One of the top priorities for the council is planning to build a new Public Safety Building for the police department. The current building is far too small and they recently moved evidence offsite to make room. The council wants to plan for police force growth in line with the projected growth of the city.
One idea introduced in the meeting was to add the Public Safety Building to the City Hall Building. It gained traction throughout the meeting and council members, the chief of police, and even a couple residents in attendance saw the value in having both in a central location.
Finance Director Evan Nelson said it would be smart to start saving for the new building now, make a plan, and take advantage of lower costs when the economy slows down. There are other cities similar to North Ogden that have recently built new public safety buildings and the council is considering using others’ plans to help them structure their own. This could help alleviate some of the costs. City attorney Jon Call said it would likely cost $10,000 to get a generic layout of a public safety building and a detailed one can cost around $150,000 to $200,000.
Providing new police radios are also one of the highest priorities for the city.
Preparing for the Gondola project
The council discussed the potential courses of action they could take if the gondola up Coldwater Canyon is approved by the county and forest service. Councilman Blake Cevering is the only council member whose seat is not up for election in Nov. 2019. Council member Carl Turner said they need to figure out how to deal with it so the new council isn’t completely blindsided by this issue. The forest service is still reviewing the plan, but it is unclear how far along they are and how likely they are to approve the project. Councilman Phillip Swanson said if the gondola is built on county land, the city would have to deal with sewer, plowing roads, and police calls without any of the tax benefit. Councilman Ryan Barker said the city could require a new development to be annexed into the city if they tie into the sewer.
The council discussed bonding for the Barker Park amphitheater and the possibility of letting the residents in North Ogden vote on it in November. City Recorder Annette Spendlove said the only way to get it on the ballot is if there is a referendum by the residents. She explained it would be the same process the city went through for the public works building. The city council made a decision, some residents gathered signatures in opposition, it was placed on the ballot, and the residents voted. Council members cannot put it on the ballot themselves.
The residential roads are next up for road improvements over the next four to five years. The city finished improving the main roads with the ceramic chip overlay which was possible with the $3 monthly fee to the residents.
Mayor Chugg presented the results for an unscientific survey to help the council understand the vision and strategies residents are hoping to see in the future. He said some of the pronounced ideas included completing the amphitheater, adding more biking and hiking trails, getting a bubble for the pool for year-round use, and having a farmers market. Parks and Recreation Director Tiffany Staheli said they are looking at doing a farmers market potentially at Barker Park in August.