Wednesday, March 01, 2006

February 28. 2006 Ogden City Council Notes

By Dian Woodhouse

Here’s some of what went on at the February 28th Council Meeting:

A presentation by Weber County Pathways to the city, congratulating Ogden City for its commitment to trails and pathways. Weber County Pathways also had two requests: that it be provided with the amount the City had spent on pathways for the last five years, and that it be allowed to participate in the City’s Master Plan, because it could be of help to the City in linking the current trails and pathways with those of surrounding communities.

Then came a presentation by the Golden Hours center. The Center is considering changing its name and dropping the senior citizens label, because it now has three generations of people participating, the youngest being the Baby Boomers. This was a very interesting presentation, reflecting the trend in American society of people who are technically “senior citizens,” but who still want to be actively involved in things. The center gives classes in computers, entrepreneurship, arts, exercise, protecting yourself from scams, tai chi, and nutrition, among other things, sponsors trips, and wishes to expand. The membership slumped last year, but seems to be climbing again, and the center survives on government and grant money.

Moving on, there was the presentation of the Special Events Advisory committee. The projects the committee deals with were in two parts: those funded by the city, and those privately funded but requiring city facilities. The conflict between Harvest Moon and the Farmer’s Market is being worked through, and Councilwoman Wicks mentioned that it was too bad that the Farmer’s Market closes at peak produce season and was told that this was being addressed. There was a discussion started by Councilman Glasmann about the bands booked in the amphitheater that was interesting---evidently the amphitheater does not have enough seating to make bringing in big names profitable, and so sponsors and concessions have been involved in the deals with various promoters. Every deal is individually customized and in some cases, promoters have been able to get the revenue from concessions, which, from Glasmann’s response to this fact, evidently is not standard.

As one of the goals for next year, the Special Events Advisory Committee wishes to have more involvement from WSU. Since I heard at WSU last week that some there want more involvement in the community, it looks like good things might happen in that regard.

Mayor Godfrey spoke briefly about Ogden’s not being set up for tourism. Evidently, a group of travel writers were invited to Ogden by Geiger & Associates, a PR firm hired by a consortium of officials to market Ogden.* However, the travel writers’ problem with Ogden was "You have no infrastructure."

They didn’t mean pipes. They were referring to our lack of tourist infrastructure. When people travel, they like to be taken care of and like to be taken places instead of having to find them on their own. We have no mountain tour guides, no places set up to rent mountain bikes to tourists and then take them on trails, no drivers through the mountains, no boating excursions on Pineview, etc. This I think really bears thinking about. Evidently, the door is wide open here for some enterprising person to take this idea and run with it.

Then was approved the budget opening for “proposed Ordinance 2006-7 amending the budget and CIP Plan for Ogden City for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006 by increasing the anticipated revenues and transfers for gross increases of $284,862.00 from sources as detailed in the body of this ordinance, and increasing the appropriations for a gross increase of $284, 862.00 as detailed in the body of this ordinance.”

Now for the part I know you have all been waiting for. The first nail biter of 2006 has been resolved. (Drum roll....)

Ferrets are now legal in Ogden.


Of course there are conditions for this. They must be vaccinated and microchipped and licensed, but it is now okay to have one. Or, it seems, even two.

This part of the meeting was quite complex, in that there were a variety of revisions to the animal laws and evidently the handouts these were written on were gone before I arrived. However, some things I remember are: that there will be a limit on the number of animals one can own, but if one owns more than that limit now, as long as they are all licensed before June 10th, I believe the date was, it is all right to exceed the limit. One cannot, however, replace animals and continue to exceed the limit as time goes on, and I believe the limit is six.

There are now quite a few things people who have dangerous animals will have to do. Your animal is termed “dangerous” if it has been involved in an incident, where, for instance, it bites someone. It will have to be microchipped, and owners will have to carry liability insurance because of owning it, and muzzle it when it's off the property, and do quite a few other things. There was a long list.

Evidently, the Ogden City Council is comprised of animal lovers, because there was quite a discussion on limiting the number of animals people can own, especially if they are obviously well cared for. Jeske and Safsten especially spoke to this issue. However, the presenter from Animal Control stated that they estimate 35,000 animals in Ogden, and that they deal with 20% of them. When the question was asked---What if the animals are “house animals” who never go out, the answer was that there are some animals at the shelter right now who are obviously from that kind of environment, and in fact, there are two lost Westie type dogs there who are even wearing little shirts. And that sometimes they get 40-50 cats a day and they do not want to continue having to euthanize because this situation is “terrible, horrific, and heartbreaking.” So the changes were approved and the new animal ordinances are passed.

Councilwoman Jeske moved that the board meeting of March 21st be canceled so as to enable council members to attend their neighborhood caucuses. The motion failed.

Councilwoman Jeske then read into the record the guest commentary published in the Standard Examiner in December of '05 and written by the previous council, which states the Council’s position on the proposed gondola and resort. The most salient part of that commentary is: "To date, the City Council has received no formal presentation or detailed proposal regarding either the resort at Malan's Basin or a gondola through the city, and therefore cannot take any official position at this time."

After Councilwoman Jeske read this commentary, she stated that she agreed with it, and advocates a citizen input process before any decisions regarding either the gondola or the resort are made. Councilman Safsten then spoke to it also, stating that hearing it again, he still agreed with it. Councilman Stephenson then spoke of the “phenomenal response” ski companies have made to Ogden because of the efforts of the administration, stating that “Outside investors are making monetary decisions on what they hope will happen.” Councilman Stephens also spoke to the issue, mentioning that, when first elected, “Three of us were labeled to be against growth” because of asking questions. Stephens said he will continue to ask questions as he is conscious of both growth and tax dollars.

The Council then moved to Closed Executive Session "for the purpose of discussing pending or reasonably imminent litigation."

We’ll all stay tuned, for sure.

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