The several departments that makeup Weber County are displaying a conscious effort when it comes to minimizing resources and maximizing output to serve the public. While performing a regular review of county operations, the findings were nothing short of impressive. Below are a few of many notable “wins” demonstrating prudence with county tax dollars from various departments.
Center of Excellence
When the COE was founded in 2019, it was with the commitment to be fully grant-funded within three years. We are very proud to report that as of July 1 of this year, our Integrated Community Action Now or ICAN initiative which identifies and works with children experiencing intergenerational poverty is now self-sustaining, demonstrating our success in being prudent with taxpayer dollars. With over 300 participants in the last 3 years, ICAN has increased monthly earned incomes from $475/month to $2,850/month.
Two significant ways we have improved efficiencies (and reduced expenses) involve enhancing our Treasurer’s Office website. Our public and business community’s interest in obtaining information through our website has reduced the need of having more employees in the office handling phone calls and office visits, thus allowing us to reduce expenses.
With about two million people logging on to our website each year, this service provides our taxpayers the ability to access over 30 years of property tax history. Any business that needs tax information logs into our website every day for accurate, up-to-date data. Additionally, taxpayers continue to find it convenient to use our website to pay their annual property taxes. Over $45 million was paid electronically in 2021 versus under $20 million in 2017.
HR moved the county from an “everyone gets a pay increase in the same amount” to a “pay-for-performance system” that rewards for performance instead of just for working here. Higher performers earn a higher increase, and lower performers earn a lower or no increase. This model requires our employees to set and meet objective goals that encompass everything from becoming more efficient to saving money to better serving our citizens.
Also, by increasing our safety training and safety awareness and by implementing a safety committee, we have reduced our Experience Modification Rating, thereby reducing our Workers Compensation premiums each year. We paid $595,256 for our Worker’s Compensation premium in 2021, and for 2022, we paid $523,739.
The Weber County Sheriff’s office has implemented a drone program with approximately 12 FAA-certified pilots. The drone program has allowed a quicker rescue response, reducing the number of responders needed, as well as reducing the risk to the Search and Rescue team, Deputies, and the victim.
Additionally, we have implemented background check software through Guardian Technologies. Backgrounds take between four to six weeks to complete for one new hire. The software has assisted in reducing background investigations by one to two weeks and saving approximately 20 to 40 hours per investigation.
Library maintenance staff replaced the fluorescent lighting tubes at the Pleasant Valley Branch with LED lights. This required that they remove ballasts and rewire 220 fixtures, each containing two tubes. The process is resulting in savings on electrical consumption of approximately $11,440 ($26/tube replaced). The cost savings ($40 each), now that ballasts no longer need to be replaced as they burn out, will be approximately $8,800.
Since the LED tubes have a lifetime of roughly 50,000 hours, while fluorescent tubes last an average of only 25,000 hours, the time saved in replacing bulbs is reduced by 50%. Time is money, and the daylight quality of the LEDs, minus the annoying flicker of the fluorescents, is an added bonus for library users. All of Weber County’s Library buildings now run 100% LED lighting.
Golden Spike Arena
We are currently finalizing our board consolidation. The purpose of combining our boards is to reduce redundancy, become more efficient, and save staff time. We started with two boards of up to 20 members each that were meeting once per week. We are now down to one board with 20-24 members meeting once per month. Committee meetings have also been cut in half. Our covered storage has been finished, which will expand the life of our equipment by keeping it out of the harsh elements. Additionally, we collaborate with the transfer station to incorporate multiple tons of shavings from our stalls into their pickup process. A portion of those shavings is used to supplement the soil at different parks in the county, like Fort Buenaventura.
Ogden Musical Theatre/ Peery’s Egyptian Theater
We raised $1.1 million in private donations for new theater lighting, saving taxpayers’ dollars. Our theater stage power footprint has been reduced by 40% by switching to 100% LED lighting. Additionally, we received $500,000 in legislative money for new theater seats and flooring. On a whole, we have raised approximately $800,000 through private donations and grants for Ogden Musical Theatre since 2017.
Our need for banquet servers was a difficult task to fill. We created “fundraiser opportunities” for local high school clubs to come in and serve our banquets. We have used DECA, Ogden Basketball team, Ogden High Tigerette drill team, Weber High Drama club, and others. It’s been a win-win for all involved.
Planning and business license applications and payments are now processed online rather than using paper documents. This positive change has increased our customer service capabilities and allowed the front office staff and planners to spend more time on projects.
The Weber County Roads Division has worked hard to obtain the proper equipment and staffing necessary to perform large or specialized projects that save the County money over hiring a contractor. The Roads Division has also implemented a proactive approach to maintenance that saves the County money long-term. Communication and coordination with residents regarding road issues that arise is also a top priority.
The Weber County Transfer Station has gone from a negative balance of approximately $2 million to a positive balance of approximately $2.4 million. This has been accomplished through appropriate fee adjustments, negotiating cost reductions in contracts, and transforming operational efficiencies.
Weber County Sports Complex
The WCSC has been identified as the Curling venue for the Olympic Games bid for either 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympic Games, bid approval pending. The planned expansion fulfills Olympic requirements but is also designed to strengthen the WCSC standing in the ice community by design. The architects have taken great care to identify athlete, spectator, and staff needs.
The projected Olympic Economic Impact prepares our venue for larger capacity crowds and large tournaments, which bring direct economic impact citywide every week our facility operates. The project will result in added internal and external job creation for part-time event staff and auxiliary positions within our on-ice programs and leagues.
Additionally, this project will produce new tax revenue within the county, not simply a tax shift between cities. Visit Ogden is currently working on a realistic projection of not only tax revenue but the citywide economic impact for hotels, restaurants, and transit.
Lastly, our facility converted all landscaping to drought-resistant xeriscaping and continues to only do ice maintenance as needed, reducing daily water use by an average of 500 gallons of water saved.
Weber County and its employees are proud to serve the citizens of this community. We will continue our commitment to transparency, efficiency, and leading the nation in innovation.