City Council report for April 6, 2023
The April 6 City Council meeting did not follow the agenda, and this report won’t follow it exactly either. The Council considered 11 different actions and another five as the RDA, with a public hearing in each meeting and several explanations about various agenda items and the longer-term plans for some of them. The full meeting can be viewed here.
Power Purchase Adjustment Clause (PPAC) update
Finance Director Tom Kotter reported to the Council that the February wholesale power bill was $773,905, and the price per kWh was $0.0507. February was the first month in a long time that the rate we paid UAMPS was below what we had planned when the budget was created. This resulted in a positive net outcome of about $229,000 for the month, but with the running deficit previously at about $2.75 million, we are still in the red at about $2.5 million. The first bills with the PPAC surcharge will go out this month.
Council Member Troxell asked about whether equal pay customers will have the PPAC surcharge automatically added to their monthly payment or if it will be added to their deficit and recalculated into their new equal pay amount in January. Mr. Kotter said the monthly payment will not be automatically adjusted, but equal pay customers can contact utilities office to change their equal payment amount. If they don’t, the PPAC will be added to their deficit when it is recalculated next January.
The Council approved several property agreements to facilitate various projects. First, the City purchased a 4.8-acre parcel at about 200 South and 1400 West and subdivided it to create a regional storm water detention basin. This will improve existing water infrastructure in the area and also support future development.
Second, the Council approved a property exchange in which no money will exchange hands. The City will acquire a narrow strip of land along American Way and another along Forest Street in order to provide utility easements, sidewalks, curb and gutter, and park strips for the overpass project. In exchange, the City will cede ownership of a small parcel adjacent to the Public Works complex.
The third property agreement involves Davis Park and Box Elder School District. The City will cede ownership of Davis Park, which is adjacent to Discovery Elementary, to Box Elder School District. In exchange, the school district will provide credit toward the purchase of the now empty Mountain View Elementary (MVE) adjacent to Rotary Constitution Park. The purchase price of MVE will be $914,640. The City will use some of the MVE property to expand parking for Rotary Constitution Park, which is expected to improve public safety and access to the park, particularly the skate park. The rest of the property, including the empty school building, will be sold to the Boys and Girls Club for $914,640.
Brigham City will continue to maintain Davis Park and benefit from rental revenue of the bowery for the foreseeable future. If Box Elder School District ever decides they need to expand Discovery Elementary, the park space will be available to them
The final property agreement is the purchase of eight acres just west of I-15 on Forest Street. The total purchase price is $525,000, of which $225,000 was provided by Golden Spike Foundation. The City will fund the remaining $300,000 with sales tax revenue, which so far has been higher than projected this year due to a strong economy.
The property will be used for a park and will also be the home of a monument celebrating the workers who built the Transcontinental Railroad. The monument is currently being constructed and is expected to be finished in October of this year. The Golden Spike Foundation, which will provide the funding for the park development and construction, anticipates a grand opening celebration in early June 2024. The full project will cost approximately $5 million and is expected to provide educational opportunities for local schools and additional tourism revenue to the City.
Local business owner Kelly Driscoll is working to get a mural installed on the Brigham Heating & Air Conditioning building located at 100 South and Main Street. He shared his understanding that funds remain from a 2022 grant for downtown Main Street retailers for blade signs and beautification, and requested that the Council reallocate the remaining funds for the mural. He also asked for an in-kind donation of the rental of the Academy Center to host a fundraising event for the mural project. City Administrator Derek Oyler suggested that he, Mayor Bott, Mr. Driscoll, and Community and Economic Development Director Paul Larsen meet at a later time to review the grant requirements and remaining funds, then bring it back to the council for a vote. Mayor Bott indicated that the in-kind donation should be considered at that time as well.
The Council approved a fee schedule including the new columbarium niches. Fees for the columbarium represent actual cost to the cemetery, so the two remaining spaces from the existing niche will be sold at the previous cost. The fee schedule also clarifies that the cemetery does not allow burials on Sundays, holidays, the Saturday before Memorial Day, or the Saturday of Peach Days.
Brigham City will celebrate April 28 as Arbor Day, and the City is hosting a tree-planting activity on April 26 at 4pm. The public is invited to attend. There will be 12 trees planted at the sports complex and another 10 at the animal shelter.
Business license code changes were approved in the March 16 City Council meeting; in reviewing and making those changes, City staff realized our zoning code did not include language that included beer retailers in commercial and industrial zones. The Council voted unanimously to add that language.
Brigham City requires developers to provide financial assurance that the infrastructure for a development is built to code. Basically, this is a deposit that the City retains in order to bring a development into code if needed. Previously, the developer could provide this assurance by cash in an escrow account or a cash deposit with the City. The Council voted to add the option of an improvement surety bond along with a bond agreement. Developers can now provide assurance using any of the three methods.
The City moved a small lot at 891 W Forest to the RDA in order to facilitate a later exchange between Box Elder County and the RDA. This exchange will allow for the relocation of American Way in connection with the overpass project.
General RDA information
Several questions about the Redevelopment Agency and how it functions were asked during the public hearing, but Utah State law prevents the back-and-forth during public hearings or public comment periods. Once the hearing was over, Mayor Bott asked Mr. Oyler to answer some of those questions and explain what RDAs are and how they function.
The Brigham City Redevelopment Agency (RDA) is a separate legal entity from Brigham City Corporation. Its purpose is economic development, job creation, eliminating blight, and achieving the goals of development, reconstruction, or rehabilitation of residential, industrial, and commercial areas. The RDA manages several geographical areas within incorporated Brigham City, with a variety of goals for each of those areas. Maps of the various areas can be found on the GIS/Mapping web page under the “Planning and Development” section.
The RDA is not a taxing entity. It depends on other entities to provide its funding. RDA funds are restricted by law in the ways they can be moved into and out of the RDA budget.
This week’s agenda shows two property transfers to the RDA, and a question was asked about whether or not the RDA ever sells property. The answer is yes, the RDA can and has sold property. Most recently, the RDA sold a lot to Aspire Performance Arts Academy for a future location.
The intent of the RDA is to use tools to incentivize property development according to the desired outcomes for the particular area. This is one of the primary differences between a the Brigham City RDA and Brigham City Corporation. If Brigham City Corporation wants to sell a lot, it is legally required to list the lot as surplus property and then sell without regard to who the purchaser is and what their plans are for the property. This would generally be accomplished through a bid process, with the highest bidder being awarded the sale. The RDA, on the other hand, can sell property according to the RDA plan, even if the monetary benefit to the City is lower. The RDA can approach a particular buyer with common goals and negotiate with a desired outcome in mind beyond monetary cost or benefit.
Appreciation for partners in property agreements
Mayor Bott and other staff members expressed appreciation to Box Elder School District and the Walker, LeCheminant, and Reeder families for the positive and easy discussions and negotiations regarding the various property agreements. Mayor Bott also expressed appreciation to the Davis family for their support of the agreement with the school district.
Please note: This is a brief summary of the meeting and is not the official record. Official meeting minutes will be posted here when they are available.