Department budget presentations continue
County departments have been in the process of making their budget presentations to the Summit County Council, and Wednesday’s meeting saw numerous departments including Community Development and Engineering and Public Works highlight their priorities for 2014.
Community Development Director Patrick Putt started off his presentation with a slide of former Utah Jazz Head Coach Jerry Sloan, stating that Sloan was great but fundamentally wrong because he focused on "being reactive and playing good defense." He used this example to stress that the Community Development Department needs to have a good "offense" and be proactive.
This year, the department created a new position, a planning and zoning administrator, and hired Peter Barnes. Putt wants to focus on writing a development code that focuses on the county’s economic goals. He also wants to simplify the county’s subdivision process.
"For too long, we’ve been in the mode of [being] permit pushers and not community developers," Putt said. "We have too many processes that simply create insulation and not the desired effects."
Council chair Claudia McMullin and several members of the public want the county to bring on more building inspectors to keep up with the abundant workload that home builders in the Park City area have had. Council member Dave Ure, however, cautioned that doing so could raise fees, which could impact young couples trying to buy new houses on the East Side.
McMullin suggested an inspection fee structure which would charge a higher rate for those wishing to have a more immediate inspection conducted. Homebuilders associations in the area have already said they would be willing to pay more for quicker building inspections.
Putt said that, though there were not as many inspections this year, that is due to larger projects such as the Wyndham Vacation Resort hotel at The Canyons Resort. He said his department is also in the process of completing Phase I of the Snyderville Basin General Plan as well as the General Plan for the East Side, which recognizes that area’s growing economic diversity.
Engineering & Public Works
Public Works Director Derrick Radke presented his department’s priorities to the Council, the main highlights of which included huge boosts to capital road improvements, as more than $770,000 in projects were deferred during the last budget.
Based on the county manager’s recommendations for 2014 compared to 2013’s budget, the county will increase funds for capital road improvements from $675,000 to over $2.2 million. The total increase for road projects for 2014 compared to 2013 amounts to $724,550.
Also planned for Public Works in 2014 is a storm-water-pollution-prevention plan, which is required within 12 months, and an update to the Snyderville Basin Transportation Plan. The suppression cost to be paid to the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands for wildland fire will also go up by $16,600 based on the average cost from 2006-2012.
For transit, Radke expects the estimated contractual cost increase with Park City Transit to go up by $145,250. The number of riders on the Summit County-Park City-Salt Lake City Connect he reported is continuing to rise, but not enough to offset the payment of $235,000 to the Utah Transit Authority.
At the meeting, several Council members suggested now is the time to create a bus line between Park City and Heber and between Park City and Kamas, two cities where much of the workforce in Park City and the Basin come from.
Lastly, Public Works presented the Solid Waste Department’s highlights, the first of which was that the landfill, which will reach capacity in 2017, will need to be expanded. A new cell, covering about seven acres, will cost around $700,000.
The biggest improvement in 2013 for Solid Waste was the amount of waste diverted to recycling. In 2012, 12.4 percent of waste was diverted; so far in 2013, that number has been increased to 20 percent. In 2012, the landfill diverted 286 tons of waste, while thus far in 2013 that number is 1,211.
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