Huntington City Council met in their regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 20 at the Huntington City Hall. Those present were council members Hilary Gordon, Mar Grange, Mark Justice and Paul Cowley. Mayor Jackie Wilson presided at the meeting. Councilman Norman Richardson was excused due to a prior commitment but he arrived later in the meeting.
The first item of business was the approval of the Jan. 17 and Jan. 29 meeting minutes. The next item of business was the approval of Judy Truman as the treasurer and Jimie Dawn Jones as the recorder. The motion carried.
The next item was the public hearing to notify the public of Huntington City's issuance of the non-voted revenue bond. The city applied to the Community Impact Board for monies to install curb and gutter on 40 blocks of Huntington City. The CIB board approved $225,000 in grant and $220,000 in loan with an interest rate of 0 percent. Payments for the loan will come from the BC road fund with the first payment coming due on Dec. 1, 2004. The payments will be $21,500 the first year, $22,000 for six years and $23,000 the last three years with the loan being paid off in ten years. City officials are hopeful that getting these blocks done will help with drainage problems. They expect the blocks to be completed this summer. It was noted however that the schedule of paving 10 blocks per year with asphalt would continue and for city residents to remember that all who receive curb and gutter this year will not receive asphalt.
Kathleen Truman of the Utah Travel Bureau was next on the agenda. She said, "We have received grants for information kiosks on I-70 and in each of our communities. These kiosks will contain information about our history, culture and heritage. They will be placed on nine overviews along I-70. We want people to know there is civilization between Salina and Green River. We want them to know we do have facilities and interesting things.
"The grant included money for an interpretive sign for each of our nine communities. These can include a history of the town, heritage of your community. Whatever you want on it and wherever you want it placed are up to you. We're just here to supply the money. You many want to include some of the power plant and coal mining history since SR-31 is on the energy loop," said Truman.
Grange wondered what had happened to the kiosks that were by the cemetery. The kiosks have been put into storage by the forest service and will be brought back out in the spring. It was pointed out that the installation of the new kiosks could be done as an eagle project.
It was determined that the council would discuss the matter and appoint someone to prepare text for the kiosk.
The next item on the agenda was the approval of the city claims. The claims were approved with one question by Justice on the matter of tree removal. He encouraged the city to use local contractors wherever possible.
Candace Ungerman was next on the agenda with a request for sponsorship to the Freedom Foundation Leadership Conference in Valley Forge, Penn. She is one of 30 high school juniors selected to attend. It was moved by Justice and seconded by Grange to give her the standard donation of $50 to help with expenses.
The next item on the agenda was the approval of the business license for the new owners of the Star Theatre. Percy and Janice Mounteer of Huntington are the new owners of the business. Mounteer mentioned he would not be using the apartment which is above the theatre but had plans to possibly build something for kids behind the building. He was concerned about the water and sewer hookups to the property.
Mounteer was told that whatever plans he has for the business will need to be brought before the planning and zoning commission for approval for the issuance of a building permit and to work out any problems with connections.
The next item on the agenda was Ramon Martinez who requested that another plaque be placed at city hall with the originators who lobbied for the new city hall. Mayor Wilson explained how the current plaque on the city hall came about. The building was dedicated in 1998 at which time a new council had been put in. The plaque was on the agenda at a city council meeting and what to do and how to go about it was discussed. The architect involved said it was customary to have the name of the mayor and councilmembers in office at the time of the dedication to be put on a dedicatory plaque.
Councilman Justice said it was important to give credit to those involved at the beginning, middle and the finishing of the project. "Everyone involved should be recognized," he said. He proposed another plaque be designed with the names of those involved to be put in the showcase inside the city hall.
Martinez explained some of the work that was done in securing the grants and the land for the city hall. He mentioned Judy Truman and Carol Pilling as being instrumental in the process and their approaching the CIB many times with grant proposals. He also mentioned former councilman Lond Wakefield who helped in the process as well.
It was stated as well that former councilman Don Gordon helped to secure the property on which the city hall was constructed. It was proposed that Justice and Grange would get together and come back to the council with a proposal for the council's consideration.
The next item on the agenda was the appointment of a mayor protem. Mayor Wilson explained that in the event of her absence from a meeting business could go on as usual with the mayor protem presiding. It was proposed and passed with a unanimous vote that Grange be appointed the mayor protem.
The next item on the agenda was the approval of the transfer of the cable television franchise from Peak to Precise Communications LLC. Peak has been sold to this new company and the resolution was approved.
The next item on the agenda was the request from the Emery County Travel Bureau for a contribution. Their letter stated that they in conjunction with other organizations maintain a visitor's center in the CEU Prehistoric Museum from April 1 to Oct. 1. They wish to keep this center open year round and are looking for funding to do so. They are requesting $500 per year on a continuing basis so they can operate year round beginning with this year, 2002.
The question of what the other cities were doing with the request was brought up. Ferron City was checking into it further. Orangeville had said no and Castle Dale said yes with stipulations, requesting a member of the bureau come to a meeting to discuss the request. It was determined that the Huntington city council wanted to make a qualified decision.
Justice explained that the travel bureau receives their funding from the transient room tax. Years ago, he said, Carbon and Emery counties worked together but Carbon County broke away and hired their own full time person. He also mentioned he thought a good approach would be to man the center with volunteers and help from the chamber of commerce in the area. He requested that the request be tabled until more information could be gathered.
The next item on the agenda was the upgrading of the cemetery grave opening and closing fees. These fees it was noted had not been adjusted for many years. It was proposed the fees for a resident be raised from $70 to $200. Fees for a nonresident would be raised from $80 to $300. An additional fee of $100 would be assessed for an opening on a weekend or holiday. It was mentioned that the mayor would still have the discretion to waive the fee in hardship cases. It takes approximately four hours of manpower and equipment use in this procedure.
A motion was made, seconded and was carried for a resolution to be drawn up to increase rates for the cemetery. Gordon pointed out that people need to be reminded not to plant anything on cemetery plots. There is a sign in place at one entrance indicating no planting is allowed. It was determined that a bigger, bolder sign was needed. Truman will include the information in the next newsletter to go out to residents.
The next item on the agenda was the review of city policy concerning the use of city equipment for personal use. It was pointed out that for liability reasons equipment could not be taken on private property. It was determined that a policy would be developed so the city would have something to refer to should these issues ever arise.
The next item on the agenda was from Justice regarding improvements to the park. He would like to formulate and submit a proposal to the CIB for improvements to the little league park. Such improvements would include installing a restroom and storage building and also installing new basketball standards at the park. His wish list also included park development on the property the city already owns behind the library. Rodeo ground improvements would include lighting, replacing the roof over the seating area and possibly purchasing adjoining property for the development of a new horse racing track. "We have just looked at some areas where we would like to make some improvements and the first step is to submit an application. We need community support. The city has no permanent source of revenue to fund these types of projects. Johansen and Tuttle Engineering will help us get together a proposal and will not charge for their services until a project is approved by the CIB," said Justice.
Grange made a motion for the council to approve Justice to proceed with his plans. The motion was carried. The next item was the consideration of a proposal to allow applicants for building permits to pay money for a water hookup or turn in water shares. The procedure now is for the applicant to secure three water shares on their own and turn them into the city. Justice pointed out that it would allow for more flexibility if they had the option to pay money. Grange saw it as an opportunity to be of service to the citizens and make it as easy for them as possible.
The question was raised of what would happen if a developer came in and wanted to put in a subdivision. It was determined that would be dealt with as it happens.
Former Mayor Vernell Rowley warned that the city could be entering into an illegal agreement concerning the buying of water shares.
Mayor Wilson stated that in some training she had been to four points were stressed when it came to city government. Was it legal? Is it ethical? Is it practical? and Will it work? Each decision should be based on what will do the greatest good for the greatest number of citizens.
Justice said if the city were to get the money instead of the water shares the city could purchase water shares. The city could buy a block of watershares and perhaps get a better deal than an individual running around trying to find three shares.
Truman pointed out that the policy on the water shares has changed four times since she has been in the city office. Justice withdrew his proposal until more research into the legalities of the proposal were researched.
The question came up as to the status of the abandoned buildings on Main Street. Mayor Wilson stated a court date of March 26 has been set.
Nothing is currently being done in regards to the buildings. An asbestos sample has been taken.
A citizen pointed out that even with asbestos present an individual could take down the buildings if a mist was sprayed over it in the demolition process. However, if a contractor were to do the removal he would have to remove the asbestos first before it could come down.
Other items on the agenda included the Huntington Youth City Council, mayor's report and councilmembers reports. The next meeting for the Huntington City Council will be on March 20 at 6:30 p.m.