David Rodeback's Blog

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Thursday, August 28, 2008
American Fork Miscellany

900 West resolution, tax increase aftermath, FrontRunner, and connected libraries.

We'll get back to national politics shortly. I listened to part of Barack Obama's convention speech last evening, but will reserve comment until I've heard or read the whole thing. And I have some early thoughts about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate. (Very interesting!) We'll get to all that. But first, some local housekeeping.

American Fork Property Tax Increase: Aftermath

I'm not crazy about the 17.14 percent tax increase the City Council approved, but I will say this: You and I seem to have had some influence. If reports from individual members of the City Council are accurate, hundreds of American Forkers told at least one member of the Council their views on raising taxes, either in person, by phone, by mail or e-mail, or at the hearing itself. Some long-time observers told me they don't remember a proposed tax increase getting anywhere near the amount of discussion and debate this one did. Good work, people.

Media reports emphasized different numbers than I did. The Daily Herald had the increase as "less than expected" -- it was actually more, if your expectations were current -- and mentioned only the 9.6 percent increase over last year's rate, not the 17.14 percent over this year's certified tax rate. The Deseret News had it taking five motions, not seven -- two of them were made twice -- and technically was incorrect about the size of the increase, since it specified a certified tax rate increase of "slightly more than 9.6 percent."

In case you're still interested enough to want to sort out the numbers, here's my earlier report on what the City Council actually did.

In Other American Fork News . . .

There was a Utah County groundbreaking for FrontRunner, the commuter rail line, on the same day as the American Fork property tax increase. 

And the relatively recent interlibrary agreement, which gives public library patrons in Eagle Mountain, Lehi, American Fork, and Pleasant Grove access to all four libraries' collections, is getting some press lately. Here's the Daily Herald's article. Here's MFCC's blog post from several weeks ago.

900 West Anticlimax

Tuesday evening the American Fork City Council approved a zoning change to allow development of the Carson properties on 900 West, just north of Del Taco. Councilman Rick Storrs was absent for medical reasons. Councilors Shirl LeBaron and MFCC voted yea; Councilors Dale Gunther and Sherry Kramer voted nay. When there is a tie vote, the mayor gets to cast a tie-breaking vote; Mayor Heber Thompson voted yea.

Almost no one showed up to comment on this item, in stark contrast to the crowds who appeared earlier this year and back in 2006, mostly to oppose development.

The previous version of the proposal was to zone the entire property commercial. The version approved Tuesday evening zones roughly the southern half of the property commercial, but the northern half is zoned for professional offices. This is intended to provide a buffer between the commercial area and the adjacent residential and agricultural zones -- both a physical and a political buffer, actually, the latter because it will be more difficult to zone the next piece of land commercial. This change and the fact that the plan includes the developer doing about $600,000 worth of upgrades on the streets there, which the City cannot currently afford to do itself, was enough to tip the balance and win approval.

Earlier this year, I suggested that the neighbors accept the previous plan and call it a win. This win is a little more solid than that would have been, and probably is enough to satisfy all but the people who don't think the property should be developed at all. Case closed -- assuming things go as planned, that is.

Insert Final Item Here

. . . Or not. I had planned one other American Fork item for this post, a fun one, but it's not quite ready, so it will come later, complete with hilarious, potentially disturbing photos.

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