The Emery County board of Commissioners held a public hearing to receive comments regarding the issuance of revenue bonds by the Castle Valley Special Service District for constructing water system improvements which include the installation of new automated water meters. Castle Valley Special Service District Manager Jacob Sharp reported the water meters are something the cities have wanted and worked towards for several years. This will free up time for city workers and make the meter reading process easier. Water meter reading stops during the winter months and this new process will enable the workers to read throughout the winter. An antenna will be attached to each new meter and the meters can be read without leaving the vehicle. One problem in the past is if a customer has a leak it isn't discovered until spring and by then the water bills have piled up through the winter. Any changes in water consumption will be detected and the customer can be alerted.
Instead of having each city approach the CIB individually the project was pursued by the CVSSD. The CIB denied the request for grant money for the project but they agreed to a 0 percent loan for the district. Two bonds are being issued one for $381,000 general obligation bond and $382,000 for another bond which will be paid for with the water rate increase to those users in the district.
Sharp said a public hearing on the rate increase was held in June and the increase was advertised as required by law.
The billing method will stay the same with billing for 1,000 gallons of water used. The meter will also store water usage data back 40 days. It can also detect leaks and send a leak warning back to the meter reader. "There are some neat features. The meters are similar to what the power company just did," said Sharp.
The bonds were approved.
The commissioners reported there is an opening on the aging advisory council and the position will be advertised for the representative who should be from the Ferron, Clawson or Emery area.
Josh McKell and Ryan Hatch from the Utah Local Government Trust presented information concerning their rates and coverage options for the county to the commission.
The commission signed a 10 year contract with Four Corners Behavioral Health to provide mental health services in the county.
The commission approved an agreement between the Emery County Sheriff's Office and Fatpot Technologies for the license for software. Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk said this is the software that will allow a mobile office in each of the deputy vehicles.
The commission approved the upgrade for cell phones for the road department workers. There will be four phones.
Under citizen concerns Alfred Oliver spoke saying his ancestors helped to settle Emery County. It's been his dream to have his kids come back to Emery County. "The way you guys hit them was unfair. You can talk about the ACLU and inexperience, but it's not what you know but who you know," said Oliver.
Commissioner Horrocks thanked him for his comments.
Val Payne spoke under citizen concerns regarding the decision record by the BLM issued for the abandoned mines on the San Rafael. He feels the document is inadequate. The agencies don't cut anyone any slack for projects going through the NEPA process so they should hold themselves to the same standards in the evaluation process. In the analysis of significance of impacts they list the closure of the mines as a public safety benefit, and list the mines as detriments to public safety. Payne wondered where the documentation is for the public safety risks to the public. The BLM themselves failed to comply with NEPA. In the public comments people spoke against the mine closures, but the BLM is going ahead with them.
The decisions record also says that there are mine openings close to I-70 which makes the risk higher, but that alone is an inadequate explanation and where is the risk assessment? One of the requirements of NEPA is to address levels of controversy. Payne said he has concerns with this process and feels the BLM has discounted the public's opinion. It's a disservice to Emery County and its historical values.
Commissioner Jeff Horrocks asked for other concerned citizens. Jody Christensen from the Green River Conservation District said there are delineator posts along North Long Street and it makes it hard for the farmers to drive their equipment along that road. Horrocks said the road department will look into the matter.
In the commission reports, James Nelson reported all three commissioners attended Utah Association of Counties training. They were trained on important issues concerning green belt, energy and public lands use.
Commissioner Laurie Pitchforth reported the meetings were informative and she also met with Gov. Gary Herbert and spoke with him on issues concerning Emery County.
Commissioner Horrocks reported he attended tourism coalition meetings concerning TRT and other related tourism taxes. The commissioners also met with Rep. Jason Chaffetz when he was in the Price area and they discussed mineral lease issues.