Referendum Victory Means Better Cost Tracking
Dec 12, 2014 11:04AM
● By Mimi Darley
For residents of the Traverse Ridge Special Services District, the November ballot included a referendum seeking to defeat the district’s budget and certified tax rate. In doing so, the group that got the referendum on the ballot was asking the city council to draft a new budget that they hoped would more accurately reflect the incremental costs that are different for district residents, particularly the higher cost of snowplowing in their higher elevation district.
The Draper City Council has acted as the TRSSD’s governing board since 1999 as a condition to the development of SunCrest.
According to Draper City Recorder Rachelle Conner, 808 of the 1,984 ballots sent out were completed, and the referendum passed at nearly 92 percent.
The Draper City Council, expecting that the referendum would pass, created a temporary advisory committee to aid in the transition of the district’s control board. That committee was appointed in October. City Manager David Dobbins said the city council has indicated their intent to formally appoint a new control board in December.
The city council, still acting as the governing board for the district in November, began the process of re-working the service district’s budget and approving an interlocal agreement with the city for services such as snowplowing. This is necessary as the district works toward having its own control board and being responsible for its own budget and costs.
The city has installed GPS devices on snowplows and is tracking the time city employees spend specifically working on district business. The mayor has said in the past that it’s likely the city has either been subsidizing the TRSSD or vice-versa.
“They’ve asked for a greater level of transparency in how we do the budget. This will allow us to track all the time spent in the district, the equipment used. We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for the people to understand,” Dobbins said.
City Councilmember Jeff Stenquist echoed that notion.
“We all look forward to having a more accurate accounting...to provide the public with better information,” he said.
Because the budget and tax rate were defeated by the referendum, the city is operating out of the fund balance which had been earmarked for repairs to Deer Ridge Drive. Those funds are now going toward snowplowing and salt while the city does a more comprehensive analysis of costs in the service district and the transition to a new control board takes place.
“We’re trying to be as fair as possible, to be as transparent as possible, and we are going to be transparent,” City Councilmember Alan Summerhays said.