Hildale swears in city officials
Councilmen, mayor have long history of service
Patrice St. Germain/ The Spectrum
Hildale Councilman Dan Jessop and Mayor David Zitting

Hildale Councilman Dan Jessop and Mayor David Zitting sign oaths of office at the city council meeting Tuesday morning.

HILDALE - When Hildale City Councilman Dan Jessop was sworn in Tuesday morning by town clerk Ruth Barlow, he began his 42nd year as a member of the council.

He started serving on the council when the town incorporated on Dec. 9, 1963.

"I've been tempted to let off but I'll be around for awhile yet," Jessop said after the meeting. Jessop isn't the only one who has been with the council for years. Joseph Jessop and Harold Peine are also longtime council members and Mayor David Zitting is starting his 21st year as mayor. Zitting and councilman Lamar Johnson were also sworn in Tuesday.

But unlike years past, the council and mayor are faced with a budget crisis - one that could necessitate a reduction in the size of city departments.

And while looking at ways to trim the budget and cut expenditures by cutting out projects and downsizing, Zitting spoke about ways to generate more revenue for the town, which may include raising property taxes.

Town treasurer Jeremiah Barlow said nobody likes property taxes and said there are always issues with truth and taxation yet town clerk Ruth Barlow said the town has only increased property taxes once in the last 20 years.

Zitting mentioned the possibility of adding a local sales tax and possibly leasing out city equipment through equipment rentals to generate funds.

"We could do what every other city does with general obligation bonds," Zitting said. "I'm not sure if we can do that but some cities operate by rolling bonds."

The city's financial woes caused the council to table a proposal to purchase a truck trailer but the council did approve an inter-fund loan from the wastewater department to the fire department.

Although the fire department has been looking at various funding agencies for money, Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow said because of the political environment (in the city) they were turned down.

Part of Hildale's financial difficulties stem from several reasons, including issues with assessed property taxes that the city's auditing firm, Kemp Burdick, explained briefly during Tuesday's meeting. The city also had a lack of grant funding during the July 2004 to June 2005 fiscal year that caused a $233,000 dip in the general revenue fund from the year before.

The city, which also maintains joint sewer, water and power departments with Colorado City, also saw decreases in revenues in those departments
Originally published January 25, 2006