Crowd forces N. Ogden to move public works meeting

Aug 10 2011 - 12:13am

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(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) The North Ogden City Council holds a meeting Tuesday night to discuss a proposed new public works facility. The meeting had to be moved from the municipal building to the North View Senior Center across the street because so many residents showed up to speak about the proposed site and proposals to fund the facility. The council decided to postpone a vote on the issue until Aug. 23.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) The North Ogden City Council holds a meeting Tuesday night to discuss a proposed new public works facility. The meeting had to be moved from the municipal building to the North View Senior Center across the street because so many residents showed up to speak about the proposed site and proposals to fund the facility. The council decided to postpone a vote on the issue until Aug. 23.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) The North Ogden City Council holds a meeting Tuesday night to discuss a proposed new public works facility. The meeting had to be moved from the municipal building to the North View Senior Center across the street because so many residents showed up to speak about the proposed site and proposals to fund the facility. The council decided to postpone a vote on the issue until Aug. 23.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) The North Ogden City Council holds a meeting Tuesday night to discuss a proposed new public works facility. The meeting had to be moved from the municipal building to the North View Senior Center across the street because so many residents showed up to speak about the proposed site and proposals to fund the facility. The council decided to postpone a vote on the issue until Aug. 23.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) The North Ogden City Council holds a meeting Tuesday night to discuss a proposed new public works facility. The meeting had to be moved from the municipal building to the North View Senior Center across the street because so many residents showed up to speak about the proposed site and proposals to fund the facility. The council decided to postpone a vote on the issue until Aug. 23.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) The North Ogden City Council holds a meeting Tuesday night to discuss a proposed new public works facility. The meeting had to be moved from the municipal building to the North View Senior Center across the street because so many residents showed up to speak about the proposed site and proposals to fund the facility. The council decided to postpone a vote on the issue until Aug. 23.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) The North Ogden City Council holds a meeting Tuesday night to discuss a proposed new public works facility. The meeting had to be moved from the municipal building to the North View Senior Center across the street because so many residents showed up to speak about the proposed site and proposals to fund the facility. The council decided to postpone a vote on the issue until Aug. 23.
(NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner) The North Ogden City Council holds a meeting Tuesday night to discuss a proposed new public works facility. The meeting had to be moved from the municipal building to the North View Senior Center across the street because so many residents showed up to speak about the proposed site and proposals to fund the facility. The council decided to postpone a vote on the issue until Aug. 23.

NORTH OGDEN -- Between 250 and 300 residents came out Tuesday night to speak their piece about the city's proposed public works site and the city council's plans to sell up to $10 million in revenue bonds to buy property and build the facility.

To accommodate the crowd, the meeting had to be moved to the North View Senior Center across the street from the city offices.

After hours of presentations and public hearing, the council decided to postpone a vote on the issue until Aug. 23.

The project has been mired in controversy for more than a year. Problems started last summer when the council proposed using a city-owned site off Mountain Road -- but that site was dropped from consideration after neighbors protested.

The council next proposed building on a section of Barker Park on Fruitland Drive.

Again, residents strongly disagreed, and the Barker family protested that the land was donated to be a park, not a public works garage.

Now residents are petitioning against the city's proposal to sell up to $10 million in revenue bonds that could increase utility rates $5 to $6 per month over the next 25 years, and they want to vote on the issue in November.

Volunteers had a table set up outside the meeting to collect more signatures. It is predicted about 70 signatures were collected.

Residents heard a nearly two-hour presentation from Councilmen Brent Taylor and Ron Flamm regarding the public works site and the need for the facility.

Taylor and Flamm are the two council members chosen to sit on the public works committee along with some staff members and residents. They refuted comments that had been circulating in the community about the complex.

Taylor went over the several steps the city has followed to get to the point of selling the bonds, including a study conducted to show a need for a new facility and the size of the facility, which is set to accommodate the city over the next 50 years.

He presented four options for the council to consider, each having a different price tag and amenities. Options ranged from a $9.5 million facility now, to buying the land now and saving the money to build a facility in 10 years.

Not all residents who spoke in the hearing opposed the bond or the complex. Most agreed that a new complex is needed, but questioned the price tag.

"Ten million (dollars) is absolutely unreasonable," said Justin Fawson, a co-sponsor of the petition drive.

But some feel the council is best equipped to make the decision and that the issue should not go on the ballot.

"We live in a republic, we don't live in a democracy. The fact is, there's always more information, and the city council can make an important decision," said resident Dave Hulme.

Currently, the public works building sits on about 2 acres. The city would like to be able to expand the complex to 7 acres.

The new proposed site is just west of the city's aquatics center on 2550 North, west of Washington Boulevard. The cost for the land is about $1 million.

Right now, much of the city's equipment sits outside because there is not enough bay space to fit the equipment inside. Employees must also work on vehicles outside in all weather.

City officials feel the city is losing money on damaged equipment and believe it is the right time to bond because of relatively low interest rates and low construction costs.

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