Emery County board of commissioners meeting was held on May 10. Mike McCandless spoke. He said, "On April 17 I was offered the position of Executive Director for the Association of Governments. I told them I was interested in that position. Consequently I put in a request to the commissioners to accept my resignation. I then asked to extend that for a week because I had personal issues and getting projects wrapped up. Today was scheduled to be my last day. I have since requested the commissioners allow me to stay with the county. I made my decision to leave on a financial basis, but I will say that I have the best job in the world and want to stay with Emery County.
"I have currently a list of 100 projects that we are working on. I do not want to let them go. If the commission will accept my desire to stay with Emery County."
Commissioner Horrocks asked McCandless if it is his decision to rescind the letter of resignation. McCandless answered that is correct. Commissioner JR Nelson made a motion to reject McCandless' letter of resignation and invite him to stay and at the proper time review his compensation for the assignments that he has.
Commissioner Laurie Pitchforth stated "I think Mike does a great job as do all of our employees and I do not think his compensation should be part of the motion. That should be addressed at budget time. That is a budget item to be taken up when all employees will be discussed."
Commissioner Nelson said he appreciated private businesses compared to government agencies where a business can give merit pay. After studying and researching the county personnel policy, he agrees that this is not the time to have salary negotiations and removed that from his motion.
Bill Dellos from the audience made a statement abou McCandless. "I am on the Emery County Planning and Zoning with Mike and there is one man in this county that knows what is going on. These other men and women that work with the county are doing a great job. I think this man puts in about twice as much time as a lot of people that are working. I am sorry commissioner, but I think he should be looked at for a raise. I have worked with him many years and he has done a terrific job. I think there many things going on in the county that wouldn't happen if it hadn't been for Mike. I attended a Planning and Zoning Conference in Salt Lake and even in the conference Mike was over talking with people for the power plants etc. So Chairman, Commissioners I think you should consider a raise for this man.
Commissioner Horrocks made a comment, I have for the last four and half years had the privilege of working with Mike through the Travel Bureau and Economic Development. I have spent time with him in his office going over projects that he anticipated bringing into the county and projects that he has brought into the county. I would like to note without a doubt we have the best work force in the state of Utah. Every employee that we have are dedicated to their jobs, and dedicated to the betterment of the county to make a better life for the residents of Emery County. Mike is right at the top of that list doing what he likes to do, which is economic development and Travel Bureau issues that he took on without being appointed. It has been my pleasure to work with Mike. I know that he is highly respected throughout state government and throughout the industrial part of our state as are a lot of our employees.
Mike I am glad that you have made this decision and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Bill Dellos made a comment: I think all of our employees deserve a raise. I think we have the greatest bunch of people working for this county and I am proud to be a member of this county.
Commissioner Horrocks stated that I couldn't agree more. It is a top priority of the commission to compensate our employees as fairly as we possibly can. The bottom line is that it takes tax dollars to do that. Brenda Tuttle, Clerk/Auditor and I have had discussions on salaries as to what would be the best way to do a pay raise. That discussion will carry over to the other commissioners during budgeting. We will make that decision at that time. I do want to let all of our employees know that we are lucky as a commission and the people of Emery County are lucky to have the quality of employees that we have here on the county payroll.
Commissioner Pitchforth added I would like to clarify that I did not say that Mike did not deserve a raise. All of our employees are great as is Mike and we appreciate what he does, but this is not a time to put that in a motion. We should discuss that at budget time. Not at this time.
Commissioner Nelson said, I stand corrected. I agree. I have been so impressed. I have been on field trips and have been shocked by the knowledge of people that take me out there. I just want to say we have great great people working for Emery County. Approval was given to allow Mike McCandless to rescind his letter of resignation and remain an employee of the Emery County. Commissioner Horrocks said, Welcome back Mike.
The commission approved the appointment to the Emery County fire protection District of Gayland Dugmore to the at large position.
Approval was given to advertise for a vacancy on the Emery County Council of Aging. The person selected will represent the Huntington Elmo and Cleveland area. Bids were opened for two A O Smith water heaters for the County jail. The present water heaters are worn out. This is an unfunded budget item, however, it is an emergency item. They need to be replaced as soon as possible. A bid from Lawrence Plumbing of Elmo for $10,700 to supply and install two commercial 100 gallon water heaters at 199,000 BTU. The bid received from Dugmore Appliance and Heating in Ferron was for the purchase and installation of two 100 gallon water heaters at $8,995. Dugmore Appliance and Heating was the successful bidder.
Approval was given for a memorandum of understanding between Emery County Emergency Medical Services and the United States Department of Energy. This agreement would cover all contamination costs if there were a medical emergency in Emery or Grand County requiring help from Emery County EMTs.
The resolution amending Emery County's Resolution number 8-16-95A to 5-10-11 regarding the creation of Emery County Travel Bureau was approved. This resolution makes sure that the Travel Bureau is obeying state law. This will not change the way the Travel Bureau does business. And there will be some changes to the board membership over time. Emery County Travel Bureau is legally responsible to have a majority of its members from entities that are paying the transit room tax and restaurant tax. The board will not be changed at this time, but will change as new appointments are made. The law states that the majority of the members will be current employees of businesses in the County that are subject to the TRC and TRTT taxes. The balance of the board will be employees of recreational facilities, museums, convention facilities, cultural attractions, motels and restaurants or other tourism related industries located within the county. Under this resolution, the reference to the Castle Country Travel Council of Carbon County will be stricken.
Commissioner Horrocks stated that the Travel Bureau has spent the Emery County money very wisely.
The Travel Bureau is to develop new bylaws and have them submitted to the County Commission for approval within three months. The Travel Bureau cannot operate independently of the Emery County Commission. A request was made for a memorandum of understanding between the Bureau of Land Management and Emery County for the San Rafael Swell OHV Trailhead kiosk signs. Ray Petersen, public lands director, reported the BLM wanted a partnership with Emery County. An application has been made for OHV funds to do this project. Petersen recommended this item be tabled until the application has been approved and granted to the BLM and Emery County.
A tax deferral agreement for Merrill and Jeanette Craghead was approved. The taxes were deferred to be paid by November 30, 2011 and the property removed form the auction list.
Approval was given for a letter of support for Sanpete County's proposal to open a portion of State Road 264 for OHV use. This went before the Emery County Trails Committee for discussion. Petersen reported the Trails Committee met and Dale Stapley came to the Trails Committee with a request that Emery County support Sanpete County in designating SR 264 open for OHV use. Emery County will send them a letter that would state SR 264 is open for OHV use. Mark H. Williams said this would connect the South Skyline Road with the North Skyline Road. He said , this will keep ATV's off of SR 31.
Utah State Parks and Recreation requested assistance from Emery County for maintenance work on the OHV trail from Castle Valley Pageant site to Huntington.
Petersen said, this issue went before the Trails Committee and their recommendation was to ask for participation in the use of a Trail Cat on a portion of the trail. They require this before they send the Trail Cat out to do the work. The Commission needs to make the decision to request that maintenance. Williams said, the county has the right-of-way and there are a couple of steep dug-way's that need work for safety. A written request is needed before they will bring the Trail Cat and do the maintenance. There is no cost to the county. The commission approved the request.
A request was made for the county to begin the process to secure the rights-of-way from BLM and SITLA on the upper and lower Muddy Creek Trail (OHV). This was submitted by Mark H Williams. Petersen from the Trails Committee said they recommended the county make application to both BLM and SITLA on that trail. The trail is a historic road to the Hidden Splendor area down the Muddy to the county road, the Muddy Creek Crossing. We currently have 13 right-of-ways pending with BLM. If the county makes application for this road it will take years for approval. The Trails Committee recommends the county start that process. Williams said the Archaeology study has been finished and paid for by the OHV community. This is a part of our trail system that should be open. Approval was given to start the process.
Commissioner Horrocks requested that a date be set for the county public surplus property auction, to rid the county of excess property. All departments will be requested to have their lists of excess property in for the auction before August of 2011. This is not a real estate tax sale. Mike McCandless stated that at the auction, Green River City would like to acquire a courtesy car for the Green River Airport. One of the surplus vehicles could be sold to the city for a courtesy car. No date was set for the auction at this time.
The county needs to send a letter of support to the Utah Division of Air Quality regarding High Desert Refining, LLC Approval Order. McCandless said, High Desert Refining is one of the projects we have for the industrial park at Green River. We have been working on this project for more than five years to settle on a location. They are looking at 600 acres in the industrial park. This is West of the proposed location for the nuclear facility. The State of Utah has filed a notice of intent to approve the air quality permit. Commissioner Nelson said, The notice indicates High Desert Refining has met all of the requirements for air quality. High Desert Refining re-burns anything that could come from the plant. This is a low source emitter. There is virtually nothing that would come from the facility. A letter of support was approved.
The commission approved the 2011 property tax exemptions. Commissioner Nelson asked how do we know that all of these tax exemptions meet the correct criteria. Commissioner Horrocks said, The list is made up mostly of churches, non-profit organizations and museum type entities. The County Assessor has gone through this list and confirmed the list. Each organization is required to file an affidavit for exemption with the Clerk/Auditors office. They are just filing that their use of the property has not changed from the first approval. When they are first approved the assessors office reviews these affidavits to make sure they meet the criteria for exemption.
Improvements for the Lawrence Cemetery were discussed. Commissioner Nelson is over the only cemetery that Emery County owns. Commissioner Nelson said, he made a field trip to Lawrence Cemetery. He said, money has been budgeted for fencing and improvements to the Lawrence Cemetery. The Emery County property is larger than the cemetery itself. The cemetery is on the top of a little bench. The fence is at the edge of the bench then the land slopes down sharply on one side to a wash or gully. The other side has a little pond in it. The cost to fence the entire property would be prohibitive and unnecessary. There are numberous grave sites available. You would call this a natural burial plot. There was an attempt to plant trees there it did not work. There are two hydrants in the cemetery and culinary water is there. Huntington Cleveland irrigation water is nearly piped to the location now.
The fence should be a chain link fence, that would make the property appropriately safe from animal use and to be placed where the existing fence is now. The fence has been there approaching 100 years. This is county owned property and also needs some gravel on the road around the cemetery perimeter for use in stormy weather. Approval was given to advertise for bids for the Lawrence cemetery fencing project.
Commissioner Reports: Commissioner Pitchforth, the Junior High students came to the Commission Chamber and put on a mock commission meeting. We held a golf tournament for Miss Emery County on April 30. This was to help her raise funding for her and her Little Miss expenses for the Miss Utah contest. This is very costly for the contestants and the families who spend a week at Miss Utah and the little Miss. There were 10 golf teams that participated. We did raise some money. The golf course looks great and the new nine holes should open in July. We want to thank the managers of the Golf Course and Ferron City for helping with that event.
There was a good turn out to the Outlaw Jamboree. We are having a sandbagging party at the boat dock in Green River on May 18th to prepare for expected flooding.
The San Rafael Mountain bike festival is May 20. Steve Barton reported the bike ride starts Friday afternoon and ends Sunday morning. There are over 50 participants signed up for that event.
This is the first year of the adult soccer league and sign up for that starts May 12 at the Aquatic Center at 10 dollars a person. This league is for those 16 and older.
The youth soccer league is doing very well. They have over 250 kids signed up. The swim meet has 70 participating. The Friendship Cruise is Memorial day and it depends on the water level and if the participants can get under the railroad bridge.
Commissioner Nelson: The seventh graders came into this the Commission room. I assigned them all a place, to sit in for each of us. We had a mini commission meeting. I enjoyed this very much. I went on the San Rafael Rock Art tour for the CEU Prehistoric Museum. On this tour I saw a lot of Indian writings that I did not know they were there. While on the tour I met the curator of the museum and I asked about the Indian pot that was found in Ferron Canyon. The pot was found on Federal lands and is under the direction of the US Forest Service. There are certain levels of qualifications that a museum has to have. The Museum of the San Rafael does not have high enough qualifications to have the pot on a permanent basis. They may lend it to us however.
The possibility of having a Rock and Mineral show and that pot on display at the Museum of the San Rafael was mentioned.
The Emery County Community Organization is functioning. They have no connection to local government. This is a source of donation monies for organizations seeking funds.
Water is being let out of Joe's Valley Dam and Mill Site in anticipation of an unusual amount of spring run off water.
Commissioner Horrocks: I traveled to St George with Craig Johansen of Johansen and Tuttle regarding funding for the Temple Mountain road project. We are having some difficulty getting right-of-ways on some parts of the road where we are trying to up-grade the road on BLM land. Instead of taking the chance of losing $1 million for 2014-2015 for our Temple Mountain Project. We are requesting the money be transferred to the Mill Site road project to straighten out a curve in that road this year. We have requested an additional half million dollars in the year 2016. That request was denied. That was to replace part of the money for the Temple Mountain project. We were told we would have to submit a new request for funding.
In a meeting with the HUD housing authority I learned there are some Emery County funding issues that need to be dealt with. When that program started HUD allotted a certain dollar amount for the Emery County Housing Authority Program. That amount has not increased over the years. The dollar value has gone down and it has created some financial adjustments that will have to be made to stay within that regulation.
A site showing was held on the Moore 9 road project to complete the fencing of that road. That project is moving along well.
Carol Cox, deputy clerk auditor resigned on April 4, and the county hired Christine Jensen as Deputy Clerk/Auditor her responsibilities will be Commission Scribe as well as other duties.