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Front Page » December 30, 2008 » Emery County News » Commission takes care of end of year business Soepnel to ...
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Commission takes care of end of year business Soepnel to leave Hunter/Huntington plants

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The Emery County Commission heard the quarterly update from Rocky Mountain Power at their last meeting of the year. Deb Dull introduced Reg Soepnel, manager for both Hunter and Huntington power plants. Soepnel said the plants are performing well in all aspects including environmentally, safety wise and production. He attributes this success to the employees at both utilities. Soepnel informed the commission he is leaving the county to take a position with Mid-American power in one of their Iowa facilities. "This has been a great place to live and work. I appreciate the working relationships I have had with the county and also with the sheriff and his office. I want to thank everyone for their support," said Soepnel.

Commissioner Jeff Horrocks thanked Soepnel for what he has done for the county.

Gary Denhalter from Huntington plant said they are actively preparing for 2010 when there will be a sizeable overhaul. In March they will take the turbine apart for Unit one and measure it to build a new rotor. One result of the overhaul will be the gain of additional megawatts. Huntington is having a good run right now and Unit two has gone two months without an outage which is exceptional.

Monitoring has been going on throughout the summer and up until last month. The monitoring equipment is working well.

Denhalter reported the employees raised $1,636 for a Sub for Santa activity. The committee went shopping for 24 children who received coats and shoes and one large item off their wish lists. Denhalter said he hates to see Reg go as he has been a neighbor in Ferron and an asset to the company.

Darrell Cunningham from the Hunter plant reported that Hunter Unit one will see a turbine upgrade along with a boiler upgrade in the spring of 2010. They are preparing for the overhaul now. They are procuring the components they will need for an overhaul of this extent. It's been a good generation year for Hunter. Unit three has been off for a couple of days and it's a lot of hard work to get it up again when a unit goes offline.

Hunter has been doing continuous monitoring and has passed the relative accuracy test in all aspects of pollution control.

"It's been a good year safety wise. The corporate office has safety programs and awards and Hunter is set to receive a bronze level recognition for safety performance. Even though there have been a lot of distractions, we have stayed focused and made safety a top priority," said Cunningham.

Hunter participated in a Sub for Santa fundraiser also and provided for 56 children in the Carbon and Emery area. He said how much the employees support and enjoy the fundraiser for the children and the importance of their participation in helping their community and its children. "It is well worth the time and very rewarding," said Cunningham.

Cunningham said Hunter is losing a good plant manager and a good friend and he hates to see Reg move on. "He has brought New Zealand and the language and the culture to us, Reg has given us a greater appreciation for what we have here. He has taken advantage of the recreational opportunities that we take for granted. We appreciate what he's done," said Cunningham.

Soepnel said thanks to the great people he has worked with in the Carbon/Emery area. RMP will begin recruitment for his position and will hire a managing director for each plant.

Deb Dull thanked the commission for their cooperation on the projects they have completed together. The airport is the most recent one. "It's great to work with such a great group of people," said Dull. She reported that RMP had received a contract for the Lila Canyon mine for a one megawatt load for now as they begin site development on the mine there. Plans are also underway for the substation there and a bid was just released on that.

On Jan. 13, 2009 Rich Walje will meet and discuss the regulation and legislative issues for the upcoming legislative session. Dull invited the commission to the discussion. There are a lot of issues going on in Utah at the present time concerning RMP. Dull said RMP has just finished their safest year ever and they are very proud of this.

In other commission business they approved a Visa card for the new building inspector Mark DeBry.

Emery County is in the process of enacting a restaurant tax which will raise additional taxes to be used to promote tourism and could also be used on tourist related facilities. The commission approved the notice be sent to the Utah State Tax Commission to notify them of the enactment of this new tax. The county isn't required to hold a public hearing concerning the tax but a notice must be published within 15 days in the newspaper to announce the tax. The tax will come into effect in 90 days.

The commission granted a business license to Anderson Mine Supply for the delivery of mine parts. The business is a home occupation business.

The commission approved the mileage rate reimbursement for 2009 at 50 cents per mile.

The commission set the schedule for the 2009 commission meetings. The first meeting of the year will be on Jan. 6, 2009. Subsequent meetings are being changed from the first and third Tuesdays at 9 a.m. to the second and fourth Tuesdays at 9 a.m. Except the Green River meeting in August which is at 4 p.m. and the budget hearing meeting in December which is at 4 p.m.

The commission set the holiday schedule for county employees. Holidays include: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, July 4, July 24, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving and the day after and a half day on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The commission approved an application to the BLM for transportation and utility systems and facilities on federal lands to upgrade a portion of the county road-south Moore road. This will cover from SR-10 to the T intersection in Moore. The BLM requested a sign along there for the Rochester panel.

The commission approved to advertise for positions on the county planning commission and to re-advertise for the public lands council vacancies. The planning positions are for the seats currently held by Mack Huntington and Bill Dellos.

The county is working on having the website ready so you can submit applications for these positions on line.

The commission approved the agreement with UDOT for the South Moore cut-off road. Emery County Special Service District number one will take care of the 20 percent match for the asphalt phase of the project in the amount of $938,000 for the $4,690,000 project. The design is complete and the bid will be out in early March or late February. This bid will complete 18 miles of oil from the intersection to I-70.

The commission approved a building permit waiver for a re-roof of a pavilion at Bear Creek Campground for Emery County Recreation.

The commission approved the dismissal of an ambulance bill for an indigent party. He has made regular payments, but can't get on top of the bill.

The commissioners discussed a discount rate for Green River residents to use the aquatic center. The schools will bring students from Green River to the pool twice a year. One idea was a punch card for Green River residents but no official decision was made.

Commissioner Sitterud said after Dec. 19 legislation goes into effect concerning the drains in swimming pools and drain covers. No pool in the United States will be in compliance after that date. The trouble is the drain covers needed haven't been designed yet. As soon as the new covers are ready which look like an upside down dish then the pool will have those installed. The new grate covers will ensure that no one can be sucked into a drain or become stuck on a drain. The new legislation came about because a child became injured and later died when their intestines were sucked out from a drain at a pool.

Currently flat screens cover the drains on the new pool.

The county has been trying to get a patent at the landfill and the shooting range for additional land to expand those facilities. The BLM needs an MOU with the county as to who will manage the shooting range facility. Commissioner Sitterud said there is an MOU between the gun club and the recreation district. The recreation district operates the shooting range for the county. Public lands director Ray Petersen said he could file the application with the BLM and outline those items in the POD which is the plan of development. Acreage includes 160 additional acres.

Commissioner Kofford said the MOU needs to be completed in a timely manner as the county is running out of room at the landfill.

Petersen said the BLM is on board with the project they just need the appropriate paperwork completed.

The county approved a contract with Johansen and Tuttle Engineering for the environmental analysis and the plan of development for the landfill and the gun range.

The commission approved the removal of two trees at the Community Foundation house at Main and Center in Castle Dale. Morris Sorensen from the road department will remove the trees as time permits. He will also remove three trees at the Museum of the San Rafael.

Jared Anderson addressed the commission on the acquisition of Precis by Emery Telcom. Emery Telcom needs a new franchise agreement for the TV product they are getting ready to launch. They would like to combine the two franchise agreements into one. The commission agreed that in the Jan. 6 meeting, Precis should come and ask for termination of the current contract agreement. The new agreement should be able to move forward at that time.

An agenda item to discuss Sam's Club and whether the county should allow county employees to sign up for a business membership was discussed. The item was tabled because no representative was there. Commissioner Sitterud said he didn't think the county should endorse shopping out of the county in any way.

The commission approved a grade step for Deputy Kurt Price who recently graduated from POST. A wage increase was approved for Kathy Perkins who completed her six month orientation. The commission approved the hiring of Melodie Hoffman as a part-time assistant librarian for Orangeville. Merit increases were approved for Wayne Nielsen, Russell Swasey and Mike McCandless, county employees.

During the commission reports, Commissioner Sitterud thanked everyone for their support in his eight years of service to the county. "It's been a joy to serve the people here, thank you," said Commissioner Sitterud.

Commissioner Kofford said the county had a senior citizens Christmas party that was well attended and he thanked the elected officials for helping and to Leslie Bolinder for help in organizing the party.

Commissioner Kofford reminded everyone that on Feb. 17, 2009 the analog TV would go off the air. Local Channel 26 will go off the air.

Commissioner Sitterud said right now the county is broadcasting in digital and analog. The analog equipment is 50 years old, so if any of it breaks down it could go off sooner.

The FM stations are currently off the air due to weather conditions. The aluminum line pulls apart, but the county is in the process of getting a grater up on Horn Mountain to fix the problem. The next commission meeting is Jan. 6 at 9 a.m.

There will be a swearing in ceremony on Jan. 5, 2009 at noon in the commission chambers. Laurie Pitchforth will be sworn in as Emery County Commissioner and Steve Stream will be sworn in as Justice Court Judge.

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December 30, 2008
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