Emery Town swears in councilmembers and mayor
Emery Town met in their January council meeting. The first order of business was the swearing in of the new council members and the mayor. Misti Christiansen was sworn in for four years as Emery mayor by Pam Adams. Mayor Christiansen then swore in the council members Smiley Sundstrom and David Mangum.
Emery is in need of one more council person due to the resignation of Gary Jensen. Three people applied for the position including: Corrine Dalton, Bob Baker and Alisha Roberts. The applicants were interviewed by the council and asked why they would like to be a councilmember. Baker said, he was a transplant to Emery and he would like to see Emery Town prosper. He would like to see things done in a good way.
Roberts said she loves the town of Emery and its rich history. She would like to see the history of Emery brought out and appreciated more. "I love the people here," said Roberts.
Dalton said she feels like during her time as a council member she didn't get everything accomplished with the planning and zoning and master plan for the town so she applied for the open position.
Mayor Christiansen asked if the three applicants would be willing to serve on committees to help in Emery Town even they weren't selected to be the council member. All three applicants said they would be willing to serve.
The council went into a closed session to evaluate the three applicants. When the meeting resumed they announced that Dalton was chosen for the council member position and Roberts would be the historical preservation committee chairman; Baker will be the recreation committee chairman in charge of the July 24 celebration and the newly created Onion Days celebration. Council member Dalton was then sworn into office.
Mangum reported 10 people recently completed their CERT training, two from out of town and eight Emery residents. These people will receive their certifications when Karen Smith the trainer is able to bring them to Emery from Green River.
Margaret Mangum spoke to the council. She wanted to address the need for natural gas service in Emery. She said the elderly people on fixed incomes have to choose between paying their utilities, and buying food and medicine because utility costs are so high.
She has talked to Mike McCandless the Emery County Economic Development Director and he is working with legislators to draft a bill which would bring natural gas service to 11 rural communities including Emery. The bill would add anywhere from 18 cents to 60 cents per monthly bill to all natural gas customers in Utah. Mangum asked the Emery council to write a letter of support for this legislation. The council said when the bill is ready in draft form they will read it and determine if it is something they could support. Everyone agreed the utility costs are high for everyone.
Ashley Sundstrom was granted a business license for her new business as a disc jockey.
Ken Christiansen addressed the council on curb and gutter in Emery. He said Johansen and Tuttle have been surveying a street for curb and gutter where no one lives or will probably never live on block 28. He prepared a map which shows the streets in Emery which have curb and gutter and those that do not. There are 48 streets complete with curb and gutter and 97 streets don't have curb and gutter. The service district completes two streets each year. It will take a long time for all streets to be complete. Christiansen suggested the curb and gutter be placed on streets where the most people live. Emery Town will draft a letter to the CVSSD to list their preferences for streets to be completed this summer.
An audience member told the council there is an open drainage ditch only one block from city hall that is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Roberts reported on the plans for the creation of a park where old farm equipment is on display. The council discussed the items around the city that should be preserved and there are old projectors in the church and an old bishops desk which should be kept somewhere. The council was encouraged to think of a place to display these items or at least preserve and store them.
The fire department thanked everyone for their help in moving into the new fire station. A stationary bike and a home gym have been donated to the fire station.
Mayor Christiansen gave assignments to council members to serve as mayor pro tem at meetings when she is absent. January-March will be Smiley Sundstrom; April-June will be Dave Mangum; July-September will be Corrine Dalton and October-December will be Pat Sundstrom.
Animal control and maintenance will be Pat Sundstrom. Dalton will serve in planning and zoning; Smiley will be on the historical committee and beautification. Town council appointments for county boards include Mayor Christiansen on COG, CVSSD, and public lands council. Smiley will be on the RC&D council; Dave Mangum-economic development council. The mayor will also be the office supervisor. Dave Mangum will be on the water steering committee.
The mayor said the town is still looking for ways to reduce expenses. The enterprise fund doesn't bring in as much as is paid out each month. Currently the town has $6,000 in unpaid water bills. Last year the town lost $20-30,000 in tax revenue from the state. Sales tax collections state wide are down and all towns are suffering. Emery is still operating in the black but the youth council budget was eliminated; fire department was cut; beautification was cut and the town is still looking for ways to reduce expenditures. The enterprise fund consists of funds paid by citizens for water, sewer and garbage services.
With the completion of the new fire station and town hall offices, the town is looking at renting out the existing town hall. The highway patrol may be interested in using the building for a satellite office to cut travel time to I-70.
Mayor Christiansen said the water steering committee has been formed and will include; Ian McClane, engineer from Consol, Brian Barton from Jones and Demille and Jacob Sharp from the CVSSD. "I have had conversations with both the canal company and Consol and they hope to contribute to the water project. Five million is coming from Sen. Bob Bennett's office. That money is a 75/25 match. The match would be $1.25 million that Emery needs to come up with. I am going to the CIB to ask for help for the match money at 75 percent grant and 25 percent loan. I hope that the canal company and Consol can help with the repayment capacity of the loan. The canal board has sent a letter in favor of supporting Emery Town in their efforts to move forward with this project. It was signed by Morris Sorensen, canal president. Consol will let me know by Friday if they can participate. Consol has a history of helping the small communities where they work," said the mayor.
Mayor Christiansen gave the new councilmembers a copy of the Emery Town agreement with Jones and Demille Engineering. They are to study the agreement and sign it if they are agreeable to the terms of the contract. Jones and Demille has been the engineer for the fire station project.
The mayor said the cost of the water project is estimated to be $6.25 million. The town might get $900,000 from Rep. Matheson appropriations which can be used for the match money. "We are putting every effort into doing this (water project) without raising rates," said the mayor.
There will be an open house at the new fire station when it's complete.
The council discussed the Emery Echo which is a newsletter the town puts in the water bills each month. They are concerned with the expense involved in doing this newsletter. The Emery County Progress said they would be glad to put Emery Town news and upcoming events in the county newspaper. The elderly in the town enjoy their newsletter so Angi Bradley said she would help stuff the newsletters in the envelopes and the mayor said she would still like to see the information go in the county newspaper, too. Susie Praast said she needs people to contribute information to go in the newsletter to make it worthwhile to send one out.
Praast wants to put a plaque on the new fire station listing the mayor and city council members involved in the project.
The council discussed the proposed changes in the overage rates for outside the city water connections. Emery and Ferron have significant numbers of these outside CVSSD boundary water connections. Some of the towns don't think it's fair to supply these outside connections because those out in the county don't pay the taxes to the CVSSD that those within the boundaries do. If the overage rates are raised then, it will cost ranchers significantly more for their water. Mayor Joanne Behling from Ferron has spoken out against these raises in overage rates and Mayor Christiansen from Emery will stand with her against the increases at the next CVSSD meeting on Jan. 21. The mayor said she proposes they charge the users an amount that would be equal to the taxes paid by those within the CVSSD boundaries, but not above.
The mayor updated the council on work by the public lands council. The grazing subcommittee will meet with grazers to discuss water improvements on public lands and making sure maps of these improvements on allotments are accurate.
The trails committee is working on nonmotorized trails. Anyone knowing of any such trails should mark them on the map the mayor has so they can be added to the trail system. The mayor also mentioned anyone with knowledge of the roads including: Mexican Mountain, Swasey's (Sid's Leap), Red Hole, Draw Road, Link Flat roads, June's Bottom and Segers Hole should write down their experience with these roads. The county is trying to gather information on these roads to use in a lawsuit to get these roads reopened for use. The road needs to be documented as being in use 10 years prior to 1976. The mayor encouraged anyone with knowledge of these roads to get on the witness list.
Ken Christiansen brought out the fact that part of the National Park Capitol Reef, is within the boundaries of Emery County and that is never promoted anywhere.
Dalton brought up the recreational vehicle parking ordinance for review. They went over the regulations for a RV park within Emery Town should anyone want to build a RV park then the guidelines they would need to follow will be outlined in the master plan.
Pat Sundstrom said he talked to Nielson Construction about the DUP monument. The moving of the monument wasn't discussed with them. The monument has orange cones around it. Sundstrom said they will just have to wait until the road project is complete and see if it needs to be moved after that time. It was noted the monument does need a parking area surrounding it so people can safely get off the road to visit the monument. The next Emery town meeting will be on Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.