Mayor Gygi asked if he will voluntary resign from AF Canyon Vision committee

Written By: admin - Jul• 02•15

20150701_181239Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi, and eight current and previous Cedar Hills Councilmembers attended the Preserve and Protect American Fork Canyon (PPAFC & www.americanforkcanyon.com ) public meeting at American Fork H.S., moderated by Mark Allen and County Commissioner Bill Lee.

Remarkably, a total nine current and former CH Council members were in the audience.  Former Council members Joel Wright, Ken Cromar and Marisa Wright also made comment and asked questions.  Sitting Mayor Gary Gygi and Council members Daniel Zappala, Trent Augustus, and Rob Crawley also commented.  (Former CH council member Darin Lowder and current council member Jenney Rees were also in attendance, but did not speak.)

The Meeting

When former CH Joel Wright took the microphone he challenged the transparency of those on the American Fork Canyon Vision (AFCV)  committee.  Wright said he felt anyone who had received any sort of consideration from Snowbird shouldn’t be representing the interests of the citizens and should not be representing Utah County citizen interest on the American Fork Canyon Vision committee.
Ken Cromar – researcher for CHCRG and former elected Councilman thanked Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee and P&PAFC leader Mark Allen for alerting and fighting in behalf of Utah County citizen representation on this important issue, to which the audience applauded them with approval.
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Cromar reported that at Monday’s AFCV committee meeting he asked during public comment if anyone at the table had received any considerations from Snowbird or related entities.  Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson had acknowledged a $3,500 campaign contribution connected to Snowbird, but no one else responded admitting Snowbird connections, including Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi.
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Cromar added that he surprised Tuesday to find a PPAFC FaceBook post of GRAMA requested email chain between Snowbird owners Dick Bass and Ian Cummings with Mayor Gygi, demonstrating a connection at least as far back as November of 2013.  (see related CHCRG post… http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/snowbird-seeks-gondola-up-af-canyon-with-mayor-gygis-help/ .)  Cromar wanted to know if there would be any other conflict of interest surprises.
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Cromar then asked Utah State Auditor John Dougal to address state law requirement for written conflict of interest statements from public officials.   Dougal explained details of when they were required, but said that he was aware of many who didn’t file the statements because their supporters claim, “It’s not necessary, because everybody knows he’s a good guy and doesn’t need to.”  Dougal said being a good guy doesn’t matter, and that the conflict of interest statement filings were still required by state law.
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Alpine Mayor Don Hadfield stood and publicly declared that he had received nothing from Snowbird, and was sympathetic to citizen concerns that the process be open and transparent, because he felt the same way.

CH Mayor Gygi

Mark Allen offered Mayor Gary Gygi the microphone and opportunity to share his perspective.      20150701_194757
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Mayor Gygi came to the front for the next many minutes and explained that he had been to a banquet honoring Robert Redford with tickets provided by Snowbird, but claimed no other conflict of interest except that has a house in Cedar Hills.
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CH Councilman Trent Augustus spoke pointing out the Gygi had failed to mention city-owned residential lots near the mouth of the canyon and that the CH Council had preliminary consideration a potential zone change to commercial.  This morning Augustus followed up his comments by posting an email document Gygi sent to “27 various mayors and city council members in Utah County” just prior to the last night’s meeting, lobbying for  “private property” rights (Snowbird’s), demonstrating additional contradictions regarding his claim being transparent and without conflict of interest.  (see separate post today with details at http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/councilman-augustus-mayor-gygi-ignoring-council-ch-af-and-county-residents/ )
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Then, CH Councilman Rob Crawley stood and added that he was aware of another item omitted by Gygi at least one helicopter trip given Gygi by Snowbird, and wondered if there would be any other surprises.
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An audience member then asked Gygi if in the interest of public trust if he would himself from the AFCV committee. Gygi claimed that he had no conflict of interest, that he was representing the will of the CH residents, but did not directly answer whether or not he would step down.  The question was reiterated requesting that he answer.  He didn’t, but maintained that “everyone on the Committee would tell you” that he is fair and above board.
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                Alpine Mayor Don Watkin – former CH Councilman Ken Cromar
                             –  Eagle Mountain Mayor Chris Pengra 
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After the meeting Alpine Mayor Hadfield & Eagle Mountain Mayor Chris Pengra came away from meeting expressing question regarding Mayor Gygi’s transparency and full disclosure.
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Based on the questions and comments throughout the evening, the subject of trust and credibility appeared foremost  on the minds of most audience members.
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             Mark Allen of Preserve & Protect AF Canyon with Alpine Mayor Don Watkins
   americanforkcanyon.com   &  https://www.facebook.com/ProtectAmericanForkCanyon
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Various News Reports: Snowbird’s development desires for AF Canyon exposed

Written By: admin - Jul• 02•15

Mountain Accord agrees to put Utah County planning on hold

July 1, 2015  —  Cathy Allred — Daily Herald

AMERICAN FORK — Mountain Accord has put a hold on its Utah County plans, specifically regarding American Fork Canyon, while moving ahead with its Salt Lake, Summit and Wasatch counties blueprint.Daily-Herald.LOGO.1

“What we’re hearing is what Utah County would rather do is conduct their own process to evaluate the land exchange in Utah County,” said Laynee Jones, Mountain Accord program manager. “We are supportive of that.”

She said Mountain Accord had been in communication with the three Utah County commissioners.

“We are supportive as Utah County takes a lead on the issue,” she said. “We will be discussing how to move forward.”

Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee announced the same news Wednesday night at an American Fork High School public meeting.

For the complete article…  
http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/north/mountain-accord-agrees-to-put-utah-county-planning-on-hold/article_66596d28-d885-5680-ac9b-76c1e8b47496.html
Links to additional recent reporting…

Snowbird manager reacts to outcry over proposed expansion into American Fork Canyon

Posted 4:27 pm, June 25, 2015 — Fox 13 News

fox 13 news logo
SALT LAKE CITY — The general manager of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort is reacting to recent public outcry over a land swap proposal, and he said he wants to reassure people they aren’t proposing to put in condos or hotels should they expand.
http://fox13now.com/2015/06/25/snowbird-manager-reacts-to-outcry-over-proposed-expansion-into-american-fork-canyon/

Proposed land swap at American Fork Canyon troubles residents

By Jasen Lee June 23rd, 2015 @ 7:16pm   KSL.com Logo
PROVO — Scores of residents packed the Utah County Commission chambers Tuesday to voice their anxiety and disapproval of a proposal that would trade just over 400 acres of coveted land in American Fork Canyon for about 1,400 acres of federal forest land located in Salt Lake County.
http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=35209464

Possible expansion of Snowbird into American Fork Canyon has Utah County residents in uproar

Posted 8:16 p, June 23, 2015 by Kiersten Nunez, updated at 8:18 pm, June 23, 2015 — Fox 13 News

 fox 13 news logo
UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Dozens of Utah County residents had strong words for their county commissioners regarding possible expansion of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort into American Fork Canyon.
http://fox13now.com/2015/06/23/possible-expansion-of-snowbird-into-american-fork-canyon-has-utah-county-residents-in-uproar/

Snowbird manager reacts to outcry over proposed expansion into American Fork Canyon

 Posted 4:27 pm, June 25, 2015  — Fox 13 News   fox 13 news logo
SALT LAKE CITY — The general manager of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort is reacting to recent public outcry over a land swap proposal, and he said he wants to reassure people they aren’t proposing to put in condos or hotels should they expand.
http://fox13now.com/2015/06/25/snowbird-manager-reacts-to-outcry-over-proposed-expansion-into-american-fork-canyon/

Utah County residents rally to fight ski resort plans

(KUTV) Thousands of Utahns have rallied online to express their concern and anger over a proposed land swap that could impact American Fork Canyon. People in Utah County say they were kept in the dark about a deal that could change their beloved playground forever.
http://kutv.com/news/local/utah-county-residents-rally-to-fight-ski-resort-plans

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Councilman Augustus: Mayor Gygi ignoring Council, CH, AF and County Residents

Written By: admin - Jul• 02•15

Last night, Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi, and eight current and previous Cedar Hills Councilmembers attended the Preserve and Protect American Fork Canyon public meeting at American Fork H.S., moderated by Mark Allen and County Commissioner Bill Lee.

Former Council members Joel Wright, Ken Cromar and Marisa Wright made comment and asked questions.  Sitting Council members Daniel Zappala, Trent Augustus, and Rob Crawley also commented.  Former Council member Darin Lowder and current Council member Jenney Rees were also in attendance, but did not speak.  (see separate post today with those details)

The following was posted by Cedar Hills Councilman Trent Augustus this morning on Cedar Hills Chat Room and at the Preserve and Protect American Fork Canyon Fackbook at https://www.facebook.com/ProtectAmericanForkCanyon/posts/1613417608943951  regarding their public meeting:

 

Cedar Hills Councilman Trent Augustus:

For the past several weeks residents across Utah County have asked for open and transparent communication when it comes to the issues facing American Fork Canyon. During the meeting held last night at American Fork High School I, again, publicly stated that I would be presenting a resolution this coming Tuesday to the Cedar Hills city council supporting the environmental stewardship of American Fork Canyon. The resolution I will be presenting is very closely modeled after the one recently approved by the American Fork city council.

Directly following last night’s meeting, I had several people immediately approach me and say hey if you’re presenting a resolution you need to know what your mayor did today. So, yesterday July 1st at 3:15pm Mayor Gary Gygi sent the following email to 27 various mayors and city council members in Utah County.

It is very disconcerting that our mayor is so adamantly trying to protect Snowbird that he would go out and send an email such as this. Since Snowbird is very clearly a private property owner in American Fork Canyon, if this type of language was added to a resolution it would very clearly dictate that a city would be supporting Snowbird in whatever use they decided to come up with in AF Canyon.

Mayor Gygi below says that the residents drive his marching orders. The residents of Cedar Hills, American Fork and Utah County have very clearly said that they do not want American Fork Canyon commercialized and for Snowbird to control a large portion of the canyon. However, Mayor Gygi isn’t heeding his own advice and listening to the residents. He continues to ignore the Cedar Hills City Council, the residents of Cedar Hills, the residents of American Fork and the residents of Utah County.

I am again saddened and utterly disappointed in Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi for again willfully taking an action such as this.

 

CH Mayor Gygi email:

From: Gary Gygi <ggygi@cedarhills.org>
Date: July 1, 2015 at 3:15:47 PM MDT
To: ***email addresses removed to protect the various parties and addresses***

Mayors, there is a lot of excitement and much misinformation lately about American Fork Canyon and Snowbird so I want to give you information directly. I do like the Snowbird idea but I have never advocated for Snowbird in any of our American Fork Canyon steering committee meetings. BTW, I have also not advocated for Save our Canyons either, I have said that the residents will drive my marching orders and my residents don’t like it so I will respect that despite my personal feelings about it. I see that American Fork City and other cities are looking at making resolutions of various types supporting the canyon as it is. I would just like to encourage you to not forget the property rights of anyone who owns real property, be it private or public land. I would also encourage you if you choose to make a resolution to not forget that we all enjoy 1st amendment rights which extend to individuals and corporations. I have been advocating for all parties to be heard and I fear our freedoms and liberties are being trampled on if forget the property rights and 1st amendment rights aspect of our resolutions.
Thanks for you time.
-Gary

 

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Snowbird seeks Gondola up AF Canyon with Mayor Gygi’s help

Written By: admin - Jul• 01•15

Snowbird is attempting to make a land swap of 416 acres of American Fork Canyon land in order to build a gondola and other developments.  If Snowbird is successful, this would dramatically change the make up AF canyon, its access and uses, loved by so many.

Snowbird’s efforts, with Mayor Gary Gygi’s help, has been going on for months behind the scenes, without public knowledge or citizen input — let alone full disclosure by Gygi to his own Cedar Hills Council.

When the Salt Lake based Mountain Accord group’s efforts to benefit Snowbird were discovered two months ago, an ad hoc FaceBook group Preserve and Protect American Fork was organized by Utah County resident Mark Allen.  It has quickly grown to 6,000 concerned citizens, hoping to stop the process until Utah County citizen involvement and representation can be secured.    See… https://www.facebook.com/ProtectAmericanForkCanyon

Snowbird 2013 invite to CH Mayor Gygi - 11148394_1612699842349061_2436263025574922332_n

However, yesterday, June 30, 2015, at 1:18 a.m., Preserve & Protect American Fork Canyon  posted on their Facebook page a GRAMA request-discovered-document showing that Mayor Gary Gygi has been involved with Snowbird owners Dick Bass and Ian Cumming at least since November 9, 2013, though Gygi has not informed the CH Council members fully regarding his recent involvement, let alone his documented involvement since November 2013.  Gygi has been unwilling to discuss the full details of his involvement or efforts.

It was recently discovered that Utah County Commissioner Larry Ellertson had received a $3,500 campaign contribution connected to Snowbird.  He sits on the American Fork Canyon Vision committee with Mayor Ggyi, who hasn’t disclosed any considerations yet connected to Snowbird.

The Preserve and Protect AF Canyon Facebook post encouraged readers to:

“Send [Cedar Hills Mayor Gary Gygi] some emails and get a public statement. He would not engage with us except with disdain. Friend him send him some emails or comments to think about.

“FB page
https://www.facebook.com/gary.gygi

“Grama Request – someone sent this to us.
http://americanforkcanyon.com/…/GRAMA7-Snowbird-and-Gygi.pdf ”

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A public meeting will be held TONIGHT at American Fork H.S. from 6 to 10 p.m.  Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee and Utah State Auditor John Dougal will be on hand to comment and hear from concerned citizens.

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Cedar Hill residents who may want to ask Mayor Gygi to make a full report to the Council and residents of his involvement since November 2013, can contact him by email at…   ggygi@cedarhills.org

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FACEBOOK: Councilman Crawley seeks facts on free golf

Written By: admin - Jun• 27•15
Councilman Rob Crawley has been researching the financial facts surrounding the golf course, its financials losses, and possible alternatives, as he prepares his findings for the Cedar Hills Council.
In summary, his following Facebook post asks publicly for help and explanation regarding how and why the City agreed to give free golf to the seller, as follows:
  • 30 free golf games per week for 50 years
  • potential of 55,500 free golf games
  • a potential value of $40 per games is worth $2,220,000

Councilman Rob Crawley’s Facebook post

June 17, 2015 at 3:25 a.m.

My first question to previous council people and possibly Mayor Sears is this one: Lone Peak Links sold the golf course to us for their cost plus project management fees. They were reimbursed for all of their expenses into the golf course. They were also compensated finely for being able to build houses next to the golf course for an increased value than other like-size homes. This advantage was probably worth several million dollars. In my mind the obligation of maintaining the golf course that gave them such an advantage would make sense, but when their funding sources didn’t come through, the city jumped in and took the whole responsibility for the financial risk of running the course.

This appear to be so heavily to the advantage of Lone Peak Links and so heavily disadvantageous to the city that got no financial benefit for the development of the homes bordering the golf course. The real question I have pertains more to today than the background it is as follows: Why if the contract seems so heavily leaning to the advantage of Lone Peak Links did the city sign into the contract 30 free golf games per week for 50 years? With the average golf season from March to Mid November this equates to 55,500 free golf games, which at a value of $40 per games is worth $2,220,000. In reality they probably can’t use all those golf games so its value could be much less.

Part of why I am asking this question is I don’t know what obligations we would have to Lone Peak Links if we decided to have parks instead of a golf course for instance. Also, the contract says that the passes are subject to availability and I hear they are pushing to schedule times during our busy golf times, which has the potential of reducing our revenue. I would like to understand why we felt that we needed to add the free golf to a contract that seems to have been already heavily to Lone Peak Links advantage.

            https://www.facebook.com/groups/1595779503974389/
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If anyone seen former Mayor Brad Sears, could you encourage him to answer publicly please?   Contact Councilman Rob Crawley at rcrawley@cedarhills.org
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DesNews: SLC residents prefer parks and trails over golf

Written By: admin - Jun• 27•15

Salt Lake City residents prefer parks and trails over golf, study says

Published: Saturday, June 20 2015 3:25 p.m. MDT

Updated: Saturday, June 20 2015 3:36 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Poll results are in, and they’re reaffirming city leaders’ decision to close at least two city golf courses: Glendale and Jordan River Par-3.

Two surveys contracted by Mayor Ralph Becker’s office indicate that Salt Lake City residents want open space, parks and trails, but aren’t as interested in golf.    Deseret_News_logo

City Councilman Kyle LaMalfa, whose district encompasses Glendale, said the results illustrate how Salt Lake residents’ recreation preferences are changing.

“I think Salt Lake, as progressive as we are about many things, is way behind the times for trails,” LaMalfa said. “Cities like Logan, Ogden, Provo, Orem and St. George are way ahead, and the results of this poll suggest that it’s time to get Salt Lake City up to snuff with regards to our urban trails.”

The City Council was presented the findings this week as it considers whether to place a recreation bond on the ballot in November to help fund repurposing of the courses’ green space.

It’s still undecided how much residents would be asked to pay if voters approve the bond, but the mayor’s staff will be using the poll’s results to assemble a package for City Council consideration in July, LaMalfa said.

Together, the surveys reached roughly 1,500 residents. A telephone poll conducted June 1-8 reached 406 residents, equally representing all seven City Council districts, and presented findings with a 5 percent margin of error.

 

For complete story with charts, see…  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865631118/Salt-Lake-City-residents-prefer-parks-and-trails-over-golf-study-says.html?pg=all 

 

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Golf Clubhouse Grill Elev8 “Closed Permanently”

Written By: admin - Jun• 25•15

Former Mayor Eric Richardson walks away from Clubhouse Grill operation

The following sign was photographed Wednesday June 24 at the Cedar Hills Clubhouse Grill.

Unconfirmed reports say Eric Richardson and his wife could not make the grill profitable and closed Elev8 Friday, June 19.

Government Golf Grill Elev8 Closed Permanently

The Cedar Hills city website offered no report or explanation regarding the closure of Richardson’s Elev8.

A call to Council member Jenney Rees, responsible for CH Communications, asked if a city website or newsletter explanation was forthcoming.  Rees said she had not yet been asked to write one by Mayor Gygi, or City Manager David Bunker (currently on vacation).

In the meanwhile, Rees confirmed that Eric Richardson’s  presentation proposal was the only that was made in person to the Council on February 17, 2015, when the Council selected his proposal and offered him the lease.  Mayor Gygi supported and promoted the lease be offered to Eric Richardson.   (see http://www.cedarhills.org/node/3396 )

Rees was unaware of the Richardsons having food services experience when the lease contract was awarded, though she believed their associates did.  When asked if the City Newsletter had offered to the citizen’s the opportunity to Cedar Hills citizens to bid for the Golf Grill lease, Rees said she did not know.  A check of the January and February CH newsletters does not show any such announcement of the bid opportunity to Cedar Hills residents.  (see http://www.cedarhills.org/newsletters/2015 )

The city website does not currently list the Richardson Agreement posted under 2015 Contracts & Agreements at http://www.cedarhills.org/contracts-bids .

Rees confirmed that Sammy’s had attempted to renew their lease agreement with the city, but said that when Sammy’s insisted on shortening the hours of operation for the sake of profitability, but that the City chose not to renew their requested lease renewal.

Rees stated that the Agreement with Richardson’s Elev8 food service allowed for either party to walk away from the agreement.

According to the Daily Herald report, Elev8 was to start operation April 1.  It apparently lasted only about 10 weeks.

Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government (CHCRG) has long maintained that government entities regularly prove incapable of managing profitable business operations.  The golf course continues to average over $550,000 per year in loses (taxpayer subsidies) for the 10 years of it’s operation, with approximately 20 more years left on the bond.

Until further notice, the government golf course grill Elev8 is dark, empty and “closed permanently”.

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For more info see…

Councilman Zappala: Former Cedar Hills mayor turns his life around, starts restaurant business

http://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/north/cedar-hills/councilman-zappala-former-cedar-hills-mayor-turns-his-life-around/article_619fc48e-8fe2-5011-ba7c-234249100230.html

And…

Daily Herald:  Former CH mayor-convicted-felon Eric Richardson awarded City contract at Golf Clubhouse grill

http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/daily-herald-former-ch-mayor-convicted-felon-eric-richardson-awarded-city-contract-at-golf-clubhouse-grill/

 

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ROCK STAR! Councilman Rob Crawley offers Golf Course alternatives

Written By: admin - May• 21•15

THE FOLLOWING IS COPIED DIRECTLY FROM Councilman Rob Crawley’s Blog at www.cedarhillsrob.blogspot.com

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Tuesday night 5/19/2015 I read in the city council meeting a statement regarding my desires to do some research into options for the golf course.  Following is that statement:

Golf Course Options Analysis

Prepared by Rob Crawley

For presentation at city council meeting on 5/19/2015 

The golf course has been a subject of controversy in the City of Cedar Hills for over 10 years.  It is appropriate and good for the city to have discussions over the golf course as $13,650,000 has been spent on the golf course since its inception.  If we only count ½ of the community recreation center, the cost is $12,150,000 through June 2014.  For a city of our size with approximately 2,600 residences, the total cost from inception to June 2014 is nearly $5,000 per residence.  This is a very significant cost and should be analyzed on a regular basis.

Last year we had a decisions survey.  In that survey we found that 11% of residents surveyed said that their first order of business would be that they would close the golf course down if they were mayor for a day.  The only answer that got a larger response than this was regarding the commercial development South of Wal-Mart as that was a hot discussion item at the time of the survey.  We owe it to the residents to make sure that we analyze all options regarding the golf course going forward.

I don’t have a lot of answers at this point about what the best solutions are, but I would propose a short list of options that we currently have as follows:

1)      Maintain the status quo

2)      Convert the golf course to parks/cemetery/soccer fields/dog park, etc.

3)      Develop and sell the land

4)      Let the golf course go back to native

5)      Sell the golf course to a group that wants to operate the golf course

6)      A Combination of the above

 

I don’t have my mind made up regarding any of these ideas being superior to any of the other ideas.  However, all of these ideas come with challenges to overcome and costs to the city.  The overall goal in my mind is to find the solution that serves the residents best for the investment.  I would suggest the business formula, return on investment, adjusted to relate more to the city.  The formula would be 10-year project cost divided by average number of residents that use the service at least once a month or 12 times per year.  For the golf course, if I take the $11,800,000 (first 10 year expenditures less $1.5M of the cost of the Community Recreation Center) and divide that by 50 regular users of the golf course, I get 1 happy resident for every $236,000 spent.  I was told by several in the city that we have about 30 residents that golf regularly throughout the golf season.  I bumped it to 50 in the above analysis to make sure that I am not understating the number of regular golfers.

Let’s face it, we are in the golf business.  We need to think like business people regarding the golf course.  In business there are opportunity costs and sunk costs.  In business, you don’t make decisions looking backwords, but rather looking forwards.  Opportunity costs relate to what you could do other than your current plans.  You consider, what benefits you would forego by choosing one choice over another.  What residents would we neglect to serve if we keep the status quo?  The other cost that must be considered is sunk costs.  We have spent upwords of $7 Million developing the golf course that we cannot get back.  This should not be part of the equation on our future decisions.  This means that the debt that we are servicing should not be part of the equation going forward as that debt will need to be paid regardless of what choices we make with the golf course.  The golf course will not cost as much to maintain over the next 10 years as it cost to build originally.  I would estimate that over the next 10 years, the additional cash requirements would be between $2,000,000 and $4,000,000.  If we use $3,000,000 as the cost and divide that by 50 regular users, we would get $150,000 per regular user, which is less than the calculation of $236,000 for the first 10 years.

There are other considerations rather than just cost and utility considerations such as aesthetics and keeping city commitments.  About 29% of the homes in our city were built in conjunction with the development of the golf course.  It is very important that the city consider the desires of those nearby the golf course that would be affected by any changes that could be made.

Following are some additional considerations that need to be part of this discussion:

  • 1)      The first 10 holes are in a flood plain and would therefore would have to be planned carefully regarding what can be done with the acreage in the flood plain.
  • 2)      We are currently paying an outside group (Wilkinson) $3,351 yearly per acre to maintain our parks.  This includes maintaining sprinklers, tree trimming, pest control, mowing and fertilizing.  Any decision that requires maintaining green space will need a similar rate allocated to the cost.
  • 3)      We have 65 acres of golf course irrigated and manicured and 115 acres overall.  This means that a little under ½ of the golf course land has native foliage.
  • 4)      We are considering spending $300,000 on a golf maintenance shed soon.  If the city decided on an option other than the status quo, this could be $300,000 of savings.
  • 5)      The city has been planning on buying property East of Deerfield Elementary for approximately $1,800,000 plus attorney fees as there is currently a dispute regarding this purchase.  This money could be saved if the flood plain areas were used for soccer fields and baseball fields.
  • 6)      The original HOA agreement with Cedar Hills allows for 750 residences in the area covered by the golf course and surrounding developments.  Currently 728 residences have been built leaving on 22 remaining per the agreement.  This agreement needs to be analyzed by our attorney.
  • 7)      If an alternative plan to maintaining the status quo uses more or less irrigation water than our current plan, this could affect the need to spend $2,000,000 on a metering system.
  • 8)      There are many other considerations that will come to light as we discuss this further.

 

My goal is to present an alternative to the status quo for the golf course over the next few council meetings with the help of all willing parties.  I would suggest that we would present the best alternative to the status quo that we can come up with and if it looks like it is worthy of additional consideration, we move forward.  If the best plan is clearly inferior to maintaining the status quo, then we communicate that to the residents, help resolve concerns regarding the golf course and communicate that the best option for the city is to stay the course with the golf course.

Although this will cause some short-term conflict and discussion, we need to keep the discussion civil, intellectually honest and unbiased by past circumstances.  I hope that through this exercise we will have more oneness as a city and more of a spirit of cooperation going forward with less conflict.

 

www.cedarhillsrob.blogspot.com

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T H A N K   Y O U !   to Councilman Crawley for taking the time to do some extensive research and proposing alternative options for the golf course, in the face of intense opposition from the Mayor and others who have fought against this common sense discussion getting on the public record.   May you, along with other reasonable Council members and City Staff, please continue this important dialogue.

Please  continue to explore all options that might help resolve this expensive golf course burden to Cedar Hills taxpayers.

Readers can send Council Crawley a note of THANKS to his email at…  rcrawley@cedarhills.org


You can also want to encourage Mayor & Council support of further research of golf course alternatives at:

Mayor Gary Gygi  ggygi@cedarhills.org

Council members:

Jenney Rees        jrees@cedarhills.org

Trent Augustus   taugustus@cedarhills.org

Mike Geddes  mgeddes@cedarhills.org

Daniel Zappala   dzappala@cedarhills.org

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CHCRG defends a former CH employee – City Recorder Kim Holindrake

Written By: admin - May• 09•15

MAY 5, 2015 – Cedar Hills City Council Meeting

The following document prepared by Paul Sorensen, Curt Crosby, Jerry Dearinger, Ken Cromar & Sam Bushman was read into the record during Public Comments at the beginning of the meeting:

 

We, as members of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government, and non-resident radio talk show host Sam Bushman, respectfully invite Mayor Gary Gygi and the City Council to consider a request we make in behalf of a former employee.  We believe…

 

It’s time for the Cedar Hills Council to Correct a Serious Mistake

 

…Made against former City Recorder Kim Holindrake and restore her 6-years of retirement funding.

 

With the Change of Legal Representation – and a desire to restore trust with ALL Cedar Hills residents, we hope you’ll allow us to refresh your memory:

 

On May 1, 2012, 20-year veteran City Recorder Kim Holindrake was removed with a so-called “voluntary” “resignation” , along with then City Manager Konrad Hildebrandt and then Building Inspector Brad Kearl.

 

On Tuesday May 1, 2012, just hours before that night’s City Council Meeting, reportedly then Mayor Eric Richardson and then-City Attorney Eric Johnson presented 20-year Cedar Hills City Recorder veteran Kim Holindrake a “SEPARATION FROM EMPLOYMENT AND WAIVER AGREEMENT”and told her that if she did not sign the “voluntary resignation” agreement at that time the City Council would be asked to fire her that evening.

 

For many reasons, we believe this demand of her by Richardson and Johnson was wrong and unconscionable.  But, their threat worked.  An honest employee’s career career was destroyed and compromised.  What was done that day to destroy her career and reputation can’t be fixed, but at least the City of Cedar Hills can move to restore her 6 years of retirement that was compromised during that process.

 

Those who presented that agreement to her are the ones who should’ve been called into question.  And CHCRG did and has as documented on our website www.CedarHillsCitizens.org .  As you know, the Mayor resigned to plead guilty to bank fraud, and more recently, new legal counsel services in Kirton & McConkie has been secured.  They are now gone. But the damage is not.  But you as Mayor & Council are in a position to make some repair to her for what she suffered by providing her the 6 years of retirement that was compromised during that time.

 

[Editorial NOTE:  Please also see May 2012 CHCRG posting…

Daily Herald: “CH Mayor should resign” – 21 year vet City Recorder says she was pushed for “political” reasons

http://www.cedarhillscitizens.org/daily-herald-ch-mayor-should-resign/ ]

 

Reading highlights from the Agreement that she was forced to sign should serve to firmly establish the unfortunate circumstances and duress she was place under as follows:

 

Under Item “5.  INDEMNITY/COVENANT NOT TO SUE

“I will never sue City….”

“I will not at any time hereafter file, participate in, or become a class member in any other complaints, charges, or legal or administrative proceedings against City…”

“If any board, agency or court assumes jurisdiction of any complaint, charge, or legal or administrative proceeding against City…. I shall request such board, agency or court to withdraw or dismiss with prejudice the matter and use my best efforts to cause the agency or court to withdraw or dismiss the matter…and I will indemnify City (pay) for all damages, costs, and expenses, including a reasonable attorney fees, that City incurs in defending any such matter:…”

“I will not voluntarily communicate or cooperate with or assist any other person, firm or organization that is suing or seeks to sue City…”

 

Under Item “12.  ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF KNOWING AND VOLUNTARY RELEASE” it reads:

“I have carefully read this Waiver Agreement and I fully understand all of its provisions.  I have been encouraged and advised in writing to seek advice from anyone of my choosing regarding this agreement (including my attorney, accountant or tax advisor).  Before signing this Agreement, I have been given the opportunity and sufficient time to seek such advice.”

 

 

Remember, she was threatened with immediate firing if she did not sign the document at that moment.  We believe this is an unenforceable & unconscionable contract that was signed under duress and without the benefit of legal advice under threat of termination which would amount to firing “with cause” which meant termination of health benefits and any severance pay.

This travesty was forced on one of the finest and most honest employees the City of Cedar Hills has ever had or could hope to have.

Respected by her peers in the State, 20-year veteran Kim Holindrake had just been elected to serve as the new President of the Utah State Recorders Association.  Instead, her career was cut short under questionable circumstances.  It wasn’t right.  It wasn’t fair.  Her career and profession were unnecessarily compromised, and her ability to defend herself muzzled by a highly questionable contract.  Ms. Holindrake didn’t know such an onerous contract was questionable, but pursuant to CHCRG’s legal analyst Jerry Dearinger’s research we have determined that the agreement is likely unenforceable.

In an amazing and notable moment of instant karma, the very next day, May 2, 2012, Mayor Richardson was charged with allegations of fraud in Federal Court.  Despite CHCRG, a petition by Angela Johnson, and the Daily Herald editorial staff calling for his resignation, he did not.

We members of Cedar Hills Citizens for Responsible Government respectfully invite Mayor Gygi and the City Council to take advantage of this opportunity to at least make restitution to her name and reputation by doing the right thing and restore the 6-years of retirement she earned in service to all Cedar Hills residents during her 20 years.

We invite a response in writing from the Mayor, Council and City Manager, to inform us of your thoughts and intentions regarding this request.

Respectfully,

 

Paul Sorensen, Curt Crosby, Jerry Dearinger, Ken Cromar & Sam Bushman

CEDAR HILLS CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT

 

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Three Heroic Councilmen vote in NEW city attorney services – Hillary Pt 3

Written By: admin - May• 08•15

Request for Quotes (RFQ) resulted in six applicants for CH Attorney position.  Thank you.

  • Doug Ahlstrom
  • Stirba & Associates
  • Smith Hartvigsen
  • Heideman & Associates
  • Callister Nebeker & McCullough
  • Kirton & McConkie


NEW legal Counsel Kirton & McConkie wins majority of Council’s confidence

 

CONGRATULATIONS!

APRIL 21, 2015  –  For weeks City Councilmen Trent Augustus, Rob Crawley and Mike Geddes have been trying to take the City Attorney position out to open bid via RFQ – or “request for quotes” opening up the position to the possibility of new legal service approaches.

For weeks Mayor Gary Gygi, with political partner Council member Jenney Rees, have vocally fought and delayed their efforts to get the attorney RFQ on the Agenda.

 

Three votes win! According to Utah Code, with a five-member City Council, any two can force an item onto a City Council Agenda for discussion with or without the Mayor’s support.  Additionally, three Council member votes is all that is required to pass any agenda item.

These three fearless Council members had expressed great displeasure with what they saw as an abuse of power by the Mayor with a complicit city attorney Eric Johnson following his instructions, often seen as working together against the Council, city staff and citizens of Cedar Hills.

Leave no document trail. One of their many concerns was the fact, admitted by Mayor Gygi in Council meeting exchanges on the record, his unwillingness to document his position in writing on various items in emails (which are also public records), instead preferring to make himself available for “visits” in his office which would be off the record.

The Council members politely explained that they had learned through experience that they could not rely on the accuracy of the Mayor’s memory or portrayal of the details of those visits when communicated to others.  To date, the Mayor continues to avoid correspondence on substantive issues and his position on those issues.

Abuse of Power by Mayor Gygi & former attorney? The three Council members Augustus, Crawley and Geddes also expressed their displeasure with the Mayor’s use of the City Attorney as though his own against the Council and Cedar Hills residents.  The three also felt some of the legal advise was, given in a February 18, 2014 City Council Work Session, suspect in a number of areas including:

 

AUDIO CLIP #1

Attorney Eric Johnson admitted strategy to withhold public email by creating “attorney client privilege”:

Attny Johnson -Council Work Session 18Feb2014.15.00

 

AUDIO CLIP #2

Attorney Eric Johnson recommends “allegiances and alliances here” to the Mayor and each other, over allegiance the Cedar Hills citizens:

city-council-ws-audio-2014-02-18

(This is the entire Work Session recording, but quote reference starts at 24:10)


Augustus, Crawley and Geddes prevailed and the city attorney position finally went out as an RFQ to the public.  The city received six quality applicants; including five law firms and one individual attorney.  Longtime CH City Attorney Eric Johnson had filed an application but then retracted it, citing reasons in an undisclosed letter to the Council that reportedly complained about how his family had endured “persecution”.

CHCRG believes that the City Attorney Eric Johnson has too often been errant and misleading in much of his legal counsel to the Mayor and City Council.  With regard to the attorney’s perceived “persecution”, the facts show the exact opposite.

It has been the city attorney Johnson who has belligerent with, and defamed and maligned CHCRG and it’s members efforts to obtain the public email and communication records via the legal and lawful GRAMA request process.  He did so with the fabrication of questionable documents, press releases, and harassment, admittedly under the direction of Mayor Gary Gygi and was paid handsomely above and beyond his $2000 monthly retainer to do so.  These so-called “services” have resulted in known legal service billings costing Cedar Hills taxpayers approximately $250,000 over the last five years, possibly much more.

Some have expressed sadness that the Council would consider new legal counsel instead of Johnson.  Based on Johnson’s own public comments about serving as legal counsel to 200 Utah cities and towns, retaining 199 municipal clients should not adversely affect his finances too much.


CHCRG requests an Honesty AFFIDAVIT signed by outgoing attorney

We trust that the City Council will require Mayor Gygi secure an a signed and notarized Affidavit, sworn under penalty of perjury, from the out-going City Attorney Eric Johnson, before he can collect his final check.  This Affidavit should include, but not be limited to a sworn declaration that he has returned ALL city documents, files, notes, communication that are property of the City of Cedar Hills, etc., and a declaration that he did not destroy or conceal any City records or break the law at any time during his 10+ year tenure as Cedar Hills City attorney.

 

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Related Notes:

Run, Hillary Run for Mayor of CH part 3  — local similarities to national news

Hillary Clinton, who served 4 years as US Secretary of State under President Obama admitted destroying 32,000 records when she left office.  She decided for herself they were personal records and “not related” in any way to public records.  How convenient.  Similarly, our recent GRAMA request (see previous CHCRG post) for the Mayor Gary Gygi’s email records was reportedly determined by Mayor Gygi himself, when city policy required the requested records already be in the possession of City Recorder Colleen Mulvey so she, as the State trained certified Records Officer can fulfill GRAMA requests for public records.  Despite numerous written requests to the Mayor for explanation, he hid behind attorney Johnson and has yet to reply.

Hillary’s record destruction and complete control on her own private server in her home has understandably created suspicion.

According to one of many national news reports, the Secretary of State was required to sign Form OF-109 declaring honesty, under penalty of perjury, regarding US public documents:

Upon affixing his signature to this form, the outgoing official certifies under penalty of law that he has “surrendered to responsible officials all unclassified documents and papers relating to the official business of the government acquired by me while in the employ of the (State) Department.”

There’s even a warning to that effect in the Records Management Handbook:  Fines, imprisonment or both may be imposed for the willful and unlawful removal or destruction of records as stated in the U.S. Criminal Code.

In short, that is the law, which Clinton swore to uphold as secretary of state.

Coffin concludes by noting:  If Clinton signed Form OF-109, she should be prosecuted. If she didn’t, we need to know why not and who granted her that waiver. We don’t need a felon running for president.

 

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