|New Year’s Resolutions
As Wasatch County Government prepares to move into the New Year, I thought it would be good to reflect on what has been accomplished this last year and make a few New Year’s resolutions as well. First, thanks to Val Draper and Neil Anderton, the outgoing councilmen for their service to the community. Their dedication and years of experience will be missed. Also, congratulations to Steve Capson and Greg McPhie, the new incoming councilmen. We look forward to working with them. Now, what have we accomplished? This is but a few of the highlights.
Balance Budget with no increase in TAXES. The Council and Manager, Mike Davis, produced a balanced budget that did not require taxes to be raised. The County Council insisted on that from the beginning. Reality is that costs are always going up. Therefore, it required Mike Davis to balance increases with cuts somewhere else whenever unavoidable increases were encountered. Several years of economic stress have already required the county to trim costs drastically compared to past years. But we were able to get it done again. Keep in mind, just because the County didn’t raise taxes doesn’t mean your property tax bill didn’t change. Adjustments in the assessed value of your property as well as budgetary changes by other public entities outside the control of the County Council could have changed your individual property tax bill. Mine went up a little. Review your own bill to see where adjustments were made. Any entity receiving property tax revenue must have a “truth in taxation” hearing prior to raising taxes. That’s your change to speak in your own behalf. It is important to stay involved and attend meetings whenever you can, especially budget hearings. Let your voice be heard.
Completion of the County Recreation Center: We have completed the new recreation center on 600 south and 300 West. If you haven’t been inside, you need to stop by and see. This new facility has something for everyone. Since the official opening in October and the arrival of colder weather, the use of the Rec. Center has gone up considerably. Whether you’re looking for a place to play basketball, tennis, racket ball (and 10 other things) or just walk on a track in a warm, pleasant environment, our staff from Parks and Recreation will help you find it at the Rec. Center. Stop by and see what it has for you. Entry fees start at just 2 dollars per day, less with monthly and yearly passes.
Completion of the new Rodeo Facility: We were able to complete and use our new rodeo facility this summer with the county fair demolition derby and rodeo being the first events to be held there. This process started years ago as part of our long term master plan to upgrade our rodeo and fair grounds facilities. Much of the early funding was donated for that purpose. The County purchased the materials over the last two years and completed the construction this summer. Costs were kept low on construction through the involvement of skilled employees in the public works department and Events Center. We now have a facility that will serve our county for many years to come. As for the old facility, I expect the county will create more ball fields and open park facilities there but that’s just my opinion. No official decisions have been made regarding that property yet. Of note, no general fund dollars went into the Rodeo facility or the Recreation Center other than time spent by County employees.
As for resolutions, I promise to keep you better informed in 2011 with a renewed effort to write about more of our activities this year. It helps to hear from you. We need to know what you want to hear about and what’s on your mind. We can be reached though emails and phone calls though the county.
We need to improve the business environment in the County with lower taxes and fewer restrictions. As the economy struggles and Washington DC spends our future, the county will work to improve the financial strength those areas of the county that are vulnerable to problems and/or in trouble already so that we will have less liability in the future. Several projects started before the national economy faltered are now either finished or in their final stages. The County has already started taking a more conservative approach to future projects and developments. I expect this trend to continue.
Thanks to those of you who have made comments or offered suggestions this year. They are appreciated.
Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
BY MIKE KOHLER