Council Minutes 04.29.21 Special Meeting


At the City Council
In and For Said City
April 29, 2021

Minutes of the Richfield City Council meeting held on Tuesday, April 29, 2021,
at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Richfield City office building located at 75 East Center, Richfield, Utah. Mayor David C. Ogden presiding.

  1. ROLL CALL Present: Mayor Ogden, Bryan Burrows, Kathy Christensen, Todd Gleave, Kip Hansen, Connie Nielson, Michele Jolley, Tyson Hansen.
  2. PROPOSED BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 2021-22 DISCUSSED. The Council discussed property taxes and why there is an increase this year. Most of the Council saw an increase of $300 to their property taxes. Chief Lloyd explained that the County is just like the City in that they have an amount that they are going to collect from property tax and if one of the taxpayers falls short of what they are supposed to pay, then all the other taxpayers have to make up the difference.

Mr. Hansen discussed what kind of an increase the residents could see if the City were to increase the amount collected by $150,000. There are so many variables that until the proposed certified tax rate is released in June we cannot say for sure if there will be an increase or how much it might be.

Councilmember Burrows indicated that a discussion the other night was talking about how the City used to run on property tax for wages. Our wages and benefits right now are $3,276,000 between the police department and the other departments. He noted that obviously, we use water and sewer revenue to help pay for some of the wages. Councilmember Hansen stated that there is no guaranty that in 5 years from now there will not be 6 different people sitting here and that is the problem. Everybody comes with the same idea that we do not want to raise taxes, as those of us that are here right now. We are not unique because there are a lot of municipalities like us that just keep kicking this down the road.

We should have been doing this all along.

Councilmember Gleave indicated that he does not suggest raising taxes every year, but you do not want to take a big chunk and not worry about it for several years.

Councilmember Hansen felt that this should be done at least every 5 or 6 years.

Councilmember Burrows stated that we need to get what we feel like we need to, to get us on track.

Councilmember Gleave pointed out that the County themselves in trouble a couple of years ago and had to bite off a big increase because they kicked it down the road for many years. We lost County Commissioners over that.

Councilmember Hansen stated that we ought to be looking at where will be for the next 5 years.

Councilmember Nielson wanted to clarify that the reason the tax rate goes down is that there are more people. That is the case and Councilmember Hansen noted that if you wanted to do an in-depth study of this, that is an indicator that we are not doing this right. This is not a healthy trend because it should be fairly flat and not decreasing like that.

Councilmember Gleave explained that we do not need to make up for everything we have lost since 1978, but we do need to do something. Councilmember Burrows stated that if we increase by $300,000 which is where we would have been if we would have increased $60,000 over the last 5 years.

Councilmember Hansen felt that something between $200,000 and $500,000 is what we ought to be looking at.

Councilmember Hansen felt that an increase of $250,000 per year would be reasonable.

Councilmember Burrows does not want to be back here in 2 years doing this again.
The residents in our community expect more and more services all of the time. One of the things brought out in the video shared with the Council is that cities did not use to have IT departments, but now will all of the demands for electronic services, many communities have created IT departments or positions.

Councilmember Gleave had the thought when we were discussing this the other night that we have been doing our community a disservice. Some people would not understand it, but the way Chief Lloyd explained it helped him understand it. Councilmember Burrows stated that he was probably as guilty as anyone.

We are trying to run this business with frozen funds. Councilmember Hansen stated that if there were a business would be talking about return on investment. The line we are plodding says we are getting a poor return on investment from year to year to year. If we are healthy that line should be flat or slightly increasing.

Councilmember Gleave stated it is just like his business. If he makes the same amount year, but yet he is taking more and more clients and more and more services that would be the same as what we are talking about.

Councilmember Hansen pointed out that missed opportunities are something else to consider. We missed the opportunity a few years ago to acquire some additional water shares, but we did not have the funds to do so. There is nothing wrong with having money there for those things so we do not have to say, if only we had the money to do this. Missed opportunities are another cost that makes this more reasonable.

Councilmember Burrows stated that there is no way a City our size should be worrying about a $40,000 problem with a sewer on a block that needs to be replaced. We should not be in a position where we are that tight. That is not a large about of money and there has been more than one occasion where we have been scrambling to try to figure out how to fix one block of sewer line.

Mayor Ogden stated that what we are trying to do is establish funds that we can count on each year.

Chief Lloyd discussed the changes he was proposing for his department budget. He gave the Council some information he received from a study of wages that Price City recently conducted. He also provided them with a copy of wages from the Sheriff’s department.

He explained that if we add a new guy and do nothing to the salary scale, we would not be increasing his budget. If we include the salary increases proposed and add a new guy, he would need an additional $72,000. It works well this year because of the employees that have retired this year.

Chief Lloyd would also like to increase his temporary budget which is the crossing guards. He can do this for $4,500 more than last year and still have a buffer. He could probably do this with the increase. That would put the crossing guards at $10 an hour.

He discussed some other items in his budget and noted that the cost of ammunition is out of control. Another item was the cost for dispatch which covers the fire department on the police department. Last year it was $93,000, scheduled to go $104,000, but the State froze everything so we only had to pay $93,000 last year. He expected it to go to $104,000 this year and it jumped to $107,000. Chief Lloyd has zero control over this. The other increase he is looking at is vehicles because we need to move out of the 2 leased jeeps that we have and purchase trucks. He figures the first year it will cost about $40,000 a truck, but after that, it should not cost us.

Mr. Hansen wondered about separating the fire department’s share of the dispatch calls and having the County pay half of the costs for the fire department. Chief Lloyd said he could split that.

Keith Mogan discussed the need to include videoing the sewer line in our budget along with cleaning the sewer lines. We could get on a program with Twin D where they will clean 20% of our system as well as videoing that same 20%. That would help us with our manholes, low spots in our laterals or lines which would help us budget for repairs. We have been cleaning the lines throughout the City about every 4 years, but having the lines recorded would be a big benefit. It will help us when it comes to insurance claims. The lift station is moving forward and the sewer looks good. We are hurting in the water system. Eventually, we are going to have to do a large water project. Several lines need to be replaced because they are old and deteriorating.

Councilmember Burrows wondered about having a line item budget for sprinkler replacement at the golf course and maybe put $5,000 to $6,000 each year toward replacing so many heads and keep a rotation going.

Councilmember Hansen asked what we need to do to start the truth in taxation process. Mayor Ogden felt that it would be a good idea to have some talking points about this.

  1. MEETING ADJOURNED. At 7:45 p.m., Motion: Adjourn, Action: Adjourned, Moved by Kathy Christensen, Seconded by Kip Hansen. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yes = 5). Yes: Bryan Burrows, Connie Nielson, Kathy Christensen, Kip Hansen, Todd Gleave. PASSED and APPROVED this 22nd day of June 2021.