An attack on redevelopment agencies, which cities use to revitalize blighted urban areas, is among a spate of funding and transportation issues in the current Legislature having great concern to local governments along the Wasatch Front.
Assessing current legislative proposals for Wasatch Front Regional Council members, Wil Jefferies, council executive director, said the RDA attack is among the most serious issues being considered.One bill, he said, would prohibit RDAs from using eminent domain to acquire property and would prohibit them from selling the property at less than its market value. Together, they would effectively gut RDA power.
However, a long-standing concern for local governments would be resolved if a bill introduced by freshman legislator Kevin Garn, R-Layton, is passed. The bill would require the state Tax Commission to electronically transfer sales tax revenue to cities monthly.
Currently, the commission collects sales taxes, puts the money in short-term investments, and pays the cities their share quarterly. The commission keeps the interest it earns and charges the cities a percentage for the paperwork.
Cities have complained that the money is being held unnecessarily and should be turned over to them monthly. An electronic transfer should also reduce the record-keeping and paperwork chores, they argue.
Jefferies said two bills arising from work done last summer by the Bear River Task Force have been introduced. The task force was appointed by the Legislature to study the feasibility of diverting Bear River water to the Wasatch Front.
One bill allows the state to bond to raise money for water impoundment and transportation projects, Jef-feries said. The second sets a $10 million bonding limit the first year, with future bonding levels to be set as the cost and need is assessed.
Repayment of the bonds would be by revenue generated from selling the water, either to local governments or water districts.
A bill working its way through the Legislature would appropriate $500,000 for the study of solid-waste disposal.
A package of transportation and highway funding bills has also been introduced, Jefferies said. A hike in fuel taxes has apparently been rejected but increases in driver licenses, title transfer fees, and some fines will probably pass.