How transient room tax is collected was discussed by the Emery County Commission on May 18. Currently the Utah State Tax Commission collects the TRT monies. The Utah Association of Counties is forming an agency to collect the TRT. Grand County collects their own TRT money and has had success doing that, in additional funds being collected. The UAC agency will keep 1.5 percent of the total tax to do the collection and take care of the paperwork. TRT monies are to be used to promote tourism and can also be used for museums.
The commissioners approved a public hearing to be held on June 15 at 10 a.m. to discuss the installation of an ordinance to have UAC collect the TRT funds for the county.
Commissioner Gary Kofford pointed out that one advantage to going with UAC would be that the county would receive the interest for the money collected.
A position on the Emery County Travel Bureau has been vacated and advertisement for a replacement will begin. Doug Richards has resigned and the position will be filled with someone from Green River. The vacant term will expire in December 2005.
A right of entry was approved for SITLA to conduct a seismic survey on their land east of SR-10 and I-70. There will also be a 30 day public comment period on the seismic survey.
The next item discussed was the museum employees. The Green Thumb program has reduced funding and will only be able to keep one employee. It has been proposed that the county pick up the other former Green Thumb employees and put them on as county employees, beginning at minimum wage, less than 20 hours per week with no benefits.
It was determined that the museum director, Jan Petersen would work with personnel director, Pat Snowball to work out a job description for the museum positions. At the current time the pioneer museum is being operated solely by volunteers.
Brittany Ungerman made a request for a donation to attend a Cheer Hawaii USA camp. She was directed to the recreation district for a donation.
A letter to the BLM concerning the rehabilitation plan for the historic Swinging Bridge was approved. Rotting boards on the bridge will be replaced and the bridge will be painted. It is the goal of the historical society to insure the bridge's safety while leaving it as natural as possible.
The Cleveland and Elmo libraries are in need of hand rails to be ADA compliant. Road department employees will install the hand rails as they have time on Fridays and Saturdays. Commissioner Kofford said they need to be installed by June 22. Commissioner Hatch mentioned the road department employees had installed the hand rail at the courthouse and had done a good job.
A concern was expressed about parking at the museum, a need for painted lines was discussed and will be taken up with Castle Dale City.
Notification was given of the resignation of Marlin Eldred, economic development director. He will be taking a position in Jerome, Idaho. The matter will be taken before the board to decide on a plan of action for recruitment. Commissioner Sitterud thanked Eldred for the work he has done in the county.
The commissioners gave their reports on where they have been and what they have been working on; Commissioner Hatch reported he had attended a meeting at the Huntington Airport on the airport plan. A preliminary report was given as to the progress being made there. A few suggestions and corrections were made to the preliminary plan. A public hearing will be held at a later date. Improvements will include widening the runway and improved lighting will be installed in the future.
Commissioner Hatch mentioned the improvements already taking place at the airport; things have been cleaned up and Rob Midgley, airport director, is offering scenic flights, courier service, charter flights and he has been working with the search and rescue as needed.
Commissioner Hatch reported on some improvements which will be made on the road from Orangeville to Ephraim above Joes Valley. There is deterioration at the third switchback up and as a federal forest highway this road is eligible for funding for repairs. A preliminary plan is being prepared now and construction expected to take place in 2005.
Commissioner Hatch said that David Shaver from Genwal had been in to discuss plans at the mine. They have purchased the Crandall/Little Bear lease behind the old Swisher #4 mine and will be harvesting the coal there. Swisher originally backed out of the area because the coal was low. Current technology makes it more feasible to recover the coal and a longwall has been purchased which will take care of low coal. Plans are also underway to open a portal on the south side of the canyon.
Commissioner Kofford said he had attended the DOGM comment meeting on the Rilda Canyon breakout for Energy West Mining. He said the meeting was sparsely attended, but he had only heard favorable remarks. The forest service also held their meeting on their resource management plan revision. Part of the plan includes the wild and scenic river issue. Two stretches of the Huntington River are currently in the wild and scenic process. The Left Fork of the Huntington is being considered for a scenic designation and the Right Fork from Electric Lake to the forest service boundary is being considered for a recreation designation. The forest service is still looking for input.
Commissioner Kofford also met with UAC representatives and discussed the centrally assessed businesses and they also met with PacifiCorp who indicated their valuation statewide is up a little from previous years. PacifiCorp indicated there wouldn't be a tax appeal at this time.
Commissioner Sitterud reported that construction of the low water boat ramp at Joes Valley will be postponed until October, as the area is now underwater.
The lawn at the care and rehab facility in Ferron will be reseeded.
Commissioner Sitterud attended Utah State Parks meetings held at Green River last week and he said they pushed the idea of adding the nine holes to the golf course.
There is a problem in how the golf carts will get across the main road to access the back nine. Possible solutions are being looked at by the parks board.
Commissioner Sitterud said the mineral lease payments are coming in on time and going well since, Randy Johnson was appointed to manage the mineral lease committee at the state level.