|Commissioner Ira Hatch.|
During the fall meeting for the Utah Association of Counties, Emery County Commissioner Ira Hatch was voted as the commissioner of the year, by all the commissioners and representatives from the 29 county organization.
Commissioner Hatch recently spoke to those attending the Republican Fall dinner.
He thanked those present for giving him the honor of serving them as county commissioner. Hatch then paid homage to the employees of Emery County government and said, Emery County employees are of the highest quality.
Hatch also said when he came into office the county was running in the red. "Now we have a balanced budget for the first time in several years. Emery County is one of two Utah counties that does not have to borrow money through tax anticipatory notes." Because of the balanced budget, they do not have to borrow money or raise taxes to pay off tax anticipatory notes. The county now has enough money to operate for a full year without borrowing.
"Brenda Dugmore was instrumental in finding ways to save and reduce expenditures for the county. A little bit saved here and there helped to balance the budget. It is easy to spend someone else's money. I have always tried to spend the county's money as if it were my own," said Commissioner Hatch.
"There are some advocating raising taxes and going to the bank for tax anticipatory notes. This would increase county government spending and place a greater burden on the citizens of Emery County.
"We have completed many good projects in Emery County over the years.
"We established a public lands council. When people have land or water issues, they can come to the public lands council and discuss those issues.
"We have representation on the joint highway commission board, on the community impact board and several other important boards where decisions are made that affect Emery County. We have worked long and hard to preserve our water rights in the county. This is an ongoing fight so that we will have enough water for any growth that may come in the future
"The real possibility of Hunter four being built, could be a two-edged sword. The State of Utah Tax Commission centrally assesses large companies like Rocky Mountain Power. These companies are not assessed by our local county assessor on property owned in Emery County. Taxes derived from centrally assessed property in Emery County has been going down hill in the past few years.
"Centrally assessed is not the utopia that it was purported to be.
"The county is now self-insured. By combining with other counties forming our own insurance program, there will be no increase in premiums this year, which is a benefit to our employees
"It's been a pleasure to be a county commissioner. We haven't always seen eye to eye, but I've always made decisions based on what I felt was important for the county.
"Drew Sitterud and I have not always seen things the same way, however we were able to work things out for the betterment of the county.
"I again express my appreciation for your support over the years," Commissioner Hatch concluded.