A public hearing was held at the Emery Town Council meeting on April 8. The council brought before the public the plans for three debris basins to be constructed to help control flooding. The basins would now cost $287,000 to build. This is a significant increase from the original price Emery Town was given. Mayor Michael J. Williams spoke to Craig Johansen about this and was told that a "50 percent grant, 50 percent loan" would be probable. This would leave Emery with monthly payments between $700-800 a month. The mayor made it clear that Emery could not handle this kind of agreement at this time and asked Johansen to seek a full grant. Williams is hoping for a $0 obligation and expects to hear from the council soon.
Commissioner Drew Sitterud spoke at the regular council meeting about public telephones. Emery is gathering information on getting pay phones installed. Sitterud contacted Emery Telcom and was informed that they had sold all their rights to the Emery area and could not legally install any phones in the area. They gave him the name of a man, Joseph Salazar, in Santa Fe, N. M. and told him to send a letter requesting an emergency pay phone. Sitterud has done so, but has not heard anything back. It was also mentioned that the Emery County Sheriff's Office wants a pay phone in the jail and they currently are working on this. He has also contacted Verizon Wireless and Cellular One to try and establish cellular service to the Emery Area. He offered to give them tower space if they would pay the phone bill. He noted that the companies are more interested in obtaining the tower that reaches I-70. They are negotiating to see if something can be worked out to give Emery citizens this much needed service.
Sitterud also discussed a letter he had received from the BLM concerning changes to grazing laws. The BLM is requesting comments by April 30 and will then hold two public meetings. The letter also gave a website that can be viewed at www.ut.blm.gov/sustainingworkinglandscapes/index.htm. The site gives this description: "The BLM is considering grazing policy changes that would provide increased management flexibility and promote innovative partnerships to improve healthier Western rangelands. These potential changes would complement the various grazing regulatory changes that the BLM is already considering which are aimed at promoting citizen-base stewardship of the public lands. BLM encourages interested citizens to submit written comments or attend public open houses in Salt Lake and Cedar City." For more information on where to send comments visit the website. Sitterud will be sending in his thoughts on the matter. There was a meeting held recently for all cities in the county regarding ATV use on city and county roads. There was a low turnout and a follow-up meeting will be held April 28 at 6 p.m. at the Emery County Courthouse. Sitterud emphasized the need to have all cities present. The meeting will discuss opening specific county and city roads up for ATV use. Sitterud said, "Let's take our time and do this right." He wants a lot of discussion to help develop an ordinance opening certain direct routes, not a "free for all." They would open roads that would be convenient in getting to trail heads and recreational areas.
The city has contacted the county about having the ash pile, an area north of town that is supposed to be for burnable dumping only, picked up. There have been some problems with citizens dumping all trash there, not just burnable items. Glenys Sitterud will send an official letter to the county requesting the pick-up.
Emery has also received the information regarding the 21st Century Community program and signed the agreement, committing to complete the program. The program consists of nine projects in areas such as culture and heritage, human services, tourism, economic development, lifespan learning, telecommunications, local governance, transportation, health care, planning process, housing and recreation. They have named Marie Anderson as their team leader for the projects.
The fire department would like to remind the community that they must obtain a burn permit before burning anything. The permits are free and there is a fine for burning without one. Farmers are allowed to burn anytime (not just during the set "burn window") but they must contact the fire marshal in Moab before they burn.
Mayor Williams noted that the city has only been receiving about $10 per day for use of the city park. He is concerned that this may not be covering maintenance costs and suggested a rate increase. Ileen Baker and Glenys Sitterud both disagreed with the increase stating that, "Everything is too expensive, let people enjoy the park."
Williams also mentioned that Emery's revenue has had a significant decrease this year. Budgets will be tight, but without any major upsets, Emery should be ok throughout the year. However, there will be minimum carry over for next year. He encouraged minimal spending.
Glenys Sitterud brought up that in order for Emery to receive any revenue from the ATV Jamboree in August, they will need to secure a route that both begins and ends in Emery. She suggested they will need to make phone calls and ensure access will be allowed before anything further can happen.