Green River City Council Hears Citizens Concerns
The Green River City Council met at the John Wesley Powell Museum for their regular meeting on Jan. 14. Mayor Glen Dale Johnson called the meeting to order. Councilmembers in attendance were Tom Burr, Doug Richards, Carol Ekker, Arden Sherrill and Ben Coomer.
Following the prayer and the pledge of allegiance, the meeting began with citizens concerns. The first citizen, Ronnie Lemieux, explained to the council that she is compiling a history of Green River Melon Days. Her plans are to publish a book and place it in the archives at the museum. Lemieux asked the council to spread the word and encourage people to research and help her gather the information. Councilman Tom Burr advised Lemieux to advertise at the post office or on channel 18.
A spokesperson from the Green River Medical Center was next. She explained a project in the planning stages to expand services offered by the center to include Moab. Allen Memorial Hospital in Moab has offered the group office space in the hospital for their planned expansion. She explained to the council that these actions will in no way effect the services that are now in place for Green River or the funding and grants that are now in place for the center. This project will allow for more services and specialists to come into the area on a more frequent basis.
Christine Monroe from the Green River Community Center was next to address the council. Monroe explained to the council that she was there to honor an excellent volunteer from the community. Carol Tippetts was awarded the Outstanding Volunteer in Green River. Tippetts replied that she is honored and has benefitted more from this experience than anyone.
Pippa Keene from the Utah Humanities Council was next on the agenda. Keene is the director of the family literacy program for the humanities council. Keene and Bart Hansen were there to present Christine Monroe the Mayor's Award for 2002. Hansen is from Zions Bank, the sponsor of the award.
The next agenda item was discussion of responsibility of telephone line repair. A resident of Green River complained to the council that in the process of repairing his sewer line, he had severed a phone cable belonging to Emery Telcom. The resident did not feel responsible for the cost to repair the phone line as it was on city property and the city should have been making the sewer line repair. After some clarification of the incident, responsibility was determined and agreed upon.
A convenience store owner appeared before the council with his plans to renovate and expand his business. After some explanation of his plans, he requested details of the impact fees for the project. Expanded seating capacity and water usage both are taken into consideration when establishing the impact fees. The council charged the business owner one equal residential unit for water and one for sewer.
A concerned resident was next to suggest and urge the council to put Drug Free Zone signs up around the schools. She alerted the council to some drug problems and suggested that the signs would alert the drug users that fines are double and all drug usage is considered a felony in drug free zones. The council agreed to pay for part of the cost of the signs if the resident would investigate the cost and bring in an example of the signs used elsewhere. One business owner on hand volunteered to pay for a portion of the signs.
Connie Copenhaver was next with a request from Amtrak for Green River City to provide a 30 minute promotional video to be shown on all incoming trains before arrival at Green River. The video should include some history of the area and what the city has to offer. Copenhaver requested use of the city camera for the production of this video. Volunteers would donate the time to make the video. The council approved this request.
Mayor Johnson then reviewed the holidays for the year 2003. He stated which ones are observed and when they are celebrated. Council approved the holiday schedule. The council also approved the monthly meeting schedule for the 2003 year. Council meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m.
The next agenda item was maintenance on the Amtrak station. The city retains the right to approve all the contracts for the maintenance at the station. It was approved to keep the same agreement as in the past.
The motion was made to open the budget for changes. Mayor Johnson informed the council that the auditor has suggested that impact fees be handled differently in the future. Also discussed was the bond rating for the city treasurer. The amount that she is presently bonded for is inadequate. Mayor Johnson made his recommendations to the council for the changes to bring the budget into balance. The council approved the changes.
Councilman Coomer mentioned that the road grater required some repairs and asked if that could be entered into the budget as well. After some discussions to the details of the repair, the council approved.
Mayor Johnson read a letter from the special service district stating the deadline for all CIB grants and loans is Feb. 7. All projects for the upcoming year must be on this list to be considered for grant status. Councilman Burr requested that the source protection plan for the water system be added to the list. Councilman Sherrill requested restrooms for the geyser be added to the list also. The council then approved the current list for submittal to the Castle Valley Special Service District.
Mayor Johnson then read his list of council assignments and employee duties for the coming year. These assignments were approved.
The next agenda item was the sewer backup damage to a city residence. The resident has demanded that the city pay for full replacement cost of property lost. The insurance company has depreciated some items and the resident feels that he should be fully compensated. The council denied the request stating the need to negotiate with the insurance company and let the attorney handle the matter.
Councilman Sherrill then moved to untable an item tabled in the last meeting. The proposal called for a collection of an assessment of $1 per hookup to be set aside in an emergency fund to have on hand to compensate some resident losses over and above what the insurance is willing to pay. Getting no second, the motion died.
Councilman Richards asked the council to consider changing the ordinance that requires renters to pay a deposit for a water hook-up. He stated that landowners do not have to pay this deposit and he feels renters should not be charged this deposit. After some discussion of the number of renters who have skipped on outstanding water bills and the reasons for establishing the ordinance in the first place, the council did not approve the motion.
The next agenda item was not addressed as the councilman who put it on the agenda immediately withdrew it until further investigation could take place.
Councilman Sherrill informed the council that some small business owners are complaining to him about how some of the older businesses in town were allegedly grandfathered into an ordinance requiring grease traps in their establishments. Sherrill proposed enforcement of the ordinance before irrepairable damage is done to the sewer system. This issue was tabled until the next meeting to enable all the councilmembers to investigate the wording of the ordinance and the specifications required.
Mayor Johnson opened two bids received for the purchase and installation of a microwave system for the city. Both bids were considered and the council approved the lowest bid which was received from MG Telecom.
Next were the employee reports. Brian Meadows, Christine Monroe, Conae Black and JoAnn Wetherington each gave the council reports and updates concerning their positions.
Council reports began with Tom Burr. He reported that work on the 60 minute film for the museum theater is progressing on schedule. He has also purchased some needed equipment from Moab Travel Council. Discussion followed as to how to dispose of the old water plant equipment. Coomer suggested a public auction and to advertise the equipment. This action to advertise was approved by the council.
Councilman Richards informed the council that the reports from Johansen and Tuttle survey done last month were not yet available.
Councilwoman Ekker provided the council with additional information about the expansion of the Green River Medical Center into Moab. She stated that in no way would it effect the grants or the present operational status of the facility. Ekker also inquired about the responsibility of the general maintenance of the medical center. Coomer replied it is the center's responsibility.
The budget was once again opened, amended, corrected and approved.
Councilman Sherrill told the council he is in the process of preparing to get out the public notices on the proposed street closure between the ball park and the city park. Also, the downtown ball park needs to be designated a permanent little league field.
Councilman Coomer reported to the council that the airport expansion project is moving along nicely. The grant monies and the projects are all progressing. Coomer also reported that the shooting sports park is almost finished. He also requested that refurbishment of the old airport office be considered some time in the future. He also stated that all the road projects are doing well.
Mayor Johnson informed the council of an upcoming water meeting, public scoping meeting and read a letter describing an opening on the Emery County Travel Bureau. Johnson then read a letter from the attorney explaining the annexation problems.
The council adjourned to executive session. The next meeting of the Green River City Council will be Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. at the John Wesley Powell Museum.