The Emery County Commissioners met in their regularly scheduled meeting on March 5 at 4 p.m. Those present were Commissioners Randy Johnson, Drew Sitterud and Ira Hatch. County Attorney Dave Blackwell and Sheriff Lamar Guymon were present as well.
The first item on the agenda was an update by Mike McCandless of Emery Telcom. He said, "We have three projects lined up in Emery County. The first project is in Cleveland where we will be replacing two-three miles of cable. We are replacing older equipment to enhance capabilities and growth. We are changing the way the load works.
"We are completing the removal of old telephone poles. Most all of the cable used is buried now. We are also working on an Emery Town replacement. We are installing new cable throughout the town and rehabilitating old cable. A continuing project will be cleaning up US West in Huntington and Green River. Those lines were not maintained as they should have been. We have been working on getting them up to where they should be. All projects we are involved with improve the overall quality of the network. Our employees are out working on these projects now and are ahead of schedule on these projects because of the good weather we've had. We budget each year to make these improvements," said McCandless.
Commissioner Johnson asked McCandless about Emery Telcom possibly cost sharing on the breaching of the canal to install the utility lines to the new public safety complex. McCandless instructed Commissioner Johnson who to contact in the matter.
Candace Ungerman was next on the agenda with a request for a donation. Ungerman said, "I have been selected as the only junior from Emery High to represent Utah at the Freedom Foundation Conference in Valley Forge, Penn. I sent in a resume, wrote an essay and filled out an application. I was selected for an interview and chosen to attend."
The commission approved the standard individual donation for Ungerman.
The next item on the agenda was the approval of the resolution approving transfer of the cable television franchise from Peak to Precise Communications LLC.
The next item on the agenda was the approval of the request of the Ute Indian Tribe to use the county's parcel layer platting program. Commissioner Sitterud pointed out that the program has been given out all over the state and he made a motion to approve the Ute Indian's request. The motion was seconded and carried.
The next item on the agenda was the approval to abate the interest and penalty for taxes on a hardship case. A motion was made, seconded and carried to approve the abatement.
The next item on the agenda was the approval of board members to the economic development council. Those approved for the four vacancies were Boyd Wilson of Huntington, Sharon Earl of Huntington, Ed Christensen of Orangeville and Howard VanWagoner of Elmo.
Under the citizen concerns category Rex Funk of the road department notified the commission of Cleveland City's request for help in pulling down an old house so it can be burned. "It's not a big job," said Funk. Commissioner Hatch told Funk to make sure the operator stays back away from the power lines which are in close proximity to the house and pose a danger. The commission approved the request for assistance with the house.
Funk's next question was concerning the Consol Mine opening a new portal. He said there is a lot of local interest in making a loop road for Emery residents to give them more access in the area. The Live Earth business could utilize such a loop road as could farmers and ranchers in the area. Funk's request was that the county approach the mine concerning a right-of-way across mine property.
Commissioner Johnson pointed out that the only way Consol can begin mining coal is through a new portal. Funk said he sees this as an opportunity. Commissioner Hatch said they will put it on the public lands council agenda to have them figure out what the request would be.
Val Payne of the public lands council said they would contact Consol and invite them to the public lands council meeting to explore the possibility of the right-of-way.
Marreen Casper who is Senator Orrin Hatch's federal projects liaison was next on the agenda. She mentioned the work being done to balance the budget. She said they had taken out earmarked money and that Congress was working hard to get it back in. Casper had two requests of the county, to list what PILT funds means to the county now and what full funding would mean. The letters should be faxed or e-mailed but not sent through the mail as they are just returning to their building after the anthrax scare.
The other item was the request to get information to citizens who might be experiencing cancer as a result of nuclear testing. The Emery County area was not originally considered as a downwind site but boundaries have been broadened. Any responses should be sent by fax or e-mail to Patty DeLoche. Casper expressed her hope that something would get done.
She said they are finding cancers outside the original geographic area. "The men who worked on the railroad hauling radioactive material have a high incidence of cancer among them," Casper said.
Commissioner Johnson pointed out that wind doesn't stop at county borders. Casper also pointed out that uranium miners and those who worked in the mills were also exposed.
Commissioner Hatch asked Casper what was going on in Washington. She answered politics and said currently the Senate is holding hostage 50 bills and refusing to hold hearings on them.
The next item on the agenda was the presentation for approval of the check edit list, additional claims, requisitions and dispositions by Clerk Bruce Funk. Commissioner Hatch asked for clarification on how often the contract for animal control is updated. It was determined that it is reviewed yearly. Commissioner Johnson said at some point they should evaluate costs. He said the county is paying $1,800 a month for these services. Commissioner Hatch pointed out that they haven't received any complaints on the services which used to be a problem.
Ambulance supplies were questioned and Sheriff Guymon pointed out that a glucometer is used to take blood sugar levels and they needed some new ones because the old ones had worn out. Funk was questioned on the first aid kits for the road department. He clarified that only regulated medicines are allowed in the standard first aid kits. He also explained the engineering review at the landfill that must be done each year to see if there is enough air space left for the amount of tonnage at the facility. He pointed out that a trust of money must be kept to cover the closure costs of the facility. All of the information is provided to the state for their review.
The power bill for the Horn Mountain facility for one month was $740. Commissioner Johnson said they are meeting with all the parties involved to renew contracts. GPS units were also discussed and the new units are an update from those that came out a few years ago. The new units are accurate to within five meters.
Workmans compensation is going up again and the commissioners asked Pat Snowball if she would check into getting some other bids for these services. Commissioner Johnson said we shouldn't take a big hit without looking at other options.
Bruce Funk mentioned an upgrade for computer software for printing ballots. He said they are getting an early start to make sure things are running correctly.
The Green River Annexation issue will be heard before the Utah State Supreme Court on March 12. Arguments will be made in favor of the annexation by County Attorney Dave Blackwell and Green River City Attorney, Gerald Kinghorn. Opposing arguments will be made by an attorney hired by Grand County. The supreme court may take up to a year to make a final decision after they have heard the arguments.
Pat Snowball, personnel director was next on the agenda. She said that Rosann Fillmore has submitted a letter of resignation from her position as economic development director. This resignation is effective March 23.
The commissioners told Snowball to start the procedure of advertising the opening both in and out of house. They agreed it is an important position and to begin gathering applicants without delay.
The next item on the agenda was the approval of the commission minutes from the previous meeting with a few corrections by the commissioners. The next item was the commissioners reports. Commissioner Sitterud said the last piece of property at the Huntington Industrial Park has been sold to Alan Childs.
The next item was to clarify where Emery County is going to be in regards to the monument. The Department of the Interior wants information regarding a proposal. Johnson said, "We have no full-fledged proposal yet. We are going to start the public process now. We want to put this into motion. The public hearings will begin in two weeks. We will make and exchange information until we have fleshed out a proposal. This proposal will be evaluated by the Department of the Interior. The public lands council will set up a schedule for the public meetings, said Johnson.
The next commission meeting will be March 19 at 9 a.m.