Friday, May 31, 2013

Budget Open House

Last night we held a Town Hall Open House. Over 40 residents came and spoke with elected officials and staffers about city issues. The most popular issue brought up at the meeting was the budget and proposed tax increase. Some residents told us they had heard that the budget and tax increase were a done deal. That is simply not true. The city council continues to gather research, get information, listen to feedback, and try to come up with innovative solutions to balance the budget. They will hear from the public next Wednesday, June 5 and continue to discuss, debate, and delete items from the budget, if necessary.

For those who couldn't make the meeting, I've taken photos of the storyboards that were on display:


This Electronic Plan Review is in this year's budget. As we look to attract good business to the city and to help build our revenue, we want to be as business-friendly as possible. This software allows businesses to submit their plans electronically, rather than come into City Hall.


Additional funding for better maintenance of parks and streetscapes is also in this year's budget. By better maintaining the city, we help attract businesses, improve property values, and keep good families in the city.


Here are some crime stats from our Taylorsville UPD Precinct:


As a city we have to continually invest in infrastructure and keep our roads maintained. Deferring this maintenance gets more expensive over time.




Taylorsville currently spends less money per capita on economic development than most cities in the valley. Some residents feel we should be doing more to invest in the city.


At the International Conference of Shopping Centers, our economic development staffers and elected officials were able to meet with some great potential businesses:



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Next Week Candidates File for Four Seats


The City of Taylorsville will hold a Municipal Election on November 5, 2013 to elect a Mayor; one City Council Member each from Council District 4 and Council District 5 to serve four-year terms; and one City Council Member from Council District 3 to serve a two-year term.  Candidates must file a Declaration of Candidacy in person with the Taylorsville City Recorder, at Taylorsville City Hall, 2600 West Taylorsville Blvd. The forms will be available beginning June 3, 2013.  The filing period will run for one week only from Monday, June 3, 2013 through Friday, June 7, 2013, during regular City Hall hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).  A candidate must have been a resident of the City of Taylorsville for at least 12 consecutive months (365 days) immediately prior to the date of the General Election. A candidate must also be a registered voter. If a candidate is running for a Council District Seat, he/she must be a resident of that district. A filing fee of $100.00 must be paid at the time of filing the Declaration of Candidacy.  (The filing fee will be reduced to $50 for candidates who submit a nomination petition containing 25 signatures of residents of the city who are at least 18 years old). For additional information, please visit the city’s website at www.taylorsvilleut.gov or contact Cheryl Peacock Cottle, in the City Recorder’s Office, at 801-963-5400.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Building Permits Benefit Everyone


We are nearing the end of Building Safety month and want to give a shout-out to our great Community Development Department. We have planners, plan reviewers, building inspectors, and many other great employees who work for Taylorsville. These people work tirelessly to make our community look nice and be in compliance with the codes, ordinances, and laws.
When you enter a house or other type of building, you assume it is safely and properly constructed, and complies with state and local building codes. Fortunately, local safety experts work hard to ensure buildings are safe. To help raise awareness of building safety, the Taylorsville Community Development Department proudly celebrates Building Safety Month during May.
“When our building safety and fire prevention experts inspect buildings during and after construction, they help to ensure that the places where you live, learn, work, worship and play are safe,” said Taylorsville Community Development Director Mark McGrath. “Ensuring public safety is something we think about and do every day working with homebuilders, plumbers, roofers and other construction industry trades and contractors.”

Building codes address all aspects of construction, from structural to fire prevention, plumbing and mechanical systems, and energy efficiency. To ensure buildings are safe requires the active participation of code officials, fire inspectors, architects, builders, engineers, contractors and others in the construction industry, as well as property owners.

Protection of the life, safety, property and welfare of residents is met through the adoption and enforcement of codes which is achieved through permitting,” said McGrath. The purpose of the code is to ensure minimum requirements are met to safeguard public safety, health and general welfare.”

With the adoption and establishment of a set of minimum construction standards or codes, a community can impose reasonable standards for construction that will maintain the livability of the community while reducing risks to the public and emergency responders.
Cities are evaluated by an insurance service organization. This organization grades the city based upon compliance with the code, number of inspectors, permits, plan reviews, etc. The lower the city’s rating, the better the insurance rate offered to residents and business owners by the insurance industry. Further, construction on a home or commercial property may not be covered under an insurance claim if the work was not permitted or inspected by the city.   

Appraisers, adjusters, and title companies research city records to determine permit compliance, which may impact lending and sales rates.

Construction based upon code standards and verified through the permitting process will also limit liability to residents and business owners ensuring that inherent safety measures are met. Examples may include stair construction, handrails, guardrails, smoke detectors, fire sprinklers and fire alarms.

Countless home improvement projects within our community utilized the code review permitting and inspection process. They include basement finishes, additions, interior and exterior remodels, decks, garages, sheds, pools, spas and hot tubs, and re-roofing projects. Energy upgrades such as window replacements, insulation, and appliance replacements, have also met this code review.
Information forms regarding the building and planning process are available at the Taylorsville Community Development Department, located on the second floor of City Hall. You can also call 801-963-5400 and speak to a Community Development staffer about permits.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Historic Preservation Committee Wins Award


 On May 9 the Taylorsville Historic Preservation Committee was the recipient of a 2013 Heritage Award at the Utah Heritage Foundation’s annual ceremony in Salt Lake City. The nine-member committee of Taylorsville volunteers was chosen for getting the community involved in heritage education.
“We are really proud,” said Taylorsville Historic Preservation Committee Chair Joan White. “We have worked hard and it’s nice to be recognized.”
Education is one of the major goals of the Taylorsville Historic Preservation Committee.  Using the historic Jones Residence as an educational museum, the committee has made an ideal atmosphere for local heritage education in partnership with the Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center. 
The Jones Farm once consisted of two-and-one-half acres, operating as a dairy farm and local store, which attracted people from all over the Salt Lake Valley. The historic home, built in 1906, has been restored to its original appearance. In addition to the historic home, there is an old washhouse now used as a one-room schoolhouse exhibit, a blacksmith shop, and animal barn. Taylorsville was historically a farming community and experiencing life on the farm, even if just for a few hours, helps the students better understand their heritage.
With funding from the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks Fund, the Taylorsville Historic Preservation Committee has undertaken an educational program to elementary students from Taylorsville elementary schools to the heritage center to show them what life was like for the early pioneers. In each of the last three years, about 1,500 students and their teachers, and parents have visited the Center.
 “This committee is an asset in our community and those volunteers who operate and maintain our historic center provide a great service to our school children and residents,” said Taylorsville Mayor Jerry Rechtenbach. “We congratulate the Taylorsville Historic Preservation Committee on this well-deserved award.”
The Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Center, at 1488 West 4800 South, is open Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m., and Saturdays from 2-6 p.m. Other times are available by appointment and can be scheduled by calling 801-281-0631.


Friday, May 17, 2013

City Council 5/15/13 - Budget Discussions

Almost the entire City Council meeting was a discussion of the fiscal year 2013-2014 budget. The council has until June 22 to pass a budget and was given a proposed budget by administration at the beginning of May. At each meeting they study specific departments or areas in the budget and decide what they want to keep the same or change.

Prior to the budget discussion, Janice Auger Rasmussen gave a report from the Ad-Hoc Fire District Committee. The committee will be giving information in the near future with an assessment of the upcoming referendum vote on whether or not to join the Fire District. They had two items that they felt warranted immediate attention. First, they fear that surrounding cities are "jumping' medical calls. That means that a nearby fire department may hear that the there is a medical call, especially a patient transport, and then respond before our UFA medics. The second issue is whether or not firefighters and fire apparatus have to go on every call and if there is a more cost-effective way to do this.

During the budget discussion, there are some changes being considered by the city council in an effort to reduce costs. They are as follows:

The council is looking into moving their City Council coordinator position from full time to part time.

They removed a position for a "Mayor's Assistant" and reduced the mayor's budget for books and subscriptions.

They removed a Homeless program line item for $20K, and felt this was a regional issue that should not be handled on the city level.

The city council did not change the proposal for employee benefits. They also kept the same funding for all the citizen committees.

There were no citizen comments made about the budget when the council opened up the meeting to the public.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Taylorsville City Budget Details


The proposed fiscal year 2013-2014 budget includes a potential property tax increase of approximately $9.34 per month for the average home (a residential property with a value of $197,000). This is an increase of approximately 47 percent. The property tax increase is needed because of increasing costs and the fact that ongoing expenses have been partially funded from our fund balance (savings account). Further impacting this situation is the decline of sales tax revenues that began with the recession. These revenues remain close to 2006 levels, even though inflation has continued to increase during this time period.
The primary reasons for the tax increase:
Operating Budget
Even though the operating budget is only increasing 4.2 percent over the previous year, the majority of the tax increase funds current operations that were paid for in the 2012-2013 budget from the city’s fund balance (savings account). Our fund balance is now down to 10.9 percent and can no longer be relied upon to fund ongoing expenses. (10.9 percent of upcoming year’s anticipated revenues.) Maintaining a reasonable fund balance is critical to our city’s bond rating and for future emergency expenses.
Deferred Maintenance
With declining revenues, elected officials chose to defer significant maintenance to keep expenses low over the past few years. Upkeep and maintenance on items like our roads and critical infrastructure can no longer be deferred without tremendous future expense.
Public Safety Increases
Our Unified Fire Authority contract increased 5 percent over last year. Our Unified Police Department contract increased 2.9 percent over last year. We still continue to see hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings by contracting our public safety to these two entities, over providing our own services. Public safety alone accounts for approximately 50 percent of our overall city budget.
Neighborhood Investment
Keeping neighborhoods looking nice improves property values, keeps crime down, encourages good families to live here, and improves quality of life. Here are some of the additional items included in this year’s proposed budget to help neighborhood revitalization: road maintenance, additional neighborhood clean ups, sidewalk repairs, an additional code enforcement officer, and up to two additional police officers (pending award of a COP grant).
Enhanced Services
The proposed budget also includes funds for electronic business plan submittal software, an annual resident survey, additional maintenance at city parks and the bass fishing pond, and municipal elections this fall. These items were not in last year’s budget.
Where is Taylorsville’s tax rate in relation to other cities?
We have the fifth lowest property tax rate out of the 14 neighboring cities. Most of the cities with a lower tax rate have made significant investments in economic development over the past 20 years and are now seeing the results of those investments, which gives them the ability to keep their taxes low. If the current tax increase is approved, and none of the other cities raise taxes this year, we would have the ninth lowest property tax rate out of the 14 cities. In an effort to control costs, Taylorsville has one of the lowest number of employees/contractors per capita in the state.

What is Economic Development and how do we keep taxes low?
Sales tax revenue is our greatest single source of revenue. The best way to keep property taxes low is to have a successful business base in Taylorsville. In the past 10 years our city has not been actively investing in economic development, but in recent years the city has been looking for ways to attract quality businesses to the city. Having well-maintained streetscapes, parks, and neighborhoods helps to attract businesses and families. It is also helpful when residents keep tax dollars in the city by shopping in Taylorsville!
Other Frequently Asked Questions:
When was our last Taylorsville tax increase?
Last year there was a 15 percent tax increase, which resulted in an additional $2.43 per month for a $197,000 home. The only other tax increase in city history was in 2006.
Do we pay more in city tax than surrounding cities?
We have the fifth lowest property tax rate out of the 14 neighboring cities. Please see the chart on the opposite page to see the rankings.
What happens if we don’t raise taxes this year?
If there is no tax increase this year, the budget would need to be cut $2.3 million. This would mean a reduction to essential services (public safety, snow plowing, public works, etc.). Residents have expressed their desire to have a progressive city that is continually investing in itself. If new items in this year’s budget are removed, elected officials fear that we start down a path of deterioration. A city that attracts families and businesses will have a greater potential for quality of life and a stable tax base. Even if all new items were removed from the budget, in addition to some personnel, there would still not be sufficient revenues in the budget. Again, essential services would need to be cut.
What do I do if I can’t afford my property taxes?

There are programs that can help if you have a hardship with paying your property tax. Contact the Salt Lake County Treasurer’s office at 385-468-8300 or treasurer.slco.org to see if you qualify for property tax relief.
What portion of my property tax bill goes to Taylorsville?
Only one line item on your property tax bill goes to Taylorsville City, which is approximately 16.46 percent of your total property tax. That means this proposed tax increase is equivalent to a 6 percent overall increase to your property tax.
What is NOT included in this budget?
Although a tax increase is being proposed, many of the items in the 10-year Strategic Plan, developed by residents, advisory committees, staff and elected officials, are not getting any funding this year. The budget is still very lean and conservative. The following items are not in this budget: Redwood Road landscaping, indoor swimming pool at the Rec Center, walls on main corridors, additional parks, Jordan River trail upgrades, bike lanes, additional firefighters, and a new fire station.
If I have more detailed questions on the budget, where should I go?
You can view the entire budget on our website. You can also call John Inch Morgan, City Administrator, at 801-963-5400 or email him at jimorgan@taylorsvilleut.gov.
BUDGET CALENDAR:
Attend these public meetings to give input and become informed about the budget.

Wednesday, May 29 from 6-7 p.m.
Town Hall Open House at City Hall
Elected officials and staff will be available at an informal open house to discuss the budget or any other city issues.

Wednesday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m.

City Council Meeting and Budget Public Hearing at City Hall
The council will discuss the budget. This will be the official public hearing to receive input on the proposed budget.

Wednesday, June 12 at 6:00 p.m.

City Council Work Session at City Hall
The council will discuss the budget and citizen comment will be taken after the discussion.

Wednesday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m.

City Council Meeting at City Hall
The council will discuss the budget and citizen comment will be taken after the discussion.
(Per state statute, the budget must be passed by June 22)

August (specific date to be determined) Truth-in-Taxation hearing.
Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed