Commission discusses channel 26 and the pool
The fate of channel 26 was addressed in the Emery County Commission meeting. Commissioner Gary Kofford said the county needs $120,000 to upgrade channel 26 to digital plus the operating costs of the channel. He said the county isn't getting what it needs out of the channel and it isn't a money making proposition. When it was first launched, the schools were supposed to film ball games and put them on the channel and the junior prom and other activities, but this hasn't been done for a long time. There were also commercial advertising spots on the channel. Commissioner Kofford said there have been around 30 calls from county residents to keep the channel. Now that television is going all digital the cost to upgrade channel 26 is hard to justify said Commissioner Kofford so the channel won't be coming back. There has been a contract between the county and Susan Dorsch who has operated the channel for the county for the past 11 years. The commission voted to terminate this contract of $1,100 per month and pay Dorsch through the month of February for her services.
Commissioner Jeff Horrocks also mentioned Emery Telcom is coming out with a local content TV channel which they said will be available for community announcements. He also suggested getting a plaque to honor Dorsch for her years of service to the county. Commissioner Laurie Pitchforth said it isn't feasible to continue channel 26 and there weren't that many calls in support of the channel and the money involved can best be used somewhere else.
Bill Bates the Division Director for the Division of Wildlife Resources, southeastern region was on hand to deliver the PILT money to the county. The check was for $2,751.30 and helps to reimburse the county for DWR lands within Emery County that cannot be taxed.
The commission reappointed Mack Huntington and Bill Dellos to the planning commission. The Emery County Public Lands Council has four two year positions open. The commission appointed Chuck Semborski, Gary Petty, Randall Stilson and Mike Olsen to the lands council. Mistie Christiansen and Monroe Magnuson also applied for the positions.
There is one vacancy on the Emery Water Conservancy District board which is Morris Sorensen's spot and that position will be advertised. The Castle Valley Special Service District has two openings the seats of Neal Peacock and Tom Humphrey and the Emery County Special Service District #1 has two openings, Merrill Swasey and Richard Jensen. People interested in these positions can obtain an application from the clerk's office.
Commissioner Kofford reported the old sheriff's office building has been demolished and they did agree to pay back the $1,500 which was paid for the building but a component of the stand-by power had been removed from the site so only $750 will be returned to the purchaser from the auction.
A concerned citizen wondered about the bond that was supposed to be placed on the building. Commissioner Kofford said the building was sold the morning of the auction, but the county originally wasn't going to sell the building. The underlying thought behind the purchase of the building was the purchaser could salvage the building and put offices there. Castle Dale owns the property the old sheriff's office was on. State statute states you can't just sell county property. It must be declared surplus property and the proper steps must be taken. But, the building was sold with the stipulations including the bond and verbal commitments. They were supposed to bring a plan for the demolition of the building, but that never came so the county took the steps to take back the building and see it was demolished.
The commission approved a culvert along the South Moore Road. The commission approved to advertise in the Energy Edition, which comes out in March and is published by the Emery County Progress and the Sun Advocate.
The commission approved the equitable sharing agreement with the sheriff's office and the federal government for the sharing of any seized assets.
The commission discussed two items regarding the new Aquatics Center. Shannon Hiatt, pool director, said there have been a number of people with young families who asked if they could have some kind of payment plan for a yearly pool pass. If they could make three payments on a yearly pass it would help them out as they can't afford to pay it all at once. If the payments quit coming in then the pass would be pulled. Commissioner Kofford said they would have to look at the tracking of such a system and the administrative duties involved. Hiatt said it could be tracked on the computer.
The next item considered was whether there should be any pass exceptions allowed such as for people in wheel chairs, etc. Hiatt said these are some of the questions they are asked at the pool for which they don't have answers. Commissioner Kofford sees the best solution is to form a policy advisory committee including Hiatt, Brenda Dugmore, county clerk, Mary Huntington, personnel director, David Blackwell, county attorney and himself to form policy for the pool. The discussion was tabled and will be brought back to the commission for decisions when the committee forms a pool policy.
Commissioner Horrocks reported he had attended the Utah Association of Government meetings and they are concerned about budget cuts. In the judicial system there will be a 7.5 percent cut which could result in employees there being required to take a 26 day furlough without pay. Thirty positions have been lost in the Utah Highway Patrol and they are looking at doing away with their two air service helicopters. Commissioner Horrocks said Emery County is still in good shape financially unless anything should happen to PILT or mineral lease money. UAC will meet every Thursday during the legislative session and he will be there for those meetings. He said the elected officials have a legislative day on Jan. 30 to meet with local legislators.
Commissioner Pitchforth said she has had a busy three weeks. She met with the recreation department board. Clinton Olsen gave a demonstration of how people can register for the sports online. The board will decide if they want to go this route in the future. They had a basketball tourney where 21 teams and 200 players participated. The recreation department is having a fly tying class and held a racquetball tournament. The Buckhorn Archers use the recreation building every Wednesday for their shoots. A dodgeball tournament will be held on March 21. The Desertview Pro Rodeo is on July 30, 31 and Aug. 1. The Emery County Fair will be Aug. 5-8 with a free concert.
Commissioner Pitchforth met with the library board and the aging board. She said she wanted to express how much the commission appreciates the local citizen volunteers involved on the many boards in the county. She will be attending newly elected county officials training and legislative day in Salt Lake.
Commissioner Kofford said they received a letter from the Department of Environmental Quality and they have approved the landfill plan for covering the first cell. The cover will be loose mancos shale in a layer of three feet not compacted. The county will be required to do soil checks and a topographical overview for slopes. He complimented Morris Sorensen and the landfill employees for how well taken care of the landfill is. The county receives many compliments from the state all the time on the landfill.
On the Moore Road, Nielson Construction gave a proposal to go with a different grade of asphalt. Most state jobs only allow the Superpave product, but it didn't look like the Superpave would be available so the Moore Road could be asphalted this year. The proposal has been submitted to UDOT and it must be approved by them before a different grade of asphalt would be allowed. Commissioner Kofford said they are meeting with UDOT in Richfield to go over the Moore to SR-10 portion of the project which includes a mile and a half, this portion of the project could go out for bid in March. That would be a $4 million project when bid and completed. The completion for that project is November 2009.
Later this year the money will come from UDOT for the portion of the Goblin Valley Road that still needs surfacing. This is a $2 million project from the State Park Access Fund.