The Emery County commissioners began a process to outlaw spice within Emery County. Commissioner Gary Kofford said two of the commissioners met with the Council of Governments which includes the mayors from all of the cities in the county. Representatives from the Emery County Sheriff's Office were there along with personnel from Four Corners Behavioral Health. Kofford explained that spice is known by several names. It is ground up weeds and plants which in themselves are not harmful, but the weeds are sprayed with a variety of chemicals which make the product dangerous. It is sprayed with 13 different chemicals and the product is smoked or ingested. It causes a hallucinogenic response in the user and drunk behavior. With no laws in place the sheriff's office has been in a quandary as to what to do. Problems became apparent when someone in Huntington was selling the product in the vicinity of the local elementary school.
Sheriff LaMar Guymon said damage to users is similar to marijuana, but it is more dangerous than marijuana. "There is nothing good in it." commented the sheriff. Green River and Huntington have passed ordinances against spice at the current time. All of the cities need to pass an ordinance as well as the county.
Sheriff Guymon said, "We expect the Utah State legislature will pass laws concerning spice in their next session, but that could be later next spring. We don't want to wait that long to address the problem. Spice is a relatively new drug. We encourage all the cities and the county to adopt the same ordinance. We have been using a draft of the Ogden City ordinance as a model."
Commissioner Jeff Horrocks said he has been in contact with State Senator David Hinkins and Rep. Christine Watkins to ask for their support in pushing through spice legislation in January. It might take awhile to get legislation in place. Horrocks agreed that with the sale of the product to elementary age students and junior high students that the problem needs to be addressed now and the county should move forward with an ordinance to ban spice.
Kofford said a recipe for spice is available on the internet and a group in the county has been producing spice. It has chemicals similar to those found in methamphetamine.
The county will proceed with advertising a draft proposal when it is ready to seek public comment and hold a public hearing on the matter.
In other commission business Joyce Guymon was approved as a library board member to replace Beulah Oveson who retired.
Dates for budget meetings have been set for Oct. 26 immediately following commission meeting. On Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 beginning at 9 a.m. budget meetings to go through all department budgets will be held. On Nov. 23 another budget hearing will take place. The 2011 budget must be approved and in place by the last commission meeting in December.
The commission approved the resolution requesting recertification of the Emery County Justice Court, first precinct in Castle Dale and second precinct in Green River.
The new food bank construction is continuing and a change order was approved for the placement of heavier footers than originally designed. The additional charge is $805.
The commission approved the cooperative law enforcement agreement between the sheriff's office and the US Forest Service. The contract is good for five years.
The commissioners talked of putting a policy in place to cover out of the country travel by county employees. The question arose when travel bureau secretary Tina Carter was invited to attend an outdoor travel show in Canada next spring. San Juan County has focused on international travelers and they have increased the room nights at a motel in Monument Valley from 16 room nights to 1,600 in three years time. Horrocks said an international campaign can increase our tourism and transient room tax monies. But, unless a policy is in place to address out of country travel, the county can't take advantage of these opportunities. A committee will be appointed to draw up a policy for commission approval.
Kofford asked Commissioner Laurie Pitchforth if she will put together a county gift for the annual Utah Association of Counties convention. The gift should reflect the personality of Emery County and a budget of $300 was approved for this item.
The commission met with the forest service on the canceling of current easements for Reeder Road and to issue new easements pertinent to the new alignment of the road.
The county will sell its used ambulance to Royce Ambulance out of Parowan for $6,000. This price is more than the $3,000 the last ambulance sold for when it was taken to the auction. The commission approved a tax abatement for a property in Orangeville.
Sheriff Guymon said they are working on the contract for law enforcement in Range Creek. The attorney for the University of Utah is drawing up a contract which David Blackwell, county attorney will examine. The UofU will pay for salary, vehicle and expenses for a law enforcement officer for Range Creek. Kofford instructed the sheriff to look at the overhead involved in the cost of a deputy and insurance.
In the commissioner reports, Pitchforth said the care center remodel is finished and the open house and ribbon cutting will be on Oct. 13. The care center personnel are so excited and the building looks nice. Huntington City is having an Oct.festival on Oct. 16. Castle Dale is hosting a pumpkin party on Oct. 28. Banasky Insurance in Price is offering free pumpkins to elementary aged children. Other people can get a pumpkin with a donation to the Angel Tree program, or you can go to the Banasky pumpkin patch in Green River and pick out your own pumpkin.
Horrocks reported the back country pilots flew in to the Huntington Airport and spent three days. There were 60 planes and 55 local youth were able to take a ride in an airplane. The Civil Air Patrol had 10 cadets present and they were directing airplanes in and out and also helped serve food and clean-up. It went well and the pilots said they are coming back next year.
Horrocks reported there will be new regulations coming concerning chemical spraying for weeds and mosquitoes near water. The new sprinkling systems are causing new concerns for weeds and mosquitoes. Horrocks said he attended an open house for an updated Savage Coal terminal facility on Ridge Road.
Kofford reported the food bank building is progressing. Work at the airport on the house is almost complete and it still needs gas and some electrical work. A fence will be put around the new house. The work on the metal building at the sheriff's office is continuing. A training room is being constructed as well as offices for the ambulance director and communications director. The weight room will have plywood put up before the sheet rock. It is coming along well reported Kofford.
The commission had a meeting with the BLM concerning roads and obtaining Title 5 on the air strips. It was a good meeting and the county asked the BLM to put a priority on the Little WildHorse road so the county can complete the chip seal and the work began last spring which was stopped because of a cactus in the area. The county is also asking for crossings at the washes. Four washes in the area have a tendency to wash out the road. They also discussed improvements at the intersection to the Goblin Valley road.
It was also reported there may be some negotiations in the litigation on the BLM Resource Management Plan being protested by SUWA and other environmental groups. SUWA has proposed some road closures, not the BLM. The BLM wanted to make sure the public understands these road closures are SUWA proposals.
The next commission meeting will be on Oct. 26 at 9 a.m.