Commission appoints public lands members
The Emery County Commission approved the appointment of five members to the Emery County Public Lands Council. Priscilla Burton, Bruce Wilson, Sherrel Ward and Vernell Rowley will be appointed for two year terms. Chuck Semborski will fill the vacated position of Richard Beardall for a one year term.
The commission approved an amended contract with the Permanent Community Impact Fund board for the swimming pool fund. This is for $1 million and can't come directly into the county without affecting the PILT money from the federal government. All grants to the county can affect this money. So the money will have to enter the county from one of the special service districts, the municipal building authority or the recreation district.
The commission set the date of April 5 for the county auction. They will auction off the items at the old sheriff's office building. This will include bricks, light fixtures, electrical, etc. Also any surplus items the county has like old vehicles, computers, etc. will be offered at this time as well. County department heads were instructed to get the titles of any vehicles which need to go to auction and get them to Brenda Dugmore, county clerk/auditor.
The commission approved the federal annual asset sharing report for the sheriff's office. This allows the county to share in federal assets from seizures in the county.
The county approved a budget of $23,500 for 2008 for the Wildland Fire protection service. They had requested $26,928.97 but the county had only budgeted in December 2007 the $23,500 amount.
Commissioner Drew Sitterud explained an ongoing issue with the mineral lease money. When the land exchange from the Grand Staircase Escalante Monument played out, SITLA received land in Emery County in exchange for their land within the monument. This included the Cottonwood coal lease area and land around Huntington Reservoir. SITLA was willing to give back 40 percent of the mineral lease monies for these areas. But, the Utah legislature has been tapping into these funds and it is estimated Emery, Carbon and Uintah counties only receive approximately 15 percent.
House Bill 134 introduced legislation which allowed SITLA to pay that money directly to the county involved. This worked good until a $3 million cap was put on that money by a northern Utah representative. The county now can't get to that money and the special service districts in the county are suffering. The county must now look at funding the special service districts in the interim until this mineral lease money starts flowing again.
Commissioner Sitterud said the commission needs to start the discussion on this and think about scheduling a budget hearing to begin the process of reallocating funds for the special service districts.
Commissioner Sitterud met with Rep. Painter who is looking at legislatively opening this money again to try to get the money back into the counties involved. Sitterud said every time this is looked at someone wants a piece of that money. But, Painter thinks he can take care of the county's problem in committee without it reaching the house floor. "He is going to try to move that money for us, but I think we will have to help the districts out," said Sitterud. Commissioner Jeff Horrocks said, "We need to keep the special districts whole we can't afford to let them fail."
Commissioner Kofford said all of the special service districts that rely on mineral lease money are in trouble. The mineral lease money gets tighter each year. If Lila Canyon Mine gets up and going that might help out.
Commissioner Sitterud pointed out it used to be a 50/50 break with the federal government and now the feds take 52 percent and the state gets back 48 percent.
Under the concerned citizens category a citizen asked when the planning and zoning issue of reducing the acreage needed for building in the county from 10 acres to two acres will be addressed. The commissioners said in the next meeting a date will be set for a public hearing.
Under personnel items, Mary Huntington asked for permission to begin recruitment for a full time dispatcher for the sheriff's office. She also asked for approval for the hiring of Tammy Tucker as the full-time public lands-planning and zoning secretary, she will start in two weeks.
Commissioner Jeff Horrocks reported he attended the Green River Canal Company meeting. They talked about the diversion dam on the Green River and the need to replace or repair the 100 year old structure. A feasibility study wil be done to evaluate the exact condition to see if it can be repaired or if it should be replaced. The study will also look at location to determine if the present site is suitable or if another site could be better.
Commissioner Horrocks also said the Workforce Services has asked the county if they will help sponsor the Angel Tree and Sub for Santa program for this year.
The commission suggested it be put on the agenda where it can be discussed in a future meeting.
Commissioner Sitterud reported in Price next month the Bureau of Land Management RAC will hear an item to increase the fees at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur quarry.
Public input will be taken.