Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Town Hall Meetings

Come meet Representative Fred Cox and ask questions at:
Town Hall Meeting, Tue., August 25, 2015, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Town Hall Meeting, Thu., August 27, 2015, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Town Hall Meeting, Sat., August 29, 2015, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
All at the Hunter Library Meeting Room, 4740 West 4100 South

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Utah Prison moving it or not to Salt Lake City

My response to recent emails:

PRADA and the PRC were not tasked with studying rebuilding the prison at Draper. While I was not in the appropriation meetings referred to a few years ago in a response to your email, I have been at all public PRC meeting this year, and attended the public meetings at the 3 communities, and I have reviewed studies that are public and requested and recently obtained other studies that have not been posted such as the Geotechnical and Utilities Reports.

While there was one report from the outside consultants recently re: building at Draper, I personally spoke to the consultant and he was not able to defend,  in my opinion, his claim that the prison would be more costly or could not be rebuilt safely at the Draper site. That is his opinion. His big concern was doing construction work inside the fence and not outside the fence. The State is expanding Gunnison Prison right now, but constructing it outside the security fence.

There is enough room to rebuild the current main men's facilities (South Point) and the new core area for a prison at Draper in the vacant land, "outside the fence". Construction traffic can come from the north, not impacting the current security gate systems. South Point can then be torn down and the rest of the prison can be rebuilt on site. The power lines could be moved onsite for $10 Million if we need to, based on estimates sent to me from RMP.

Phasing could run from $5 Million per year (local contractor number) to $17 Million per year, (PRC number). Depending on how it is phased, at least one year of extension of time would be required. Based on the proposal to use surcharging at the SLC site, it would not take more time to rebuild at Draper, in my opinion. Even not surcharging the SLC site, the time to build roads and utilities could be less at Draper as they are already on site. We don't have to spend the $150 Million just to get and use the site if we use Draper.

At Draper, we could phase it over a much longer time period, reportedly saving $Hundreds of Millions, but if we are going to build a brand new prison somewhere now, it is my opinion it can be at Draper, and I believe at a savings around $100 Million, and be closer to current employees and not be further from current volunteers.

There is some savings for other travel/transportation costs of the SLC site over Draper, but those two locations, Draper and SLC, are the least costly long term to have a prison at than the other 3 locations, according to the reports provided the PRC.

For the SLC site, the consultants geotechnical firm's "not for construction, preliminary" but lengthy report suggests 1 to 2 years of surcharging the site to remove excess water and to compress the site and then to remove part of that earthwork to allow the site to rebound. If the state does follow that suggestion, along with the piers recommended, their estimate is $60 Million and 18 months for that work.

Re: the Ground at SLC site, Do I believe the prison could be built at the SLC site with less costly methods than those suggested? I do. Do I think the geotechnical solutions will be more costly than budgeted, I don't. I am not a Geotechnical Engineer, but as an architect I have been reviewing geotechnical reports regularly for over 20 years and I am working on resolving any concerns I have with the site with a different geotechnical engineer that has the most experience, in my opinion, of any in the state and especially in that specific area.  It is likely the same engineer that other agencies of the state are asking questions about the site.

The water and sewer costs at the SLC site vary greatly depending of if the those utilities are obtained from Magna or SLC. Water is cheaper one place and sewer is cheaper the other. This item could effect the cost to construct a prison at SLC by [ ...] millions, either way.

Again, I am not an expert on prisons. I served as a volunteer at the Draper Prison for 2 years. many years ago I worked on the construction drawings for the Gunnison Prison, including the site and floor plans and also the site and other drawings for Oxbow in South Salt Lake, plus site master plans for several proposed prison locations around the county, while working for a local firm. I have spent 30 years designing sites for commercial shopping centers and other commercial sites. Utah has 680 acres at Draper and we could design that location to free up land for Draper to get additional prime commercial property, creating a win-win.

Do I believe it makes sense policy wise to move the prison from Draper? I do not.

If you are going to spend, what I believe to be $100 Million of more money to move the prison, the SLC site location makes the most sense long term for the state based on transportation and other ongoing costs. I don't believe the site there will stay vacant for very long. The Agricultural zoning will likely be changed to manufacturing and high tech firms will move there, near the airport. Will they also move to Draper, over time, likely.

Good questions.

Fred C. Cox,
Rep. House 30

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 2015 Town Hall Meetings



Come meet Representative Fred Cox and ask questions at:

Town Hall Meeting, Tue., August 25, 2015, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Town Hall Meeting, Thu., August 27, 2015, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Town Hall Meeting, Sat., August 29, 2015, 12:00-2:00 p.m.

All at the Hunter Library Meeting Room, 4740 West 4100 South

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Melvin Nimer Utah GOP Treasurer

Mel Nimer is someone I trust that has the knowledge, experience and ideas to tackle keeping track of and protecting the Utah Republican Party funds.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Moving the Prison for money does not pencil out

Basically, the $95 Million in taxes that are expected to be generated each year from a fully developed Commercial Draper site will Not be used to pay back the cost of moving the prison as it is likely the development would be commercial office and not retail, so the taxes would be Property Taxes benefiting the city and the local school district and Income Taxes, that benefit education.

the $1.8 Billion economic effect per year is similar to GDP per year where Utah is doing almost $150 Billion currently (so a small percentage wise) and Utah can now grow more than that in a year now not over the 10 years or 20 years it would take to hit that level after someone invests a $1 Billion of private money at Draper. Several have argued that 700 Acres couldn't generate 1/10th of our GDP. The good news it can't and won't, (closer to 1%) but it isn't claimed that it will. 


Replace the infirmary at Draper. And the Wasatch cell blocks. The U shaped annex to the South East and the Reception and Orientation building to the north east. Put the new buildings north east of the main complex. Maintain what you have at Draper and you save hundreds of millions. Talk to the staff that work at Draper. We are already building a new Pod of cells at Gunnison. The new reform passed this year will help. Don't move the Draper Prison.

Even if you do decide to replace the Draper Prison all at once now, not moving it will save the property land cost, moving costs, and the utility and infrastructure costs. Moving will not benefit the inmates, the staff, the volunteers, the visitors or the taxpayers.

Who is left? The City of Draper, the local school district, the owners of the proposed properties, and the developers. 


Well, based on the list of who benefits, Keeping it in Draper should be the decision.

Update: Both numbers could be higher or lower depending on what is done with the property if it is sold to the private sector.

One piece not covered is if retail sales are much of the tax revenue the state received, from the 680 acre site, that would come back as sales tax which would help the general fund which is where the money to rebuild a prison would come from.

If however much of the tax revenue came from income taxes or property taxes, (typical of a high end office complex) that would not repay the general fund.


The other point not mentioned is the Value Added (GDP) for Utah is currently between $140 Billion and $150 Billion. The $1.8 Billion proposed, eventually in 2029 is a number we can and have hit in one year statewide, not 10 years.

Certainly Draper City can benefit from increased property taxes if the prison moves.

I look forward to the additional numbers on Thursday, and the additional geotechnical reports coming in the next few weeks.

Friday, June 19, 2015

How to Keep the Prison in Draper Utah

The existing main men's prison area can be rebuilt north of it, and then torn down and then the rest of the complexes replaced on site and then the existing town down.

The prison can obviously be re-built new on site in just 2 phases. It will not cost more, and will likely save money. 93 percent of the voters in my area said even in January to keep the prison in Draper. They knew it would cost money. How much we keep of what is good will save more, but I believe even if we rebuilt the entire complex at Draper, the cost building new at the other sites will be more, counting wetlands, water, sewer, transportation, etc.

Back to the sketch.

The yellow line is approx. where the power lines are. The dashed line could be a proposed power line re-location. To move the lines would likely cost millions of dollars. How many millions would determine if it is worth it or not. The difference between $2 M or $20 M is a big deal.  I don't have those numbers yet. I just have confirmed it is possible. The power company has relocated lines dealing with Mountain View highway. They can do it. It isn't free.

The buildings can be built so they are not too close to or under these lines.

I have designed several buildings near and under power lines before, for example the ECI building west of I-15 at 700 S and 700 West in Woods Cross. It has transmission lines from 2 different power lines on both sides of the building. Depending on the amount of power in the lines, the distances between the lines and the buildings are different.

The other lines on the sketch shows different areas.

The NE corner near I-15 is approx. 120 acres. If we decide to replace all of the buildings as opposed just the worst ones, that 120 acres seems to be the most valuable for commercial office or retail to be eventually sold off to the private sector and developed and used to help replace part of Draper's property tax loss.  It has visibility and access off of an existing intersection at Bangerter. It can be accessed from 2 different I-15 interchanges.

The part north of Bangerter is approx. 68 acres. It could be used for a hub for transit, wetland credit,  or manufacturing, commercial or residential. It is likely not going to be used for expansion and could be sold off at any time.

Out of the approx. 680 acres there, that would leave almost 500 acres. Enough for the new prison.

The main men's prison area where Wasatch is about 50 to 60 acres.  That total section of ground in the middle of the site is about 350 acres and likely could include all the current prison rebuilt.

There is about 90 acres just south of Bangerter. It could be kept for Utah now to speed up phasing, or kept for future expansion or sold later for office or manufacturing.

The remaining 40 acres on the west, south of that would likely be kept for expansion, or used to help phasing now.

There is actually a few more acres there, but it is clear the existing main men's prison area can be rebuilt north of it, and then torn down and then the rest of the complexes replaced on site and then the existing town down, with approx. 180 acres sold and 500 acres kept now, with an option of selling 90 acres later.

However, selling land now will make it harder to re-build the prison on site 50 years from now. We need to be careful not to sell too much land.

Fred C. Cox
House District 30

Moving the Prison and the PRC vs Keep it in Draper

A recent response to someone writing me:

Thanks for writing. I understand some of the frustration, but some of it could be misplaced.

For example, I wrote/asked 3 questions at the PRC meeting at Salt Lake City, but only one was asked. A moderator tried to interpret the questions and sometimes did better than other times. Because there was not an opportunity at any of the 3 public meetings or 1 public hearing to ask questions directly or have follow up question or statements to clarify, many felt like their question was never really asked, let alone answered. Many of the answers were very good, even some I didn't agree with.

The good news is the Utah Legislature can read the questions here, as most of them were not able to be able to attend all 4 meetings. I am glad I was there.

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/prc.asp

At the Grantsville PRC meeting, I only asked one question. The question was given to one of the outside consultants who had no clue what the answer was, even though it was covered on page 172 in the final report and so he avoided the question. I don't think he did it to be mean.

Someone else asked the same question at Eagle Mountain. Rep. Wilson took the question head on and did a great job of answering it. Basically, the $95 Million in taxes that are expected to be generated each year from a fully developed Commercial Draper site will not be used to pay back the cost of moving the prison as it is likely the development would be commercial office and not retail, so the taxes would be Property Taxes benefiting the city and the local school district and Income Taxes, that benefit education.

Someone else did a good job in answering and pointing out the $1.8 Billion economic effect per year was similar to GDP per year where Utah is doing almost $150 Billion currently (so a small percentage wise) and Utah can now grow more than that in a year now not over the 10 years or 20 years it would take to hit that level after someone invests a $1 Billion of private money at Draper. The person asking the question had argued that 700 Acres couldn't generate 1/10th of our GDP. The good news it can't and won't, (closer to 1%) but it isn't claimed that it will.  (I understand both of those numbers are being looked at by staff).

I was impressed with some of the public questions at PRC meetings. You could tell that many had done their homework and knew the reports, etc. in many cases better than the hired consultants. Some questions were not as helpful as they seemed to target a person not an issue. Some included personal attacks. Most were civil however.

I also understand your frustration, as today I texted KSL radio two questions for the Governor and neither were read, but were combined and changed and then given to the Governor with my name.

I asked:

"From Rep. Fred Cox For the SLC location wetlands will dramatically increase the cost of that location. The other locations have water, sewer and transportation issues. Will you veto any bill to move the prison if those initial reports hold. There are hundreds of acres in Draper to begin rebuilding the prison there."

"From Rep. Fred Cox. Governor Herbert, it appears based on comments from the PRC meetings that transportation, water and sewer costs make the current Draper Prison Site the best to replace the prison. If that remains the case will you veto any bill to move the Draper Prison"

What was asked the Governor was simply if he was going to veto any move to relocate the prison. Not what I asked at all, so how do I fault the Governor for his non certain, too early to tell, answer.?

I do hope the PRC posts the audio/video/statements from the public hearing on Tuesday. I also hope the public Q&A is posted. Perhaps they are.

The first statements from the Public hearing on Tuesday that included the Salt Lake City representatives and other locations were very specific, prepared, and in my opinion, destroyed any reason to move the prison.

The PRC members are pretty smart and will have in the future clarifications and other reasons and answers to back up the non-binding decision to move the prison from the resolution last year.

Remember no one is perfect. We all have strengths and weaknesses. While the public meetings and hearing were not perfect, I know our staff spent many long hours to make them as best as they could.

Again, thank you for your passion.  I believe Rep. Wilson held his temper really well and did a good job of answering the moderated questions he got.  Even though I don't agree with him on a few issues, he has my respect, as do the other PRC members.

The couple of architects that I know that have experience in this area are more interested in designing the buildings if they win the future RFP and didn't want to be involved in this phase. I am sure that limits the choices for consultants.

Fred C. Cox
House District 30
West Valley City