The Emery County Commissioners approved the hiring of Payne Relief LLC as a public land consultant. Emery County entered into an agreement with Val Payne which begins immediately and runs through June 30. The compensation for the contract will be $12,500, which is the money the commission had budgeted to the public lands department in the 2010 budget. An amount of $6,250 will be paid on March 23 and the other half will be paid on May 11.
Payne will report to the public lands director, Ray Petersen as needed, at least monthly and will meet regularly with the public lands council. Payne will perform tasks as assigned by Petersen which may include research, correspondence, advocacy, permitting, planning and other issues related to public lands in Emery County. It is agreed that Payne is an independent contractor for the county and not an employee and therefore is not entitled to any of the benefits normally provided by the county to its employees.
Emery County has an extensive public lands system, and decisions made regarding management of those lands continually impact county resources, planning and economics as well as its customs and culture. Payne is being hired to monitor public land management issues and advise the county on public land policy decisions.
Petersen said Payne will not be working on drafting the Emery County Land Use Bill. Petersen will continue to work on the bill. Payne will be used as an expert and will pick up some of the things that Petersen is currently doing. Payne will offer technical advice. He will work on the projects that Petersen assigns.
The commission in other business approved a $250 donation to the Emery County Community Theatre. They recently completed the production of Honk. The commission approved a business license for Buckhorn Unlimited, a business which offers photo tours to the San Rafael Swell. The commission approved the purchase of four Tahoes and one Dodge truck for the sheriff's office.
A public hearing was set for April 13 at 10 a.m. to obtain public comments concerning the new food bank project in Castle Dale. A building will be constructed on the current food bank site. The current building will be demolished and made into parking.
The commission approved the agreement between the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and Statelands and Emery County for the Wildland Fire Protection Program. The state contributes 50 percent, Carbon County 30 percent and Emery County 20 percent towards the district fire warden position.
The commission approved the use of the Emery County Aquatics Center for a free swim day for county residents on Aug. 4 to kick-off the county fair. There will be a teen activity on Aug. 5 from 8:30 p.m. to midnight at the Aquatics Center. Gaylee Jeffs, recreation director, requested the free concert be moved to the lawn at the Aquatics Center. This will be the Saturday night of the fair, Aug. 7. The commissioners discussed parking and suggested Jeffs talk to the high school to see if the parking lots there could be used for parking the night of the concert. The commission approved the change to move the concert to the Aquatics Park as long as the parking is approved.
Shirley VanZyverden was approved as a new member on the Emery County Library Board of Directors.
Commissioner Jeff Horrocks said he attended the Division of Wildlife Resources RAC meeting in Green River. They discussed the buffalo herd on the Henry Mountains and they are over the objective numbers for buffalo on the Henry's. The RAC discussed the elk and deer seasons, numbers and the time of year for the hunts. "We did attend the Bring the Green to Green River economic summit. There was a good turnout there and representatives from San Juan and Grand counties." Horrocks also mentioned the filming of two movies to take place in the area. The filing date for candidates has passed and Horrocks encouraged people to get involved in public office and he is looking forward to the campaign as he is running for commission for a second term.
Commissioner Laurie Pitchforth said she too attended the economic development conference in Green River. Green River City worked hard on the conference. There were presentations from the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce and the Moab Chamber. The city planner and developer from Panguitch City talked about pulling businesses together. The Emery County economic development council is currently working on putting together the Emery County Business Partners to work together on building businesses. Pitchforth said she also attended Festive Friday and the drug coalition meeting.
Commissioner Gary Kofford said he attended Sen. Bennett's conference and the Green River summit. He helped with the Emery County travel bureau booth at the Sportsmen Expo in Sandy. They gave out a lot of information and maps. "Several people asked where to go and what to see. It's fun to talk to the people about Emery County. It seems like the whole world wants to come and see us. The SouthEastern Utah OHV club held their poker ride over the weekend. There were several trailers with ATVs at Stewarts on Saturday afternoon. The event brought people here and they did spend some money in the county. I will be attending the BLM RAC in St. George, Wednesday and Thursday. I attended a meeting of the Utah Agriculture conservation districts. There are four counties involved with that and a lot of good information about what they're doing came out of that meeting," said Kofford.
April 8 will be the next field trip for the public lands council.