KAYSVILLE aEU" Several recent meetings between the Davis School Board and county officials may be laying the groundwork for economic development while drawing fire from a local taxpayer advocate.
Davis County Community Economic Development Director Kent Sulser sought support Tuesday from the school board in creating community development areas (CDA) in North Salt Lake and the Woods Cross-West Bountiful area. Sulser said plans for those areas are in the beginning stages and he would not release specifics.
To participate in CDAs, the school district would have to agree to give up a percentage aEU" 60 percent was talked about during TuesdayaEU(tm)s meeting aEU" of the new developmentaEU(tm)s tax revenue for 10 to 15 years. Sulser said the CDAs would be more successful with the school boardaEU(tm)s participation through tax incentives and in writing letters of support.
In an unpublicized Oct. 20 meeting between the school board and Sulser, Superintendent Bryan Bowles said the board would not be willing to publicly support CDAs prior to the vote on the districtaEU(tm)s $250 million bond, which was subsequently passed during the Nov. 3 general election.
aEUoeOnce we support CDAs, the media will report that the school district has agreed to give away tax revenues,aEU Bowles told Sulser in the October meeting. aEUoeCome back after the bond has passed.aEU
Ronald Mortensen, a local taxpayer advocate, expressed surprise that the October meeting between the school board and Sulser was left off that dayaEU(tm)s school board workshop and meeting agendas.
aEUoeThe taxing entities are playing by aEU~church basketball rules,aEU(tm) aEU Mortensen said. aEUoeThe whole objective is to win at all costs, without concern about the restrictions.aEU
Utah open-meeting laws require public entities to give public notice of meetings that includes an agenda with specifics of the meeting. Sulser said he appeared before the school board after its scheduled workshop meeting Oct. 20 at the invitation of Bowles.
Bowles said the meeting was part of the bond meetings, but did not respond to questions about why the meeting was not on the boardaEU(tm)s agenda for either the workshop or the regular meeting that convened after the workshop that day.
During the Oct. 20 meeting, Sulser presented a resolution from the Council of GovernmentsaEU(tm) 15 Davis County mayors to the school board, supporting the districtaEU(tm)s $250 million bond.
Sulser told the school board that day that they hoped to, in return, gain support for CDA plans for Davis County.
Sulser said the school district used the COG resolution of support in its bond campaign leading up to the November election.
Mortensen called the exchange aEUoequid pro quo.aEU
aEUoeIf the school district is indicating in any way that it will lend support for CDAs in return for support for the bond aEU" if that is the case, I would find it appalling,aEU Mortensen said.
The school board took no action regarding the CDAs at TuesdayaEU(tm)s meeting.