Comments for City Officials

Since the mayor and the city council have not been very good at responding to citizen complaints in public meetings or via email, I created this webpage so citizens can leave them public feedback.

If you are upset with the city’s high utility rates and the city’s exorbitant spending, and you would like to share your thoughts and feelings with your elected officials, please enter your comments in the field below.

Address your comments to the mayor or city council, and after your comments, please leave a name and location (such as John Q. in City Center) to describe what part of the city you are from. In other words, pretend you are writing a letter to your elected officials. All comments will be moderated.

These are your elected officials:

Mayor Heather Jackson
Council Member Donna Burnham
Council Member John Painter
Council Member Richard Steinkopf
Council Member Nathan Ochsenhirt
Council Member Ryan Ireland

Good luck!

126 thoughts on “Comments for City Officials

  1. Our home in EM has been vacant since 12/1. Our utilities remained in our name until end of January. Again, please note that no one has been living there. Heat was set at 55, no lights or water usage whatsoever. Yet our utility bill for December was $207, our bill for January was $235. How in the world can that be if the house is vacant???

  2. I’m extremely frustrated with excessively high utility bills of Eagle Mountain and the way the utility funds are used. My wife and I moved to Eagle Mountain in September of 2012. So far we have LOVED living here, however, the utility costs are INSANE!!! Not to mention the dramatic increase in our utilities from January over December. Of course I understand that January was a cold month, but I even turned my thermostat down in order to prevent such a huge increase in my bill. Something needs to change. Why are our utilities so high compared to other nearby cities?


  3. We just moved here after 4 years of saving, sacrificing, and a lot of hard work. Before we signed, we called the city to get an idea of how much utilities were averaging for our town home so that we could make sure it was something we could afford. We called and asked twice and they refused to give us any kind of average or rate. Now I know why. We thought to ourselves “well we’re in a middle unit of a town home so it can’t be too bad and we had good faith thinking they would be reasonable. Now a month later finally owning our first home”townhome” and we are sickened by the amount we owe in utilities. We keep our heater under 70 degrees which is too cold for little ones especially when you have a basement but we wanted to make sure we had an idea of how much utilities were. We live in a middle unit townhome with minimal heat and we are paying 300 dollars a month, thats half our mortgage payment. We are very disappointed by the misleading dishonesty. We don’t know how we’re going to afford to live here. Perhaps if they had let us know before hand, we would have not made the move. I am very unimpressed and stressed out by this ridiculous utility bill. We simply will have to sell and move!!! This is outrageous!

  4. I live in the Cold Creek Townhomes behind the Chevron. We just moved in the beginning of January. It’s sad that now we’re wondering if we made a mistake to move out here.

  5. Dear Mayor and all city officials,
    What a great report that I have just read, and very informative and researched. I am absolutely appalled at everything I read and actually a little sick to my stomach. I am no longer a proud member of this community or city if by chance everything I read is true….which there is much evidence stating it is true. I agree with every one of the 24 items of reform and would love to see changes as soon as possible. I actually don’t know what else to say. I feel this report was very well prepared and stand 100% behind it. A BIG thank you to Sam for doing his research and being the only one who seems to care about this city.
    Brande J.

  6. I’m having a serious issue with my utility bill this month. Our bill is rarely over $200.00 each month. We live in a small two bedroom home with an unfinished basement. Our last bill we received was shockingly at $367.00!! I realize we had some very cold nights this last month, but I’m still concerned with the major jump in pay. We keep our thermosate set at 68 degrees at all times, no matter what. I’m hoping something can be done about this HUGE problem and that our elected officals can come together with a solution as soon as possible. Thank you for your time.
    -Amy P.

  7. A few months ago, I tried to research our utility rates online and got nowhere. I was able to easily pull up rates for many neighboring communities. I was irritated, but didn’t pursue it any further than that. I am grateful that someone else went to the trouble of finding out all of this information and publishing it for the benefit of Eagle Mountain residents. I am appalled at the waste and misuse of public funds that is taking place. Heads need to roll. Let’s take back our city.

  8. We need to rally as a city and get rid of this mess. Anyone who has listened to Heather Jackson for more than 2 min. knows we have real problems. I was at the meeting at Vista Heights where she stood up and told all of us how boring the meetings were that she was supposed to be attending and how she rarely went. I have had more than one experience with her and her ignorant behavior in business before she was mayor and after. It’s time we all shared the load and participated. This is beyond believable that the mayor and council have been allowed to run our city in this manner. The salary issue alone needs to end. I know that a former employee reported that during her first term she rarely came into the office at all. She continued to receive her ridiculously high salary though. I totally agree with the 24 reforms also, this needs to be addressed NOW!!!

  9. Part of the allure (actually, a very big part) of moving to Eagle Mountain was the lower cost of living. We are an honest family. We work hard. I am a school teacher and a mother. We keep our thermostat turned down, reduce and conservatively use our utilities. We budget carefully, and to be completely honest, we can’t afford these increases. I want to know EXACTLY what I am being charged for and have the option to hire a utility company not run by the city. This is simply not ok. This hurts families. At the end of the day, you must remember who you represent. If you are not in the game to represent the families of Eagle Mountain, it is time you step down.

  10. I have lived in The Ranches for 4 and half years and have been pretty satisfied overall with the community. This was our first house and coming into it we didn’t know what to expect for utilities. We have seen high bills over the years, but just thought it was due to owning a home. Well this month, I WAS SICK TO MY STOMACH opening the bill. $522 for a family of four. You have got to be kidding me? Our bill went up $170 dollars. I understand it was colder, but I DO NOT believe that there was that necessary of a hike or usage. I am extremely disgusted with the city and the administrators after reading this article. It’s a sad day when you can’t trust your city council members to appropriately charge for utilities. I will not be voting to re-elect the current elected officials and I will not back down until I get answers on my utility bill.

    Thank you Sam for shedding some light on the corruption in our beautiful city.

  11. I have lived here for almost six years. I love living here but I hate the utility bills being so high. I am so thankful I read the article and research that Sam Allen posted. Now my answers have been answered to why the utility bills are so high. You all are ripping us off and it needs to stop. If the money from utilities does go go to Pony Express days. Then we need to help families out and cut the Pony Express Days budget. Also the city officials wages need to be cut. They should not be making this much money. Especially since Saratoga Springs and Herriman’s city officials don’t get paid that much.
    I do have one suggestion of how we can cut the budget for Pony Express Days I am sure a lot of people will agree. We don’t need fancy performers for Pony Express Days concert nor a Rodeo. I hear so people say why does Eagle Mountain City always hire a country singer to come perform why don’t they hire somebody else. I have a suggestion why not have a talent show instead. With so many children in our city. I know there is some fantastic talent. I also know that the youth would much rather come watch their friends perform than a country singer that they don’t even know.
    Plus if you would lower the utility bill rates a lot more businesses will want to build here.
    Please confess up and help us out.

  12. Interesting read, think an audit should be done and accountability held. Hopefully problems can be resolved if there really are any and fixed. Don’t want to assume the worst, but afraid these claims need to be addressed and acknowledged. We need fairness.

  13. A few months ago I attended a city council meeting where Sam raised this issue. The mayor’s response to him was angry and militant. That peaked my interest and I began to look into the issue. Everything that he claimed appeared to be accurate and once again it seems apparent that or political leaders have not been forthright with us.

    I am glad to have read the report. Some conclusions are made in the report based upon an interpretation of the facts. For the sake of being objective, I can not accept those assertions at face value.

    At this point, I believe it is time for a ” changing of the guard.” I believed that 2 years ago during the last election cycle. Unfortunately, the majority of those who voted didn’t see it that way.

    Sam, I have every intention of printing this report and distributing it door to door during the election cycle. I propose that we organize and attack this issue head on.

    On the issue of the utility credit for military families, I feel that the mayor taking advantage of the credit shows who she is. I am not pleased. A conservative takes care of themselves first and then rely on church, family and government as a last resort in the case of financial deficiency. There were a number of years when my family qualified for CHIP. I continued to work to provide for my family and paid for health insurance out of pocket. Why? Because I wasn’t willing to take others money through the force of taxation. I would rather sacrifice lifestyle than steal from others.

    The mayor’s unwillingness to sacrifice lifestyle in order to claim a lousy credit that she most likely can live without gives an insite into her character ( or lack thereof).

  14. I’m not commenting on any scandal, misuse of funds or whatever else goe son – only the weather and the impact on the January bill.

    According to my bill, meters were read on Nov 22 and Dec 22 (31 days)
    and Jan 24th (34 days). Just off billing days alone, the January bill
    will be about 10% more than the December bill.

    The average low during the December billing period was 29.5 degrees,
    compared to 8 degrees in January. December’s period didn’t have any days
    below zero, the January period had 13 days with a low below zero.

    December Avg Max: 43.6, Avg. Mean: 36.5, Avg Min: 29.5
    January Avg Max: 22.3, Avg. Mean: 15.2, Avg Min: 8.0

    The average low for the December period (29.5) was 7.2 degrees warmer
    than the average high (22.3) during the January period.

    Our total for Natural Gas and Electric: Dec $167, Jan $237 – about a 42%
    increase, or 29% higher once it is adjusted for the number of days in
    the billing period.

    In five winters in my home, this is the only one which has caused the inside of my cold storage to have frost on the walls. At one point it was nearly 1/4″ thick!

    I did check the math on my bill, all rates were correct. It looks to me like weather is the only factor in the increase in the January bill – I’d love to see those rates lower and make sure money is spent the right place. Again, I only wanted to dig up weather facts and see how they related to my bill.

  15. Dear mayor and city officials
    We live in the ranches and are very hardworking people we budget everything and are very careful at keeping our temperatures very even. I could not even believe the bill we got it was double what it usually is and even that is way too high. If this keeps up we will be forced to sell and move which might not be a bad thing because at least we will be able to choose our utility company. What you are doing is not right and it needs to stop. I support these proposals and I am very glad he took the time to research it.

  16. What a great article! The facts and data seem to be very thorough and researched. Like others on this post, this is my first home here in Eagle Mountain and for the most part have enjoyed the area. The article posted has given me such good insight to many suspicions I have had since living here, the monthly un-allocated utilities being one of the big ones. I understand its been a colder Jan. 2013, but not to almost $500 dollars a month for heating one floor for my wife and child. I have gone to great lengths to insulate my home and watch my thermostat.

    I have tried to contact multiple city officials concerning the matter of sharing information and being a transparent entity. My other concerns involve no parking space for trailers and boats, and why Ranches Parkway has pot-holes every 5 feet that can swallow a wheel.

    I will support an investigation and audit to our city officials. Please encourage everyone to use the steps on page 58 of the report. This area really can be a great place to live and raise children, but when you see corruption like this; it just makes ya wanna pack up and leave. Maybe this is why my entire neighborhood is turning into rental central.

  17. We recently moved into a house in The Ranches near the golf course. We were in our home for three days of the billing period and were charged $208 – for three days? That just didn’t make any sense. After seven calls and three weeks I was finally informed that our meter, a long with several within the city, was broken. I wondered how many people out there just paid without thinking about it. The malfunction wasn’t found until almost the end of the next monthly cycle, yet they never altered the second bill. I feel like the meter mistake was less of a mistake and more of an example of the this city is run. While my house is new, I have lived in the area before Eagle Mountain was ever a city and I am appalled with Mayor Jackson and the rest of the people. I don’t really care much about country singers or rodeos, but I do care about my family and its well being. I’ll gladly be there passing out fliers come election time with you guys.

  18. Thank you Sam! My wife and I truly appreciate all the research and hard work that went into your presentation and your arguments. I have had many of the same concerns over the last 6 years that I have lived in Eagle Mountain. One of the problems that most upsets me is how disproportionate the mayor and the city employees’ salaries are in comparison to the private sector. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and an MBA. I am an Administrator in the Health Care Industry and usually work about 60 hours a week and am always on call. I provide a great service that people are happy to pay fair money for. The company is successful and thriving and the owner is thriving and happy. With all that being said, I make less than many of the city employees! I am not saying this because I am upset or jealous. I love my job and am happy with my pay scale. I am simply saying this because people that lack true experience and degrees should not be making these exuberant amounts of money off of the backs of many hard-working, poor and struggling families in the tiny city of Eagle Mountain.

    We desperately need to do an audit and consolidate city positions and get the pay ranges for these positions in-line with what they would be paid in the private sector. This is exactly what needs to happen with all departments and public positions in the United States, but hey, lets start where we can make an actual difference, right here in our lovely little city of Eagle Mountain.

    I agree 100% with all of Sam’s “Top 24 Reforms” and lend my voice. I have implemented most of these same principles and policies in the company I run. We have to spend the time to decide which city positions we truly need, then determine the core skills and experience needed for them, then the appropriate levels of compensation for these mission critical positions. I love what the wonderful author Jim Collins preaches in his book, Good to Great, “Leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.” This is what we need to start with. Lets get this going right here in Eagle Mountain, right now!

  19. Its disgusting and disheartening to learn that our high utilities are going to pay for a rodeo that loses money. In my personal life I live by the rule that if I cant pay cash for something — I dont buy it. Until our city is out of debt, and has the cash to pay for the rodeo etc.. they have no business pursuing it. 8 days in Vegas on our dime? I don’t think I’d have been able to sleep at night if it had been me.

    Kristin City Center

  20. Thank you for this report Sam! It must have taken you a lot of time and we all are grateful.
    Sam, are you interested in being mayor? You have my vote already :)

  21. To the mayor and all city officials,
    We have just finished reading this report and have examined it thoroughly. I am an attorney with many years’ experience in city administration. Although, we have not personally verified all of the information, we were very impressed with the meticulous detail throughout. This report is extremely well documented and references relevant state statues and other sources. We do not know the person who compiled this information, but to the extent that it is accurate, which it certainly appears to be, the city clearly has major problems.
    It is an excellent idea to contact Mark Madsen in the State Senate for assistance and we would encourage others to do the same. We are very concerned that the city does not appear to be complying with the State of Utah’s disclosure statues. Perhaps, legal action on behalf of the citizens will be necessary to enforce compliance of disclosure statues.
    We concur with each of the 24 reforms listed. They would certainly alleviate the other appalling conditions which were brought to light.
    -there should be zero tolerance for misuse of our public funds
    -laundering the profits from utility funds is not ethical
    – 8 day trips to Las Vegas for a 4 day conference by the mayor Heather Jackson and her husband is dishonest
    – the mayor’s exorbitant salary and others should be cut to the appropriate levels
    – hiring a new auditing firm would be another step in the right direction
    We do need to work together to stop these conditions. We will be attending city council meetings and encourage others to do the same. Sign up for the city e-mails so you are aware of what is taking place and remember to get out and vote.

  22. Very well said……. Sort of reminds me of a play.

    “Hamlet, more than almost any character in literature, hates deception and craves honesty. It is one of the brilliant ironies of the play that Hamlet, an absolutist in his quest for truth, is trapped in a seamy political world where deception is a necessary part of life and political “spin” rules the day.”

    From the play:

    O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
    My tables,—meet it … is I set it down,
    That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
    At least I’m sure it may be so in Denmark:

    It seems a class action lawsuit awaits in Eagle Mountain…..

  23. When we first moved to Eagle Mountain, we were bombarded with half-joking comments from our families such as “So how many mayors have you had?” A little embarrassed, we would defend our city and tell them things seem to be getting better. Unfortunately, although elected officials may claim otherwise, the deceit has quietly continued. The gross mismanagement of city funds has to cease immediately.

    Sam, thanks so much for compiling this striking information. I will do all I can to make sure everyone in EM knows this. I will also make sure this info is fresh in everyone’s mind come election season.

  24. Hi, I have been a resident of Eagle Mountain now for almost 4 years. All in all I love Eagle Mountain because of the residents, but I don’t like how it is being run! We have had a lot of issues since living here. The first 2 years of living here we had those once in a “100 year” period floods about 6 times a year and last year put in a French drain and still got tons of water from an empty lot behind us and when we have called we just got the run around and still nothing has been done even though we have called several times. We were told its because the city plans were not planned out very well.

    We have been told that the very little lighting on the streets is because you want to keep the small town feel, but yet we are a growing town and are humans and the lesser the light the more breakins and more chance of people getting hit and such and yet you guys make more than most of the people in your positions throughout the state and make more of like large town city officials.

    Also since living here, we built our house with some other families around us, all of our homes are energy efficient, but ours was the smallest, we don’t have a vault, we have kept our homes cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer than those families, we are very conservative when it comes to using much water, power, and gas, but yet ours has ALWAYS been higher than their utility bills! We have always felt as though our utilities have been high! This month we did expect it to jump up due to the colder weather, but definitely didn’t think it would be $70 more. My sister who lives 5 minutes away from us in saratoga by the lake, her house is NOT energy efficient, she has almost a double sized house than us, she keeps her temp at 74 and we keep ours at 70, she has huge vaults and multilevels, she has more windows and keeps doors open more, she had lots of Christmas lights on, and yet her bill was only $19 more than ours, that being $332.

    Ever since moving in I have NEVER liked the monopoly that Eagle Mountain is running by making everyone have to get only their gas and power with the utilities. I am SO annoyed that Eagle Mountain WILL NOT let Comcast or centurylink come in because they have a monopoly with direct communications, even though we are right on the border of saratoga springs and they have been trying for years now to come in!

    We have also noticed a truck come in our neighborhood a few times a day and I finally talked to them and asked what they were doing, well they said they pump out the sewage from city center and drive it down to the bottom of silverlake and pump it in the sewer down there. It doesn’t make much sense as to why that is being done when we all pay a lot for sewage and apparently city center even pays more. I dont understand how efficient it really is. It definitely seems as though our money is not being spent very well and as though there is not much research, education or work being done on your part.

    Pony express days seems to be more of a waste than anything and causes much congestion. During the concerts, the 1 street that those who live in silverlake have to get out of the neighborhood with are completely congested and there is no getting in or out and it is very unsafe and not planned out well at all!!! I could completely do without it. Seems to me as though those events are more for larger cities, not one that is considered a “small or rural” town with a lot of debt!!! Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall even saratoga springs having carnivals and concerts and rodeos, etc.

    I am here to take care of my family and be able to provide for my family, not to pay for others to come enjoy the concerts and carnivals and such at my families cost when I don’t even participate in them myself and would love to get rid of them if it would benefit my family and all those other families out here struggling! I guarantee its not the concerts that attract the people here, it is the “supposed lower cost to live here”, but yet it’s really not that much cheaper to live here.

    I am SO grateful for Sam really investigating and helping us all to see where our money really goes and compiling information for us! I completely agree with the 24 reforms! If there is inaccurate information as you say within the report, please do let us know which, but with the evidence he has, it’s pretty hard to think that any of it isn’t completely accurate.

  25. malfeasance anyone?

    While researching how citizens could go about recalling elected officials, I found that there is no provision for recall of elected officials in our state. There is however a provision that elected officials can be removed if found guilty of malfeasance.

    … In an earlier Utah case, State v. Geurts, a city commissioner of Salt Lake City was found guilty of granting favors to certain city employees by giving them overtime pay for time not actually worked.52A. later court stated that if public officials offend the accepted standards of honesty and integrity of their offices, or if they show themselves to be “unfit steward[s] of the public trust,” they will most likely be found to have committed malfeasance in office.53
    The advantage of the Local Government Removal Statutes is that any taxpayer in the jurisdiction can bring an action against a county or municipal officer.54Just as the people have the power to bring complaints against state judges through the Judicial Conduct Commission, the people of a county or city can directly participate in the removal of officers.55After the plaintiffs file their complaint, whether against a city or county official, the county attorney has the responsibility to investigate the claim and has a discretionary right to prosecute the accused.5

  26. I have been a resident of eagle Mountain for 7 years, I purchased a very nice home in the ranches two years after moving into the city. I bought the house when I was just 22 years old at that age many are just finishing college or returning from there LDS missions. I have had utility bills over 450$ and as of most residents in the city there are lots of younger families who are just starting out. That is a great amount of money for a young starting family. I grew up in Highland and my wife in Alpine both our parents still live there. My in laws live in a house that is almost 4 times the size of my house and there utility bill has been less than ours in our starter home in Eagle Mountain. I am willing to bet that there are many other citizens of Eagle Mountain who could also tell us the same story. This report by Mr Allen is very truthful and its good to see someone step up and reveal how disgusting it is that our money is being miss used. I am writing this comment from Afghanastan where I have been for almost a year, if I was there right now I would make it to the city council meetings and bring friends to see that changes are made. I feel that the Mayor should put in an resignation at once. I also feel that the city council members should also follow with a resignation and the city government needs to be ran by the state until new members are elected and a new mayor is elected. Before I read about this scandal I had the same questions that Mr Allen did and I dont even know him. I wondered how they could afford those country singers to perform every year. So to the city council and Mrs Mayor you should some forward now and set the truth now before this blows up in your face and who knows maybe face criminal charges. America has let government transform into a corrupt system and its time that we take back America and we take back Eagle Mountain.

    You city council and Mrs Mayor Jackson make me sick.

  27. I am a resident of Eagle Mountain and live in Rock Creek. Last summer there was a million dollar mistake uncovered when building had to be halted on Bldg. O because the main power line; the line that supplies power to the entire city of Eagle Mtn. was put in the wrong place. It is not clear if this was a city mistake or if the contractor made the mistake. Either way, building was halted while the city council decided whether to pay to move the line or purchase the property from the builder. Anyone remember when all of our power was turned off in the fall? The line was moved, building has resumed and now the utilities are mysteriously going up. Why was this not discussed by the councilman who spoke with the concerned citizens and newscaster last night? And how is it ok to raise rates without explanation? $50,000 in bonds does not explain the exponential rise in rates but a million dollar mistake sure does.

  28. My family and I moved to Eagle Mountain from California just after Christmas 2011. We rent a condo in the Willow Springs development. California is known for it’s high cost of living but I am here to tell you that our utility costs here are ridiculously higher here. We had a comparable size apartment in California and our utility bills were rarely over $100 a month. We lived in an area that was regularly over 100 degrees in the summer and would have lows around 20 in the winter. Fairly similar as to here but with less snowfall. It is insane that we regularly pay $150 or so a month and that our January bill is $200. There is no way we used 33% more gas and electricity in one month. We regularly keep our thermostat at 62 and have two periods of two hours each that it goes up to 70. If we get cold we bundle up. I can barely pay our bill as it is so I don’t let anyone mess with the thermostat.
    My father is the streets manager of a city in Orange County California. I hear about the things that go on in a city government all the time. I am outraged that our officials are abusing their power in the ways stated in this article. I hope that every one of you loses your job and that we are able to find people to replace you that are willing to do the right thing by their neighbors and friends. Serving in a public office is supposed to be about doing what is best for your community, not what will line your pockets with the most money and give you the most free fun our tax money can buy. Shame on all of you!
    We were thinking of purchasing a home in Eagle Mountain once our lease is up this year but I will not buy a home in such a corrupt city. I want to provide a stable home for my family and I will not put down roots in a city that will force us out by charging incredulous rates for utilities just so the Mayor can put on a good show for the public by using that money to stage events we simply can not afford. We are not here to further your political career. I believe you have put the nails in your own coffin regarding your political future. At least I hope you have. That will be for the people of this city to decide.
    We as families have to budget and decide where to spend our money. The first thing to go when you have to cut back is the “fun” things. Going out to eat and to the theatre, things of this nature. I believe that we should immediately cancel all the “fun” things that this city can not afford such as rodeo days and carnivals. Leave those for cities who actually have the money to put them on. Get our financial house in order, pay our bills, and then if there is money left over it can be saved for emergency situations like fighting fires. Quit spending money we don’t have. Pay fair wages to qualified individuals not inflated salaries to carefully groomed unqualified friends.
    If you do not heed the warnings from your constituents you will either lose you job or this town will become a ghost town as word spreads and no one will touch this community with a ten foot pole. The choice is up to you to decide the fate of not only yourselves but of this community as a whole.

  29. I worked for the city in the Special Events Dept until June of last year. I can say that much of this report is true. One issue I have, however, is the way that the City Recorder has been painted. She is one of the most honest, ethical, intelligent person I know. I would stand behind anything she said and would trust her with anything.

    One thing I would like to add, though, is in regards to the December Vegas trip. I went to Vegas in December 2011 for a conference that was held at the same time as the PRCA Rodeo conference. It was determined at that time that the Spevial Events conference and the PRCA conference were a waste of money and we did not get any information that couldn’t be gathered closer to home. I was very disappointed to see that the December Vegas trip was taken again in 2012.

  30. I consider myself an easygoing individual. I live a simple life. Like many of my neighbors here in Eagle Mountain and those living in this down economy all over the country, I don’t live extravagantly because I can’t afford it. My husband and I make enough to get by and for the most part, we are content. After all, there are so many people these days that aren’t half as lucky as we have been.

    But when I see utility bills doubling for NO reason, it makes me angry. Five hundred dollars may not be much to some, but it is ALOT to me and mine. It is akin to paying a second mortgage that I never asked for. That is gas from car that gets me to and from work and more importantly, it is food from my children’s mouths.

    How dare the mayor’s office and city council abdicate their responsibilities to the citizens of this community in order to feed an image and line their pockets, while we are made to pay through the nose for it. I only hope that more citizens get involved, get angry, and those who have played a part in this are made to answer for their actions!

  31. Thanks for all your research. I hope this is definitely closely looked at by the state. I support your measures. I too think that our lights need to be kept lit. Most of the light poles are there, but half of them don’t work. Many of the lights are out even along main streets. I most definitely agree that we do not need to pay such high salaries, bring them in line with surrounding communities. I think that there should be an investigation into whether or not people are hired because they are buddies instead of through competitive application. The fact that many don’t have bachelor’s degrees and make these kinds of salaries is very questionable. I do not like the look of the research showing that we are paying for many administrative things through Utilities. Utilities should only go to pay for utility related things. Staff running it, infrastructure to make it possible and then we pay what we use of it. I am with others scrap pony express days if it means that we can afford to pay our bills. It is getting out of hand and we can not afford to have it keep rising. I am on budget billing and my bill has gone up by $90 over the last two budget billing resets. What will it do after factoring in this increase in just one months bill. I will be hit with it much later when mine refigures. Plus they are no longer showing on the bill the plus and minuses that go with my bill so that I can tell how much to save up or pay extra to cover it later. Additionally, I agree that 8 days all billed to the city for a 4 day conference is too much. Lots of people tack on days to their conferences, but they only submit a bill for the part that actually covered the work related conference. I at one time took advantage of the military credit while my husband was deployed but I agree, maybe make it dependent on an income threshold and or remove it all together. I do not want everyone elses bills going up just to pay for my credit. I have to work on Wed. night so I can’t make it to the meeting but I am backing up the complaints and want to see this looked into more for sure. If much of this is shown to be true then I definitely agree that we need some new management, a new auditing company and a council that is willing to ask the hard questions and stand up for the people. We can not afford for our “fixed” expenses to double suddenly and then find out all the things that we are paying for out of this fund that should not be paid for out of these funds.

  32. Wow, what an eye opener. Thank you Sam for your work on this. I thought conservative believed in free markets and private industry over government control. The city should figure out how to sell off the utilities to private companies. I agree with most of the 24 reforms except for zeroing out Special Events. My kids and I enjoy the carnival during Pony Express days but the rest of the activities are pretty much a waste. It must be a very small percentage of residents that care about the Rodeo.

    I used to think that maybe politicians at the local level were decent and when they moved up to higher position is when they became corrupt. I guess I was wrong, my faith in politicians actually just got lower than I thought possible.

  33. The utility issue being outside of expected easements was concerning. We tried to determine the cheapest and fairest way to resolve the issue, while also determining liability. ultimately, the utilities have been placed within the proper and dedicated easement.

  34. The concert event is typically a break-even event determined by the ticket sales and cost of tickets. Clint Black last year experienced record ticket sales and resulted in a net cost to the city of zero dollars. This year we anticipate the same net zero expense with the Chris Cagle concert. Of the top of my head I believe the contract with Chris Cagle is for $35,000. Last year we had approximately 6,100 people in attendance at an average ticket price of $10. From the city council meeting minutes of 6/19/12, the loss to the city of the entire pony express days 2012 was $9,880.

  35. I have been told that there is no interest by comcast or century link to bring their services to eagle mountain. If they wanted to come and provide competitive services for us as residents then I would support that effort. I also support the opportunity to privatize our utilities. We recently were legally forced to buy infrastructure and customers from Rocky Mountain power because they are not interested in servicing or maintaining electric utilities in eagle mountain.

  36. I also have spent years telling colleagues and friends that eagle mountain is becoming a better city. The truth within Sam’s document will be followed up on and acted on to resolve.

  37. There are multiple problems that we have been working on to resolve and improve. It has not happened as quickly or as thoroughly as any of us would like. Sam’s document highlight many good practices for all residents in all cities to become very involved and scrutinize the budget and legislative practices. I have shared that message for multiple years now. I agree that misuse of our taxes should not be tolerated and there should be zero tolerance. An eight day trip for a four day conference supported by the city coffers is unacceptable.

  38. There are multiple problems that we have been working on to resolve and improve. It has not happened as quickly or as thoroughly as any of us would like. Sam’s document highlight many good practices for all residents in all cities to become very involved and scrutinize the budget and legislative practices. I have shared that message for multiple years now. I agree that misuse of our taxes should not be tolerated and there should be zero tolerance. An eight day trip for a four day conference supported by the city coffers is unacceptable.

  39. Eight days for a four day conference paid for by the city coffers is unacceptable. There will be follow up to determine if there is an explanation for this.

  40. We have made multiple consolidations and pay cuts over the last few budgets. We will continue to review and make cuts to bring the compensation and benefits in line with private sector.

  41. I am regretful that you and others have had such negative experiences with the city utility billing process. we will review the issues and follow up to ensure we improve and add more consistency and clarity to the process. The energy director should be constantly working to reduce costs and improve services.

  42. As you find there is information that you can’t find or don’t have access to, please contact us or submit a GRAMA request. Utility billing and other information should all be public access. I have also noticed that Ranches parkway is becoming full of potholes – this will be a project this spring to repair.

  43. We have submitted requests to have private companies determine what the costs for our utilities should be for our city. We will evaluate and implement the recommendations best suited for the residents of eagle mountain. my gas bill was 65% higher in january than in december. definitely concerning and frustrating.

  44. Thank you for sharing the weather information. it is insightful and relevant in alleviating frustration over january utility billing for gas. there are additional concerns concerning the rates which are already in the process of being evaluated by an outside private company to recommend rates.

  45. I applaud your belief system regarding assistance through self, family, church and, last resort, government. Im not sure if your order is intentional or not, but I think the duty of assistance falls on family before church.

  46. the city budget is audited every year and has won state awards for the budget multiple times. there could be value in hiring a different auditor to review the city’s accounting practices. as a resident, I want fairness and accountability for spending my taxes, just like everyone else.

  47. the ticket sales for the concerts cover the costs of the artist. the concerts are a break even for the city. you are correct in thinking that having control over the utility rates can be a tool for economic development to draw businesses into the city.

  48. I am appalled at some of the increase residents experienced on their recent bills. my total bill was only $80 higher, $68 increase coming from gas. I have a family of four as well. there should be additional answers to these questions on the city’s Facebook page and at the town hall meeting this wednesday.

  49. I agree with your thoughts and feelings. I am confident that through this experience the city will improve its transparency and communication regarding rates and total costs. I have always believed that a privatization of the utilities would be a big win for the city and its residents. unfortunately, rocky mountain power seems to want to leave rather than come. they recently forced eagle mountain to purchase infrastructure and customers from them so they would have no service in the city.

  50. this increased awareness and involvement will improve our budget and communication process. accountability for job performance must exist. the mayoral salary should only be competitive with prevailing pay for comparable cities. if verified to be outside the acceptable range, then it must be changed.

  51. as a city we should have better transparency and communication regarding the rates for our utilities, on website and bills. we are already in the process of having an outside company evaluate our utilities and recommend rates to sustain our infrastructure and level of service.

  52. I definitely agree that something was significantly wrong with a 85% increase. i can only assume this was a serious mistake by the billing and should be corrected immediately.

  53. i understand the frustration and nausea created from the information in this report. i promise it is being followed up on and we will institute changes to improve to ensure these accusations never happen.

  54. I am very sorry that you have had such a bad experience. obviously these issues are being followed up on and will be resolved. I live in a 2100 ft^sq single family residence and had a total bill of $390, $173 from gas for 199 decatherms of use. it is surprising your bill was that high.

  55. a thorough report and evaluate of the utility rates has already begun. it is being conducted by an outside company to provide a recommendation that will allow eagle mountain to maintain its infrastructure and level of service.

  56. its a very disturbing concern. hopefully the billing department is providing you with the data they used to calculate the bill.

  57. Love it, I agree, if they do not face the allegations and do some housecleaning there will be a lot to account for and also no constituents left around to take the money from.

  58. My reply is to Councilman Painter. I worked for the Special Events Dept for both the Clint Black and Chris Cagle concert. While it may be true that 6,100 people were in attendance, it is dishonest to state those tickets were all paid for. A very large amount were comped. The councilmembers and mayor received free tickets for their families, as well as the sponsors. The radio stations and newspapers were also given hundreds of free tickets. The same goes for the rodeo and demolition derby. It is dishonest to state that ticket sales cover the expenses when that just is not the fact.

  59. I have lived in Eagle Mountain since 2008 and my bill was the highest I’ve ever seen. It’s not quite as extreme as some peoples bills, but higher than I expected. It was pretty damn cold the year I moved in and my water main froze at the street, but my bill was nowhere near what it is now. Correct me if I’m wrong, but did the Mayor not state in a recent issue of the city newsletter that our community was going to join Unified Fire? The purpose of this was to be able to afford upkeep on equipment and to hire additional personel. Did it not also state that our taxes were going up, but in return our UTILITIES would go down? Also why is a school being built halfway between the Ranches and City Center so, they can bus every kid to school and not just some? Same goes with the softball and soccer fields in the middle of nowhere. In my opinion everything should be looked at in Eagle Mountain not just city issues. The HOA’s are some of the biggest scams. Yes we were told it was an HOA community when we chose to move here and that’s fine, but where is our park that we were promised and why did the Master HOA get to choose our management company? I think there is a whole lot of backroom deals going on out here and it’s a shame. There’s a reason why businesses don’t want to come to Eagle Mountain. Unfortunately for many residents we got screwed by the former builder out here in City Center and I will NEVER recommend anyone move out here unless they are looking for a cheap, crappy house and political corruption!

  60. Because of the way the city bills for utilities with very high base rates, it is easy for a home with no one in it to still have a fairly high bill.

    With absolutely no use a bill would be at least $100:
    Water: $20
    Electric: $9
    Gas: $16
    Sewer: $38
    Storm Drain: $3
    Garbage: $11
    10% Taxes: $9.7

    Total $106.7

    With the heat left on at 55 degrees and very cold outside temperatures it is more understandable how very low usage could result in a $200 utility bill.

  61. As a citizen who moved in after all elections, I can say that I’ll be sure to be a part of them while I’m here. I loved everything about Eagle Mountain City until I learned about our leaders. Shame on you. We are your neighbors. I also hope you are all removed from your posts.

  62. I’m quite surprised at how much my fellow residents don’t know about home heating in the winter. Upon reading these comments, my impression is that many residents think that their heating bill will drop dramatically if they simply set their thermostat at 68 or even 64 degrees. This is actually not a good idea if you keep adjusting your thermostat up and down. The thermal value of your home (the temperature of the walls, ceiling, floors, furniture, etc) take hours to change. Setting your temperature to 68 will not keep your furnace from running. Your furnace will work almost as hard to keep your house at 68 as it will to keep it at 72 when it is so cold outside. If you come home and raise it to 72, the furnace will work extra hard to raise the thermal temp of your house, negating any savings you incurred by lowering the thermostat. The same goes for AC in the summer. Unless you are not going to be home for a couple days or more, I would not recommend playing the thermostat game because the savings are not substantial.

    Residents also need to remember that the water heater is also a big user of natural gas in the winter time. The water is much, much colder which means that it takes longer to reheat the water and therefore uses more energy. My water heater was taking an extra ten minutes to heat the water this past January after each shower. That adds up to a lot of natural gas and higher energy costs. Residents would be wise to reduce shower times and use the cold temp setting on washing machines if they are interested in saving money.

    Also, avoid using your natural gas fireplaces. Most models are very inefficient and consume incredible amounts of natural gas.

    Just some food for thought to help out some obviously desperate residents looking for things that they can control.

  63. We have lived here for 6 years. We love the area and our neighbors. But have always thought the utilities have been high compared to the other places we have lived (Pleasant Grove, American Fork, Tremonton). We grew accustomed to the high rates and paid them without question even the spikes in rates that usually occur every January or February. But this year the spike in January’s billing is RECORD HIGH!! I know it was cold, but I also know there is no way we used that much natural gas. This spike has crippled us for February. I have 3 toddlers I need to feed and gas I need to buy so I can get to work and pay our bills. We barely get by as is and to be hit with this is going to put us in the red.
    But, if this spike in price did not happen I would have remind ignorant and blind as to what is going on in our city and with out city council and mayor.
    I am embarrassed to have recommended my long time friend to move out here and build a new home not knowing the corruption, poor decision making and spending habits of the Mayor and City Council.
    Why is the city officials spending money on furniture and reception desks and a stupid pony express statue when we have $50 million in bonds to pay off?
    Why did the Mayor think it prudent and wise to travel all the way to Vegas to learn how to run a Rodeo when Pleasant Grove and Lehi have been doing them since I was born 30 years ago. It seems the Mayor and city could have gleaned some knowledge and experience from them even those that run the SLC Days of 47 Rodeo could have taught some lessons pr shared insight. There is an abundance of Rodeo savvy people in the State of Utah and even just in Utah County that could have done this (I grew up participating in Rodeos around the state). Why did the Mayor need to stay an additional 4 days on the cities dime in Vegas?
    Why were the city positions not open to the public to apply for? Why does it seem only friends of the Mayor get the cushy positions? I would like to see Qualified individuals that have Educations to back up Experience to have the jobs.
    Why are the salaries so high for the Mayor and other City Officials? We are a small town with hardly any business’s compared to other cities and have A LOT more DEBT than other cities our size. I would like to see those Salary numbers go down.
    Why are the Residents paying the Utility Department’s wages? We should just be paying for the utilities we use.
    Why does the city “estimate” utility usage when their metering machines aren’t working or weather is “bad”. A pen and paper does not break down and the utility workers have 2 eyes, 2 legs and 2 hands that work just fine. The residents here deserve Professional, Courteous, Honest and Integral Work from each and every City Worker, City Councilman and especially the Mayor.
    Why is the money for Utilities being used to fund special events? Yes you say you’ve budgeted for it…but if we have $50 Million in Bonds to pay off you need to put that budgeted amount into paying down that DEBT. Just because you “can” doesn’t mean you should. We need people who can make better decisions with the residents money and make smart financial decisions. I was always told and taught growing up that if you can’t afford it…you don’t get it. So until our $50 Million is paid down we cannot afford these “extra perks and luxuries”.
    Why is the city paying for high priced musicians and entertainers for Pony Express Days? $35,000? I would love to see $35,000 spent paying down the $50 Million in Bonds the City has instead of a concert that lasts an hour. I too dislike the congestion of streets during Pony Express Days and would appreciate a smaller city celebration at least until our DEBT is paid.
    Why are city leaders going out to dinner on the cities dime to celebrate birthday’s with no limits and while on the clock? This is money wasted and unnecessary. That money should be budgeted to paying down the DEBT once again.
    It seems the Mayor and City Officials have a Wine Taste on a Beer Budget and are running up a tab at the bar they cannot pay. They need help…they have an addiction to spending money that is not theirs. They need to step down from their cushy positions and join the real world with the rest of the residents of Eagle Mountain and learn how to treat people honestly and fairly and being honest in all dealing with others. They need REHAB for their addiction to power, greed and dishonest/shady dealings.
    The more I read and learn of what has been going on and is going on in the city…the more upset I become.
    The Mayor and City Council need to step down and we need to start fresh and new.

  64. It has been an interest for the city to privatize the utilities for years, there are no interested buyers. the bond debt associated to the original infrastructure costs is ~ $50 M.

  65. there is a number to call and report any burnt out bulbs in lights. the city has historically resolved the issue within the week. information from the city website under FAQs – 801-789-6681 or email
    additionally, the concerns and accusations raised by Sam’s document are being reviewed.

  66. I understand your frustration and $500 is a lot of money for everyone. We are reviewing the accusations and will implement changes to improve the transparency and process of utility billing and spending.

  67. I agree that Mrs. Kofoed is an honest and ethical person. It is valuable to have your input regarding the lack of value in the special events and prca conferences.

  68. my personal experience was a 68% increase in my gas bill for Jan over Dec. the deseret news reported that jan was the 6th coldest since 1874 and the coldest on record at the SLC airport since 1949. ( the average temperature for January this year was 18.8 degrees, while it is typically 29.5 degrees according to National Weather Service in Salt Lake City. that is significantly colder than lows around 20. i do not think it is accurate to compare Jan 2013 in utah to typical weather in california.

  69. thank you for your thoughts and suggestions. they can be very helpful as families look for ways to reduce their utility bills.

  70. I hope you give equal credence to our comments and data as you have Sam’s. we will be available at the town hall meeting on wednesday to discuss. there has never been a single word uttered or vote cast that makes me think this council has done anything but try and improve the financial position of the city.

  71. the review and evaluation of the utility rates has already begun. we are awaiting a report from an outside company. the school location decision ultimately rests with the alpine school district. for instance, the city was not in favor of the elementary school location south of city center, where the city incurred thousands of dollars in costs adding sidewalks due to different bus routes and no bus offerings less than 1.5 miles, per state law.

  72. I want to begin by saying thank you to Sam for the countless hours that have obviously been spent on research.

    Now a warning for Mr. Painter, I have many questions for you and this may seem harsh and I don’t mean for it to be but I do EXPECT answers for EVERY member of the council and I’m beginning with you. Also, thank you for being willing to communicate with residents here regarding their questions and concerns.
    These questions are for you, Mr. Painter –

    1. Shannon Wilkinson made the comment regarding the million dollar mistake. You stated “The utility issue being outside of expected easements was concerning. We tried to determine the cheapest and fairest way to resolve the issue, while also determining liability. ultimately, the utilities have been placed within the proper and dedicated easement.” So who was determined to be liable on this issue?
    2. The concert event… If the artist charges about $35,000.00 and we sold approximately 6,100 tickets that means there was about a $26,000 net gain from this, correct? Now have you factored in the cost of man hours and overtime for the set-up, event overtime expenses, clean up man hours involved? What is the real net gain from this event? It’s misleading to throw those figures out there unless you are willing to also disclose those expenses so that we know the REAL numbers. Also comped tickets should not be (and I hope they aren’t being) included in your approximation of # of tickets sold.
    3. I’m sure you can recall the Kiowa Valley flood(s). I would like to ask you, since when is it acceptable for city employees to come out and sit on the back of their truck tailgate and watch the residents try to save their homes and homes of their neighbors by doing the job the employees SHOULD have been doing (clearing the storm drains) instead of sitting on the truck tailgate. When did it become acceptable for the mayor of EM to come down when she found out the news media was there and PRETEND to be there with those working so hard to save those homes (after the second flood. Now remember, flood #1 was a 100 year flood, I’ve never heard the “official” excuse for flood #2 that happened only three days later, was that another 100 year flood?) And then when the camera wasn’t rolling, she rolled right out of there. . Sorry but a REAL mayor would be down there actually helping the residents who pay HER salary. It’s not like we don’t pay her enough that if she ruined her outfit she couldn’t go out and buy another one. Hmmmmm.
    4. Why do we have a full time Mayor (yes, I know residents voted for that) AND a full time City Administrator? Have you looked at the combined salary of those two positions? What is your position on this specifically? Personally I find it bothersome!!!
    5. On the Vegas issue, IF I were to believe her and the trip was to learn about “running” a rodeo for our city, then she has failed on a level of EPIC proportions because I’m pretty sure that ANY business that loses money year after year on the same thing is considered a FAILURE! Mr. Painter, you stated and I quote “I agree that misuse of our taxes should not be tolerated and there should be zero tolerance. An eight day trip for a four day conference supported by the city coffers is unacceptable.” Since this trip seems to have been useless why was it taken again in 2012? On this issue I guess I need clarification. Does Heather just get to decide to take the trip if she wants or does the council vote approval on this? If it’s voted on by the council then why may I ask you is this being tolerated by the council members? Aren’t you all ELECTED (and PAID) by US to do what is best for US, the residents of EM who voted you in? If you all approved the trip, I would like to know what you plan on doing to address this specifically and I want to advise you that I will be watching you very closely to make sure your ACTIONS match your WORDS!
    6. How difficult would it be to have an addition added onto the bill where it will simply state if it was an actual reading or an estimated reading. I think it would help some of the frustration residents feel over not knowing if this is the HIGH bill or next month will be for them. Also, if the employees couldn’t do their job (for whatever reason), can you tell us if they still got a full paycheck because in the real world you wouldn’t? I would like to know how many months it’s REALLY estimated and how many months it’s actually read as this could influence how many paid employees are needed for the job.
    7. “It has been an interest for the city to privatize the utilities for years, there are no interested buyers. the bond debt associated to the original infrastructure costs is ~ $50 M.” Is it not true that according to Utah County Commission meeting minutes from November 1996, Walden’s representatives assured county commissioners the city would not become a burden to the county? This was because Walden agreed to front the costly expense of bringing utilities out to the isolated city. This helped persuade the commission to approve the town’s incorporation. According to city records, however, as soon as incorporation was granted, Walden backed off from his offer to pay for the utilities. Walden’s new deal was to help the city temporarily bond for the utilities by using more than $11 million worth of his land as collateral. I found this interesting since Heather had for years done all of Walden’s title work on his properties.
    8. On the issue of military discounts… This one is such a tough line because most people feel passionately either way. What happens for non-military families who are struggling and in poverty? How about those who served 20 years but are now retired? How about those who served 4 years DURING wartime? What about firefighters or law enforcement officers who serve in those capacities and risk their lives daily? A police officer has a higher risk of dying from being hit by some driver or being killed because we was on a domestic violence call than someone who is sitting at a desk at Camp Williams (note I am not talking about soldiers who are deployed). Where do we draw the line? Mind you I not only grew up as a “military brat” (and I say that VERY proudly) but my husband also served in the Marine Corps and was deployed during war time (we lived in Norfolk and they did NOT give discounts… could you imagine doing that in Norfolk? They would be broke). It’s hard for me because I tend to always want to find ways to show appreciation to members of our armed forces but I am NOT okay with my hard earned money going toward a discount to ANYONE who is making close to or more likely, OVER $100,000 a year….I don’t care who they are. If this is about being “patriotic” or appreciative of our military then let’s do something that is fair…let’s have a military appreciation event (possibly like a huge BBQ or something honoring active, retired, reserves, former enlisted, etc.) and we can start by cleaning the wasteful spending at the city and we can use that money for it and we would still come out ahead.

    Thank you in advance for your answers. I had thought about emailing these questions to you but decided that in the spirit of full disclosure, I’d give you the opportunity to allow all EM residents to see where you stand on the issues Plus it never becomes a he said and a I never said situation). I’m looking forward to meeting you tomorrow.

  73. A big issue I have had is that every time I have tried to contact the utilities department with questions about my bill I have been treated absolutely horribly! In my experience there is no customer service at all! One time in particular I called about 4 months ago to find out why my bill had gone up so much. the response I received was completely inappropriate! I was called quite a few explicit words (which I will not repeat), told that by asking questions before paying the bill, it meant I was lazy and trying to get out of paying my bill ( which I have never been late on), hung up on twice, i was not permitted to speak to a manager, and treated with complete disrespect! I finally gave up and had my husband handle it.. Even if i had been nasty, which i wasnt, this person should never speak to a client in such a way! how are we ever to feel comfortable contacting this office when we are treated this way?

  74. I have called before, i will call again. More the problem is that the lighting is faulty and comes on sometimes (very rarely and only for a short time) then goes out again.

  75. Painter – Does that Loss figure include overtime for events that are not charged to the special events and instead charged their own dept. that are then charged to utilities for funding? A loss is still a loss and creative accounting in order to maintain a losing program isn’t telling the whole truth. While events are fun, I would be okay with scrapping it and only keeping the programs that are truly not losing money. People brought up good points that it isn’t just the cost of the performer themselves, but fencing, security, port a potties, etc. that go along with it as well as the set up and take down and overtime costs. I just know that each family has to make a list of the things they have to pay for out of their budgets and we don’t have sources to fall back on to pay for things when we go over what we have coming in. We can’t spend more than we have unless we use credit and at some point we run out of credit and we run out of the ability to pay all those debts with what is coming in.

  76. Painter – can those cut backs be shown as it seems that the current numbers available via the transparency website still seem high. So if those are the cut back numbers then I would be interested in noting what the numbers were before hand.

  77. John Painter – not only compared to other cities but duties and time to perform. As people have noted why do we need a full time mayor, a full time City Administrator and a full time assistant city administrator. and why were the city administrators postitions not put out to competitive bid and why are they being shown to be buddies of the outgoing city administrator going back to football days? This goes along with the total of all of those salaries being above and beyond those of surrounding communities. I get being successful and earning the right to buy a house that costs double what most people can afford, but doing it on the dime of the citizens that you represent shows me that they are making too much money. The fact that the Mayor owns a lot and a home over $400,000 shows me that they make more than enough money to not need to have their utilities subsidized. Just because technically they qualify for the military credit doesn’t make it ethical to use it. The mayor should be one of our own and be able to understand the daily budget choices that we have to make. Some things are just not a priortity like over priced art and events that we can’t afford. Many would love the ammenities of the rec. center but have voted for it because we can’t justify it and can’t afford the tax increases that would come. We need to start making hard choices on what we can afford as a city. And things that don’t get passed on in costs to the citizens which everything done by government ultimately does get passed on in some way.

  78. I am writing you in concerns to information that is currently circling about Eagle Mountain City. It has been stated several times in some if these publications that Mayor Jackson is receiving a discount on her utility bill due to her husbands Military Service.
    I have worked closely with SFC Alan Jackson. I also live in Eagle Mountain City but because I am not on orders like him, but rather a dual-status Federal Tech, I do not qualify for this reduce amount. I take home much less than SFC Jackson after taxes and paying for my own medical benefits. Yet I still manage even though it’s a struggle to pay my full utilities for which I am billed each month.
    It hurts me deeply that someone of Jackson’s position could so blindly turn their head to so many other families in need for their own gain. I know of several people and their spouses who have gone to Council Meetings and fought this issue and wanted to include Law Enforcement as well as Fire Fighters for this benefit. If memory serves me correctly, I do apologize if I miss quote the council’s response. But in short, “If we do this for everyone then we should just do away with the whole program.” All the concerned parties agreed to due away with it. Still hasn’t happened.
    I know as a senior enlisted person that I would rather have the whole thing taken away than to have the disgrace of being associated with someone else’s greed. For SFC Jackson this goes against the NCO Creed, and has caused me to question him as a “Leader of Men.” I wear my uniform with pride and conduct myself in a manner of a professional, but like with any person who wears a uniform. All it takes is one to tarnish it in the public eye and it is extremely hard to remove that stain.
    I would also like to address the issue of the public works department. This past fall I went to a football game at the new park on Unity Pass, near the city center. I was embarrassed that the only accesses to these parks were dirt roads. The playing field itself looked like a vacant lot that some kids just started up a game on, after the farmer plowed the weeds down. In the tall over grown weeds along the edge were the remains of pallets of sod. These pallets were semi-leveled out and tipped over to semi conceal them. It reminded me of a young child trying to hide something when they knew they had done something wrong. It was very embarrassing that the new baseball/softball field adjacent to this had no bathroom facilities or regular park features. I have been to smaller towns and seen much better parks for a fraction of what was supposedly spent on this “abortion”.
    As a resident it truly hurts me that none of you have questioned these things. But, rather gone along with the flow of things. I mean take a drive and look at what you are agreeing to, or have agreed to. Its called following up on progress. Be more receptive to your community and its concerns, 3 minutes to state a concern with out interaction. Really! Is that how you would like to be treated? Listen to the people who voted for you to be the voice for them in these matters. That’s what you promised to obtain these positions. No one forced you into these positions. You wanted them, and made promises if you were elected. Time to follow through.


    A insulted resident and voter.

  79. In reference to Issue #8. I work at Camp Williams also and I am very disappointed with the information that is out there about this. It is not for all individuals who wear the uniform. Utah National Guard and Air Guard have what they call “Dual Status Federal Tech’s”. These are individuals who are in the National Guard for their one weekend a month and two weeks a year, but are required to work as Federal Tech’s must wear the uniform to work. They, like me, are not “granted” the reduced utility bill rate. It is only for AGR or Title 10 personal.
    My wife has attended several Council meetings to discuss this exact issue. Cause as a “Federal Tech” I am held to all the standards as Mayor Jackson’s husband. Basically the Council at that time had told her, was if she continued to argue this issue they would take it away so no would be able to get it. I know my wife along with several other spouses agreed to have it taken away. It still hasn’t happened. So please do not lump several good hard working individuals who wear the uniform with pride into what one person has done to tarnish it. We all work hard to keep pride in the uniform, not to have it get dumped on because of one person’s abuse of it.

  80. I would recommend posting on the city Facebook page if you aren’t seeing results by making a phone call. After posting on Facebook, our light was in working order within a week.

  81. I agree with you completely. I actually called them out on this very matter tonight and I had posted on here earlier asking Mr. Painter to address this (as well as other) issue(s). I hope you watch the video of the meeting when they post it. I was pretty passionate about it. Thank you for your service, my family appreciates it.

  82. I am more irritated with how the city deals with those who are late with their utilities than anything else. Right off the bat you get a late fee of $25.00. Which would only make sense – if you can’t afford your bill, you definitely should be able to afford it PLUS a fee. More frustrating is the disconnect policy. If you are two weeks late (and this varies slightly), you will be disconnected and slapped with an additional $50 penalty. This month shutoff was the 12th. If you were 12 days late you were left without service and screwed out of $75.00. Sure they sometimes will work with you on a payment plan once a year, it really depends on who you speak with. I have found some to be more helpful than others there. No other utilities in the state, that I am aware of, charge such ridiculous fees – especially after being only two weeks late. It usually takes much longer to have utilities shut off. There is no mercy here.

  83. AFTER attending the meeting in regards to all of this, I was completely horrified. I went in with an open mind, hoping it WAS a mistake on the city’s part, but instead, it seemed as if WE the residents of EM were to blame. That our insignificant brains could not grasp our gov’t & its leaders situation. The mayor blatantly spoke down & almost brow beat her citizens, for ultimately QUESTIONING this situation. Nothing was answered clearly. Nothing was heard from any of our City’s counsel members or the mayor, that felt or even remotely sounded honest or true in faith. What I did see as I looked at those seated all around me was, most obviously had been very stained by this financially, that in general our utility office does very little to help with any bills, except a few Days grace (called a promise note) ONLY optional every 4 months, & are very unprofessional in general with any problems. That all of these people who were told, BY THE MAYOR, that as a new city, we must make sacrifices; was sarcasm at its best, considering, MOST residents make far under 100,000.00 a year, which leaves me & all of us to wonder, ARE THEY THEMSELVES being held to their own standards?…. NO.

  84. My main concern here is the issues with overspending. I don’t see too many posts on here about it and I wonder why. I am concerned with the utilities and I have done several hours of research regarding why EM City has been running it; it all adds up to horrible decisions by the city council and the Mayor, this is why no private industry wants to do business here, it would cost them way too much to buy it out from the city!

    Our government officials have put us in this position and they need to make a better effort at fixing it. I don’t see this happening, especially with a 55 Million dollar debt and an overblown budget with way too much spending! They don’t seem like they give a rip about our debt and the spending, because they just keep doing more of it year after year! I understand we need taxes to run the necessities of the city, and this is perfectly acceptable. But buying overpriced art and financing bonds they don’t need??!! Add in the 7 Million dollars of missing money… we have a big problem on our hands here! Our elected officials have run amok long enough, they obviously aren’t interested in fixing the problem. Time to vote them out and vote in new representation that will make the tough choices and fix the issues with this city.

    I read an article that interviewed our Mayor, she mentioned that she tried to remove the military credit on our utility bill, but when it didn’t go through, she continued to take it! Why not set an example and stop taking the credit if you really believe it shouldn’t be there? She also was asked about the enormous amounts of money spent on the parade and the rodeo. She said that this is what the citizens want, so she said the city will continue doing it…. THIS IS INSANE!!! If my daughter came to me and said she wanted a Porsche, do I give in and go into debt to buy her one because this is what she asked me for? I think most of us are mature enough to understand that we can’t do the rodeo for the next couple of years because we need to pay off our debt. Maybe the citizens can bond together and try to bring in some private sponsors so that we could still have it, maybe charge more for tickets if certain citizens want to go… etc.

    There seems to be no accountability and I am a little sick and tired of hearing about the EM City scandals and woes on the news. This was all supposed to be over with a few years back, apparently it isn’t over!

    Our city officials need to reach down deep and make the hard choices, otherwise, what are you worth to us? Do you represent us or not? Do you have integrity or not? If you believe you do, then make the hard choices. I think you are taxing us enough, use the money you already have. Cut back expenses, salaries and other non-essential services. That would be the hard choice, the easy choice is to raise taxes, and that won’t go over well. You guys are already getting loads of cash from the HOA’s to help maintain and fix city roads (leveling off the islands in the Ranches… etc) and walkways. The HOA’s take care of some of the city property. You guys should have enough to do the rest!

  85. If my post made it seem that I was lumping everyone together, I apologize as that was NEVER my intention. I actually have a problem about it not being fair. I feel that if her husband is entitled to it so should all of you who work at Camp Williams who wear the uniform. I also think it’s unfair to those who have served this country for 20+ years but don’t get it either.
    Several people discussed the fact that many who serve live below poverty level, I feel for them. My point being if it’s about income level, then give it to those who serve who are in need but Mayor Jackson who has a family income of over $100,000. doesn’t NEED it.
    By the way, my family thanks you for your service :)

  86. After reading about the meeting last night (I got there late and wasn’t allowed to go in) I feel I need to address a few of my own comments:

    First, the rodeo: If it is making money now (I would like to see the records detailing this) then why spend extra money on the city having it’s own tent and goodies for city employees? This is still wrong, I don’t care how much money the rodeo makes. The extra money saved can go into paying the debt down on the 55 Million the city owes!

    If we were in debt when we bough the rodeo grounds and it took 2 years or more with multiple trips to LV to get to the point where we are now, why did the city council decide to spend the money in the first place when we didn’t even have the money to spend, plus we didn’t know if the rodeo would even make money after a couple of years? To me, this shows the incompetence of our leaders and their willingness to spend money when we don’t even have it. According to the Mayor, she said the property originally costed the city 174K, does this include what it costed the city to properly zone it along with building or renting some of the bleachers and other infrastructure? What about yearly maintenance and insurance costs? They lost another 80K in 2012 on the property, so now we are in the hole 254K for this boondoggle. We made 20K last year… so we are still 234K in the hole. The city “believes” they will make money on it in the future, they must have a crystal ball because nobody knows what kind of profit it could make in the future or if insurance costs will go up, or if they want to grow the property, or build infrastructure… let’s take some of that into consideration.

    Second, the artwork: I could give a rip about where the money came from to buy the statue. If the statue was overpriced then we shouldn’t have bought it! Period! If we must have the statue, and this is the only way we get the grant from the county is if we purchase it (which is what I am wondering… where did the grant money come from and why? Was it specifically for this artwork or was it money given as a grant from the county that we could do whatever we wanted with it?) then we pay an honest price for the statue and keep the rest of the money to pay down our debt!

    Third, regarding city salaries and what was mentioned in the meeting: So what we see on the Utah transparency website along with the spreadsheet that Sam provided is false? I don’t know of anyone I work with in the private sector that receives up to 30K in bonuses which includes a 401K, healthcare and pension benefits unless you are a CEO or high up in an organization. I am sure the City officials can figure out a way to cut waste here, I don’t believe the city employees deserve a pension AND a 401K. I would be okay with a 401K along with a 4% or less match. That is what you see in the private sector. Lately we have seen that pensions for public employees can become unsustainable in economic downturns, whereas a 401K is paid for already and the employee controls that money. I propose they change this ASAP.

    Fourth, HOA monies: I made this comment base off of the newsletters we receive from the Ranches HOA. This newsletter states that the HOA maintains the walkways, common areas (the ranches signs and other common areas) and that the HOA also helped the city pay for the flattening of some of the islands on the North Ranches Parkway. If I am wrong on this, I would like to know, but this is the information I received from the HOA. I tried to find out if the HOA is subsidizing other city projects but I don’t have all of that information yet, I am still doing more research into this, the HOA budget doesn’t mention exactly what they spend their money on, it just says “maintenance expense” which is the largest expense on the budget that they post.

    Fifth, the Utility outrage: The blame for this lies solely on our prior mayors, city officials and council members. Did they do their best when it came to pushing most of these costs off onto the initial developers? Where there some backroom deals and some arm twisting when the initial bonds and contracts were in their infancy? The answer is not clear. I have done some research on this in the last few days and it’s scary to see the amount of power some of these developers had and we let them get away with it. We are paying the price for all of this now, but it seems like our current city officials don’t care about dealing with these past debts with the amount of money they continue to spend or that they want to spend; this leads me to my last point.

    My last comment will be about monies that the city and the Mayor have proposed for other projects that were shot down. The Recreation center and the wake park. Both horrible ideas since the city has a very large amount of debt compared to the population of the city. Who’s ideas were these in the first place? I didn’t know we lived in a city that believed in the “if you build it they will come” motto. Again, this just shows the incompetence of our representation and our City administration.

    I truly believe that the mayor, the city administrators and the council members are good people, I don’t hold anything against them on a personal level. I just believe they are horrible at their jobs and that they should be replaced.

  87. Is there possibilities of using the Rodeo Grounds more than just for the Rodeo one weekend a year? I grew up riding horses and participating in 4-H Horse Shows and Queening Competitions. Does the city make a profit from these types of events?
    My long time friend teaches judging clinics to train and certify 4-H judges…would renting the Rodeo Grounds for these and other types of Clinics bring in money?
    Is there possibilities for renting out the stalls for horse boarding uses during certain times of the year help bring in money?
    I would hate to do away with the Rodeo grounds just because I know what a positive experience they were for me growing up. But if money is being lost and is becoming a burden on the city then it doesn’t make sense to fund it. I think we have a great investment with the Rodeo Grounds and would like to see it used to its full potential.
    Someone suggested using the rodeo grounds as a place to host the concert instead of Silverlake…there’s parking and seating and roads aren’t congested. I thought this was a wonderful idea. I also think having local talent preform rather than a high priced entertainer would be better. That way it gives Eagle Mountain residents an opportunity to show case their talent and builds up the community AND it would cost A LOT less and a profit might be made.

  88. great suggestions and ideas. city staff has been exploring other opportunities to benefit from the rodeo grounds. one obstacle is that there are no seating except for the rodeo b/c we rent bleachers. the purchase cost is ~10x the rental cost and as the council has been on a more wait and see timeline with the future of the rodeo, we didn’t want to commit so many funds to something that may go away. Im not sure about the logistics and possibility of having the concert at the rodeo grounds, I can follow up. and regarding the high priced talent, we have already contracted with chris cagle for this year but can consider local talent next year.

  89. John, I appreciate the fact that you are the only member of our current leadership that is on this site responding to posts. I think a big “thank you” is in order for this. I may not agree with some of your past or current votes, but it shows some character that you are at least making an effort to be on this page replying to some of these questions and proposals.

  90. I hope I can share some thoughts on the issues you bring up.
    first – the meeting minutes on the rodeo grounds discussion and vote process are captured in the march 30, 2010 link.
    second – the statue discussion started on the jan 5, 2010 meeting minutes. it was voted down, 4:1. it was brought up a second time at a budget meeting on feb. 6, 2010. it was my forth meeting and I got this one wrong.
    third – we will evaluate 401k vs pensions on employee salaries as we structure the 2013-2014 fiscal budget.
    forth – the city has partnered with the ranches HOA on the benches, pergolas and trash cans along pony express trail throughout the ranches. I believe the cost to the city was 50% of the project, either $30k or $60k. I could sift through meeting minutes and find the exact date and amount if helpful. I do not think the hoa does any trial maintenance or upkeep, this is done by the city. the signs are managed by the lehi area chamber of commerce. there are some signs dedicated to the city for directional purposes, while others are used to promote businesses throughout the city. the cost of the current updates are paid by the chamber of commerce and revenues from space rentals.
    fifth – the rec center was a proposal from the parks & recreation board. the council voted down the project as a bond but decided to allow the residents to vote if they wanted the facility or not. a bond was explored to give real numbers to the vote. it was voted down by the residents 3:1. the wake park was a private business owner who approached the city.

  91. based on feedback we will be reviewing the policies and practices of the utility billing and payment assistance options.

  92. based on feedback we will be reviewing the policies and practices of the utility billing and payment assistance options.

  93. a review of the military discount will be conducted. because of the costs associated to adding restroom facilities we chose to phase them in as part of the mid valley park project rather than all up front. the plan is to add those facilities this year. at the center of the complex utilities are stubbed for this addition.

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