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Petitioners challenge electric fund
Mar 25, 2013 | 697 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

BY LOUISE R. SHAW

Clipper Staff Writer

 

KAYSVILLE — Use of the city’s electric enterprise fund is again being challenged by a group of Kaysville residents who have filed an initiative petition with the city.

 It has been two years since a similar initiative garnered approximately 1,500 signatures but failed to make the ballot due to technical issues.

The new petition, filed by five sponsors that include members from Citizens for Responsible Government, calls for all revenue from Kaysville’s power department and power fund to “be restricted solely to the direct operations for the Kaysville Power Department and not used for any other purpose.”

The proposed initiative allows for an emergency fund to be established and requires that all revenues above operating costs and the emergency fund be redistributed annually to customers based on usage.

As is required by law, a fiscal impact statement was prepared by the city’s finance director, Dean Storey, who found that the new law could result in a 33.34 percent tax rate increase and “require the use of more public debt to operate the city.”

 It stated that power operations are “a function of Kaysville City Corporation and accounted for as an enterprise fund of the City in accordance with generally accepted accounting principals and Government Accounting Standards Board pronouncements.”

Inter-fund loans from the electric utility enterprise money allowed for a loan to the water fund to repair pipes and pumps without incurring borrowing costs, according to the report.

If money had not been transferred to the city’s general fund to pay for better police protection, a property tax increase of approximately 21.6 percent would have been needed for that service, it said.

At the city council meeting on Tuesday, Orwin Draney accused the city of delaying their preparation of the petition. A letter to the Clipper by Margaret Brough made the same charge.

“From my observation,” Mayor Steve Hiatt told the Clipper, “thus far the staff is 10 days ahead of schedule. The elected body has really tried to stay out of this process and let the staff operate on their own so that we don’t make this process political.”

The fiscal impact statement was prepared in 15 days, when the state law allows 25 days, said Hiatt.

“I support the initiative process and support their right to petition,” said Hiatt. “However, I can’t help ask the proverbial question: If something ain’t broke, why fix it?”

Kaysville has the second lowest property tax rate in Davis County and power rates lower than that of Rocky Mountain Power, he said.  

 “When they take money out of the electric fund they don’t have to be accountable for it,” said Carole Walker, one of the sponsors. “Whereas, when they raise taxes they have to be accountable and have a public hearing. We’d just a like a little more control and a little more accountability.”

Walker said petitioners have until April 15 to collect signatures once the petitions have been formally prepared by the city. She said sponsors will go door to door and set up tables to collect signatures.

 

lshaw@davisclipper.com

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