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The City Café

For those interested in sharing ideas and perspectives regarding local government.

We started the meeting showing a ULCT-produced video about local pools opening and the work that goes into opening a public pool.  This is one of the many videos that the League has produced and submitted to the Deseret News in order show individuals all that cities are currently doing for them.  We then spoke quickly about the social media along with the E-Groups.

Andrew Gruber of Wasatch Front Regional Council then spoke about transportation funding.  Historically, Congress would pass a five year transportation appropriation bill.  Unfortunately, the House and Senate disagree on how to fund such a bill so the House and Senate each passed a short-term transportation appropriation bill.  Currently, a congressional conference committee is weighing how to proceed.  Utah is represented by Senator Orrin Hatch and Congressman Rob Bishop on the conference committee.  In conjunction with metropolitan and other transportation organizations, ULCT has sent that addresses three main points about future transportation appropriations:

  1. Local governments need long-term stability
  2. Local governments desire regulatory simplification
  3. Local governments want to continue to have a strong role in the transportation planning process

We then had an update by Jodi Hoffman on billboards and the ongoing work that is being put into this issue.  We believe that we need to discuss these issues with the industry during the interim but also prepare for another battle during the 2013 legislative session.  We talked about the billboard survey that we sent out.  Of all 245 cities only 22 had responded.  We then talked about making sure that you have a local ordinance to address conversion to electronic billboards.  This is an issue that affects all league cities.

Jodi Hoffman then gave a update on impact fees on public facilities and an issue that has recently come up.  We are addressing these issues with individual cities.  We are working with DFCM and in finding a solution to these problems.

Cameron gave a presentation on the Ethics Commission.  There was a bill that passed this last session that dealt with Ethics complaints. The bill sets up 2 possible scenarios.

  1. If you do nothing and an ethics complaint comes up you will automatically default to the state ethics commission.
  2. Cities and Towns can create their own ethics commissions and have considerable flexibility in how they create the commissions

We have created a working group that is looking at how best each city could set up a local ethics commission.  Additionally, the University of Utah is working on a transparency project and this was a quick introduction to an issue that will be coming up.

Cameron Diehl presented on two issues that were discussed at last week’s legislative interims.  First, the legislature is reviewing restaurant licenses and how they will re-evaluate the number of licenses.  The second issue is the “monetization” (transfer) of licenses.  Starting July 1, an owner of a establishment could sell his/her establishment and the alcohol license without going through DABC.  This could create a secondary market for licenses if none are made available from the state.  It seems likely that the governor will call a special session this summer to address both the restaurant license backlog and the process for transferring licenses.  ULCT will keep you appraised of those developments.

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