West Jordan City Council continues to waive fees
Feb 20, 2019 11:41AM
● By Erin Dixon
One percent of West Jordan City’s budget is available for charitable uses. The city regularly waives fees for some parks use that use some of this money. (Pixabay)
By Erin Dixon | [email protected]
In 2018, the West Jordan City Council waived more than a dozen city fees. Fees are normally collected when a large group uses city property, such as park space.
Sometimes, fees were waived in return for services provided to the city. For example, the Cal Ripken Baseball League was granted a fee waiver worth $14,000, but in return the League promised to construct awnings over four sets of bleachers worth more than $10,000.
One of the first waived fees in 2019 came with no promised return. The Jordan Education Foundation requested the council to waive the $5,989 fee for its use of Veterans Memorial Park for its annual fun run in May. City leaders have waived this fee every year since the fundraiser began.
Jason Casto, volunteer board member for Jordan Education Foundation, outlined where the waived funds would go in their organization.
“Two things that this race contributes to is, one, the principal’s pantry program; the other one would be cash for classrooms, a teacher-requested grant program,” Casto said.
Councilmember Kayleen Whitelock has consistently been opposed to fee waivers from her first month in office.
“We’re constantly waiving fees, and it seems to be the same players that come year after year,” she said. “I think the reason is that other cities don’t waive the fees.”
While Whitelock is in favor of these special groups operations and supports their ideals, she hesitates when it comes to spending resident tax money on them.
“It’s not my money that I’m waiving, it’s the citizens,” she said. “I really need to know what the return on investment is. I don’t really see it. I just don’t see that these events pull people into shop at our establishments.”
West Jordan allows for 1 percent of the gross budget to be spent on charitable giving. officials track and record each waived fee to ensure that 1 percent is not exceeded. Interim Park Director David Naylor said city leaders tracks all of the waived fees.
“We don’t have a cost analysis as far as return, but as staff, when we run our waiver of fees, we do track every waiver of fee that is passed through council to meet that 1 percent to make sure we don’t violate that on the parks end of things,” Naylor said. “Obviously, there are other fee waivers that do come to you.”
Councilmember Chad Lamb has less hesitation when waiving fees.
“I don’t look at this as an ROI (Return on Investment) or what does it bring into our community; it’s a donation to this foundation,” Lamb said. “We don’t give them a monetary donation; we’re giving them the opportunity to come to our city. But if there are issues with cleanup afterward, that would be my only concern.”
Naylor addressed the cleanup issue.
“We’re working with Jason Casto, and he’s ensured us that he’s going to be a great steward,” Naylor said.
There are other ways that council aids special interest groups. Office space in City Hall is leased for free to South Valley Sanctuary, Inc. The space is worth $425 a month, but the organization is granted use for free for counseling and case management.
In 2018, South Valley Sanctuary served 227 West Jordan residents in the West Jordan City Hall.
Executive Director Jenn Campbell expressed her appreciation to the council for the gifted space.
“It’s a wonderful message that you’re sharing with the city that domestic violence will impact one in three women and one in four men in your state,” Campbell said. “We see the difference that this makes in your communities and in the lives that we serve.”
Check out westjordanjournal.com for two articles on fee waiving from last year for more information.