Rain Water Tax?
There has been a lot of discussion on a proposed "rain water tax" in West Jordan. The City Council will receive public input and consider for approval Ordinance 06-41,
amending the West Jordan Municipal Code, Title 90, Chapter 3, establishing a
Stormwater Utility [Tom Steele] PH 6d.

"A Public Hearing will be held before the City of West Jordan City Council on Tuesday, November 14, 2006, at the hour of 6:00 p.m., in the City Council Chambers at 8000 South Redwood Road, Third Floor, West Jordan, Utah, for review and/or recommendation of the proposed
amendment to the West Jordan Municipal Code, Title 90, Chapter 3, establishing a Stormwater Utility. multimaster tool You are invited to attend the Public Hearing and take part in the discussions and voice any support or concerns you may have. If you desire to speak on an item, the time will be limited to 3 minutes. Items may be moved on the agenda or tabled by the City Council. Copies of the agenda packet for this meeting will be available at the West Jordan libraries and on the City's website www.wjordan.com approximately 4 days prior to the meeting."

What is missing from this announcement: A Stormwater Utility Fee of $36 a year will be imposed on all residents and thousnds of dollars to businesses. And also missing is the state law on public notifictaion relaative to fee/tax incresses should change, mandating any increase in fee from cities be publicized in detail.

A participant on the West Jordan discussion list writes in his analysis of this fee proposal sears credit card:
What is the Rain Tax or Gutter Tax?

Fee/tax on Mother Nature generated rain that runs off your property to city storm drain pipes that you already paid for by the impact fee on your home when it was first built.

It is important to understand this is NOT sewer, with the sewer you generate waste and there is a requirement to clean that water, those fee are necessary. This is the storm drain pipes which are separate form sewer pipes that take the rain water that hits your roof rolls down your
driveway into the gutter and directed to the Jordan River. You have no personal responsibility in generating the pollution that it might encounter in it's travels from your roof to the river.

Below is the breakdown of cost of the 1.6 million dollar fee/tax proposed.

  • Home owners would pay a flat fee $36 per year. No cap on this fee it could increase.

  • Businesses would pay base on a formula:
    Here are some examples of a business, school, and church fees:
    - LDS Church (7000 S 2700 W) $1934 per year
    - Macey's Grocery Store $6,845 per year
    - Jordan Hills Elementary $2715 per year

    In my limited writing ability I will attempt to explain my opposition to this fee/tax.

    Point #1: The existing storm drainage system is overloaded/Growth west of 4800 West is placing increasing demands on existing storm water facilities

    Answer: If this is true and we can't fund the infrastructure why does the city council continually give waivers to businesses on paying their share of the storm drain infrastructure. City council has waived impact fees and now they find they are short on funds to pay for the growth. City council should never waive a fee or offer discounts for any development or construction proposed in the city. This impact fee is a requirement to pay for the infrastructure that their development will need for the services of the city sewer, water, and storm drain.
    Currently we are the 2nd highest impact fee assed city in the state, where is the money going?

    If there is evidence that proves the storm drain is overloaded and we have a shortfall we should slow the growth. If our system is overwhelmed we need to focus our resources that we do have and prioritize them to solve this problem instead of raising taxes/fees. Instead of raising
    taxes/fees the proponent should stop spending on expenditures such as the re-landscape city hall, a responsible council would put the $350,000 spent on this blunder in to the storm drain infrastructure.

    It comes down to economic responsibility, city government needs to prioritize and live with the revenue resources.

    Point #2: Phase II NPDES permitting is required by state and federal law requires action by the city

    Answer: This is an argument that affects our lives by many of the agencies of the federal government. NPDES is an unfunded mandate of the EPA. It's purpose is to help local governments clean up water pollution. The excuse in using the EPA's NPDES II standards here to raise our
    fee/taxes violates the "Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995" which means unless the federal government pays they can't really mandate local governments to pay to compile. EPA is not telling us to raise fee/taxes or start a new city department, Phase II NPDES requirements are as

    1. Reduce the discharge of Pollutants to the "maximum extent practicable"
    2. Protect water Quality
    3. Satisfy the appropriate water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act.

    I have researched this and have hundred of documents from my friends in Pocatello that repelled this in their city. There is no requirement or mandate for a city to raise fees/taxes and start a new department in the city. In fact West Jordan has done many of the requirements to meet
    these EPA recommendations. We have built a retention pond on 7800 south and Jordan River as retention of any pollutants that reach the river. The City regularly cleans catch basin in the system that trap pollutants before the pollutants ever reach the river and the city spends $607,367 in the budget on compliance with NPDES II. The State as you all have seen educates the public "don't pollute we all live downstream" awareness campaign. We already comply with this Phase II NPDES requirements. There are many more thing we can do and we should to keep
    the water clean. But to do these requirements will not require a tax/fee increase and creation of a new city department.

    Point #3: Failure to comply with the permitting requirements could result in costly penalties

    Answer: I see no evidence that we don't compile and see no pressure from the EPA on West Jordan City or the State of Utah. This is a scare tactic that Lyle obviously believes. In fact on page 4 of the fact sheet on NPDES II the only penalty is a civil lawsuit of non compliance. This is not a issue since we are compiling and working with the state to keep water clean. I believe we should follow the recommendations of the EPA and clean our water and prevent pollution but not create a forever fee/tax to satisfy spending of a new city department.

    Point #4: Capital improvement project needed to serve the needs of our population at build out is $48,764,000, $30,776,000 of this amount is for new development and will be funded primarily by impact fees, and $17,776,000 is for existing development and musts be funded through
    issuance of debt.

    Answer: Residents need to vote in new council members that will prioritize the spending of the city and study the budget and make sure that the storm drain expenditures are utilized in a efficient way. Short falls should not be answered with we need to raise your fees/taxes. A
    responsible city council if faced with infrastructure short falls and growth will need to make tough decision to slow down the growth until the revenues justify the expenditures.

    City Council should eliminate the impact fee waivers by ordinance and as we require all developments to pay their share of the storm drain infrastructure, I believe if we will have sufficient revenues to build our storm drain infrastructure and keep water clean without going into

    When elected the team Haaga/Shaeffer/Sheen will be responsible and will find solutions to our growth other than raising taxes/fees. We will be educated on the budget and understand the debt and keep to the minimum any debt that is not mandatory. If the debt is left unchecked it will be
    many years before we can pay for what we have barrowed. I believe what Thomas Fuller said: "Debt is the worst poverty" it is imperative we control how much debt we have for the benefit of the future of West Jordan City.

  • Preparing for the 2007 Utah Legislative Session
    I will be starting to post items on the upcoming Legislative Session. This came across my desk today from HEAL Utah:

    Yumm—pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, turkey and stuffing—Thanksgiving is right around the corner. We are all looking forward to this time of visiting with family and friends, eating good food, and giving thanks. But before you start carving the turkey, come learn how to help prevent your legislators from carving loopholes into our laws that protect public health and the environment.

    Join us this Thursday, November 16th at 6:30 to learn how to organize an in-home meeting with your state legislators. An in-home meeting is a chance for you (and your neighbors) to start building a relationship with your state legislators, educate them on nuclear and toxic waste issues facing our state, and counter the influence of highly paid lobbyists working in the backhalls of the State Legislature. In-home meetings are a great way to start a dialogue that will help us earn victories come January.

    The evening will consist of:

    1) Our political forecast of the upcoming legislative session
    2) A briefing on your legislators and their voting records

    3) A How-To Guide on hosting or attending an in-home meeting

    Whose Land Is It?
    This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land...."

    (music comes to screeching halt)

    The BLM allows ranchers to have their livestock trample all over forests and deserts, disturbing sensitive ground (just walk around those forests and deserts of Utah, and you will see....).
    Yet when someone is living on a small parcel of what the BLM deems is "its land", officials within the BLM determine that residential living is not appropriate for the ground.

    This makes absolutely no sense.

    In the Salt Lake Tribune's article, Son inherits BLM scrape, there is an account of a man and his family living on his family's land (inherited from his great-great grandfather), on a small parcel of it that was set up in 1976 based on a fence line between the property and the "BLM" land. (which is actually the land of all of us).

    The BLM is not only now evicting the young family but is requiring them to pay an archaelogical fee to record American Indian sites on the property and to repair the impact on sensitive ground.

    The Tribune lists this time table at the end of the article:

    Squatter Squabble Timeline
    * Gary Haws sets a double-wide mobile home on land he thinks is his in 1976.
    * A survey in 1984 discovers the home and other improvements sit partly on 2.5 acres of BLM land and adjacent to 90 acres Haws owns.
    * The BLM determines by 1985 that the 2.5 acres can be sold, provided Haws pays an archaeologist to record American Indian sites on the property.
    * Land-sale negotiations cease in 1987 after the National Wildlife Federation sues in an unrelated case, stalling all BLM land sales.
    * The government allows Haws to stay on the land under temporary permit for nine years at $150 a year. He pays for all but three of those years.
    * Negotiations resume in 1996 to resolve the dispute, but officials find Haws failed to perform the required mitigation.
    * The government files a trespass complaint against Haws in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City. Haws is given two options: Buy the land for about $21,000 or remove the mobile home and restore the property.
    * By February 2000, Haws' lawyer cannot get his client to negotiate, so he bows out.
    * U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart in November 2000 orders Haws and his structures off the property and requires that he restore the land.
    * On Oct. 20, 2006, Stewart orders the U.S. Marshals Service and BLM law-enforcement officers to remove Haws and the structures within 45 days. The government later learns that Haws' son has bought the mobile home and explores whether to begin negotiating a possible land sale with him.

    More on Voting Maching Troubles
    From Kathy Dopp:

    Here is just ONE (1) day of news stories re. electronic voting problems in November 7 election (stories are continuing to unfold). One county using Diebold voting machines in another state has still not announced their election results due to memory card failures. Utah county's "glitch" disenfranchised voters and touchscreens caused long lines in Utah. Federal law only requires ONE (1) touchscreen voting machine in each polling place for the disabled to use - Utah could use optical scan paper ballots which are conveniently manually auditable, voter verified, less expensive, cause no long lines; and are not susceptible to power outages, denial of service attacks, and vote flipping attacks. Is there any reason to trust insufficiently manually audited invisible e-ballots which are secretly counted by proprietary humanly-unreadable machine language software on voting machines whose components are made in China, Canada, and various U.S. states?
    It took over 24 hours for Cook Co. Illinois to count their votes. That's with their brand-new Smartmatic clone Sequoia voting machines. County Clerk David Orr conceded that the hardware and software being used should be re-examined. / One of the striking problems that has come up around the country is the reason for long lines in many places. They just didn't buy enough machines for the turnout they had. Another boon for the vendors when all they really needed to do was buy one Precinct-Based Optical Scan (PBOS) for each precinct and there would have been no need to go out and buy more DRE machines. And the cause of the long lines in Denver; poorly written, poorly tested voter registration software from Sequoia.

    Manual Audit of Summit County Today
    Kathy Dopp, Desert Greens candidate for Summit County Clerk sent this today:

    In Summit County, the manual audit is being held today (Monday) at 10 a.m. at the County Building.

    I assume that the manual audits are also being held today in other counties, but please call your own county clerk to find out for sure.

    In Summit County, the final canvass is being held on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at the County Courthouse.

    It would be great to go observe the manual audit and final vote canvass for your county. I've been told that the public may observe the manual audit, even though the written procedures do not require it - except to say a counting poll worker or watcher may observe - which I think means that anyone appointed by a political party or a candidate may observe.

    Rumsfeld to be accused of War Crimes
    Donald Rumsfeld is expected to be accused of war crimes in Germany this week.

    The Center for Constitutional Rights will file the suit on behalf of a group of Iraqi detainees as well as the so-called 20th hijacker, who is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay.

    "The former secretary actually authorized a series of interrogation techniques," said Michael Ratner, President of CCR. "They included the use of dogs, stripping, hooding, stressed positions, chaining to the floor, sexual humiliation and those types of activities."

    Those techniques, he says, amount to torture and violate the Geneva Conventions. Ratner will be traveling to Berlin next week and plans to file the suit on Tuesday.

    The suit is being brought in Germany because a "universal jurisdiction" law there allows German courts to claim jurisdiction over war crimes even if they were committed outside that country's borders.

    Buy Local First Week
     Second Annual “Buy Local First Week” is November 11th-18th

    Nationally recognized author to provide perspective on what communities can do to support locally owned, independent businesses

    Salt Lake City – Local First Utah celebrates its second annual “Buy Local First Week” (BLFW) November 11th through the 18th.  The purpose of Buy Local First Week is to remind consumers and government officials of the importance of locally owned, independent businesses. The celebration will extend throughout the state with many Local First member businesses offering customer appreciation discounts all week long. Nearly 700 local, independent Utah businesses can be found in our online directory at www.localfirst.org.

    This year’s BLFW centers on the importance of government actions and policies that support local businesses and don’t put them at a disadvantage in relation to large national chains.  As the central event of BLFW, Stacy Mitchell will lead a governmental roundtable for planners, elected officials, Planning Commission members, and Economic Development officials cosponsored by the Utah League of Cities and Towns on November 14th (See details below). Mitchell, the author of a new book, The Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses, will discuss the ways our communities are in danger of becoming “Anywhere, USA,” and the things city planners and citizens can do to nurture and rebuild the unique place we call home.

    The same evening Local First Utah and The King’s English Bookshop are sponsoring an hour long presentation by Stacy Mitchell for the public followed by a question and answer period (again, see details below).

    “Stacy Mitchell knows more about the issues involving community and commercial development than anyone on the planet!” said Betsy Burton, Local First Board Chair and proprietor of The King’s English.  “All of us care about community¾which is why none of us can afford to miss this event.”

    Local First Utah, a 501(c)3 non-profit is working to strengthen communities and local economies through public education and the promotion of locally owned independent businesses throughout Utah.

    “Buy Local First Week is a way of focusing our attention on an extremely important part of our community and its economy¾ locally owned independent businesses,” said newly re-elected Salt Lake County Councilman, Jim Bradley. “If we do buy locally, our community will remain healthy, diverse and vibrant.”


    Buy Local First Week Events

    • Caputo’s Winter Market- Make a new tradition this holiday season...buy local on Saturday, Nov 11th, and Saturday, Nov 18th, 11 AM-1 PM at 314 W 300 S (the Local First Office). This farmer’s market will continue every Saturday through the off-season. Vendors include: Morgan Valley Lamb  and G Bar Ranch selling lamb and beef products, Fower’s Fruit selling a variety of apples and pears, holiday pie orders will be available from Carlucci’s, Caputo’s will have local goods in stock, including Crumb Bros. bread, Colosimo Sausage, and more. Turkey, vegetable, and egg vendors will be announced soon. This event is jointly sponsored by The Downtown Alliance, Tony Caputo’s, and Local First Utah.
    • Stacy Mitchell Planners’ Roundtable Nov 14th 3:30 PM, 4th floor of Main Library. The press is welcome to attend this invitational event cosponsored by the Utah League of Cities and Towns and Local First Utah. A press conference will precede the event at 3 PM (details coming soon.)
    • Stacy Mitchell Public Presentation: Nov 14th at 7 PM at Westminster College’s Gore Business Auditorium. This is the  main event for the public during BLFW, which is sponsored by Local First Utah and the King’s English.

    Impeachment is "off the table"

    The day after the elections, Nancy Pelosi is telling the press:

    Pelosi: Bush Impeachment `Off the Table’

    House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi promised Wednesday that when her party takes over, the new majority will not attempt to remove President Bush from office, despite earlier pledges to the contrary from others in the caucus.

    “I have said it before and I will say it again: Impeachment is off the table,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a news conference.

    I think she has been assimilated.

    Other articles:
    Guest Editorial: Nancy Pelosi Is Not My Hero
    Bush, Pelosi pledge cooperation
    Pelosi falls victim to Bush’s 'Domestic Abuse'

    Socially Conscious Gift Giving - in general
    Socially Conscious Gift-Giving


    Planning to get married and want to add a creative, socially conscious element to the festivities? Trying to find a meaningful gift for a special person or couple? Making donations to worthy charities is the answer.
    * JustGive's Charity Wedding Registry allows soon-to-be-married couples to create a list of non-profits that they would like to help. Wedding guests can then choose to go online and make a donation to one of the organizations in lieu of a traditional gift. www.justgive.org
    * The I Do Foundation charitable gift and donation registries help couples donate to charity in lieu of wedding favors. In addition, when honeymoon trips are booked through its site, 5 percent of the package cost is donated to the couple's chosen charity.
    * Married for Good offers smart suggestions for socially conscious weddings. www.marriedforgood.com
    * Couples can donate favor money directly to charity in the name of each guest and indicate the donation on guest cards placed on the tables.
    * Charities would all appreciate sharing in the bounty of cash given to couples as presents as well as during the money dances that are part of some weddings.

    Helping people:

    * Donate leftover food from receptions to a food bank.
    * Donate leftover flowers to hospitals, nursing homes.
    * Donate used bridesmaid dresses to a charity like Glass Slipper Project, which provides evening wear for disadvantaged high school girls to wear to their proms. www.glassslipperproject.org

    Gifts for Children:

    *Simple book about the child, written and illustrated by you!
    *The makings for hand puppets -- brown lunch bags, googly eyes, scissors, markers etc.

    Homemade Gifts:

    *Record interviews of parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles on audio or video tape; you can ask them to discuss their memories of the person you plan to give the tape to, or your family's history, especially funny or meaningful anecdotes.
    *Make your own cards and send them to relatives and good friends.
    *Frame one of your best photographs. Buy a frame from a local business or artisan. Or make one yourself out of stiff paper or cardboard, decorated with colored paper, old wrapping paper, beads and/or natural products (like leaves, small pinecones, or seeds).
    *Make your own calendar using cut-out pictures, photos, and/or drawings.
    *Assemble a collection of favorite recipes. Gifts of Time:
    *Special activities with a significant other--a candlelit dinner, massage, or outdoor activity.
    *A monthly lunch date with an elderly relative or friend.
    *A handwritten letter or card sent to a long-distance friend or relative once a month for a year.For more iteas on how to give the gift of time, read Good Gifting: Spend Time Instead of Money.

    Family Gifts:

    *A jigsaw puzzle for the whole family.
    *Tickets to a favorite cultural or sporting event

    Gifts for the Environment:

    *Assemble a gift basket with compact fluorescent lightbulbs, forms for getting rid of junk mail, delicious recipes and a note about how the recipients can log on to www.turnthetide.org and see exactly how much of a positive impact they're having on the environment.
    *Buy a potted Christmas tree and replant after the holidays.
    (You can also have a tree planted elsewhere in someone's honor through American Forests.)
    *Instead of new wrapping paper, reuse old paper the Sunday comics section, old maps, decorated brown grocery bags, or a colorful piece of material.Donations in the name of a Loved One:
    *Alternative Gifts International offers a wide array of global gifts that can be given in the name of your friend or relative. Their partner organizations include 33 projects such as Fuel Efficient Stoves in El Salvador, Conquering Tuberculosis in North Korea, Literacy Training in Senegal, Land Mine Awareness in Vietnam or Organic Gardening in Belize. Contact Alternative Gifts at 1-800-842-2243, P.O Box 2267, Lucerne Valley, CA 92356. Free catalog from altgifts@sisp.net or www.altgifts.org.
    *Give a donation to a local cause such as a soup kitchen, a shelter for battered women, a local environment group, etc. Call local churches, synagogues, and charitable organizations for ideas.
    18: Give a friend a membership to a non-profit organization. JustGive.org allows you to donate online to thousands of charities. Give a gift membership to the Center of a New American Dream.

    Regifting without Guilt

    Have some nice item lying around that you bought on impulse but regretted purchasing the minute after it was too late to return it? Or maybe something you received as a gift yourself? Why not regift? Your white elephant is someone else’s treasure. If done in the right spirit, you can pass those items onto someone who will enjoy them more and save yourself the trouble of hitting the malls. It's even more fun if you agree to regift as a group, encouraging everyone to repackage some nice but unloved item. Just be mindful of what potential giftees might really want, not just what you really want to get rid of! (Oh… gosh, thanks, Uncle George for the um… Betamax machine.)

    More Party Biases
    In my reading this morning I saw a prevailing theme that stood out in the media - nationall and locally.

    I kept reading opening sentences in articles that referred to "THE" two parties - not by name, mind you, but as "THE" two parties.

    When I voted the other day, I as expecting candidates to be listed alphabetically by name. they weren't. "THE" two parties were listed first in each race and then the "other" parties alphabetically by party name. Not very equitable in my opinion.

    The two-party system has got to change. It is clearly corporate in nature and not equitable at all, as evidenced by how the media protrays politics in the U.S.

    You are viewing deesings