Sunday, October 15, 2017

Granite Bond Proposal or Short Term Memory

Note, this is a copy of some random facebook posts. I will see if I have time to come back with something more formal. 

When GSD promoted the $256,000,000 bond last time, it was with the promise that they would not be raising taxes, which they already have for a different reason. Bonding for any more prior to paying off what they currently have goes against what we were told.

Yes, they promised no tax increase for the last bond, which they followed. I noted that the tax increase was for a different reason. Yes they need "permission" to raise taxes, in that they have to have a truth in taxation hearing after telling people they are planning on doing it and listening or ignoring all those that come to oppose the tax increase.

And yes, we were shown (for the last bond) a plan that had no tax increase in the future, which they either scrapped or decided it was bogus.

I don't like being lied to and yes they are related. Is 100% of the 12% property tax increase going directly to and only to teachers for a 12% raise? What percentage of the money coming from the State is going to capital improvements now and you do notice the end of this article.

For several years, the districts have asked the state to allow them to have an exception to use state money to some extent for capital improvements. That has been in state law with an ongoing sunset.

It is possible that will expire about the same time as the Jordan School District split solution. I was not in the #utleg when that solution was crafted, but I do know there have been new protections put in place to avoid another district being created and leaving the remainder with big problems.

What did they say last time?

Granite had been working on a $17 Million per year budget for new and fixed buildings, but decided to use it for the 2009 bond for over $256 Million. They were supposed to have everything all figured out until it got paid off and then use the $17 Million again for the same thing.

When they borrowed the $256 Million, they promised they would pay if off before coming back. If they had paid off the current bond and then they decided they couldn't do it for $17 Million a year anymore that would be one thing, but not only did they sell the voters a line, they sold the investors a line as well 

They have known the current seismic problems have existed for some time. I guess air conditioning was a higher priority for the $256 Million bond last time? How long before the $256 Million is paid back?

"Voters authorized general obligation bonding of $256 million in November 2009. As of June 2013, the district had issued $231 million and had remaining authorization of $25 million. The bond money has been used to rebuild Granger High School, Olympus High School, Oakwood Elementary, Woodstock Elementary, and the Hartvigsen School. In addition, the funding was used to build 2 new elementary schools (Elk Run and Armstrong), and to provide air conditioning for all schools in the district. The district plans to issue the remaining $25 million of bond authorization during the 2017-18 school year. The funds are budgeted to build a new elementary school and to purchase a school site."

For the New Proposed Bond, most of the rebuild/remodel for phase one do not have the " * Projects to be financed with bond proceeds (Utah Code 53A-18-102) ". According to the GSD mailer on the bond, only 5 of 31 listed school projects are being funded by the proposed bond.  So how is the district paying for those other projects? Will they issue another new bond in a few years or do they already have the money for those?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Why a Redistricting Commission may make things worse

UTA, an un-elected board doesn't work as good as most would like. Do we want another?

Both in 2016 and 2017, Rep. M. Nelson proposed rules (passed the House but not the Senate, yet) that would help solve the problem that happened last time, The redistricting committee had really good rules and goals, but then both political parties threatened law suits and many of the ideals were abandoned. If we could just get one or two specific Republican State Senators to go along, the new rules would likely pass. Those rules and having the elected legislature create the maps would work much better than having an "independent" redistricting commission, where the one independent person gets to decide. 

Even though I was not on the redistricting committee last time, I drew maps for the 2011 redistricting bills and some were officially voted on. My Congressional Map, "Hat and 3 stripes" was the most favored by the committee, prior to the political parties involvement. I even had a similar map Senate Sponsored by Sen. Ben McAdams, the only bi-partisan Congressional District Map. (No, it didn't pass).

The maps I drew to start with had one goal in place. To keep the districts as close to city and county lines as possible, using major roads or other obvious boundaries such as rivers, etc. I had the Congressional District divided with very few county or city boundaries crossed. My Party Chair threatened to sue the state if that map was adopted. I tried to make it fair. I wasn't trying to favor one party over the other, but didn't use any party stats to create it. I had the maps balance to one person. 

If the rules that the committee was trying to follow were placed as legislative rules, it would have avoided the threats of lawsuits for following them. The other side created state house and other maps down to just a few people, while to keep the county and city boundaries as close as possible, the state house and state senate districts needed more of a range, perhaps 2% to 3%. When they started doing that we started losing district boundaries that made sense. They made things worse. Another reason for the rules being adopted differently.

At least for the Utah House map, only one Rep. voted against the final map. 74 to 1. She won in 2012, I lost. It wasn't perfect, and I knew it would be tougher to win, but I voted for it because my area made more sense than other options.

 Remember Rep. Merrill Nelson lost years ago, because he wanted fair redistricting boundaries more than getting elected. I repeated that in 2012. If the State House boundaries were so bad, why did all but one democrat in the House vote for that map?