Blog: Answering questions about Pony Express statue

I have recevied several questions from residents and have been mildly irritated by the press coverage of the Pony Express statue. I will post this blog for the 818 voters that value open and transparent government and are worthy of an explanation.

The following is from various emails that I sent to constituents.

The actions following the initial vote on the statue were not trumpeted so loudly in the press. Nor were the details of the original purchase accurately presented. So what else is new? ;)

However, for your information, the purchase of the statue by the city will not be made. The seller did not accept the original terms of the contract that was approved by the tie-breaking vote of Mayor Jackson. A counter proposal was not approved by the council on a 3-2 vote, so the city will not purchase the statue.

What was not made clear in any of the reporting is that the statue was to be purchased through fund raising efforts and other grant money that did not come out of the city's general fund. Only a portion of the funds had been raised so far and that is the primary reason that the majority of the council voted against the purchase. I voted for the statue because of the success of fund raising that has occurred in the past. I have no doubt that Mayor Jackson, Angie Ferre, et al would have been able to raise the funds for the statue without dipping into the general fund. They had presented their plans and I felt confident that it would have worked out. However, now that the statue won't be purchase, that doesn't make any difference.

hanks for sharing your thoughts on this matter.
The reason that I voted for it last time is that I had assurance from Heather that the statue could be purchased without being paid for out city funds. She described the fund raising efforts so far and her expectations for years 2, 3, and 4. Her plans sounded great and having a statue like that in our city without soaking up city funds. If that could be done, I would be supportive. If the statute will require city funds, then I will revert to my original position of opposing the purchase.

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Comment by TiffanyUlmer on December 30, 2009 at 12:29pm
One correction. It is inaccurate to say that zero tax dollars would be spent on the purchase of the old Pony Express statue. Approx $30K was going to be tax money. That $30K came from three years of county collected restaurant tax that Eagle Mountain can use on parks. To me that is tax money. I ate in Utah County restaurants and paid that tax money. $30K could build a playground unit or improve some of the parks in the area. While yes the money wouldn't come from the general fund, to me to use restaurant tax money is short changing the tax payer on other improvements to parks.

I only support the statue purchase if all the money comes from private entities and not any tax dollars. I also would like the majority if not all the money to be fundraised first. So if the Mayor wants to fundraise the money, then have the city commission a private individual to build one, then so be it. This is what was done with Joe's Dugout memorial marker, so why can't we do that again?

So if anyone including the Mayor or Council says no tax money is being used, they are lying as long as they plan on using the $30K county Restaurant Tax money.
Comment by David Lifferth on December 30, 2009 at 2:42pm
Tiffany, you are correct and I should have clarified that I was citing general fund tax revenue. I was fine with using restaurant tax for this purchase as that is what that tax was created for.
Comment by Bryan Free on December 31, 2009 at 8:22am
Thanks for the comments Tiffany. I agree a statue would be great for our city. I know one location was to be at the mid valley regional park. I too think that we should fundraise first and then just have someone make the statue we want. Also if there really is $30,000 available for parks, we as a Parks board could put that money to good use. There are improvements and/or additions that could be made.


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