The first item of business at the recent Emery Town Council meeting was to open a public hearing to amend the 2006 budget. Several items of additional revenue were added into the budget, and no public comments were voiced. The council closed the public hearing and approved to accept the amended budget.
A Ferron contractor was next to address the council. He reviewed the process by which he had submitted a bid for fencing work around the debris basins in Emery. Mayor Mike Williams explained that the dikes surrounding the debris basins will suffer extreme erosion problems if vehicles are allowed on them. The original concept of the fence was to keep motorized vehicles off of the dikes.
The contractor explained that he had been working through Johansen and Tuttle Engineering. He had submitted his bid to Emery Town and was the lone bid on the project. As Emery's council prepared to open the bids, it was discovered that other companies may be wanting to bid on the project. The bid opening was postponed to allow for other bids to come in.
During the process, the engineering firm informed the sole bidding contractor that he was the only bid and it was accepted. Four to five days later, the contractor was informed to stop all work toward the project because other bids were coming in to Emery. "I am not happy about losing this job and I want the job back," said the contractor. "During several telephone calls to Johansen and Tuttle, and also Mayor Williams, I was told that two other bids had come in and I would not be getting the project."
The contractor went on to say that the bidder who had been the lowest was eliminated because he did not have a contractor's license. "I am proposing that I be awarded the project and allowed to do the job. I will follow through with my quote with a slight increase due to the rising cost of materials. That's my proposal," said the contractor. "I have heard from others in this same position that they have been awarded the money for the job without doing the work, I want everything on the up and up." The contractor contends that the notice to proceed he received from Johansen and Tuttle is the same as an award of the job.
Mayor Williams responded, "We began the project with the idea of preserving the debris basins, and have since decided not to follow through with the project. We ordered the materials, but never received them. We talked the situation over with Craig Johansen and it was decided that this fencing project would not satisfy our objective. In the end, this council did not make any award of a contract for this project. We did not award the bid to anyone. We have all learned through this controversial project."
A meet the candidate event was held. The candidates for Emery Town Council are Eric Anderson, Corinne Dalton and Pat Sundstrom. Each resident, as they entered town hall for the council meeting was asked to write a question for the candidates to answer. As the questions were read, the candidates were each allowed two minutes to answer. Following the question and answer session, all Emery Town residents were encouraged to get to know each candidate and their views.
The subject of a recreation center for Emery was discussed. Carol Riddle, a resident of Emery, explained the tax exempt status of city owned property according to Utah State law. "Any ground that is owned by the city has a tax exempt status. If a building is constructed on that property, the use of that building must be scrutinized carefully. A building like that can be used for any purpose the city deems, such as meetings, socials, etc., but if a private citizen is allowed to use the building, and that citizen has a business license and is charging a fee for the activity that is taking place in the building, this puts the tax exempt status of that property in jeopardy," said Riddle.
"If a part-time business moves in, the city is required to pay a privilege tax. This results in the business owner having to pay property taxes on the facility. The tax exempt status of property has its limits. Be aware that if the process is not done correctly, you could lose your tax exempt status," Riddle added.
Pam Adams, a resident of Emery, has volunteered to coordinate the formation of an emergency preparedness plan for Emery. She asked for help from the council and residents to identify the needs of those residents in Emery that would need immediate help during a disaster. She is especially concerned with those Emery residents who have medical conditions, such as oxygen use, who would need immediate attention. "I would appreciate any input from the council concerning identifying the needs of Emery and its residents," said Adams.
Gary Petty added that most people think nothing will happen in Emery, but he reminded everyone of the controlled burns over the mountain several years ago, and the smoke that settled in the valley. "There were many people in town who use oxygen and during that time, they had trouble breathing," said Petty.
The council authorized the installation of a power pole near the ball park. The pole will provide a street light and also a power hookup for Christmas lights and a control box for a proposed sprinkling system. Another action approved by the council was to increase the mileage rate to 48.5 cents to stay in line with the rate paid by the federal government.
An encroachment issue by a resident of Emery onto city property was discussed. The dispute centers around the resident storing personal property on a portion of city property that adjoins his private property. Also a portion of a building that the resident has built is on that same city property. With two surveys of the property, a 12 foot differential has not been resolved. "We will get this issue resolved," said Mayor Williams. "We are working toward that resolution."
Marie Anderson, an Emery resident and member of the Emery County Recreation Board informed the councilof the opening of the new trap shoot facility. The range has been constructed on Des-Bee-Dove Road in Castle Dale near the Emery County Sheriff's facility. The grand opening of the trap range will be held Nov. 5.
During the citizens concerns portion of the meeting, Marian Mangum asked about Emery's property tax rates. She had heard that Emery has higher taxes than other cities in Emery County. Riddle, of the assessor's office, answered that because of the city tax, which is a small percentage higher than other cities, Emery does have a slightly higher tax rate. Another concern was raised by Petty. This concern was about the city being out of water during a day the past weekend. He was informed that a water line had broken that supplies Consol. The repair has been completed and the cost of the repair was made by Consol.
Mistie Christiansen gave the council an update concerning the proposal to build a recreation center in Emery. She has been researching different types of buildings, and what would be required with each one. She also noted that soil compaction tests will be required and possibly a geo-technical investigation. Christiansen also presented heating cost comparisons for buildings of the same size and type of heat. "Exact figures will be coming, and I have ordered brochures for different types of heating systems," said Christiansen.
The next Emery Town Council meeting will be Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. in Emery Town Hall.