The commissioners approved a trip to Washington DC for Commissioners Jeff Horrocks, James Nelson, Laurie Pitchforth, Economic Development Director Mike McCandless and public lands director Ray Petersen. They will leave on April 24. Commissioner Horrocks said the purpose of the trip is to meet with the Washington delegation and the Undersecretary of the Interior. The county wants to keep the Washington delegation as well as the Department of the Interior informed on the Emery County Land Use bill and ask for their support to move the bill forward when it is introduced in Congress.
Commissioner Nelson also views the trip as a defensive move to make the federal government aware of Emery County's grass roots effort and the county is moving forward with its public lands use bill as soon as state approval is gained.
Commissioner Horrocks wants Washington to know that Emery County and its economic development office and public land office are all united behind the bill. Commissioner Horrocks said the people of the county can count on the commission to fight against the turning of the county into Red Rock Wilderness. They will also be passing out DVDs of an Emery Telcom show which interviewed McCandless and Petersen as they talked of the public land use bill with Randy Johnson who is the host of the show.
Commissioner Pitchforth said they are going to present a united front and there has been a lot of thought put into the trip. Johnson has arranged for the meetings with the delegation and the undersecretary.
The commission opened the bids for the bathroom cleaning at the Buckhorn Information Center. The low bid was Mike Jorgensen for $160 a month.
The control panel at the jail needs to be repaired and two bids were submitted for this, the chairman will award the bid after comparing the two bids.
Star Property Management was awarded the contract for the lawn care of the road shop and the libraries. This wasn't put out for bid this year and the contract was picked up from the previous year which saved the county money and the service is being provided at the same rate as last season. The libraries were happy with the work.
The commission set the public hearing to receive public comments on the repeal and replacement of the Emery County general plan. It will be on May 8. Planning and zoning administrator said the plan was adopted in 1996 and hasn't really been updated since that time. The plan was specific to the 2001 land use legislation the county was pursuing at the time.
Much work has been put into the new plan which deals with public lands issues and the work the public lands council has completed has been incorporated into the general plan. The plan is 231 pages with a majority of the document dealing with public lands management.
Commissioner Horrocks thanked McCandless and Petersen for their hard work on the document as well as Mack Huntington from the planning and zoning commission.
The commission approved a donation to the Relay for Life which will be held on July 13-14 at the Emery High track. Jessica Funk is the relay chairman this year.
The commission heard from Emery County Business Chamber President Tyler Jeffs. He said the chamber introduced a shop at home campaign during the holidays that's continuing throughout the year. He hopes the county can work with the ECBC and the businesses to create a better working environment for the whole county. Emery County has the highest tax rate in the state.
Jeffs said a study completed a couple of years back said a dollar spent in Carbon County circulates the county 7.8 times before it leaves the county. In Emery County the dollar is only circulated .7 times before it leaves the county.
Jeffs said he has studied the Utah procurement code and the Emery County purchasing policy. He is looking for ways Emery County businesses can get more of the county business and also for the county to purchase goods they need from local businesses. It may cost a bit more he explained, but in the long run it will benefit the county and its businesses.
Jeffs invited the commissioners to come to the next Emery County Lunch and Learn on May 16 to give a presentation on how Emery County bidders can make their business more competitive in the bidding process. Commissioner Horrocks said they would be happy to do that.
Jeffs said if we can work together then everyone can benefit.
County Attorney David Blackwell said giving local preference to local contractors can be challenged. Jeffs said if it comes to that then it was his understanding the bids would be thrown out and the project would be rebid.
Blackwell said the trend is against preference to local contractors and sometimes that can backfire too because if Carbon County had a preference for their local contractors, then maybe our contractors from Emery County wouldn't be able to get jobs over there. There is a local allowance in the purchasing procedure that allows products to be purchased at local businesses rather than run to Price or elsewhere just because the product might be a little cheaper.
Under the federal equality clause everyone must be treated fairly and know they can go anywhere and do business and be treated equally.
Commissioner Horrocks said Emery County does support local contractors and when a job is given to an outside contractor, they are asked to hire local subcontractors and to get supplies locally as much as possible. He said the BEAR program has completed research that showed if the Emery County people would shop locally there could be more businesses in the county.
Jeffs said he is starting at the county level and intends to visit all of the cities in the county and ask for their support in shop local too.
Commissioner Horrocks said they will look at the situation and move forward to see what can be done to allow the county to be more supportive of local county businesses.
Commissioner Pitchforth thanked Jeffs and the business chamber for their work in promoting the businesses in the county. She said she has been doing much research for the past two and a half years and looking at other counties and cities purchasing policies to see how they operate. "I appreciate your efforts, it can be done. This past Christmas I bought all my gifts in Emery County and all my groceries. We can shop local and get good deals, I commend you and we will look seriously at this," said Commissioner Pitchforth.
Citizen Roger Killpack said there are a lot of items purchased for the county that aren't put out for bid. Commissioner Horrocks said they try to buy local as much as possible. He said our local businesses are good to work with and they treat you good and if an item needs to be returned they are good to take it back. They stand behind what they sell. "We will see what we can do to increase the purchases in the county," said Commissioner Horrocks.
Blackwell said even though Emery County has a high tax rate the centrally assessed entities pay most of that.
The taxes are used beneficially in the county by the Castle Valley Special Service District as well as the other special service districts. The county has secondary water, libraries, roads, sidewalks, sewer systems and many other services and facilities that other counties do not have.
A change order was approved for the sealing for the floors for the low income housing project to remodel the bathrooms.
In the municipal building authority meeting bids were opened for the Huntington Senior Citizen building remodel. Three bids were received: Stilson Construction for $189,492, Arrowhead for $180,524 and Metro Builders for $184,921.80. Commissioner Pitchforth will examine the bids and meet with the engineers to compare the bids and the bid will be awarded.
PG Architects presented to the board and discussed their business which has been around for 50 years and they have designed 32 fire stations among other things over the years.
They invited the board to look into what they have to offer for any future building projects the county will do. They have several repeat customers who are satisfied with their service.