Utility prices are on the rise again. Deb Dull from Utah Power was on hand to give the quarterly update at the Emery County Commission meeting. Dull announced that Bill Landels had retired and Rich Walje had been selected to be the new Executive Vice President. Walje has family ties to this area and as a result will be no stranger to the area.
Dull also informed the council of the rate increase now taking effect. The new increase includes a three tiered electric pricing system. During the summer months, air conditioning unit use comprises 30 percent of the electricity use. During those months, electric rates will be more than at other times of the year to encourage a reduction in power use.
"The See Ya Later, Refrigerator program that Utah Power is now participating in has taken in over 13,000 old cooling units. Utah Power will pay any customer $40 for an old refrigerator or freezer when it is replaced with a new, higher efficiency model. Since the program began, enough power has been saved to power 2,000 home for an entire year," Dull said.
The drought is continuing to effect Utah Power's forecasts of water needed. With the snow pack melting so quickly and the reservoirs so low, it is extremely difficult to project how much water will be available. As a result, if the drought continues, Utah Power may need to take more drastic steps with the water.
Over the last quarter, Utah Power has hired 53 new employees, with the majority of those coming from the Emery County area. Hunter Plant has hired 18, Huntington Plant-1, Carbon Plant-3 and Energy West has hired 21 employees.
During the meeting, the commissioners set May 4 at 5 p.m. for a public hearing concerning proposed changes the zoning commission is compiling. These changes will effect housing in the county.
Diane Tadehara of Youth in Families with Promise addressed the commissioners concerning her program. As a result of severe funding cuts, the program, which helps youth in the county, has lost all funding. She explained several fund raising events they have held and asked the commissioners about the possibility of getting matching funds.
Commissioner Drew Sitterud explained that the commission cannot donate to this program. Commissioner Ira Hatch informed Tadehara that he has some other ideas and asked her to return to the next meeting and he will inform her then.
Bert Oman, president of the Emery County Historical Society explained what the historical society is doing on the project of restoring the Swinging Bridge. Oman also explained the historical society is hoping to have Swasey Dugout listed in the national register. Before Swinging Bridge can be listed on that register, it is in need of major restoration. Commissioner Hatch informed Oman that Kathleen Truman is working on grants to be used for that purpose, but the commissioners support the actions of the historical society also.
Steve Barton, Emery County Treasurer announced that Emery Telcom has appealed its 2003 property taxes. During this process, several properties have been reclassified as not in service. This will result in the biggest refund the county has had to give this year. It will be more than $15,000 and the county has budgeted $10,000 for appeals to be handled in 2004.
Jeff Guymon announced that the county libraries will each be receiving an additional computer, with the exception of Green River as they have recently received two new computers. The Library Services and Technology Act has given the funding for this upgrade at each library.
Commissioner Sitterud announced that work on the low water boat ramp at Joes Valley will begin soon.
The water level is beginning to raise sooner this year that in the past years, so this means the work will need to be completed earlier. The ramp will be located on the east side of the lake, just south of the Sportsmans Lodge. With sediment settling in on the existing boat ramp, the new ramp is necessary to enable boat launches at the reservoir. Emery County, the forest service, the Bureau of Reclamation and DWR have all been involved in this project.
Commissioner Sitterud also announced that the recent grants that Emery County received will result in the work on the projects: Little Bear campground will be receiving 30 new aluminum tables; a trap range will be constructed near the sheriff's office; and the Huntington ball complex will be fenced, new dugouts constructed and netting over the concession area. The commissioners set a date for the May Tax Sale for May 25 at 10 a.m. The next commission meeting will be April 20 at 9 a.m.