Delena Fish, director of the Workforce Services gave an update to the Emery County Commission in their July 17 meeting. She said not many people are on financial assistance at this time. Her office workers have been doing an exceptional job providing services to people in Emery County. She explained a program where rural workers are allowed to work on cases from the Wasatch Front. This telecommuting was started a year ago and has worked well. It enables rural workers to keep their jobs as there aren't as many case loads in the rural counties.
The unemployment rate in the county is 3.4 percent. Fish said she can't determine for sure why the unemployment rate is up, but as short term employment ends workers come back in. Skilled workers are in high demand and people need to gain the skills needed to fill these positions. The growth rate for the state of Utah is 4.5 percent and statewide unemployment is 2.5 percent. Fish said at a meeting she attended in Moab the speaker expected to see that growth level off, but that hasn't happened in Utah. There has been an influx of people into the state to fill that void.
July is the month of the 10 year anniversary of DWS and activities will be held to celebrate that anniversary.
The health department has also joined the DWS and that transition has been fairly smooth. The caseloads have increased by 50 percent bringing the total from 350 to 600 with the addition of the health department. On average the DWS takes in 30-35 applications a month, but the first four days in July, 20 applications were taken.
Fish said they are looking for employers that want to participate in incumbent worker training. This training is for employees already in the workforce and opens up opportunities for new employees to come in, too. A workshop will be held on July 30 at 6 p.m at the DWS building to teach employers how to write a grant for this program. The grants provide money for the training and the employers provide matching money. The program offers the money so the employer can get the training needed for their employees.
In other commission business they approved the fee waiver for the Emery Town ball park lights. Mistie Christiansen said the youth of Emery have raised $9,000 to help with this lighting project.
The commission will meet with Mark Johansen and Leon DeFriez who have submitted a proposal to operate the Huntington Airport. They will discuss what their needs are and then bring them back to commission meeting.
A business license was approved for April Pratt to operate a business out of her home making glycerin soaps and other items. Coyne Enterprises was granted a business license to sell farm equipment and vehicle sales contingent on them getting their state license.
The commission discussed the board of adjustments being brought back to life, it existed in the past, but all board members terms had expired. The new board will consist of Kent Wilson, Nathan Johansen, Dennis Worwood, Glenys Sitterud and Glen Johnson, with Cathy Cowley and Randy Jensen as alternates.
Where the board of adjustments wasn't functioning the county commission can act as the appellate body in granting variances.
County Attorney David Blackwell said the county has a policy in place and is required to follow that policy.
Commissioner Gary Kofford said there are two items being worked on at this time with an attorney. These include lowering the requirements from 80 acres to 40 acres and residential from 10 acres to two acres for building.
The case in question is where a property owner in Joe's Valley wants to place a cabin on 78.2 acres which is just below the required 80 acres. Kofford said this is close enough that planning and zoning could just grant the permit without a variance. All building plans, septic tank and water plans have all been laid out and approved. The commission agreed to grant the variance. The board of adjustments will be functioning after their set-up meeting on Thursday and they will handle such matters in the future.
Commissioner Drew Sitterud said Questar has put a new gas main down the road leading to the pool. They are waiving the fee involved as the pool will be a gas user when it opens.
The commission discussed an auction date for the old sheriff's office and items there in such as brick, fixtures, etc. The property was exchanged to Castle Dale for a piece of property by the Museum of the San Rafael and the county was given two years to dispose of the building. The auction is tentatively set for Nov. 10.
The commission set a public hearing for the tax increase for the maintenance and operation of the swimming pool and for the judgment levy for Canyon Fuel. That hearing is scheduled for Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. at the county building.
The board of equalization has been set for Aug. 21 in Green River from 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Commission meeting is Aug. 21 in Green River at 4 p.m. The board of equalization in Castle Dale is on Aug. 22 from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
The commission approved a resolution providing disbursement of mineral lease funds Emery County receives from State Trust Lands Administration to the special service districts in Emery County. Commissioner Sitterud explained Emery County took trade out lands when the Grand Staircase Escalante Monument was established. Emery, Carbon and Uintah counties are the only ones paying into five different funds. The percentage received by these counties should be 40 percent, but they are only receiving a percentage in the low teens. SITLA says it acts as a special service district, so their percentage of money coming into the county can go directly into the county budget and not into the special service districts of the county. The county has yet to receive the first quarter money, but it was estimated at $49,000. This money going directly into the county puts the special service districts in need of money, but the county and districts are made whole with money coming into the county.
Treasurer Steve Barton pointed out SITLA has to have that money in their budget before they can pay the counties.
It was determined that all bids from the county and departments will come into commission meeting to be opened and awarded. This does not apply to the special service districts.
In commission reports Commissioner Sitterud reported Solitude Landfill in Green River had been purchased by Transload Landfill. They are a company out of the midwest and do business as far away as New York and New Jersey. They will accept municipal garbage from the West Coast. The waste is bundled. In Europe the bundles are being extracted after 30 years and being burned in power plants.
A lot of employees will be used in the construction phase and 10 employees will operate the landfill after completion. A section of railroad will need to be constructed. They already have their permit with the state of Utah and are awaiting approval from the railroad. "The project looks good. It is a year or two out, but moving forward," said Sitterud.
Commissioner Kofford reported the bids are out for the Green River Senior Center.
The bids for the subcontractors for the pool will be opened in Salt Lake on July 23. Bids are also being taken for the Green River library roof and Orangeville library roof. A showing is also planned for the landfill electrical project.