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Front Page » April 28, 2009 » Emery County News » Huntington City asks, "What do we do with the Huntington ...
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Huntington City asks, "What do we do with the Huntington flour mill?"

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The Huntington City Council discussed the old Huntington flour mill. The owner would like to sell the mill to Huntington City for $25,000. He originally purchased the mill for old equipment which he has removed from the building. He would like to see it restored into a museum rather than be torn down because it is the oldest mill in Utah. The building is in bad shape and a significant amount of money would be required to make it usable as a museum. "We want to do what the majority of the citizens want to do," said Mayor Hilary Gordon. There are several grants available which could be used to restore the mill, but none of them can be applied for unless the city owns the mill.

Several citizens spoke in favor of purchasing the mill and restoring it. The mill is on the historical register. One said, "I hate to see it torn down, but now it is an eyesore."

A public hearing will need to be held to let people have a say on what to do with the old building. There are also liability issues involved. It was mentioned the owner has an offer from a man in Arizona for $56,000. But, that buyer would just tear down the old mill and salvage the lumber. The idea of a preservation committee which could be formed to help set up a fund where people could donate to the preservation of the old mill was discussed. A date for a public hearing will be set to discuss the old mill and its future.

Does Huntington need a full-time mayor? This topic was also discussed at the April city council meeting. The item was included on the agenda at the request of councilman Travis Larsen. Larsen said the item was for discussion only. He said Huntington Mayor Gordon did not want the item on the agenda and asked that it be removed. Larsen said however he feels the item needs to be discussed for future consideration. "What do we think Huntington deserves, is it an hour a day, or a full-time mayor," said Larsen.

What exactly are the duties of a mayor? These items were discussed. The mayor of a city is the chief executive officer of the city, they see that peace is kept in the city, fines are levied when necessary, they see that all ordinances are faithfully observed, they are responsible to examine the books and papers of the city, they bring matters for the city to discuss, they fill committees and other duties.

Larsen read from the League of City's and Town's handbook. The book states that a mayor is a full-time job whether it be a large city or a small town, if you are the mayor, you are the mayor 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The difference comes in the size and budget of a city. Some mayors are retired, but some mayors also hold full time jobs.

Larsen commented that Mayor Gordon puts in at least 30 hours a week in the office and attends several meetings after business hours. He said the office of mayor deserves commitment. "Our city needs a full-time mayor or a city manager who can be in the office. We do have dedicated workers for the city, but there are certain aspects that slip by."

The item was then opened for discussion among the council members. Council member Jerry Livingston said he worries about the position of mayor being a full-time position. It would limit the number of people who would be available to run for the position as most people already have full-time jobs. He hates to see the position just limited to retired people who have more time than the younger people who might be interested in running for the position.

Council member Cathy Cowley said she doesn't think the city of Huntington is large enough to have a full-time mayor.

Mayor Gordon stated with finances the way they are she doesn't think the city can afford to pay for a full-time mayor. She said the city council voted her a raise last year and at that time the mayor's salary went from $600 to $1,200 a month.

Mayor Gordon said she meets with city employees once a month to get things out in the open to discuss and resolve any pending issues. Sometimes the council members attend these meetings, but more often they don't. "I love this town. I am not perfect. This job is a learning process. Some people are unhappy with things I've done or the council has done. There is a flyer floating around with half truths. The mayor can't raise taxes. If you have questions, then come in and talk to me. Don't send things like that out. I sit on a number of committees. I'm on the Association of Governments. I attend planning and zoning meetings and beautification meetings. I like to know what's going on. It's my responsibility. I attend the Castle Valley Special Service District meetings. I appreciate Travis and the confidence he has in me as a mayor," said Mayor Gordon.

Council member Julie Jones said, "We are all here for the betterment of our city and I appreciate the mayor and all she does."

Jethro Majors said, "Until the population gets bigger then we probably don't need a full-time mayor."

The discussion on the full-time mayor was closed.

Huntington City approved a donation for the Relay for Life coming up June 12-13. The Emery High Rodeo Club also received a donation.

A business license was approved for Mollie Jones for the Video Spectrum store.

In the mayor's report, she said the chip crack and seal project is half done and will continue next year. The asphalt at the cemetery has been done too. The mayor said she met with Commissioner Laurie Pitchforth about the Star Theatre. Discussion is taking place about purchasing the theatre for use by the community theatre and the high school. "I told them that Huntington City is not looking at purchasing the theatre. I talked to Bevan Wilson about going to the CIB, but they aren't lending any full amounts for projects which would mean city funds would need to be used. Bevan recommended not purchasing it at a city level. Maybe at a county level."

Huntington clean-up is scheduled through May 15. Dumpsters will be at the rodeo grounds for yard garbage. A permanent dumpster will be in place behind the ball complex at the old dump site after the clean-up month. Residents can continue to use it year-round. Larsen encouraged everyone to take pride in their property and get involved in the spring clean-up efforts. The bids came back for the flowers for the planters along Main Street and Gordon's Floral was awarded the bid. "We need to support the businesses in our town," said Larsen.

Livingston said he has been in contact with the residents who will be impacted by the new sidewalks. The main concern is sprinkling systems that will have to be moved to accommodate the sidewalk. He has met with a positive reception from those involved. Work will begin in June or July on the new sidewalks. Utah Department of Transportation funds from the stimulus money will be used to put in a sidewalk from the motel to the Desert Edge church along Main Street.

It was approved to give a meeting stipend of $50 a month to planning and zoning committee members. Larsen said, "They meet sometimes twice a month and spend a lot of time at these meetings and should be compensated." There are five people on the committee now. Cato Wagner said they have a hard time getting and retaining people on this committee.

The council looked at the possibility of the purchase of a side-by-side ATV for flower watering. It was recommended to look into prices on the Kubota which has a good wear and safety record and is shorter, wider and more stable.

The council approved a temporary business license for Standard Laboratories who is moving their business into the industrial park by Talon Resources.

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April 28, 2009
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