The Emery County Commissioners met in their regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 4. Commissioners Ira Hatch, Drew Sitterud and Randy Johnson were present. County Attorney Dave Blackwell and Sheriff Lamar Guymon were also attending with Carol Cox acting as scribe for the meeting.
Louis Berg of the Division of Wildlife Resources came before the commission with their quarterly update. Berg said, "There has been a problem with the overharvesting of the large splake out of Joes Valley reservoir this fall. Several hundred have been caught. These splake are needed to control chubs. We are currently considering a change in fishing regulations at Joes Valley. There has been illegal snagging of these large fish. A public meeting will be held to gather input. More restrictive measures for Joes Valley are needed. A legal catch would be by mouth only. Biologists have observed anglers using snagging behavior and catching these fish other than in the mouth.
"Ferron Reservoir is low due to the holes found in the dam. The dam could be rebuilt at a cost of $1 million or an alternative would be to manage it at a lower level. These options are being considered.
"We would like to move the kids fishing event at the Huntington Game Ponds to possibly May 4. This change would be to increase fishing success by having the event before the pond heats up. The fishing was good in the early morning last year, but decreased as the day went on. We would like to see good fishing success all day so we are considering that change.
"Some training is being conducted for the dedicated hunters who will be participating in winter range patrols to help deter poaching," said Berg.
Dick Manus of the Bureau of Land Management was introduced to the meeting. He introduced Floyd Johnson who is the planning coordinator for the land management plan. Johnson is pulling together staff and will deal with records administration and keeping the public informed. Manus mentioned that the scoping meetings to gather public input on the land management plan have been set. Manus stressed the BLM's intent to keep the public informed as they move through this process.
The commissioners presented Manus with a gift as a token of their appreciation for the working relationship they have enjoyed with Manus in his time in Emery and Carbon counties. Manus retired from the BLM on Dec. 14.
Delena Fish of the Department of Workforce Services was next on the agenda. Fish said that her department is in the process of getting away from paper documents and moving toward keeping everything on file electronically. Fish said it is a good process which will aid in keeping information from getting lost and will keep the information immediately available. This process will also save employees time where they can be working with clients instead of doing paperwork. "We are excited about it," said Fish. She also mentioned a project with the Emery County High students where they are introduced to trades available in the area. They will also go on field trips to Bridgerland and the Price technical college as well as Snow South to expose them to what's available. There is also a scholarship program where they can apply and receive scholarships from the College of Eastern Utah.
"We are experiencing an increase in unemployment claims. The unemployment rate in October was 8.3 percent. There has been an influx of individuals with the ending of the seasonal employment.
"Utah has increased accuracy statewide from 84 percent to 92 percent. The money saved is being reinvested in the employees.
"The lease on our building will be up next November and we hope to be in our new building by then," said Fish.
Commissioner Johnson was next speaking for the planning and zoning committee's need for a digitizer. It was pointed out that the county should not farm out this type of work but invest in their own. Other counties are also interested in seeing how it works.
A digitizer is used in the tracing of boundary lines on maps. A map is placed on a magnetic table and the mouse or stylus is equipped with cross hairs which trace the boundary lines. It will be used to trace green belt as well as industrial areas.
The next item on the agenda was the consideration and approval of a contract between Emery County and State History for the ongoing support grant for the Emery County Archives.
Jeff Guymon was next on the agenda. He explained that the library money from the federal grant in the amount of $7,533 was used for various expenses and for the purchase of four laser printers which will be placed in four of the city libraries with the other four libraries receiving new laser printers next year.
The grant money received next year will help in upgrading the card catalog system which can be searched on the web. The federal grant is in the amount of $34,500 with the county match in the amount of $11,750. Guymon pointed out that these updates will eliminate several problems, reducing the amount of time involved in connecting to the server and reducing the maintenence fee of the libraries.
The disposal of the county owned house in Ferron was next on the agenda. Commissioner Sitterud said, "It has been determined that it is in the best interest of the county to dispose of the house. It has been assessed for $74,248."
County Attorney Blackwell pointed out the need to notify adjoining property owners of the impending sale of the house. The county will be accepting sealed bids for the house after which the bids will be opened on Jan. 22 at 9 a.m. Commissioner Johnson pointed out the need to review the proper disposal procedures for this type of an action. Commissioner Sitterud said he will conduct tours of the property for interested individuals.
The next item on the agenda was the consideration and approval of the contract for indigent defense counsel service. This fund is payed into every year. Commissioner Hatch clarified the defense counsel fund by explaining that a big ticket item such as a capital murder case could cost a county big bucks. But if the county is covered by the fund then they do not have to pay for the defense counsel for such a case.
The next item on the agenda was the approval of the 2002 Commission Meetings and the holiday schedule. These schedules were approved by the commission.
It was pointed out that the Utah Association of Counties recommended to its members to hold their meetings on Tuesdays so meetings could be coordinated throughout the state. The Emery County commissioners already follow a Tuesday meeting schedule.