The Emery County Commissioners met in their regularly scheduled meeting on March 19 at 9 a.m. Those present were Commissioners Randy Johnson, Ira Hatch and Drew Sitterud. Also present was Dave Blackwell, county attorney.
Maughn Guymon said a word of prayer at the beginning of the meeting and Carol Cox led those present in the pledge of allegiance. The first item of business was to add an executive session to discuss personnel matters as the last item on the agenda. Darrel Leamaster from the Castle Valley Special Service District was first on the agenda. He was representing the Emery County project review committee. He presented the project list which has been prepared to submit to the Community Impact Board. The local communities all submit a wish list for projects. Short term projects number 19 at a cost of 17 million. These projects are assigned a priority with an A, B, or C.
"This is the way the CIB has asked for these lists to be submitted to them. Emery Town has requested 11.5 million to install a pipeline, but most of the requests are substantially less than that. The medium term list is not prioritized and the entities are looking for funding in the next six years for those. There are $27.6 million worth of projects on the medium term list. I need the commission to look at and approve the list so it can be submitted to the CIB before the first of April," said Leamaster.
Commissioner Johnson commented that in the submissions the communities were relying heavily on grants and he hoped they had other alternate plans for funding and would be prepared if low or no interest loans were offered. The grant money from the CIB has decreased over recent years.
Commissioner Hatch wondered how close the total figure costs for the projects might be. Leamaster said there might be some difference but the figures were pretty close. A motion was made to approve the list for short and medium term capital improvements to be submitted to the CIB. Leamaster said he would take care of submitting the list.
The check edit, requisitions and dispositions were next on the agenda. Clerk Bruce Funk presented the list to the commissioners. A question on the cost of the gas bills at the Ferron Library was discussed. Commissioner Sitterud pointed out it was twice as much as the other libraries. The librarian present from Ferron said they would have the gas company come and check out the facility. Other questions in costs raised were the $900 gas bill at the museum and the $200 phone bill. Rex Funk from the road department explained the cost of $1,150 for the rebuilding of pumps and also the need for two windows in the office area where there is dead air space and no circulation or ventilation for the employee involved. The lists were approved.
The next item on the agenda was Pat Snowball with a request for a time and wage increase for an employee at the Ferron Library. After discussion the increase was approved. It was pointed out that personnel is the biggest expense for the libraries. Snowball's next request was for family leave time for an employee of the road department. The practice of employees donating time to an employee who doesn't have the time banked was discussed. This is done on a totally voluntary basis and the employee in need remains anonymous. The request was approved.
The next item on the agenda was a presentation by representatives from Consol. Bart Hyita presented an update. He said, "Consol operated until 1990 and the technology used was a continuous miner. We supplied coal to IPP in Delta and operated in two miner sections. We sold a blend product and the market for the product dryed up. The mine is now in poorer condition than we anticipated. We have contacted big customers in the east and midwest but we haven't had success. With the mild winter the demand has dropped off. We have contacted PacifiCorp and Los Angeles water and power for some test burns. We will look at selling smaller quantities in larger lot sizes.
"The coal is good quality and we will look to selling smaller volumes. We are a small player in the coal scene in Emery County. We are the little guy. We are a large coal company but just have a small operation in this area. This will be a disadvantage starting out but we hope to get bigger and be a long term player in Emery County and provide tax revenue for the county. We will start with local customers and do some test burns for the four major power plants in the area. We hope to get started in the next couple of quarters," said Hyita.
Seth McCourt, also from Consol spoke next he hung up a map of the mine and explained the former workings and where they hope to go in at this time. He said, "In mid-January we opened the doors to go into the mine and it was worse than anticipated. In the old workings there were stability problems. We are looking at a productive way to access reserves. The newer entries are in good shape. We will seal off the old workings and start new. We estimate there are 15-16 million tons of recoverable reserves which will be mined with a continuous miner.
"We are in favor of the proposed county loop road through Consol property and would like to discuss funding on that with you," said McCourt.
Rex Funk said the loop road would be a benefit in the area for farmers to access their lower properties and also to keep the trucks from Live Earth out of the residential areas of the town of Emery. It would also help with snow removal in the area and be more convenient for the road department.
McCourt said, "We have started the permitting on the other section of the mine." Commissioner Hatch wondered whose property the section was on. McCourt responded that some are federal lease and also Consol owned property. Val Payne wondered if the 4th East portal had been approved. McCourt said they have the approval to access coal, but are putting together the information to submit for the coal handling facility. Payne wondered what time frame they were looking at for reopening. McCourt said their goal was to be producing coal by Oct. 1. He mentioned the coal market would dictate production. But they hoped to mine 350,000 ton the first year. But, that production was subject to change.
Commissioner Johnson said, "We appreciate your coming today to give us an update and we anticipate the long awaited reopening of the mine."
Rosann Fillmore, economic development director for Emery County was next on the agenda. She said the Industrial Park board has agreed to sell what's left of that property to Talon Resources. She pointed out the Industrial Park would keep the wet portion. Talon would purchase the remaining 12.3 acres. The commission approved the agreement.
The next item on the agenda was the citizen's concerns. Eugene Johansen said he had a few remarks. He was interested in Consol and mentioned that Energy West mines seven million ton per year, Suffco-five million ton, Skyline four million ton, Genwal-three million ton and Co-op Mine just under a million ton per year. He said he had a question about the new public safety complex. He said he had looked through the books on statutes but could not find anything pertaining to what governs an open canal. He was concerned about the safety issue of annexing it and putting it in the middle of Castle Dale City. He said a fence would be needed on both sides of the canal leaving 50 feet on each side. This would cost approximately a half a million dollars. This needs to be addressed and plans made as to how to handle this. Would the water users pay? Would they get a grant? Would the county build it? These are questions that need to be addressed stressed Johansen.
Commissioner Johnson explained that the only reason Castle Dale City is annexing the public safety complex is because the State court has successfully secured funding to join the project and they have to be within the boundaries of the county seat in order to meet state statutes. Castle Dale City will be annexing a line of property to run to the jail. Commissioner Johnson described the situation as a dilemma and said, "We have to obviously be creative in dealing with the canal."
Commissioner Hatch wondered who normally would be responsible for maintaining the canal. No one could answer that question. Commissioner Johnson said that they would have to look at the annexation in a new light.
The next item on the agenda was the approval of the issuance of a business license for Genwal. The next item on the agenda was the approval of the reappointment of Mack Huntington and Ken Stilson to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The next item on the agenda was the approval of the appointment of Jackie Ungerman to the Emery County Travel Bureau.
The next item on the agenda was the presentation by Bruce Funk on the school district boundaries. They are reviewed every 10 years based on the information gathered from the census. It was determined that the boundaries were within limits and that the numbers were closer than they were previously. Commissioner Hatch made a motion to reaffirm the boundaries as they are currently mapped.
The next item on the agenda was the transfer of watershares to Castle Dale City to cover the needs at the public safety complex. The May Tax Sale was set for May 23 at 10 a.m. at the courthouse. The next item was the approval of the minutes with a few minor changes. In the commission reports the commissioners reminded citizens of the upcoming meetings on the Monument proposal. The meeting was adjourned into executive session.
The next commission meeting will be held on April 2 at 4 p.m.