Less Waste Not Fewer Police Officers — Sign the Petition Now!

Thanks to the Park Record for writing two stories  (one here and one here) on our efforts to get the two recent tax increases in the County on the ballot in 2014.  Sometimes “We the People” must show our elected officials who is boss.  As Councilwoman Elliott pointed out, the tax amounts are relatively small on an inexpensive home.  Motivation behind the referendum was the ease at which the Council moved forward to pass the tax increase, for a few to bear, and the fact the money was spent before the tax was even finalized.

Mssrs. Hanrahan, Elliott, Robinson, and McMullen (Dave Ure voted no) fail to understand that increasing taxes has a long-term impact on several aspects of our County development. This tax increase comes on top of a school tax increase, and unless the Council balances the budget, we will likely see more County tax increases in the future. Property values normally go down as tax rates go up, because new buyers are reluctant to purchase homes in areas where taxes are increasing. That will discourage companies from moving to Park City, as it becomes a higher cost place to live.  The people of Summit County have had to tighten their belts.  It’s time the County Council do the same.

Here is a picture of a Summit County Truck that is parked in front of the Boot Barn in Evanston, Wyoming where the County employee drove a heavy-duty vehicle at the expense of the County (translated the tax-payer) to Evanston to go shopping. The picture illustrates that the County Council could do a better job of cracking down on waste in their budget before they start raising taxes.

I got a call from Sheriff Dave Edmunds intimated to me that the County was planning to cut a number of his deputies if the tax increase did not go through. As a County, I hope everyone comes out to sign my petition so we can send the message to our tax-and-spend Council to take care of waste before they fire police officers.  We have plenty of places to cut from non-essential services before we take from the “proper role of government.”

Stay tuned to a bit more on this story in the next few days.  The next story just might make your blood boil.

If you would like to help and cannot take around petitions, you can help by sending a check to a PAC helping with this effort to the address below. (This PAC is registered with the State of Utah.)

Citizens for Fiscally Responsible Government, c/o Jacqueline Smith, 1965 S Hoytsville Road, Coalville, UT  84017

You can also contact me by email and I will get you set up to help.  You might even be able to earn some money.  We have a few weeks left to make this happen.

Let the Scare Tactics Begin — Where Are Your County Dollars Being Spent?

It’s time to look local!

Recently Bob Jasper, the Summit County Manager, was asked some tough questions by KPCW.  You should listen to his responses.  Click on this link for the audio file — Bob Jasper on KPCW

On November 8, Summit County voters have a chance to vote on some ballot initiatives.  When deciding if you want to rob Summit County of its assets to make up for the losses, and buy into the scare tactics of the County Coucil,  here are some things to consider:

1.    The County was over budget by $1.6M last year, and $2.1M this year.

2.    The County for too long has been using these heavy-handed strategies to get their agenda passed.  Sending out a letter paid by the taxpayer to try to pass their agenda is just a form of propaganda.  And YOU are paying for it.  They believe you are the little people, and that their agenda is too important to worry about the best interests of the people they are paid to represent.
3.    The County is lending money to Mountain Regional Water (the county owned water system) at a rate of 1.5%, when they would probably have to pay five (5) times that amount in the market.  Why is that?  Jasper said the Treasurer (Corrie Kirklen) made that decision.  Why should any business receive preferential treatment from the county over another business in the same industry?  And is this really a good risk for the county?
4.  The county Treasurer is working basically part-time and receiving approximately $110k per year.  So, who is really making these big decisions?
5.  The County gave Mountain Regional Water the ability to create a 14% rate increase this year and next, and for some reason they still need $500K of County funds.  There are other companies, like Gorgoza Mutual Water Company in Pinebook, and Summit Water Distribution Company, that are private organizations, that seem to be able to handle their water just fine, without county help, and even with the county doing things to block their progress.  These are great examples of how private industry is much more efficient than a government that can simply tax away your money instead of providing better services at a lower cost.
4.    Jasper claims there is an announcement on the movie studio.  Really?  Too bad the other parties involved don’t know of any deal on the table that will be announced in the next two weeks.  Is this just more propaganda to give hope?  And hope to who?
5.    In the discussion with KPCW, Mr. Jasper made a comment about someone on the planning commission  made negative comments about Prop 2 on her Facebook page.  (We know who this is.)  If someone made negative comments, then obviously there is an “against” that could have been written for the county publication.  It is wholly inappropriate for a county manager to take a public swipe at someone to try to get them into line with the will of the Council.
6.  Your county manager is a hired position.  His job is on the line under the direction of the County Council.  This is a horrible check.  It would be like our governor being appointed by our state legislators, and then if they didn’t like his positions, threatening his job.  How can Jasper claim to be doing what is in the best interest of the county, when he only answers to five (5) people on the council, instead of to the residents of Summit County.
There will be much more to see on the antics of this county council, so please subscribe in the box to the right to receive these posts right in your email box so you can easily forward them on to your other friends in Summit County.

Summit County Council, Your Money, and an Audit

Map of Utah highlighting Summit County

Image via Wikipedia


At a time when focus is on national issues, I have decided to look at some things closer to home.  I am still aware of these national issues, and the state issues at hand, however, where can I have the most influence?  Closer to home.  I recommend to each of you to look at your city and county governments.  Find out how they are set up, and if they are even Constitutional to begin with.  I attended a meeting of the Summit County Council recently, and left almost sick to my stomach. 

Wednesday night I attended a public meeting of the Summit County Council.  One purpose of this meeting was to have public input on a $25 million (now $20 million) bond for open space.  Funny thing was, it had already been voted on by the county council prior to the meeting.  What is the point of holding a public meeting about open space, if you have already voted on the measure?  In my opinion, it was so “the little people” could feel heard. 

I saw a problem with the meeting right off the bat.  First of all, the public notice gave the address as a Coalville location, when it was in fact in Park City.  So is this public meeting sufficient when the notice was incorrect? 

People got up and gave their reasons mostly in support of the open space.  However, two people made what I saw as very valid arguments against.  First of all, the economy.  We are all suffering right now, and adding more taxes is not what we need in our county.  In a time when government spending is out of control, our state is making great efforts in reducing the budget, not increasing it.  And here in Summit County, it’s seen as a “trivial” amount of money for each taxpayer.  What would you do with a few extra hundred dollars in your pocket instead of being robbed by the county?  If I don’t have a right to build a beautiful trail, and then steal the money from all of my neighbors to pay for it, how does the county?  The problem is the council sees this as a non-issue because they spend money like drunken sailors.  However, in the words of Ronald Reagan, “that would be unfair to drunken sailors, because they are spending their own money.” 

The other reason, came from Gary Shumway, who is currently running for a seat on the Council.  Why would the council  even consider a bond for the ballot when the county is under investigation?  (The article from ABC 4 News)  Do we know the results of the investigation?  Could Summit County end up owing money?  Then we have a bond, and a bill we owe the state for the audit?  Also, there is a juicy article in The Park Record that begins … 

A probe into how Summit County has administered a controversial development program is underway on Capitol Hill.  

The flap is over rules that have allowed builders to transfer valuable development rights from one parcel to another. Some state lawmakers say they began questioning county officials about the program last year when they were tipped off about the controversy by a landowner. The rules that governed how development rights were transferred were abused, the property owner claimed.” 

To see the full article click here: http://www.parkrecord.com/ci_15986678 

I did not fully understand all of this until it was explained to me.  If you are like me, you’re not a huge landowner or developer, and it may not be something the average person pays attention.  

What exactly is happening to the density rights created by open space?  Who benefits from this?  Does anyone on the council directly or indirectly benefit?  Property values increase when density rights are given, so are the value of those parcels being properly assessed?  Is it possible that the land the density rights were given remained undervalued by the County Assessor and thereby people avoided taxes?  And that could be the reason Summit County is under audit, because if we have undervalued our property, and paid less in taxes, then less money has gone to the state and our county for our schools.  We’ve got to put an honest assessor in this office.  These are things someone should look into. 

But the most sickening thing about this is the attitude of the council.  One council member, Dave Ure, had excused himself by the time the real circus began.  The debate wasn’t over how the money should be spent, what projects were the most important, or even the cost of the projects.  The gist of the dialogue was, how much will the tax-payers stomach without throwing the measure off the ballot entirely.  And one person in the crowd (a lobbyist or analyst for the council) actually said that the problem wasn’t with the Park City people, but THE WORKING CLASS, that just doesn’t get it.  Should we call them Lords and Ladies now?  We ended aristocracy in 1787.  

Do you feel outraged?  I hope outraged enough to make a difference in November on our County Council, and other county offices to stop the spending and this ridiculous bond (pronounced tax). 

There are solutions: 

The first thing we should change is our style of government.  Our county government would not pass constitutional muster.  Our legislative branch (the council) also holds the executive power.  The County Manager that was just hired was appointed by the council.  That would be like the State Legislators appointing the Governor of the State.  We have no checks and balances in our county government.  Of course the County Manager is going to go along with whatever the council proposes, because they hold his job in their hands.  We must make this an elected position. 

As far as open space, many people in our group have talked about other solutions.  There are ways to create open space without ever taxing anyone. 

Tonight at the Council Meeting, they will be discussing the transfer of density rights. 

Take a long look at what’s going on in your area.  Look at your school boards, your city government and county governments and help Save The American Republic right in your own backyard.