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Category Archives: Events

ULCT ended November and started December with the Land Use Task Force, a water nutrient meeting at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, Newly Elected trainings, and other meetings.

Land Use Task Force

The Land Use Task Force took and unexpected twist last week as it learned that Sen. Niederhauser’s Transfer Fees Bill had been offered to address Legislative Interim testimony that had accused a certain Wasatch Back County of cronyism in its administration of its land use code.  Sen. Niederhauser quickly acknowledged that while a good transfer fee bill may be beneficial legislation, he was looking for a deeper inquiry into how to stem the appearance of limitless discretion and the potential for cronyism in land use administration.  His concern appears to be with those few counties that grant urban densities in unincorporated areas, without clear methods.  After a fair amount of pointed discussion, it appeared that he was focused on an aberration and that he did not intend to undermine land use discretion generally.  Needless to say, this turn of events captured the group’s attention for most of the meeting.  Look for this issue to carry over into next interim’s discussions.

The group added direction to the Eminent Domain for Trails bill, requesting additional restrictions on the use of condemnation with respect to trail lengths and multi-jurisdiction trails.  The PRC also identified opposition within its ranks that the ULCT will attempt to quell before the session begins.  The Task Force also approved the revisions to the Impact Fees bill and the Development Standards bill.  Both bills are off to Leg Research.  The last Task Force meeting for the interim is scheduled for Monday, December 12 at 2:30 p.m. after LPC.  At that meeting, we hope to achieve a resolution for the Fines for Nuisance abatement issue, and to get to consensus on Sen. Niederhauser’s Transfer Fee bill.

Late in the week, we learned that the State Engineer’s Office intended to pursue a bill to reverse the Jensen v. Jones and Big Ditch decisions without addressing certain serious concerns identified by the ULCT over the interim.  This is a bold move on the State Engineer’s part because legislators, who are known for their expertise in water and who are also keenly interested in these issues, have relied on the State Engineer’s promise to resolve issues that the ULCT has raised.

Water nutrient Core Group:

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality invited ULCT to represent local government on its internal Nutrient Core Group.  The Division of Water Quality is developing a plan for establishing quality standards for nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus.  This week’s meeting brought together several potential stakeholders.  First, science representatives explained the potential negative impact of excess nitrogen and phosphorous on humans, drinking water, biology, water recreation, and the environment.  For example, the excess nutrients could lead to the death of plants, animals, and fish, and threats to human health.  Second, agricultural representatives expressed concern that increased nutrient regulations would increase the cost on Utah farmers and ranchers.  Third, a representative of Publicly Owned Treatment Works argued that the potential regulations could cost local governments and special service districts over $1 billion to comply.  Only a handful of water treatment facilities in Utah utilize the most modern technology, and the Division of Water Quality subsidized the construction of several of those facilities with grant money.  The next meeting will be January 12 and ULCT will continue to fight state and federal unfunded mandates on local government and maintain water quality.

Newly Elected Training

ULCT went to Logan on Saturday morning to meet nearly 80 new council members from 18 different cities and towns.  The legislative team explained ULCT’s role at the legislature and how ULCT will communicate legislative updates to our members via our website.  We also explained our new federal outreach and sought recommendations for questions for the congressional delegation.  We hope that we didn’t overwhelm the new officials—approximately 150 upcoming bills, state and federal unfunded mandates, and budget shortfalls—and we appreciated their attention, interest, and community service.

Mayor Yeah Samake and ULCT's Cameron Diehl

SALT LAKE CITY – A delegation of mayors from one of the poorest countries in the world is looking to Utah to learn skills for efficient governmental leadership.  The group is led by a Mali mayor with strong Utah ties… in fact; he is now running an impressive campaign to become Mali’s new President.

Yeah Samake, who was born in Mali and was one of few in the country able to pursue an education as a youth and then abroad.  He received his Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University and then returned to his hometown of Ouelessebougou to teach English and help increase literacy in his own country.  In Mali fewer than 20 percent of adults can read and write.

Ouelessebougou is actually one of the most advanced cities in Mali, yet it has no water treatment facility, no public safety, poor transportation systems and ongoing threats to public health.  The country of Mali is rich in its resources such as gold and cotton but has no practical and efficient processing methods.

As Mayor of Ouelessebougou, Samake is trying to improve conditions in his community and raise the level of ethics in his country’s government. His push for transparency in a developing democracy is building confidence among communities, improving programs and services, raising tax collection rates, and bringing people out of the shroud of illiteracy that has dominated Mali for generations.

Samake is Vice President of the Mali League of Mayors, an organization with a membership of 704 mayors throughout the nation. On December 4, Samake is bringing a delegation of mayors from Mali to Utah to learn how to efficiently run various divisions of public services and lead their cities.

The delegation is looking to Utah with its tradition of municipal efficiency and international humanitarian service, to provide hands on training in a variety of valuable services.  It’s also an opportunity to foster long-lasting relationships between Utah city officials and Malian leaders.

The ULCT Mali Summit, scheduled for December 5- 8, 2011, will provide informal training in various governmental operations including how to conduct public meetings, how to address infrastructure needs, and the ethical responsibilities of being an elected official.

If you’d like to get involved as a host family or as a French interpreter, contact Cameron Diehl @ the Utah League of Cities and Towns at 801.328.1601, or .



The Utah League and Cities and Towns will be offering its wildly popular Newly Elected Officials Workshop in Logan on Saturday December 3rd.

This half-day event is designed for those who have just been elected (those who have also been called are not invited) for the first time, and we particularly welcome current elected officials who are humble enough to admit that they don’t know it all (yet) and could use some additional schooling.

The agenda includes training on ethics, forms of government, land use, budgeting, insurance and liability, the basics of taxes, and random topics that David Church feels moved to bring up.

We promise an atmosphere at City Hall rivaling that of the Spectrum last Friday night, but without all the unwholesome “observations” directed at the earnest and well-scrubbed visiting team!

Here are the not-particularly-salacious details:

Location: Logan City Hall, council chamber, 290 N 100 W

Time: 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Cost: $40 (yes, that’s all!)

Deadline to Register: 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30th. Register Here! And email your form to Cari at cboyer@

Participants will walk away with a fancy new Powers and Duties Handbook a full stomach (breakfast and lunch are served) and so much good information that, if used wisely, could make them very effective!

ULCT expresses gratitude to all those who sacrificed their time, listened to their neighbors, and sought to make their communities better by running for mayor or city council in 2011.

For those who came up short yesterday, we salute your effort and urge you to stay involved in your community.  For those who emerged victorious, ULCT congratulates you and looks forward to working with you.  Please utilize ULCT as a resource as you either begin or continue your service as an elected official.  We recommend that all local elected officials attend the ULCT Newly Elected Trainings in December, January, or February.  Regardless of if being a council member is a new adventure or if you want to sharpen your skills and knowledge, our Newly Elected Trainings will be useful to you.  They will be held:

Saturday, December 3, Logan City Hall

Saturday, December 17, Cedar City Hall

Saturday, January 7, Orem City Hall

Saturday, February 4, Ephraim City Hall

Saturday, February 11, Salt Lake City and County Building

Also, please watch for the updated version of the “Powers and Duties Handbook,” coming to a ULCT bookstore near you soon.  Powers and Duties covers every local government topic from budgets to ethics, from the Open and Public Meetings Act to impact fees, and from land use to business licenses.  It is a must read for every local government official (and, in our humble opinion, everyone else in Utah too)!

Again, congratulations to the new or continuing elected officials and thank you to all those who ran for public office in 2011.

By Susan Wood

50 miles on I-15 is really nothing.  Unless you’re stuck in rush hour traffic or diverted onto a Utah County farm exit by errant orange barrels, Provo is just a stone’s throw away from Salt Lake City. (Stone, rocket launcher, whatever.)

But To a Ute or a Cougar, there is proverbial dividing point along I-15 at the county boundary.  It’s Utah’s own Mason-Dixon Line.  Instead of blue versus gray, it’s blue versus red.  Utah has had its own line in the sand since the late 1800’s, when BYU was BYA and Utah was the Deseret Academy.

As a symbolic gesture, a friendly wager and a genuine effort of good will, Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker and Provo Mayor John Curtis are crossing that line in unison…. or thereabouts.

This rival ride is the Salt Lake/Provo City version of wagers like those we’ve heard so much about during Superbowls and World Series games. It’s like trading cheddar cheese plates for clam chowder bowl, bratwurst for barbeque, or roping one city official to sing his rival’s fight song mid-field.

For the fourth season in a row, Mayors Curtis and Becker will pedal away for their rivalry ride. Since the “U” won the last football game against the “Y,” The route will lead into Salt Lake City.  (Basically, it’s nearly all uphill on this one and some inner-office fans believe Mayor Becker may have the advantage.)  The route isn’t a straight shot this year, either (Check it out here).  Due to highway construction, the cyclists will be peddling through neighborhoods and traveling some winding bike paths.

Now, here’s the big warm-fuzzy part.  Unlike large crowds of high school lineman waiting to do the Haka (as demonstrated here) to revel in victory, everybody’s a winner in this cycling competition.  Riders are contributing cash to a cause that affects every city. Dollars will be donated to provide food to the less fortunate.  Organizers figure each dollar can generate seven times the value in actual food purchases.

Be ready to ride at Provo’s City Hall, 351 West Center at 9:00.  Gear up for the finish line several hours later at the SLC City and County Building.


Legislative Policy Meetings

We started of the week with a great Legislative Policy Meeting (thanks to those who were able to attend).  Continuing to follow our new meeting platform, we focused on just a few issues instead of trying to fit everything in to each meeting.  This meeting’s focus was on the recent legislative proposal to redistribute sales tax and also on recent Utah State Retirement findings that would require the payment of retirement contributions for part-time employees if they earn over a certain amount.  Each item received much debate.  Most expressing concern on redistribution concepts and requests to find more information on the retirement issue and look at legislation to prevent such issues in the future.


  • Broadband Deployment

The Governor’s staff was the first one to present to the Committee.  The focus of their presentation was on the two areas of the Broadband advisory council mission.  The first is the mapping of broadband availability in Utah.  They spoke on the progress they have made so far in this aspect.  The second was planning and coordination of future broadband deployment with an emphasis on getting broadband to the underserved and rural areas of the state.  They also mentioned this as an economic development tool for all of these areas.

Steve Fletcher from DTS then presented on what his department is doing to increase broadband deployment in Utah.  He spoke quickly on how this is an economic development tool and how that is important to Utah.

The ULCT staff spoke next, and gave a quick history as to why he was placed on the board.  Lincoln spoke on the fact that some coordination of fiber deployment is taking place currently.  He later spoke on the fact that coordination and trading of fiber is going on currently due to the stand out effort of certain individuals.  He later commented that they might want to formalize some of the trades and efforts that are being made by a few.  He also affirmed these efforts need to be done with both public and private entities.  He also spoke to the fact that this is a great area to enter into public private partnerships where both parties will see a benefit.

Lynn Yocum from UDOT presented on all the good things that they have been doing at UDOT as far as making smart roads.  She gave a few examples of trades that have taken place and helped UDOT expand their reach.  By doing this she has been able to do more with less as mandated by the governor.

Mike Peterson from UEA gave a presentation on their current infrastructure.  He showed the state and all of the schools and libraries they have connected.  He then spoke on the E-rate program and how they are able to receive nearly two dollars for every one that they use on long term leases from private entities to connect their buildings.

The presentation was good in educating legislator on the Broadband deployment that is currently going on in Utah.  It also gave them a scope of the importance of Broadband to Utah.

  • Natural Resources – State Parks

The Natural Resources Interim Committee discussed the future of Utah state parks.  The Legislature reduced the Division of Utah State Parks & Recreation’s budget from FY 2010 from $12.2 million to $6.7 million in FY 2012 and the legislature wants to wean state parks off of the general fund via privatization, staff reduction, and turning park management over to local governments.  Every local government contacted by the Division, however, declined management due to the financial obligations.  The Division’s director and dozens of supporters advocated for renewed funding and two legislators opined that the value of state parks cannot be quantified and expressed support for legislative funding of state parks.  Nevertheless, other legislators voiced concern that federal budget cuts would continue to strain the state budget.  Many cities and residents depend on the economic benefits and cultural value of the state parks.  Consequently, ULCT will monitor the state park dialogue and how much the legislature promotes relinquishing state parks to local or private control.

  • Sales Tax Distribution

The Revenue and Tax Committee briefly discussed sales tax distribution.  Due to time constraints, the committee did not take public comment and instead pushed the item to November’s interim agenda.  The committee did, however, get a brief explanation of a possible bill from Rep. Greg Hughes and Rep. Jim Nielsen, which would change the local distribution formula from 50-50 (50% point of sale and 50% population) to a 50-25-25 (50% population, 25% point of sale and 25% total wages within the city).  Numbers were provided as a part of that presentation and further analysis will be done by ULCT staff to better understand the full effect of any proposed change.  Cities have expressed deep concern over the proposal and the ULCT will continue to work with the Legislature to make our concerns known.

Other Meetings:

  • Meeting with Legislators on ULCT initiated pawnshop legislation to deal with unintended consequences to a bill from the 2011 session
  • Meeting with Legislators on a bill to modify the land-use code dealing with rentals to multiple families (number of unrelated individuals that can live together)
  • Meeting with legislators on retirement issues referenced above
  • Meeting with UDOT to discuss B&C allocation issues

Upcoming Meetings:

The week of October 24th will be a busy week for the ULCT with our land use taskforce reconvening to discuss proposed legislation for 2012. We will also be meeting with SL County on township/duplication of services issues in Salt Lake County and cities within SL County, and the Utah Intergovernmental Roundtable summit, which will focus on the future of agriculture in Utah.  We will have a full report on these and other meetings of the week on Friday.  Until then, enjoy your week.

Please call if you have any questions.

Your ULCT Legislative Team

The Utah League of Cities & Towns is pleased to announce the 2011-2012 Newly Elected Officials Training.

This half-day seminar is targeted at those who have just been elected for the first time and starting to wonder just that they got themselves into. This training is also a great brush up for any official, new or old, elected or appointed and we encourage all to attend.  All sessions will begin at 8:00 am and will wrap up no later than 1:30 pm.

The training sessions will be held in the city hall of Logan, Ephraim, Provo, Cedar city and Salt Lake City. The schedule is posted on our calendar.

Please watch for information coming in the mail in the next week. We will also be sending information regarding the 2012 Local Government Officials Directory.

Logan City Hall – 12/3/2011 (290 N. 100 W., Logan, UT 84321)

Cedar City Hall – 12/17/2011 (10 N. Main, Cedar City, UT 84720)

 Orem City Hall – 1/7/2012 (56 North State St, Orem, UT 84057)

 Ephraim City Hall – 2/4/2012 (5 S. Main, Ephraim, UT 84627)

 Salt Lake City & County Building – 2/11/2012 (451 S. State, Salt Lake City, UT 84111)

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