Castle Dale City discusses economic development
Castle Dale City met for their November meeting. Brad Giles officiated the meeting due to Mayor Neal Peacock being at play practice.
Giles read the auditors report summary, noting that the city needed to have a system for depreciation of assets, and provide some accounting training for office staff to do financial statements. The staff will have additional training with the new city management software.
The counsel officially canvassed the election results. Giles noted that Mayor Peacock recommended that the poll workers be paid $125 for their services.
Council member Dixie Thompson stated that one of the concerns at meet the candidate night was economic development in the city. She introduced Mike McCandless, who is the county Economic Development Director. The biggest problem in the county is the war on coal. No new coal fired power plants can be built, and the older ones that don't meet air quality standards will have to shut down or convert to natural gas. Coal companies will have to export coal out of the country to have a market.
The industries that support coal production are having problems. They will need to diversify to survive. The opportunities are supporting other energy extractions industries, including oil production, pipelines and refining. This development depends on transportation including railways and freeways, and engineering and surveying services.
Castle Dale doesn't have an industrial business park to attract these industries. The zoning for an industrial area needs to be in place with utilities for fast occupation. It needs to be private property for a quick sale also. The city needs to decide on a specific kind of business they want with a set location, and know the available skill set. They also need to provide tax incentives and capital improvement for new development. This development is geared towards industry, not retail. It is believed that a good industrial base will drive up retail sales.
Tourism is a good opportunity, but there is inadequate lodging in the city.
Emery County doesn't have an inventory of commercial building ready to occupy and has lost opportunities as a result. Giles said the city wants to work closely with the county economic development and assign a council member to do so. A citizen has concerns about weeds on city property. He has built a new fence on his property south of the cemetery and wants to protect it and the city's liability by preventing weeds on the city's property west of his fence. He is concerned about a fire damaging the fence. If the city would provide a sprinkling system on their side of the fence, he would mow the grass. He will also spray if the city would provide the weed killer.
Giles said, "We already have plans to level out the ground on that property, and will look into ways of keeping the weeds down."
Duane Gilbert addressed the counsel about flooding from Cottonwood Creek. He wants the city to clear out the streambed from the dip to a quarter mile up-stream. The trees and sandbars in that area have caused flooding on his property. It used to be cleaned out every year, but hasn't been for some time. He has had flooding in two of the last three years. The county has the equipment and could do it with the city's approval.
Thompson instructed Gilbert to get with Capt. Kyle Ekker from the sheriff's office and the county commission. It is mostly county property. The county does know about the problem.
Council person Julie Johansen encouraged Gilbert to go to the county commission meeting every month and contact Ekker and also Jacob Sharp. There may be a problem with the Army Corp of Engineers since it is a streambed.
Tyler Jeffs from the Emery County Community Foundation came before the counsel. The ECCF is asking Castle Dale to lease them the property where the old Sheriff's office was for $1 a year for 50 years. The parcel is 4.2 acres, and they want to develop it, and build a 20 unit motel. The rooms will have a possible kitchenette and be priced at $80 to $90 per night. They have $100,000 available to start the project.
The plan is to sell the business when it is a viable enterprise. The city would then sell the property to the ECCF for market price. There will be a clause in the agreement that would terminate the lease in five years if it is not working. If it does prosper, there is a possible agreement with the county to expand on the adjacent land.
Giles said Mayor Peacock is in favor of this agreement.
Thompson made a motion to pursue this agreement and make a contract and the motion passed. The cemetery fees will remain the same. The term resident will need to be defined. The mayor suggested a resident has lived in the city three of the last five years, and paid utility bills. A resolution on the fees will be voted on in the December meeting.
The counsel is considering online payments for utility bills. The cost to the city would be about $72 per month. "We or the residents would be able to set up automatic payments every month, or pay one month at a time. Orangeville does this and have said that it has decreased delinquencies," said Lael White.
Giles said to keep looking into this. Find out how much Wells Fargo charges for this, and how it will work. Will there be a link on our website for the residents to go to?
White said Mayor Peacock asked her to look into getting grants to maintain and improve the City Hall. "We need to have a historical preservation committee, and pass a historical preservation ordinance. The application period is in January, and the grants are from $3000 to $6000. The city will need to match the amount of the grant and keep accurate financial records," said White. Julie Johansen said, "Mary Kava has knowledge of this and would be a good committee chair."
The city workers attended the Superhost meeting, which was about tourism in Emery County. They learned about the biking and bouldering sites, and how to be a good host. The visitors report that Emery County is friendly and welcoming.
Council person Joel Dorsch said, "I would like a sign on Oil Dome road both coming from and going to the desert that says Castle Dale one mile all services. The state won't allow us to put it on the highway. I will get a proposal ready for next month."
Giles said, "I propose that we make a trade for 40 acres of city land by the stock corrals for 40 acres of BLM land between the canal and the sheriff's office. Jeremy Jewkes will get this ready."
Jason Kava has met the requirements to be a member of the fire department. Ignacio Arrien applied for a grant and was awarded $2,000, which will be used to purchase wildfire uniforms.
Thompson reported the youth city council has its first activity next week. In December, they will have an activity to answer letters to Santa gathered by the library.
The next Castle Dale City meeting will be on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.