North Ogden City Council reconsiders project’s future

Jan 29 2012 - 11:17pm

NORTH OGDEN -- The city has spent slightly more than $300,000 of the $700,000 it has saved since 2005 to build a new public works complex.

The project was shelved after approximately 3,000 residents signed a petition saying they wanted to vote on whether the city should sell $5 million in revenue bonds to complete the project.

With three new members now on the council, a request was made to have a report detailing the funds spent and discuss how to proceed.

Some of the biggest expenditures for the project were for studies. Three studies were conducted, one to go over the need for a new complex, one by the city's engineers on the old site and the proposed new site just west of the fire station and aquatics center, and another that combined much of the information. Architects received $83,000 to create temporary plans for three proposed sites.

The current amount in a reserve account is just more than $398,000, with $86,000 of that contracted to be spent for the architects when and if the project goes forward, but until then, the money will stay with the city, City Manager Ed Dickie said.

Councilman Wade Bigler, who strongly opposed building the complex with bond money, suggested the city continue to save the $100,000 a year that it has been saving each year since 2005.

City Finance Director Debbie Cardenas said it has been budgeted for every year and can continue if the council decides to do so when the budget is discussed at an upcoming budget retreat.

Councilman Dave Hulme said the council needs to decide what is to be done at this point.

"My personal feeling is, most every resident agrees something needs to be done," Councilman Kent Bailey said. "We all agree we need to move in some way."

Mayor Richard Harris said nothing can really be done without an election, which can be held no sooner than June.

No new council members acknowledged Harris' comment and moved forward with the idea that something needed to be done with as much as a public hearing.

Councilman Justin Fawson said that, at the very least, a public hearing should be held before things could move forward.

"I think it's tragic that we spent $300,000 already," Fawson said. He maintained that the city should have waited to spend money until plans were more firm and more feedback had been received from residents.

Bailey suggested the city continue to look at the current site to see what could be done there.

Hulme, who was on the council before the election, suggested the city needs to decide if some of that saved money should be used for the election or where that money would come from. He said he would like to discuss it at the budget retreat.

No date was set for a public hearing regarding the complex, and the public works department continues to work out of the building across from Lee's Market.

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