The Emery County Commissioners met in their regularly scheduled meeting on July 2 at 4 p.m. Those present were Commissioners Drew Sitterud, Ira Hatch and Randy Johnson. County Attorney, Dave Blackwell and Sheriff Lamar Guymon were also present.
The first item on the agenda was the approval of the check edit list, additional claims, requisitions and dispositions. A question was brought up by Commissioner Sitterud on the purchase of flags, which had different totals. These figures will be double checked for accuracy. The purchase of an ambulance for Green River was approved. Sheriff Guymon pointed out that they had a grant for $25,000 to help with the purchase price of the ambulance.
Pat Snowball was next on the agenda with the personnel items. She asked for the approval of new road department employee, Brandon Conover. He will be a lube specialist.
The next item on the agenda was the appointment of a new board member to the Castle Valley Special Service District to fill the remainder of the term for Eugene Johansen. The CVSSD did not make a recommendation but pointed out they choose people to represent the various regions in the county. Johansen was from Castle Dale and the board recommended an appointment of someone from the central portion of the county. The commission approved the name of Tom Humphrey for the position.
The next item of business was the appointment of a new board member to fill the vacancy on the Emery County Water Conservancy District. The district recommended the appointment of Craig Johansen to fill the position left vacant by Eugene Johansen. The commission approved the district's recommendation of appointing Craig Johansen to the board.
The next item on the agenda was the discussion of the Emery County Foundation's request for tax exempt status. Kent Petersen from the foundation addressed the commission. He said the foundation is used to obtain money to help the entities of Emery County. They have been in existence for eight years. Their largest acquisition has been the donation of the old house on the corner of Center Street and Main in Castle Dale. This house is now being used for the offices of the foundation and the Chamber of Commerce. The house is in the process of being remodeled. It will also be used for a visitor's center. The front rooms of the house will be used as a folk art gallery where local folk artists can display and sell their goods.
Commissioner Hatch said the foundation is involved in bringing good things to the county and should be granted tax exempt status. This recommendation for tax exempt status was approved by the commission.
The next item on the agenda was the consideration and approval of interest and penalties abatement for a citizen. This citizen has been making payments on past taxes owed to the county. A motion was made and approved to abate the penalties and interest if he pays the full tax amount by Aug. 15.
The next item on the agenda was the discussion of support for a regional hazard mitigation plan and appointment of committee members. Glen Vernon was on hand to inform the commission on the plan. He said the hazard mitigation is a predisaster plan. They want to bring Emery County into the planning process. A regional plan will be developed and will become part of a statewide plan. It is now a requirement for each of the states to have a hazard mitigation plan. This is not the same as an emergency response plan which deals with an event after it happens.
Since 1993 the federal government has spent money going into help with natural disasters. In some areas they have been going back in to replace the same property more than once in the same spot. It hasn't been cost effective. The message the federal government is sending is if the states want to receive funds they need to take steps to reduce the impact. The assistance of the governor has been enlisted as well as appealing to all the counties and cities to appoint people to sit on these ad hoc committees. These committees will identify hazards in each county or community and formulate plans to mitigate damage. Potential dangers in rural areas such as Emery County might include fires, radon gas, land slides and others. Risks would be assessed and potential loss and steps would be put into the plan to mitigate losses.
The federal government could use the potential threat of not sending funds to those areas without that plan. The county commission determined they would have their attorney read through the paperwork and they would put a recommendation together for an appointment to the committee. Vernon pointed out that it is a voluntary program and they have until November of 2003 to get it done. He requested an appointment to the committee who has experience in planning and zoning and public works. He again pointed out the government's funds are contingent on having that plan in place.
The next item on the agenda was the renewal of a 90 day employee contract for history grant special projects. Kathleen Truman was next on the agenda. She said they received three bids for the community kiosks and the one for Cleveland/Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. She recommended they accept the bid by Interpretive Graphic Signs and Systems. "They do quality work and are well within the budget," she said. The next item of discussion was the extension of the state history grant to June 30, 2003. Truman said they hope to have the community kiosks finished in September. She also mentioned the cowboy poetry book is moving along and they are trying to complete it by fair time.
The next item for consideration was the discussion of fire restrictions on county lands. They mentioned in meetings with the forest service and bureau of land management they were told some testing of the moisture content in plants had been done. If a plant goes below 12 percent moisture then it is considered critical. Plants right now are testing at 0 percent moisture. No open fires are currently being allowed in the state of Utah. The commission recommended that all citizens observe these restrictions.
The next item of discussion was the Green River Annexation where the Supreme Court ruled in Emery County's favor on every single point. The boundary is set as the current boundaries of Green River City. Attorney Blackwell said that county recorder Dixie Swasey said the best way to deal with the transfer of property would be to send the current deeds up to Emery County, rather than get a history on each piece of property. Swasey said she has a good working relationship with the Grand County recorder and doesn't anticipate any problems with the transfers.
Commissioner Johnson said they will work to rebuild relationships with Grand County. "It has been quite a process with Emery County providing services to Grand County residents for quite some time. Law enforcement, education and a lot of other issues. This was a complicated issue and this is a good solution." The next item of business was to approve the contract with Utah Power for service at the new public safety complex. Castle Dale Mayor, Neal Peacock said they are pushing forward on the annexation of the public safety complex land into Castle Dale City and it was headed for approval at the next city council meeting.
Commissioner Hatch said they had met on the airport apron parking lot project. The county is working in connection with UDOT on the project. Nielson Construction was the low bid and will begin the project soon with a completion date of Aug. 13.