Commission receives PILT from DWR
Bill Bates from the Division of Wildlife Resources visited the Emery County Commission to present a check for the PILT funding in the amount of $2,751. He said fishing in the county is better than its ever been. Ice fishermen have been very successful. A state record tiger trout was caught at Scofield recently. "We hope to stock kokanee salmon in Electric Lake this year." The DWR is working with the forest service on the Seeley burn area. They have questions on the aspen regeneration and are asking for help. The DWR issued more cow elk permits to help take the pressure off those regrowth areas.
Utah American Inc. has asked for a relinquishment at the North Crandall mine. This is a typical practice with coal mines when the leases are mined out to relinquish them. All obligations have been met and all royalties have been paid on any coal mined from these leases. This is for the north side of Crandall Canyon. The south side still has active leases.
The agreement between the forest service and the Emery County Sheriff's Office was modified to add emergency fire language into the contract. The contract is for $7,500 a year to handle patrolling and any problems on the forest. The sheriff's office keeps track of all business on the forest and bills the forest service not to exceed the $7.500. This past year with all of the extra time spent on the Seeley fire the reimbursement to the sheriff's office was for $12,666.
Commissioner James Nelson complimented the sheriff's office on the fine job they did with the Seeley fire.
The commissioners approved a donation of $500 to Western Counties Alliance for their work on public lands issues.
The commission considered the request from the Emery County Housing Authority for abatement of taxes in the amount of $2,365. The housing authority offers critical housing services for county residents with low income units in both Ferron and Castle Dale.
Commissioner Ethan Migliori said at this time he would vote to deny the abatement. There are some unanswered questions regarding the housing authority and an audit which points out some areas where improvements need to be made.
Commissioner Jeff Horrocks is the commissioner who sits on the housing authority board. He said they have had an inactive board until recently. The county donates $20,000 each year to the housing authority. Last year the county fronted the housing authority $150,000 to have new fixtures installed in the bathrooms and for new flooring. This money has not been recovered by the county yet. The Community Development Block Grant is pending for this reimbursement. A labor dispute involving the contractor and an employee has been sent to the Federal Labor Commission, until this dispute is resolved the CDBG grant cannot be dispersed. The contractor has been paid for the work on the units.
Commissioner Horrocks said he has met with the Housing and Urban Development officials from Denver. The Emery County Housing Authority is in financial trouble. The HUD people from Denver are working towards correcting these issues regarding the housing authority. A contract has been prepared which outlines the steps that must be followed to bring the corrections about. County Attorney David Blackwell has reviewed the contract. He said it mainly deals with items that need to be remediated. One item he saw that could be a concern is the default rate for tenants.
Commissioner Horrocks said the housing authority board is stepping up to make sure the corrections are made so the housing units will be in a condition that anyone would be willing to stay in them. The commissioners approved the contract with some spelling corrections that will need to be made.
Commissioner Migliori pointed out that once the contract is signed then everything possible must be done to meet the stipulations in the contract or there will be serious consequences.
Commissioner Horrocks said there are concerns about the condition of the rental units and they must be maintained.
John Sehesdt, spoke under the citizen concerns category. He said he feels the Emery County Housing Authority had been portrayed in a negative light during the commission meeting. He said in the past eight years there have been major renovations and upgrades at the units, including new roofs, new siding, new flooring, new kitchen cabinets and counter tops. The units are positioned well to last another 30 years. He said their financial situation was labeled as no risk. The housing authority receives funding from three sources.
Randall Stilson asked the commissioners if they would be supportive of putting fish in the currently filling Adobe Wash Reservoir. The DWR said they would be willing to stock fish in there. The Cottonwood Creek Irrigation company will have to be approached about the possibility of adding fish there. Commissioner Nelson said sometimes irrigation companies are concerned if fish get into the irrigation lines. Stilson said he thought screens could be placed so the fish can't get out of the reservoir. The matter will be checked out.
Bill Dellos expressed the concern that fees to hold activities at the Museum of the San Rafael is too high. The museum was built with taxpayer monies and the museum should be more accessible to the public. He said there is a need for a kitchen at the museum also.
Commissioner Migliori said he shares those same concerns and he will address the issue with the museum board when he meets with them.
Commissioner Migliori said a business and tech competition is being held and the deadline to compete is March 25 there will be cash prizes and money for marketing. Contact him for details.
The division of aging report notified the county that if the minimum wage goes to $9 per hour, their program would need an additional $27,000 per year to operate.
The sheriff's office did a presentation before the Natural Resources Committee at the state legislature to ask for funding for building debris basins to help with sediment from the Seeley fire. Commissioner Nelson said he felt very positive about the presentation and the sheriff's office did a great job presenting the issue.
Commissioner Migliori said they will be approaching the CIB for funding for a new softball facility. If funds are not available for a new facility then they will look for financial sources to upgrade the existing softball complex. The Emery County Business Chamber has hired a part-time employee Brookelle Langi who is helping to move the chamber along and doing a great job. On March 21, Lt. Gov. Greg Bell will speak at the Emery County Business Chamber installation Banquet which will be at 6 p.m. at the Emery County Recreation Building in Castle Dale.
Commissioner Migliori and Mike McCandless met with the governor's office of economic development to work on incentives for the Green River refinery project. They are also working on the natural gas for rural communities and trying to bring natural gas to the outlying Emery County communities. The cost of gas is cheap, but getting the gas to the communities is expensive. To bring gas from the pipeline into Green River for five miles the cost is $30 million. Legislation is in the works to help change the fee structure so the projects can move forward.
Commissioner Horrocks said most of his time has been taken up with meeting with the HUD representatives and with the housing authority board to get the recovery plan into place for the housing authority. There have been major renovations at the units, but there is more to be done so Emery County will be proud of the units here. He has also been working with the Community Covenant program to see what Emery County can do to benefit our veterans and show our appreciation to them in some form. The commissioners will present the ideas they have been working on at the next commission meeting.