The Emery County Commissioners met in Green River for their regular commission meeting on Aug. 19. The first item of business was the approval of the appointment of three new members to fill vacancies on the North Emery Water Users Special Service District. Kevin Jensen, Joy Barton and Mike McCandless were approved for the board.
Maughn Guymon was on hand from the Area Agency on Aging which is a division of the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments. Guymon explained that the state fiscal year runs from July to June and every year they send state dollars to be utilized by the three county area. The funds are put through a formula for appropriation to the various programs run by the division. These programs include the food services for the elderly. Guymon said funds are close to the same with a reduction of $1,600 which will cut mainly into the food services. "You can serve a lot of meals for $1,600," said Guymon.
Commissioner Ira Hatch extended a vote of thanks to Guymon for the dedicated effort he puts forth in running the aging program for the counties. The commission approved the agreement between the county and the agency for the administration of the funds for the program.
Mayor Glen Dale Johnson of Green River spoke under the category of citizen concerns. He said that Green River City has paid for the improvements to the TV communications and the city has been reimbursed by the CDBG for their portion and the county was scheduled to pay the rest of the bill up to $10,000. The commissioners approved the payment to reimburse Green River City and the action will be ratified at the next meeting. Mayor Johnson said they had to pay half of the costs up front before the contractor would begin the work and the other half was paid when they were finished.
Mayor Johnson also requested information about the water rates the county pays for their property in other cities throughout the county. Mayor Johnson said he would take these findings before the Green River City Council again. The council had voted no to a request by the county to be charged residential rates instead of commercial rates for the county held properties in Green River City. Mayor Johnson also said that Green River City subsidizes the water for the senior center so the county doesn't incur an expense for the Green River Senior Citizen Center.
Mayor Johnson invited the commissioners to the Melon Days Celebration which will be held Sept. 19-21. A golf tournament and Queen pageant will be held on the 19th and the vendors will begin in the park at noon. The parade will be on Sept. 20.
A representative from Nextel was on hand to discuss the communication site sublease. Commissioner Drew Sitterud said the item was being tabled until County Attorney Dave Blackwell had a chance to look at the contract. Commissioner Sitterud explained that Nextel wants connections on the Horn Mountain Site and the Moore Site and will build a tower for Emery which is now without cellular phone service. Sheriff Lamar Guymon also suggested they put one on the Cedar Mountain tower as well as the Castle Dale tower and this would take coverage clear into Grand Junction. The county owns the tower on Cedar Mountain.
The representative requested the county attorney send any revisions and changes to Nextel so they can be aware of any problems with the contract.
Morris Sorenson spoke to the commission about the forest service agreements. The forest service has picked up the costs to improvements on the Horn Mountain Road and the county has provided the equipment. Sorenson pointed out that these agreements help with county road maintenance costs and are beneficial to the county.
Commissioner Hatch informed the audience on the next item which was the consdieration and approval of the US Forest Service payment options. The federal government makes payments for federal lands not taxed for products taken off of the land. They run their formula and a certain percentage comes back to the county. Commissioner Hatch stressed that this program was not to be confused with PILT funding which is a payment based on acreage.
The forest service payment is divided with 50 percent required to go to schools and 50 percent to roads. The payment options include being paid an amount for the yearly quota or an average payment of three years combined. The numbers for 2001 was $19,252 and 2002 was $17,873. If the county uses the 100 percent allocation the number for this year will be $25,300. Commissioner Hatch said that now is the time to act on whether they want to continue to do the averaging or go with the 100 percent allocation. The commission voted to go with the 100 percent allocation.
The commission approved a personnel item for the clerk/audiors office to advertise for a up to 39 hours-3/4 time employee.
The commissioners gave their reports next and Commissioner Gary Kofford said the fair is over and it was a success. There are a few suggestions that have been made that will be discussed for next year. Commissioner Kofford thanked the many people who participated and the time and effort put into the event by the volunteers. Commissioner Kofford also explained the UAC wilderness proposal and whether or not the county should participate. He said the first meeting for public comment will be held on Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Museum of the San Rafael.
Commissioner Hatch also commended Commissioner Kofford and Sheriff Guymon for the hard work they put into the fair. Commissioner Sitterud said they had sent a letter of support to the Moab BLM concerning the Solitude landfill in Green River. Emery County supports the project and thinks it will be good for the Green River economy.
He also reported that on the wild and scenic river proposal that the Muddy River has been dropped from Emery to where it crosses I-70. It has a number of dry stretches and has been dropped to the Lone Creek crossing. It was noted that only the upper section has been dropped from the BLM process. On Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. the wild and scenic river group for the forest service will meet at the court house in Castle Dale.