NORTH OGDEN -- The city council is considering four new options for the proposed public works site after a raucous city council meeting Aug. 9, at which between 250 and 300 residents showed up to voice their opinions about the proposed complex.
The complex has faced controversy from the beginning, when residents weren't happy with two proposed sites. Now, residents are rejecting the idea of the city's revenue bond parameters, set to not exceed $10 million.
City Councilmen Brent Taylor and Ron Flamm sit on the public works complex committee and presented information about the process, unveiling four options for the council to vote on.
The council was scheduled to vote on one of the options Aug. 9, but decided to wait until Aug. 23, when each council member will have had time to weigh the options and the nearly two hours of public comments made during the public hearing about the issuance of the bonds.
Option A is the most expensive option at $7.5 million. The city already has $500,000 saved for the project, so the bond would be for $7 million.
It is considered the "full proposal" that was outlined in the study the city had done regarding the complex. It would be a multi-building, multi-function complex to serve all the public works needs for residents of North Ogden. It would have 58,000 square feet of building space plus tens of thousands of square feet of external storage space. This is the option many of the city's staff, Taylor and Mayor Richard Harris believe would be the best option.
Option B is a phased approach. It would include the administrative/maintenance building now and the outbuildings. The city would save money through a utility fee increase to pay for vehicle storage that would be constructed within five years. The total cost would be $6.5 million over the next five years, but the revenue bond would be $5 million now.
Option C was popular with residents. The total bond would be $5 million, and the total cost for the project would be $5.5 million. It would be the "control by budget" option. A maximum budget would be set, and the design team would design the building from that budget. If costs went over that budget, another public hearing would be required.
Option D is the "save and pay up front" option. No bonds would be issued, and no new construction would start now. The utility rate would be increased by $15 to $20 per month so the city could save at a faster rate to be able to get at least one building complete. That money would be set aside to start construction in three years.
City Councilman Wade Bigler said he is glad to see less-expensive options but wishes the city had come forward with those before.
Taylor said the committee has been working on the least-expensive options all along, but no one has been attending the planning meetings to see that. He also said there is a process that has to be followed, and that is why the options hadn't been set out yet. They were waiting for the bond parameters to be set.
Finance Director Debbie Cardenas said the city has to bond for an exact amount. She said there is no "blank check" for the complex that many of those opposing the bond have referred to.
"Our numbers have to be exact and precise. We just had to set parameters to be safe," Cardenas said. "It was never our intent to spend $10 million."
Harris agreed. "We want to go with the voice of the people. We want what is best for the city," he added.
Bigler said he knows a complex is needed, but would like it to be something along the lines of Pleasant View's proposed $650,000 building. Harris said that won't work, because the city's need is greater than Pleasant View's, and the city's population is significantly greater.
"They're not comparing the same things," Harris said.
The council is set to vote on the options, along with voting on giving authority to Harris and Cardenas to pursue the issuance of the bonds based on the option chosen.
Full information about the options, including the complete study and complete details of the process so far, can be found at www.northogdencity.com.