Miss Emery McCall Spears talks to the Emery County Commissioners about not texting and driving.
Emery County Board of Commissioners met May 8. The first item approved was that of nine volunteers to work for the Emery County Libraries. Randon Timothy was promoted to Corrections Officer II from grade 15 to Grade 16, for completion of POST. The Commission ratified a letter from the county agreeing to a partnership with Utah State Parks and Manti-La-Sal Forest Service in the construction of trail head parking at the mouth of Engineer and Horse Canyon along with the construction of a new non-motorized trail.
Mike McCandless gave some background from the view of the Trails Committee which identified six or seven parking areas. These trails are getting a lot of use, but there is not adequate parking along the highway. The US Forest Service has identified the highest priority areas. Those have been documented in a need request for some county assistance. There is the possibility of a matching grant to allow the construction of these parking areas to utilize those existing trails. This is a project for 2013. Some funding has been applied for from the Utah Department of Transportation. This was not successful so they are looking to other sources of funding. Commissioner Laurie Pitchforth is the one that signed the letter of agreement. The discussion centered around the letter from the Trails Committee requesting a right-of-way from SITLA for a multi-use trail off State Road 31 at Fish Creek. Mark H. Williams representing the Trail Committee presented to the commission a letter and a map. He said, "The trail will be for bikes and ATVs and equestrian people. At present bikers ride the Burma Road and have to get on Highway 31 and ride down the canyon into Huntington which is not considered safe. The state has promised help with trail improvement. The request is to put the trail under State Highway 31 at Fish Creek and up over a bridge, that will have to be built, across Huntington Creek to Stump Flat. The County and the Trails Committee would have to apply for a grant to construct the bridge over Huntington Creek. This would eliminate the need to cross Highway 31. The county could benefit by having the users of the trail cross under Highway 31 and over Huntington Creek to the trails beyond. If this request is approved and the bridge constructed. This trail would then extend from Helper to the Pageant Site.
Commissioner Horrocks said the Commission is in possession of a letter in support of this project. Dale Bartholomew trail specialist from the state has signed the letter and is interested in working with the county on the project. They will supply the trail dozer to build the trail. The Commission approved the support of this project. Maintenance of the Crandall Canyon Memorial was considered. This is the four year anniversary of the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster. Ray Petersen and Jeff Horrocks took a field trip to the Memorial site. They viewed the hand rails made of log that are starting to split. The Forest Service and the Mine Company did the initial work. Petersen is requesting $260 for maintenance of this memorial. He has volunteers from the Castle Dale Christian Men' s Fellowship to do the work. The project was approved by the Commission.
The Public Hearing regarding the repeal and replacement of the Emery County General Plan was held. This is an upgrade of the Emery County General Plan. Mack Huntington came forward to explain the work that has been done on the General Plan. By an Act of the State Legislature in 1992 every county in the state was to have a General Plan. They said, each county will have a General Plan which will serve as a directive for the county. The statute also said, from time to time make sure the plan is compatible and serves the county.
The General Plan should be updated by the county and kept current. It is the responsibility of the Planning Commission in every county to be the care taker of that document. It is the board of Commissioners who approve the document. The Emery County General Plan was first adopted in 1996. It has been reviewed a few times in the interim and some amendments and changes have been made to keep the plan current with what is happening in the county, particularly with land use.
Our biggest issue now is our Public Land Use. That document serves as a planning directive for the county to act. The first thing people coming into the county want to see, if they plan to do any kind of land use or development, is the General Plan. They will want to know. Does that document give us the directive to do what we want to do? We asked the Public Lands Council to work as a sub committee and draft that portion of the plan which deals with the public land. They did a very good job. Mike McCandless has assisted the Planning Commission in rewriting some of the other areas of the plan. The Planning Commission held a Public Hearing before adopting the final changes.
McCandless said, there have been a lot of people involved in this project, not only those on the commissions and councils, but the public as well. Everything in the document came from the public. You now have three choices. You can accept it. You can reject it, or you can modify it. This document fits the needs of the county. The Commission approved the repeal and replacement of the Emery County General Use Plan after thanking all of those that worked so hard on this plan.
A contract was approved for medical services from Lowell Morris PA-C for the Emery County Jail. McCall Spears, Miss Emery County, Presented her platform for Miss Utah, titled "Buckle Up and Stop Texting and Driving". This is also to remember Alex Brown, who at the age of 17was killed while texting and driving. She said, distracted driving can be deadly. Miss Emery handed out cards for people to pledge that they would not text and drive. She has received hundreds of pledges.
The Commissioners reported on their activities and their trip to Washington DC in support of the Emery County Public Lands Bill. They were all very encouraged by the response of those they met with in Washington. James Nelson reported on Senator Mike Lee's visit to Emery County. Commissioner Nelson volunteered to escort Senator Lee around the County and down to Green River. He showed Senator Lee the areas that were involved in the Emery County Public Lands Bill. The trip to Washington DC in support of the Emery County Public Lands Bill, visiting our elected officials, and their staffs during three days was exhausting.
We visited the Carbon Plant in Helper. We listened to a speech and the reasons from Rocky Mountain Power, why that plant will be closed in September of 2015. There are some real concerns about this closing in Carbon and Emery County. We met with SITLA and discussed SITLA lands and their uses.
We met with the Scenic Byways committee about the road from Huntington to Fairview.
Commissioner Pitchforth reported May 1 Governor Herbert was in town to honor the Liberty Kids at Ferron Elementary. He then went to see the Millsite Golf Course and have lunch with the Commissioners.
Last Saturday we had our biggest Miss Emery County golf tournament. I am working on getting prepared for our Emery County Fair this year. No one has as yet come forward to operate the Lamb Fry this year. This is a pageant year so we expect an increased number of visitors.
Commissioner Horrocks reported the meetings in Washington DC went well. We had Ray Petersen our Public Lands Manager and our Economic Development Director Mike McCandless with us. They made presentations to all of our delegation in Washington and to the Department of The Interior, Assistant Director Hays, The Director of the BLM, Mr. Abbey. They wanted to know more about our Public Land Bill. At the Big Game RAC meeting at CEU, the biggest item was the number of permits that have been dropped to improve the buck to doe ratio. At the School Trust Lands meeting the biggest concern was how to deal with large tracts of land on sale or on lease and right of way uses. The Association of Governments meeting was concerned about the Federal Governments cuts in the elderly programs, the food programs and health programs. It is evident that there will be some very deep cuts in these programs. We are trying to decide how to fund those programs.
At the UAC conference the biggest concern is the states inability to fund jail housing for inmates that are housed in county jails. That is a concern for Sheriffs throughout the state. We have to fund those prisoners and that is quite expensive. The state should be paying their fair share. Utah Petroleum Association made a presentation in Price of what they are doing to try to generate jobs and generate energy resources.
Fish Creek and up over a bridge, that will have to be built, across Huntington Creek to Stump Flat. The county and the trails committee would have to apply for a grant to construct the bridge over Huntington Creek. This would eliminate the need to cross Highway 31. The county could benefit by having the users of the trail cross under Highway 31 and over Huntington Creek to the trails beyond. If this request is approved and the bridge constructed. This trail would then extend from Helper to the pageant site.