Emery County Commissioner Jeff Horrocks opened the recent commissioners meeting and welcomed Delena Fish from the Division of Workforce Services to make her presentation. Fish informed the commissioners she was there to talk about the Sub For Santa program.
"We need to find a fiscal agent to the program. DWS had handled all the applications in the past, but we are now in need of a new fiscal agent. Most state agencies are not allowed to be a fiscal agent. Our problems in the past have been that some of the clients who have applied for help are not being served. We want to serve everyone who applies. We are OK for this year, but there will be a problem next year if we do not find an agency willing to be the fiscal agent for this program," said Fish.
Fish went on to tell the commissioners that Judy Palmer has headed up the program by doing the shopping and distribution of the items. Palmer plans to keep doing the job she is presently doing with Sub For Santa. Geraldine Wright informed the commissioners the agency who takes this fiscal responsibility must be a 501C3 to accept the donations.
"We are just letting you know that we have a problem for next year, and we would appreciate any recommendations you can give to keep the funds here in Emery County," said Fish. She also said the DWS will continue to oversee the applications and all volunteers will remain in place. The commissioners made several suggestions of groups to approach with this request, and asked her to report back.
Commissioner Gary Kofford then explained a new county road repair agreement between Consolidation Coal Company and the county. He said Consol has a new coal lease and should the mining interfere with the road in Miller Canyon or do any damage to that road, this agreement states that Consol will be responsible for the funding to repair the road. The commissioners agreed to enter into this agreement.
Mark H Williams, representing the travel bureau, asked the commissioners to consider the adoption of a restaurant tax in Emery County. "Emery County is the only county in the state that does not have a restaurant tax in place," said Williams.
"If this 1 percent tax is adopted, the revenue would be around $60,000 for the travel bureau. We feel the public is used to paying this tax anyway, and the travel bureau will manage the funds."
Commissioner Drew Sitterud stated he felt this is a good idea. Commissioner Kofford stated this tax would only cover restaurants and not convenience stores. This revenue must be used specifically for advertising and promotion of Emery County. The commissioners approved to begin the process to review implementation of the tax.
During the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster, many of the county's employees were called on to perform above and beyond their duties. Many put in long hours that were unpaid. Following the disaster, Murray Energy sent the county a large amount for reimbursement of the county's expenses during that time.
"This money was paid by the mining company at the time of the disaster," said Commissioner Kofford, "These employees' claims have been in contention for more than a year. We have denied their claims twice and in all fairness, we need to approve these claims. I move we pay the claims." The commissioners approved to give the bonus money proportionately to those employees for their extra time. One employee will be given a bonus of $5,000, another will receive $2,500, three more will receive $1,000, and the last will receive $500.
Sheriff LaMar Guymon said, "That money which was sent to the county from Murray Energy has paid the expenses. Our request is for the remainder of the funds to be put into a separate budget. The money is there now, our request is to take that money and put in the Homeland Security budget for hazmat equipment and maintenance. That is just something for you to think about," he said.
In other business conducted by the commission, an agreement was signed to allow emergency contact numbers to be printed in an emergency preparedness book by Castleview Hospital. Consent was also given to enter into an agreement with Horrocks Engineers for a project to be completed at Eagle Canyon on I-70.
Commissioner Horrocks stated the commission and the Emery County Public Lands Council will sponsor an energy producers meeting. This meeting will enable the county officials to be better informed about the needs of the energy producing companies in the county. This meeting will be held Jan. 13, 2009.
The Emery County Commission will meet on Dec. 2 at 9 a.m. in the courthouse.