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Utah County Commission adopts equipment replacement program

By Kelcie Hartley - | Aug 12, 2022

Kelcie Hartley, Daily Herald

Utah County commissioners, from left, Bill Lee, Tom Sakievich and Amelia Powers Gardner participate in a Utah County Commission meeting on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.

Utah County commissioners approved a resolution to adopt an equipment replacement program for the county during Wednesday’s regular meeting.

County Budget Manager Rudy Livingston created the replacement plan. It covers the replacement of county equipment with an estimated replacement cost of $5,000 or more, useful life exceeding four years and equipment that wasn’t purchased from another internal service fund.

According to the plan document, it will be maintained by Livingston, who will create the equipment list, including information about the department that purchased the equipment, an asset tag, a description of the equipment, the original cost, original purchase date, estimated lifespan, annual recapitalization amount, cumulative recapitalization and estimated replacement date and cost.

Each department that has equipment listed within the plan will be charged an annual recapitalization amount that equals to the item’s annual depreciation and inflation costs until the item cost has been accumulated.

“When we set these things up, the intent is that we would charge the departments an annual amount based upon the life of the piece of equipment, so we are recovering the cost of it plus an inflation factor,” Livingston said. “Once we get to that, let’s say it’s a five-year asset, we don’t continue to charge them for that because we already charged for it.

“Now, where we run into problems is when we have things that are estimated at five years for depreciation purposes but in reality, they are around for 10 years. If we get in a situation like that, we would be underserving them by not charging extra because five years after that end date, it may be more expensive. That money would be in a fund. We are happy to not replace an item at five years, for example, if it doesn’t need to be replaced right away. Why would we? That money will still stay there for them.”

Commissioner Bill Lee asked Livingston what would happen if a department built a replacement fund and then end up not using it.

“How do they know how much money is in there, and can they use it for something else or something new?” Lee asked.

Livingston said the money could be removed or allocated elsewhere but that the purpose of this fund is to not do that, explaining that it’s supposed to stay in the fund for future uses toward the department’s equipment.

“We have a list of each asset that’s going to be contained in here,” he said. “We intend to maintain the listing in our fixes asset system. We don’t want to have anything hidden. We want to help the departments and make it easier. That’s why we started this process to begin with.”

Lee asked if a clause could be added to the document stating that department heads would receive an annual report of how much is in their department’s fund and how many items were listed. Livingston said there was already language in the program document for that.

In other business, the commissioners had to consider and approve appointing two individuals to the Utah County Housing Authority and one to the Utah Lake Authority.

Before discussing among themselves, the commissioners were approached by Conserve Utah Valley member Carol-Lyn Jardine.

“One of the things we are concerned about as residents of Provo, Orem and other cities in Utah County and as people who are particularly concerned about the environment and our natural resources, is how the Utah Lake Authority is being shaped to manage the lake,” Jardine said. “One of the main issues that comes up with authorities is the ethical management of the thing that they are charged to take care of and maintaining public trust. We strongly encourage you as a commission, who are looking to nominate one of you to serve on that board, to think about the ethics involved with helping to run the authority.

“Our second issue is making sure we’re looking at managing the lake from a balanced place. There needs to be a balance between economic interest and scientific data and understanding of what’s best for the lake. The third is making sure we are collaborating with public officials, private entities and the scientific community to make sure decisions are open and transparent.”

Lee currently sits on both of the boards and felt that either of the other two commissioners needed to fill his seat to avoid having to repeat the process when Brandon Gordon, who won the primary election against Lee, joins the commission in January.

Lee recommended that Commissioner Amelia Powers Gardner immediately fill his seat on the Housing Authority along with April Smith, who was recommended by the Housing Authority. Powers Gardner suggested Lee stay on the Lake Authority because he is an asset to the board, she said. The commissioners came to an agreement that Lee would remain on the board until Dec. 1 when Commissioner Tom Sakeivich would take his place.

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