Friday, August 23, 2013

Fire TAX approved at 80%

After hearing (but apparent not listening) to the public, the Fire Board approved the 80% TAX INCREASE.    Despite their promise to answer the question posed two weeks earlier, they failed to do so.

A people's referendum to allow the voters to weigh in on the issue is 
ready for signatures (1500 needed by October 5)


I'm afraid that a many questions from the public were left unanswered at the continuation of the "truth" hearing Wednesday.   I would also suggest that while Steve Capson gave an excellent overview of websites that can provide a great deal of information, there may have been a few, shall we say, inconsistencies with the declaration that the Fire Department SSD is "transparent."

  • Transparent Utah is not optional;
    •  "Participating state entities shall submit detail revenue and expense transactions from their general ledger accounting system to the UPFW at least quarterly and within one month after the end of the fiscal quarter."
    • Employee wages ARE required
      •  "Participating state entities will submit employee compensation detail information on a basis consistent with its fiscal year to the UPFW at least once per year" 
  • Wasatch County Fire district IS listed as a participant, but gives this result for 2013:
    • "We're sorry, but we did not find any transactions that met your criteria.
      Please revise your search above, or visit this entity's profile page for more information:"
  • AND the same for 2012
  • 2011 does have some figures, but NO names on salaries.
  •  is a very nice website and provides quite a bit of information
    • It does NOT, however include wages and salaries after 2011
    • The 2013 budget is not the same as posted on the SAO website, and shows a deficit.
    • Although Utah law requires posting minutes and recordings shortly (3 days?) after meetings, the only one seen today under  is the Aug 7, 2013 TnT Hearing   (which  might be helpful for you all to listen to so you can again hear the question which were asked in public comments.)
    • While most minutes may be posted, the 11/29/12 meeting, wherein the Tax increase hearing was approved, required several GRAMA requests and the aid of the ombudsman to finally get a couple of days before the August 2013 hearing.
I could continue, but I hope the point is made - this is NOT transparency, either that required by law or that openness which fosters communication and trust.

It has been repeatedly pointed out that there are MANY well qualified, competent and available people who are, or would be if asked or considered, in this county who would be more than happy to serve.   

As noted in the county code mentioned below, this is what your rules and direction are - The council is encouraged to cooperate with and fully utilize the county's special service districts and special service areas elected administrative control boards, appointed boards and commissions, and to give full consideration to information and recommendations communicated by such boards and commissions, in order to maximize citizen participation in county government.
I fail to understand why this is seems so difficult to understand or to put into place.   The more citizen involvement, the better the government, while we also include the standard that "That government is best, which governs least."

Regards, in transparency and openness, still looking forward to answers,

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