Det. Scott Lloyd, will be receiving a Medal of Honor for valor from the Police Officer's Association convention, related to his actions that saved the life of a woman. Lastly, Rhetta McIff, a Taylorsville resident and city employee has won a Citizen Forester of the Year award, as she has been instrumental in obtaining trees and grants for the city and helping the city achieve Tree City USA status.

The council appointed Tyler Pearce as chair of the LARP committee and Howard Wilson as chair of the Arts Council.

Police Report
Police Chief Tracy Wyant gave his quarterly report about UPD matters in Taylorsville. In the past quarter the street crimes unit had nine search warrants, yielding 17 arrests, including one federal fugitive. Over $100,000 in U.S. currency was seized, as was 23 pounds of marijuana, two pounds of hashish, spice, Heroin, Meth and a firearm. Wyant said that SWAT had a record year in 2012 with 56 operations. Detectives worked countless hours on three major cases last quarter - an officer involved shooting at Workforce Services, a homicide when a man was stabbed by his stepson, and a suicide which occurred outside a local school.

Wyant recognized a team for their efforts in a police matter in December. Officers responded to a call involving an individual that was threatening to harm himself. The man retreated to the basement with a large kitchen knife. Officers formulated an action plan and were able to save the man. Those recognized were Dispatchers Bendixen and Sanders, Sgts Blanton and Allen, K9 Handler Barrett, Officers Durr, Colton, M. Mathews, Sanderson, and K. Mathews. The audience gave these professionals a standing ovation.

Sanitation Report
Pam Roberts, Executive Director for Wasatch Front Waste and Recycling District, gave her quarterly report. The sanitation district's name changed to Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District. Residents will receive a bill in the mail rather than paying garbage/recycling fee with property taxes. Although fees will remain the same, Wasatch Front Waste is gearing up for great communication with residents and the cities they serve. The first bills will start going out next month. Residents can make one, two or six payments to cover the 2013 fee. Roberts reported that their customer satisfaction survey looks like it will be close to 98% satisfaction. She also said that glass recycling has gone up 300 percent over the past year.

Planning Matters
The council voted unanimously to uphold the Planning Commission's recommendation of denial for an amendment to property located at 4235 S. 2700 W. The request was to change the General Plan designation from professional office to medium density residential. 

Youth City Council
The City Council appointed the 2013 Youth Council. Youth Council members help with city events and participate in service projects for various organizations throughout the Salt Lake Valley, like the Walk for Autism and the Relay for Life Cancer Charity Walk event. During the holidays they give out Thanksgiving food boxes and Christmas gifts to families in need. Serving on the Youth Council also gives students an opportunity to learn about government and how to be effective community leaders. The 2013 Youth Council members include: Abigail Oligario, Adam Black, Andy Ho, Angelica Manuel, Aubree Newton, David Witt, Emmy Beck, Erin Penrose, Gabby Magallanes, Isabella Manuel, Janet Tran, Jasey Wyatt, Katie Clark, Kendra Peterson, Leticia Hansen, Marin McIff, McKenzie Miller, Nadine Edmunds, Sidnee Huff, Spencer Braithwaite, Taylor Moulton, and Tyler Newton. Youth Council members must be in 9th-12th grade and live in Taylorsville or attend a school in Taylorsville. They must have citizenship in good standing and a 2.5 minimum GPA. They also need two letters of recommendation.