KAYSVILLE -- A citizen's group is claiming Mayor Steve Hiatt and the City Council are doing an "end run" around residents' wishes by considering a $5.5 million revenue bond to build a new police station.
The adoption of the resolution is listed as the first item on the city council's agenda tonight. The council will meet at 7 p.m. at 23 E. Center Street. In November of 2010, Kaysville voters rejected, by a 56 to 43 percent margin, a maximum $4.5 million parameter bond to build a 20,000 square-foot police station on city-owned land at 85 E. 100 North.
Opponents claimed the proposed station was too large and extravagant, while city leaders maintain the 2010 bond election was about the funding mechanism, and not the actual need for the facility. The bond resolution would have cost the average homeowner $32.97 more a year in property taxes.
But with Tuesday's planned action, it appears as if city leaders and staff are sending a message that the project will be revived, and for about $1 million more because of a less favorable construction climate and higher interest rates.
"It's an end run around the failed bond election three years ago," said Margaret Brough, a member of Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government.
"This isn't the transparency (Mayor Steve Hiatt) promised," Brough said.
It is also of concern, Brough said, that the council is taking action on the measure prior to Councilwoman-elect Susan Lee joining the council in January.
Lee, who was elected Nov. 5, was supported by many associated with the citizen's group. Lee said she would think city officials would want citizen's support in this effort, versus giving the appearance of trying to go around them. She said the route city leaders are taking is both "surprising" and "concerning."
Hiatt defends the city's action.
Members of the city council want what is best for the community, and being representatives of the city they have been elected to make those decisions, Hiatt said.
"We will involve the public to the extent that it is appropriate. But we are a representative form of government," he said.
This particular proposal involves the construction of a police station, a critical need for the overall safety of Kaysville residents, Hiatt said. The council has decided to rely on the expertise of Kaysville Police Chief Sol Oberg and members of his staff, "those on the front line," in moving forward on the project, Hiatt said.
Oberg, at a recent council meeting, recommended the need for a larger police station because some of the city's police officers are having to work from a construction trailer parked behind the current station at 58 E. 100 North.
The police department currently operates out of a 5,000 square-foot building. To gain space, the department -- with a staff of 23 full-time officers, one part-time officer and three civilians -- brought in the mobile trailer.
Oberg said he is not looking for some big, grandiose thing, but something that will serve the city through its projected build-out population of 45,000 residents.
What is being discussed and voted on tonight is a parameters resolution, and still to come is a public hearing, additional notices and any other future discussion on the project the council deems appropriate, and that council would include Lee, Hiatt said.
Lee finds it troubling as to how late the agenda for Tuesday's meeting was made available to the public.
Hiatt said the council agenda is generally made available to the public by Friday afternoon, Hiatt said. But staff did have to take a few hours with this agenda, he said.
"There was no ill will or malice in the timing of the agenda," Hiatt said.
Brough, a longtime Kaysville resident, fears city staff, not elected leaders, are actually running the city.
Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.