Friday, May 30, 2008

Top Ten Ways Government Has Changed Our Mom

Submitted by the Rodeback children

10. Chooses dinner menus by motion, second and vote.

9. Requires posting of notice before using the car.

8. Talks about incentivizing a clean bathroom.

7. Insists on taking minutes of Family Home Evening.

6. Requires children to submit purchase requisitions before giving allowance.

5. Conducts randomized public opinion sampling on Dad's shirts and ties.

4. Won't hold Family Council unless a quorum is present.

3. Says, "I'll just have a tax" instead of "I'll just have a taste."

2. Justifies grocery budgets in terms of "compelling interest."

1. Buys chocolate for the same reason.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bond Financing Highlights

On May 13, in order to proceed with construction of the secondary irrigation system, the City Council adopted a resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of approximately $37 ,690,000, aggregate principal amount, of its general obligation bonds.

Kudos to Dale Gunther of the City Council, John Schiess of Horrocks Engineering, Dustin Matsumori of George K. Baum & Company, and to Andy Spencer and the pressurized irrigation team for keeping the project on schedule and on budget. This hasn't been easy, and careful financing strategies have been key to the overall success of the project.

For those interested in fiduciary accountability, I reprint below the bond financing highlights as they were reported to the City Council prior to its vote.


For years, the City and its finance team have worked to make a secondary water / pressurized irrigation system a reality for the citizens of American Fork. While the majority of people will determine the success of the system based upon project construction and ultimate delivery of services, there are many significant and noteworthy accomplishments that were achieved throughout the financing process that contribute to the overall "success" of the project.

Turning Market Opportunities into Interest Rate Savings
  • In November 2007, based on the recommendation of the finance team, the City sold the first series of bonds as "bank qualified" securities. By doing so, the City's bonds were priced at lower interest rates (4.42%) than comparably structured "non-bank-qualified" bonds (4.67%). Any interest rate savings on the bonds translate into direct savings for the City's citizens.
  • Notwithstanding historic market volatility in late 2007 and continued volatility in 2008, fueled by the sub-prime mortgage crisis and concerns over inflation, the finance team's negotiated sales delivered a combined true interest cost for the Series 2007 and Series 2008 bonds of 4.61%.

Generating Additional Construction Proceeds

  • Prior to the election in 2006, project engineers estimated the cost of the system to be $40.6 million. Due to sharp increases in the cost of materials, this figure escalated to approximately $43.2 million after the election. The finance team carefully structured the City's two series of bonds to generate additional bond proceeds (i.e. premium), totalling $1,037,115. The flexibility of a negotiated bond sale maximized the additional premium. These additional funds will help to off-set increases in construction costs.

Maintaining the City's Underlying Credit Rating

  • The combined bond issuance for the project increased the City's currently outstanding general obligation debt by nearly 300%. Such significant changes in a municipality's debt profile frequently trigger a ratings downgrade. However, due to the finance team's preparation in educating the ratings analysts about the City's diligence in building up and maintaining general fund reserves, and recent adjustments to the water system's rate structure, the City maintained its "A2" underlying rating with Moody's Investors Service. This strong underlying rating assisted in successfully marketing the City's bonds.

Responding Quickly to Changing Needs

  • In the Spring of 2008, the City directed the finance team to expedite the bonding process in order to accelerate construction on the project. Despite longer required response times from both the ratings agencies and bond insurers, the finance team successfully sold the bonds in time to meet the City's construction needs.

Thought for the Day

"The decision to do one thing requires a simultaneous decision not to do twelve other things."

-- Georgia O'Keefe

My dad kept this quote on the piano when (at age sixty-something) he decided to learn to play. He kept at it until he could play several hymns.

I'm thinking of this quote today as I ponder the upcoming budget year. I'm counting all the reforms our constituents have requested and weighing them against the reality of a finite budget.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Thoughts On the Good Life

Can't resist sharing this thought-provoking message that was written for the April edition of the City's employee newsletter by Derric Reikert, Recreation and Fitness Center Director.

I recently attended the funeral of a friend and long-time patron of the American Fork Fitness Center. For 15 years, 5 days a week, Ferrin Olson attended the fitness center for 45 minutes of weight lifting and 30 minutes of swimming. Beginning in 1998 Ferrin began volunteering as a marshall at the fitness center and did so up until the time of his passing. Ferrin also spent many hours each day and week training horses and roping with friends and family members.

As I looked through the rows of people attending the funeral, many of those friends were there. Ferrin spent his life with family and friends, engaged in good works and enjoying life.

As we go through each day working, planning, shopping, and doing the many other things we do to fill up each day, are we spending time with friends and family, doing things we enjoy? We live and work in a wonderful area that is surrounded by many leisure opportunities. Below is a list of just a few of the many, many different activities you can do:
  • Go the library and read a book
  • Walk and ponder at the amphitheater
  • Watch a baseball or basketball game
  • Play in a game yourself
  • Go horse riding
  • Learn to knit or sew
  • Fly a kite at the park
  • Play disc golf at Art Dye
  • Attend a play
  • Cook your favorite meal or dessert
  • Ride a bike
  • Visit a friend
  • Join a club
  • Play a round of golf
  • Go to a museum
  • Take a drive up A.F. Canyon
  • Go fishing
  • Write a story or book
  • Do Family History research
  • Volunteer -- anywhere
  • Paint a picture
  • Go dancing
  • Read to a child
  • Learn a new language
  • Do woodworking
  • Plant a garden

"Throughout the whole life, from childhood to old age, there should be opportunities for the practice of those forms of recreation which renew life, and which make for the joy of living." --President Theodore Roosevelt

May we look at each day and make time to engage in activities that bring joy in life. When the day comes to reflect on each of our lives, it will be said that we spent our life with family and friends, engaged in good works and we enjoyed life.