Castle Dale City residents voice concerns with FEMA
The Castle Dale City Council heard comments from two concerned residents at their recent council meeting. Winston Palmer and Cindy Lopez both voiced their concerns over a section of the proposed emergency management plan being considered by each town in Emery County. Their concerns dealt with the Federal Emergency Management Agency possibly coming into the county to direct operations.
This plan has been submitted by the Emery County emergency management team to each of the towns for their consideration to partner with the county plan. Palmer said, "I have spent many hours reading the Emery County Emergency Operations plan. I would have expected to see something this extensive placed on a ballot. I feel the resources we have in Emery County are perfectly capable of handling any emergency and I am opposed to the portion of this plan being considered concerning FEMA coming into the county to take over operations during emergencies. I have found that during emergencies of any type, there are always numerous volunteers willing and available to help. When the federal government comes in and gets involved in anything, there are always problems.
"FEMA has more power than just about any other government agency. I trust all our local people more. As far as I'm concerned, I'm against letting them come in. We have the best people in the world right here in Emery County," concluded Palmer.
Lopez said, "To add to what Winston was saying, I have studied the plan. FEMA is James Madison's worst nightmare. They can take away Constitutional rights. I have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and I feel very secure with the local authorities.
"Section U of this document says the city will partner with the federal government and FEMA during an emergency. I have read many documents recently released by the Department of Homeland Security and they are very disturbing. FEMA was created by executive order, not Congress. They can suspend Constitutional rights for six months and Congress cannot bring them back during that time. I would not want to imagine life like that during those six months," said Lopez.
Councilman Jack Rogers explained the decision has not been made to partner and accept this plan. He requested a meeting with concerned residents prior to making the decision. "Each city must have a plan for each department of the city to apply during emergencies. We just want everyone to be prepared. Castle Dale is the only city in the county that has not accepted this plan. If we don't accept it, we have to fund our own. A plan is very expensive to write. I feel the chances of FEMA coming into Emery County are very slim. Our local first responders will be the ones to handle an emergency. I suggest tabling this discussion until the final draft of the plan comes from the county," said Rogers.
Mayor Neal Peacock thanked everyone for their comments, concerns and input.
In other business conducted by Castle Dale City, it was approved to give $250 to the Miss Emery Scholarship Pageant in exchange for advertisement in the program.
Kerry Lake, from planning and zoning, reported the committee is working hard on the beautification ordinance. "It is not complete yet, but we will be discussing more at our next meeting," Lake said. Kathy Deabenderfer was approved for an appointment to the beautification committee.
Mayor Peacock informed the council the final draft for this ordinance may come as soon as July. Residents may still comment on the ordinance at city hall and all residents are encouraged to read the ordinance.
Richard Herring, ordinance enforcement officer, reported residents are being much more judicial in water use this year. "We are beginning to have some problems with residents parking trailers and other vehicles on city streets. This is a problem for emergency vehicle access," said Herring. He also reported the fire district is requiring a class for everyone who drives a fire department vehicle. The statewide no burn window is July 31-Sept. 31.
Mayor Peacock announced a new expenditure policy has been written for the city. "This is not an ordinance and does not replace that ordinance. This policy would be in affect until revoked by the council. This policy is more stringent than the current ordinance. My concern is for the upcoming year and the reduced revenue. We must be absolutely certain not to go over budgets this year," said Mayor Peacock. The policy was accepted by the council.
The next Castle Dale City Council meeting is July 9 at 7 p.m. at city hall.