Saturday, September 15, 2007

Eagle Mountain: We know what's really going on

Is there any place in Utah with higher per-capita weirdness than Eagle Mountain? (Okay, other than Hildale/Colorado City.) This Utah County community, founded by developers and incorporated in 1996, has already been through 7 mayors (10, if you count acting mayors while they were looking for interim mayors to replace elected mayors). As the Provo Daily Herald wrote last week, "That community's experience with elected officials would energize a junkyard dog to go to the polls and leave a paw print." Its legacy includes:
September 2007: City Councilwoman and former acting mayor Linn Strouse is charged with a felony for requesting, and receiving, a $10,000 "loan" from the city's principal developer and forgetting to report it for two years.

September 2007: Former city councilman Greg Kehl shoots and kills himself on a paraglider after a domestic disturbance call at his house.

September and June 2007: Two city council members are cleared of allegations that they violated state conflict-of-interest laws. (Good news for once!)

October 2006: Mayor Brian Olsen is charged with seven felony counts of misusing public funds.

November 2005: After three months in office, interim Mayor David Lifferth resigns amid allegations of financial shenanigans. (Gotta admire his efficiency.)

March 2003: Mayor Kelvin Bailey falsely claims to have been kidnapped and forced to drive to Barstow, California.
All this in a town of, what, 13,000? Inexplicable, you say? Maybe--or maybe not. This past July, one of Eagle Mountain's wells failed (the city owns all its own utilities), reducing pumping capacity by 40 percent. For the next month, residents were asked not to do any outside watering, to conserve inside watering, and not to catch their houses on fire. By August, the well was fixed.

Or was it? Did the well really fail, or was it just time to add more of whatever it is that is that makes people stay in Eagle Mountain? City officials (whoever happened to be in office at the moment) aren't dumb. They saw a surge in Eagle Mountain listings on MLS/ They could tell that the Soma was wearing off. Soon, very soon, everything will be okay again in Eagle Mountain. Until the next mayor is kidnaped by aliens.

Eagle Mountain: Utah's (What) Now Frontier.


Jesse Harris said...

I've been wondering what's up in EG for about a year now. They can't even afford a new sewage treatment plant that they need to be able to grow. (At last check, they have only about 10% of the necessary funds, all of them from the feds.) I'm noticing that most of the cities in Utah incorporated in the last decade are poorly run and financially insolvent.

Jim said...

Hmm... that's funny, because Eagle Mountain recently received the GFOA Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the highest principles of governmental budgeting:

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