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Front Page » June 11, 2002 » Local News » News
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News


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By PATSY STODDARD
Editor


The water passes through five tanks in the treatment process.

The completion of the new Green River Water Treatment Facility was cause for celebration in Green River on Friday as an open house was held. County residents inspected the facility and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held with the ribbon being cut by long time city employee Gary Fluckey.

A meeting was held at the John Wesley Powell River Museum where the origin of the project was discussed. Mayor Glen Dale Johnson became involved in the process as a city councilman and the appointed mayor and as the elected mayor. Mayor Johnson said, "In 1997, Judy Ann Scott, then mayor of Green River asked the community impact board for a grant for a study to look at the sewer system and water plant. We hired SunRise Engineering and they have been here for the duration of the projects. We were threatened with fines on the old plant which was 28 years old.

"It's scary what Gary Fluckey and Larry Hopkins and Bryan Meadows have to do and have done to keep water in the taps of Green River citizens. In 1998 the drinking water board funded money for the project. We were not ready for the money yet, but they kept the money available. The end results are good.

"We know now what we're doing is good for Green River and that the citizens will be well pleased with how we spent our tax dollars," said Mayor Johnson.

Mayor Johnson went on to thank those people in the audience involved in the project, city workers and engineers and those present from SunRise Engineering.

John Chartier from SunRise Engineering presented a slide show of the project. "In Jan. 1998 we prepared a water master plan to identify deficiencies and recommend improvements. A five point analysis was made with the state guidelines as standards. We analyzed water rights, sources and storage. We found a problem in the distribution system. There was an undersized line. The old plant was built in 1974. It was starting to fail. In Aug. 1998, we had a final draft.

"We looked at alternatives; we could do nothing, upgrade the existing plant or build a new treatment plant. The old plant would have to be taken out of production to fix it so that was not an alternative. To do nothing, would lead to problems down the road. We recommended that Green River go with a new facility. That was our goal and we began to chase funding. Green River is to be commended and those men who kept the old facility operating.

"The new building is user friendly. The maintenance men helped to design the facility because they know what works. The new building gives them more room to work on the equipment. The funds came from the CIB and the drinking water board; in loan and grant. The city also contributed 6 percent. It is a good thing that the project was funded when it was because the funding from CIB is a lot tighter now and the drinking water board has also had its funding cut.

"Green River City had the foresight to get this done. Otherwise they would of had to band-aid the old plant. Filter Tech provided the treatment equipment and SunRise built their design around that equipment. The low bid for the construction of the building was $1,217,000 by VanCon Construction.

"Construction was started on Feb. 5, 2001 and was substantially complete by Apr. 29, 2002. The project took a lot of time and will carry Green River 30-40 years into the future.

One of the settling ponds at the water treatment facility.

"The distribution deficiencies are being addressed with a new 10" water line across the highway bridge. Two-hundred forty-five thousand dollars has been saved for the construction and engineering of this line to run to Green River Blvd. We tried to get fire flows up and looping within the system and provide an additional main line to the city from the treatment plant," said Chartier.

A spokesman from VanCon Construction said building a water treatment plant has been his dream and he appreciated working with everyone and it has been a good experience for VanCon and everyone enjoyed it. He also said Filter Tech has a wonderful product. Green River has a wonderful facility and we are glad to give it to the city.

Deb McCoy from Filter Tech said they were proud to be part of the successful project. They found the people at the plant very knowledgeable and everyone got together on the project. It is a showcase to produce good water, she said.

Gary Fluckey said he was glad to see it in place and it was something Green River City needed in the worst way. He is thankful for the help and participation that they have had.

Tom Burr said they were having a public open house of the facility from 1-5 p.m. that day.

Chartier presented a record book of the project to Green River officials and others involved with the project. It contains photos and records of the project. He described it as a good research tool.

The water treatment facility has a capacity of 1,000 gallons per minute. The water is kept in holding ponds where some settling occurs. Inside the plant the water travels through five tanks. A chemical is added to the water which creates a chemical coagulation.

Flocculation is the bringing together of tiny particles. These processes settle out the particles. It takes approximately two hours to go through the process; in the large tank there is a filter made up of sand and gravel. This same filtering process has been used since the days of the Romans. The turbidity of the water is measured by the suspended solids. The water is disinfected using chlorine.

The old water plant was shut down two weeks ago and the new water plant has taken over the water needs of Green River City. At the river intake the water flows in from the Green River at a depth five or six feet lower than the river level. It free flows into a reservoir. It is then pumped into the settling ponds and then into the plant. After treatment, it is stored in the clear well. It is then pumped into two tanks; one at each end of the city on hill tops where the water runs by gravity into the homes of Green River residents.

New equipment has been installed at the pump house as well and a new building now sits by the river. The equipment in this building is now more accessible for routine maintenance and repair.

Mayor Johnson said he is pleased with the new facility and it will carry Green River into the future.

Firefighting efforts will continue until the fire is suppressed.

Smoke filled the air in Carbon and Emery counties this past weekend. Although most of the smoke was from large fires near Cedar City and in New Mexico, the Manti-La Sal National Forest has also been battling two blazes.

A fire on Nelson Mountain, five miles southeast of Ferron started around June 1 by a lightning strike. The fire remained small until winds whipped up the flames this past weekend. The blaze is now estimated at 450 acres and is visible from town.

This fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain on top of the mountain. "It is very difficult and dangerous to put people near this fire because they could easily get trapped in this rugged area," said Forest Supervisor Elaine Zieroth. "We hope to use water dropped from buckets carried by a helicopter to keep the fire from spreading," said Zieroth. The bucket carries 1,000 gallons of water at a time and will be filled at Millsite Reservoir. Anyone using the reservoir when the helicopter is working should stay well away from the bucket with their boats.

A "hotshot" crew from Logan is also assisting. This crew is highly trained to work in steep, rocky terrain and will build fireline where they can. A smaller helicopter will help shuttle the crew to the site.

Smoke rises from the fire on Nelson Mountain.

A change in weather to cooler, moister air with lower wind speeds is predicted this week, which will help the firefighting efforts. There are no structures or private property threatened by the fire, but it is burning within the Ferron Municipal watershed and an important goal in fighting this fire is to minimize damage to watershed values, while protecting firefighter and public safety.

The Nizhoni Fire near the City of Blanding also started on June 1, but this fire was the result of an illegal campfire getting out of control on National Forest system lands. Most of southern Utah is under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, including the location where the fire started. Under these restrictions, campfires are only allowed within developed campgrounds. The Nizhoni fire started in an area that was not in a campground. Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect for most of Carbon and Emery Counties, except for the National Forest lands. The Forest Service anticipates going into Stage 1 restrictions here soon.

The Nizhoni Fire reached 2354 acres and 350 firefighters assisted in the efforts to bring the fire under control on June 9. This fire was within the City of Blanding municipal watershed, so watershed values were also important on this fire, as well as safety and protecting cultural resources in the area. The fire will cost nearly $1.4 million, largely because of the extensive use of helicopter bucket drops and fire retardant dropped from air tankers.

"There has been very little spring green-up this year and vegetation is extremely dry", added Supervisor Zieroth. "We are seeing fire get up and run through places that they might not burn through in a wetter year. We are asking everyone to be extremely careful with campfires, barbeques, cigarettes and any sources of sparks this summer."

On June 25 the question of authorizing an increase in the leeway tax to assist in payment of operation and maintenance expenses for the Emery County School District will be put before the voters at the primary election. The question of putting this issue to the voters was voted on and approved by the board of education of the Emery County School District.

After receiving projected revenue figures from the Utah State Office of Education, the Emery County School District faces the challenge of meeting a revenue shortfall of nearly $1.1 million for the 2002-03 school year, second highest percentage loss of revenue among the state's 40 school districts. That revenue shortage is a result of budget cuts imposed by the 2002 legislature when faced with a $250 million shortfall in state revenues. The shortage is also caused by declining enrollments. As in past years the district has taken steps to address declining enrollments by cutting staff and taking measures to reduce or eliminate some school programs. These budget reductions for next year, however, make up only half of the district's revenue shortfall.

If approved, the increase in voted leeway will generate approximately $550,000 each year to assist in the payment of necessary operations and maintenance expenses for our schools. This will enable the district to continue providing essential educational programs within the schools in the district.

It was pointed out that property owners will not see an increase in their taxes. The election is being held for the purpose of receiving authorization to increase the voted leeway levy from a rate of .000400 to a rate of .000800 per dollar of taxable value. The district will at the same time lower its debt service rate from .001785 to .000364, a reduction of 80 percent. This reduction is due to the district's lowered bond payment for the next five years.

The proposed voted leeway tax increase, if approved by the voters, will then be absorbed by the decrease in the debt service rates. Property owners will not see an increase in their taxes, but will actually realize a significant decrease in their taxes. The reduction in the debt service levy will reduce the tax on an average home with a market value of $100,000 by approximately $78. The proposed voted leeway would increase the tax on the same home by about $22 resulting in an overall reduction of approximately $56 per year.

If the election fails, property owners will see a slightly larger decrease in property taxes due to the decrease in the debt service. The district will continue to make key budget cuts which may include reducing or eliminating staffing and programs to offset the approximately $550,000 decrease in revenues due to declining enrollments and legislative budget cuts. This could result in increased class size; reduction of approximately 20 full-time staff positions over the next two years; reduction and possible elimination of important supplemental programs in the schools; reduction in some curriculum offerings; reduction in field trips and extra curricular experiences for students and reduction in the funding for textbooks and supplies.

The Emery School District without the voted leeway would be .006219 which is 22nd of 40 school districts. With the voted leeway the tax rate would be. 006616 which would rank the district as 18th.

This voted leeway election will be held in the regular voting precincts of Emery County. The polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on June 25.

The Emery County Municipal Building Authority met in their regularly scheduled meeting on June 4 at 2 p.m. Those present were Commissioners Ira Hatch and Drew Sitterud. Board members Dennis Nelson, Sharon Jensen and Randy Jensen were also present.

The first item of business was the presentation of the Emery County Industrial Incubator Project survey. Welles Cannon from Cannon and Cannon, Inc., a professional management group, was on hand to make the presentation. He brought copies of the Impact Study of the Industrial Incubator for the board members. The purpose of the study was to determine feasibility of manufacturing at the incubator site. "We have looked at the building and it has a few problems. Most manufacturing takes place in large factories or complexes. Labor is cheap in other countries and it is difficult to compete. We need a unique feature in people or raw material. I have searched the country over and looked at various types of manufacturing and there is a report included in the study. We have to find a need or introduce something new.

"The building will need the plumbing repaired and will need the roof replaced. The gravel portion of floor will need to be replaced with concrete. The ceiling in one part of the building is only eight feet high. Most manufacturing operations would need a higher ceiling than that. The rooms on the side can be used for offices and storage. The building does need some work and we did not determine what the upgrades would cost.

"Of the 4,300 surveys sent out we received back 349. A number of the people who responded did not know what an incubator was because they responded that stores or a bowling alley be put there. I have given those surveys to the economic director here to look at these businesses that people want outside the incubator.

"Of those responding, a significant number, 93 percent wanted to remain in the county and those who said they are leaving would like to stay but needed a job to do so. We also broke down the respondents by town and Huntington had the largest percentage responding with 24 percent. Sixty-one percent of the respondents were women. Of those surveyed 39 percent said, yes they would like to own their own business. The largest majority of those returning surveys thought a machine shop or welding business would do well in the incubator," said Cannon.

Cannon also pointed out that a number of the respondents said they were currently unemployed. Many had mechanical skills, many were in education with degrees and 24 people with master's degrees responded and 10 with phds. "This is very favorable news," he said.

"The incubator will help people get started. Fifty-seven percent of the people returning surveys said they would help to get the incubator going. Many of them had skills in business, bookkeeping, auto repair and heavy equipment operation. Twenty-one people had experience in business management.

"We are sensitive to not competing with a business already existing in the county," said Cannon. "We looked for something with a lower capital requirement that could utilize the incubator services. These services include: Subsidized rent for the building, forgiveness or reduced property taxes during the incubator period, assistance by volunteers and reduced rate bookkeepers and accountants, engineering services by volunteers and reduced rate professionals, management professionals that will volunteer to sit on a board of directors or a management council, special consideration by lending institutions and governmental agencies to help place appropriate financing, training arrangements for qualified owners and employees, mentoring, suggested business plan is provided in the booklet by Incubator study consultants, technology for this project has been researched and will be available to the incubator business, marketing training and guidance can be provided by professionals within the county by volunteers for reduced rates," explained Cannon.

Cannon went on to mention a company named ReSyk from Brigham City which recycles plastics. This plastic is made into wheels for garbage cans, etc. Stepping stones for gardens with grippers on the back are also manufactured. Cannon explained the beauty of the operation is that you don't have to clean the plastic. This recycled plastic could include milk cartons, oil cartons, etc. The plastic is ground into 3/8" chips which are heated and blended and then molded into the various products. The TC-350 Compounder is patented by ReSyk there is a royalty charge on the use of the machine after its purchase. Cannon mentioned another company that wants to look at the plastic to be used for frames for the furniture they build instead of wood because the plastic does not split. He said there are many possibilities for the products.

Cannon estimated a business of this type would need to remain in the incubator for seven years. The estimated total capital needs for the first year would be $700,000. This includes the equipment purchases, start-up expense and working capital. The jobs created by a business of this sort would be on the higher end of the pay scale. Machine operators would be $12-14 per hour. Managers-$5,000 per month, sales person, $3,000 per month with possible bonuses, secretary- $14 per hour.

Cannon explained that the jobs created would be 10 after one year, 28 after five years and 44 after 10 years. An operator will be selected by application from interested parties who based upon their experience, training, credit worthiness and strong desire will be reviewed by the Emery County Economic Development Council and a selection will be made from those who filed an application or by recruiting a qualified operator if one cannot be found locally.

Commissioner Sitterud instructed board members to review the information compiled by Cannon and be ready to discuss how to proceed at the next meeting. The board expressed their thanks and appreciation to Cannon for the job he did on the incubator survey.

The next item on the agenda was the ratification of the petition for annexation of property into the city of Castle Dale. It was approved. The next item was the ratification of the special construction agreement between Emery Telcom and Emery County. It was explained that this was needed to allow the telephone line to the public safety complex property to be installed.

The next item discussed was the connectivity to the public safety complex, Jeff Guymon explained the situation. For now the connection will be plugged in at the current jail facility and two wireless antenna bridges will be used to bring the connection to the new complex. This method could change in the future as conditions change. Concern was expressed over this plan after the current jail facility is vacated and they move into the new complex. The equipment will be checked on a regular basis.

Todd Kitchen, project manager for the safety complex was on hand with an update. He said, "We are still on schedule and the complex will be completed by July 1. There is still a lot of work to do. We are on budget for the jail basically as planned and everything is fitting. The courts building is moving along. We have finalized the drawings with the state courts in Salt Lake and that is a big thing. We are moving on the construction of the outer shell and working ahead of schedule, so there are no problems there."

The next item on the agenda was the approval of the bills. Clerk Bruce Funk presented the bills. He said he still has questions on some of the charges from Sahara. Some of the truck charges were deducted from the public safety side and added to the court side of the project. Also charges for computer use and other items purchased for the computer were questioned by Funk. Commissioner Hatch said he would check with Sahara and clarify the items. Funk also said he needed detailed receipts from Sahara.

It was determined that all but the bills in question would be paid at this time. The next meeting of the Emery County Municipal Building Authority will be on July 2 at 2 p.m.


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