Sunday, August 20, 2006

It's About Schools This Year

Well, by popular demand (or else driven by my idiotic propensity to get myself in trouble), I'm back in the blogosphere! It's been a nice vacation, but it's hard to stay silent as so many juicy issues (soccer stadium, downtown Salt Lake, charter schools, etc.) go rolling by.

Actually, here's what happened. My wife, daughter and I took off on July 5 for a wonderful 2-week vacation to Scotland and Ireland (more interesting observations on what those cities and urban environments are like maybe in a future blog entry). When we returned, any of you who have gone on an extended vacation know what it's like to return to your desk and see all the piled-up work that awaits! Then, a few days later, we were off again to my wife's family reunion in Idaho, which she was in charge of -- which meant I spent lots of time helping her get ready and organized for that one.

By then, I had not blogged for nearly a month. Now for those of you who haven't tried this, to keep up a blog is a fairly intense exercise -- looking for interesting stuff to blog about, getting the time to write, etc. I began to think it had been rather nice not having to try to keep up a near-daily effort, and thought, well, nobody will notice much anyway so let's just let it go.

Well, I have heard from so many people asking me what happened to my blog, why I wasn't blogging anymore, how they enjoyed reading it (though very few comment!). Nearly every day, I ran into people asking me about it, including many I had never met before or didn't know. I started to think that maybe I should get things going again, I guess people do read and find it interesting, if not useful.

I saw many topics float by that gave me that urge again to comment, but I kept delaying. Finally, today, the DesNews lead editorial gave me the final push to get me back online, so here I am.

The editorial follows a story earlier in the week where the West Jordan city council discussed and adopted a resolution urging the state legislature to change state law to allow impact fees to be charged for new school construction. The editorial correctly points out the prohibition enacted a few years ago in response to a school impact fee arrangement implemented by Park City. The charge against such fees was led by Sen. Al Mansell, the long-time lead warrior against impact fees, likely for the reasons pointed out in the editorial.

As the opinion piece points out, if fees are allowed for water and sewer systems and parks and so on, why shouldn't they also be allowed for new school construction? No question, there needs to be the recognition of what extensive impact fee totals can do to the price of housing, but the impact of rising taxes (primarily property taxes) and the resistance to them must also be considered.

Given the recent furor over charter schools, it looks like one of the big issues in the upcoming legislative session will be growth and schools. What could be more emotional to our citizens than land use and education? Combining the two together should make for an interesting session!


At 8:47 PM, Blogger Brenda said...

Welcome back, Wilf.

At 10:24 PM, Blogger Paul Blanchard said...

Glad to hear you took a vacation - every blogger/planner/father needs one. What a great trip (I'm referring to the Scotland journey, not Idaho!).

Thanks for keeping us informed!
Paul B.


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