Traffic speed in Lawrence was a topic of discussion at the last commission meeting of September. A concerned Lawrence citizen said vehicles are traveling by her home in excess of 50 mph in a 30 mph zone. She would like another speed limit sign to alert motorists that the speed limit is only 30 mph through Lawrence and just outside the community. There is a bus turn around in the area also and the bus drivers are driving too fast in the area as well. She said she has made a number of phone calls to voice her concerns. She was instructed by the sheriff's office to gather the license plate numbers of the speeders if possible. Deputies have been in the Lawrence area to enforce the posted speed limits there. Commissioner Jeff Horrocks said he would contact the road department and have Steve Kemple the sign coordinator go to the site and assess the situation and see what can be done. Horrocks said the signs are placed according to state statute.
One citizen said he travels through Lawrence twice a day and views the speed limit too slow through there as none of the other towns in the county are posted at 30 mph, most communities he said are at least 35 mph with 45 mph leading into the towns.
The situation is dangerous and confusing for those using the roads around Lawrence, many bikers, walkers and runners use those roads along with the vehicles and it is a cause for concern. People need to slow down in that area.
Horrocks said he will inform the citizen of the findings of Kemple at the road department and will see what can be done to rectify the unsafe situation.
The county discussed a county-wide burn ordinance with Justin Needles who is the Carbon/Emery fire warden. He said there is always a problem with people burning when the burn season isn't open. A uniform county-wide ordinance would be helpful. The Emery County fire district is made up of all the fire chiefs of the towns in the county. An ordinance will be prepared and introduced to the fire district for their approval.
If someone wants to burn out of season they must notify the fire warden and he will issue them a permit. The burn season follows the state code and is from Nov. 1-May 1 each year. Cities can adopt their own burn ordinances so they can allow burning in October. Part of the burn ordinance states a burn must be attended. Needles passed a copy of the Carbon County burn ordinance to the commissioners, they will use this as a model to create an Emery County burn ordinance. The burning of trees, limbs and brush is OK, but garbage, tires, etc. should not be burned.
If burn permits are issued then a record of these can be kept by the sheriff's office so they will know who is burning on what day and what time and this will help avoid false alarms for fire departments. The next fire district meeting will be on Nov. 14 and the next meeting for the mayors will be on Dec. 6 and the ordinance will be introduced to them at that time, prior to commission approval.
The commission approved the board of equalization changes that were made during the comment period and also tax abatements for veterans and abatements which will be paid back to the county by the state.
The commission approved ambulance billing reductions for parties who do not reside in the United States, but were involved in a traffic accident in Emery County.
The planning and zoning commission members will receive a $50 per diem for attending their meetings some of which are in Green River. The bylaws state that members of the board shall be volunteers and the per diem will cover their expenses. Mileage is paid for the Green River member who travels to Castle Dale frequently and this is permissible under the bylaws. Board members are sometimes required to attend meetings in Salt Lake.
The commissioners discussed but then tabled a county ordinance that would allow no septic tanks within 300 feet of cities/towns sewer lines. Mike McCandless, planning and zoning administrator said there is no clear process for those who want to build a home just outside a town. The planning and zoning will address this issue along with the Castle Valley Special Service District. After an ordinance is prepared and a public hearing held then it can come back before the commission.
A citizen commented that some residents inside the city of Orangeville still don't have access to sewer lines because of their location. McCandless said this is true and what's feasible in each situation must be addressed. This ordinance will be for new construction.
The commission approved the bylaws for the Emery County Travel Bureau and the Trails Committee.
The commission and Brenda Tuttle, clerk/auditor set the dates for the upcoming budget meetings with the department heads to determine the 2012 budget.
The commissioners gave their reports and Commissioner James Nelson said he attended UAC meetings and the most important issues addressed were RS-2477 roads and the litigation the state and Emery County is involved with. Emery County has six roads at this time in litigation for RS-2477 right-of-ways. He said the approach of many at the meeting was they want the ownership of all the county roads in their counties. There was also a visitor from Sen. Lee's staff at the meeting. Commissioner Nelson took the opportunity to talk of the Emery County Public Lands use bill and several people there commented and spoke in support of grass roots effort in public land use.
Commissioner Horrocks said he attended the Emery County Business Chamber Economic Summit and it was very informative. During the breakfast session, Tom Retson from Blue Castle Holdings spoke and answered questions on the proposed nuclear power plant near Green River. "This gave a better understanding of nuclear power and its safety. I appreciate the people who put it (summit) on."
Horrocks said he attended the fall UAC meetings where there was important information on public lands and medicare changes. Another idea discussed at the meetings was using the beer tax to pay for treatments of those people with addictions. Another area to watch will be how public defenders are hired and paid by counties, it is currently done on a county by county basis and there could be a uniform statewide policy forthcoming.
The bike festival at the Wedge last weekend was attended by 60 bikers. The Wedge ride is a premier ride among Utah bikers. The Little Grand Canyon Marathon was held on Sept. 10 and 500 people attended this event. Both of these events are supported by the Emery County Travel Bureau.
Commissioner Laurie Pitchforth thanked travel council employee Tina Carter for setting up a booth at the Utah State Fair and she commented on how the rural counties are the biggest participants at the state fair.
Nelson reminded everyone the Mikelson pot is on display at the Museum of the San Rafael and to visit it.
The next commission meeting will be on Oct. 11 at 9 a.m.