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Emery County Commission hears from the BLM

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Emery County Commissioners met on May 13 in their regular commission meeting. Michael Stiewig, acting Manager from Vernal BLM Office and Ahmed Mohsen, acting manager in the BLM Price Field Office came before the Board of Commissioners to introduce themselves and offer any assistance they can provide to the county. Commissioner Migliori asked for an update of the wild horse and burro issue. Stiewig reported this is a national level issue. He indicated they are at 100 percent on their Area Management Level especially on the Sinbad area. They are planning to do an inventory this summer. The big question is “what to do with the animals when we do go get them.” He indicated 64 percent of their budget goes to caring for the animals they already have in holding. Commissioner Migliori thanked Stiewig and asked him to express the Emery County Commission’s appreciation for the good relationship they share with the BLM.
Ira Hatch from Huntington discussed with the Commissioners a request to abandon West Airport Loop Road in Huntington. He provided a brief history of the road and its current use. He indicated the road is currently a Class D Road which means no maintenance is provided. He described the access for adjacent land owners and how this would affect them. Hatch indicated the process of abandoning this road has been looked at several times but nothing was ever followed through. He requested the commissioners begin the process to abandon all of the road or a portion of the road.
Commissioner Migliori indicated the Commissioners needed to take a trip out to the road in question and meet with the other land owners as well as meet with legal counsel before anything can be decided. Attorney David Blackwell reminded the Commissioners the process of abandoning a road requires advertising and a public hearing. Commissioner James Nelson made a motion to continue to study this matter with Hatch, Attorney Blackwell and the other land owners.
Jonathon Johansen, Johansen and Tuttle Engineering discussed a grant agreement modification for the Huntington Airport Pavement Preservation Project. The bids for the tarmac resurfacing came in a little higher than the $72,000 grant funds that were provided for the project. The Commissioners approached the Utah Department of Transportation Aeronautical Operations Division and they agreed to modify the grant agreement to provide additional funds for the project. The grant agreement modification is now $81,000 and the sponsor match was increased to $9,000.
The industrial park contains five lots. This is the escrow instructions for the sale of an approximately 80-acre parcel of land in the industrial park from the State of Utah, through SITLA to Castleland Resource Conservation and Development, Inc. and subsequently from Castleland RC and D to Emery Refining, L.L.C. Castleland RC and D is the facilitator of the sale.
Economic Development Director, Mike McCandless explained this has to do with the industrial park in Green River. The county established a process for establishing the industrial park which included a set of instructions for how to handle the closing prior to transition of property from SITLA over to the private sector. There is a set of restrictive covenants which are required that includes building restrictions and other restrictions as noted in the declaration. These restrictions give the city and county some oversight as to what is done at the site. This facilitates the first sale at the industrial park. The refinery has looked at the declaration and are ok with the restrictions as noted.
Merrill Johansen, explained each year the Emery County Road Department performs extensive maintenance on a bridge in Emery County. This year they will be working on the Searson Bridge in Green River. There will be a site showing starting the process to sandblast and paint the bridge.
Commissioner Horrocks explained the Grant Agreement between State of Utah, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Resources and Emery County is in the amount of $400,000 toward the completion of the Huntington Creek Recovery Project. In a recent Emery Water Conservancy District meeting the board expressed their approval of the way the diversion basin is working. The grant requires the county provide a summary description of the work completed and of the cost expenditures as requested. The State of Utah also reserved the right to audit the records that pertain to the grant. Commissioner Nelson made a motion to approve a Grant Agreement between State of Utah, Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Resources and Emery County for completion of the Huntington Creek Recovery Project funded through 2014 State of Utah Senate Bill #3.
The 2014 Property Tax Exemption List was presented for approval. An Emergency Management Performance Grant Application for FY 2014 was presented for approval. Attorney Dave Blackwell has reviewed the application and recommended approval.
The County Historic Preservation Committee applied for a grant from the Utah State History, Department of Heritage and Arts to undertake local historic preservation projects under the Certified Local Government program. They received a grant for $6,000 to help do improvements to the San Rafael Swinging Bridge. The total cost of the project is $12,000 to which $6,000 will be matched in volunteer labor to work on the bridge. They have someone in place to begin the repairs before it gets too hot. The San Rafael Swinging Bridge is the only suspension bridge left in the state of Utah.
Dottie Grimes and Bernice Payne working for the Emery County Historical Society previously received funds through the Utah State History to create digitized cemetery burial records in Emery County. They applied and received funds from the Utah State History, Department of Heritage and Arts in the amount of $2,000. to accomplish the digitized cemetery records for Kane County. Because Emery County is the only county with a fully functioning Historical Society they can provide the people resources to accomplish this work, thus assisting the State with digitizing cemetery records in other areas of the state. The project amount is $4,000 to which $2,000 is in-kind work. Dottie and Bernice have received an award from the Utah State History, Department of Heritage and Arts for their work on this project.
Emery County Archives Director Shirley Begay received training on emergency preparedness for historical records protection. She applied with the state for funding to provide for this protection through emergency supplies to reduce the damage to the collections, thus minimizing the cost of cleanup should a disaster occur. The project cost is $1,415.09 to which they received $750 for the supplies and the rest will be in-kind match to do the work.
Treasurer Steve Barton requested approval of a tax deferral agreement for Alan Harenberg. Harenberg has requested an extension of payment for his cabin in Joe’s Valley. If approved he will have until November 30 to pay the taxes.
The diversion structure for the debris (catch) basin requires a radio gate that needs three phase power connection. The nearest three phase power is in a power house owned by Andalex. There needs to be a right-of-way easement between Andalex and RMP for the power line. The cost for the general service contract between RMP and Emery County for the electric service to the debris (catch) basin is $20,696. Sheriff Greg Funk indicated that everything hinges on the approval of the Army Corp of Engineers 404 permit. They have submitted an updated mitigation plan to the Army Corp of Engineers and hope to have that approval soon.
The Emery County Planning and Zoning has received a request from a title company to vacate parcel 1 of the Ivie Manor Subdivision and leave it as farm land. Attorney Blackwell indicated a public hearing is needed to amend the description of the plot through creating an ordinance. A public hearing must be advertised for two weeks. Since this is a request from the title company the County needs assurance from the title company that they will absorb the cost of posting advertisement. Board of Equalization is set for Aug. 25, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in Castle Dale and Tuesday, August 26 from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in Green River.
Commissioner Nelson reported on attending a Emery Water Conservancy District meeting where they discussed the difficulty they are having with the Bureau of Reclamation and establishing a contract to deliver water notably to PacifiCorp that generates electricity. They have a put out an initial proposed contract. They discussed zebra and quagga mussel infestation. Commissioner Nelson will be attending a meeting in Provo at the Bureau of Reclamation office where they will be discussing the infestation issue. The Emery Water Conservancy District is in the process of planning a building across the street from this Courthouse that will house the offices of Emery Water Conservancy District, Castle Dale City offices and Castle Valley Special Service District offices. The Emery Water Conservancy District is seeking funding for the Green River Diversion. At Fire District meeting they discussed a CIB application for help with brush trucks. Volunteer firefighters will be attending a training in Nevada regarding the brush trucks. The Weed/Mosquito Department was filmed by the Department of Agriculture because of their efforts with Russian Olive removal. Regarding the wild horse and burro issue, Commissioner Nelson has been asked to be point person for a National Public Radio broadcast discussing this issue.
Commissioner Migliori reported on attending a tour in Emery County with Jason Chaffetz and attended some interviews with Chad Booth, County Seat. He was grateful for the opportunity to strengthen that relationship. The Emery County Care and Rehabilitation board expressed their appreciation to the Commissioners for their help to establish the Upper Limit payment. That money has been received and Emery County should be reimbursing the county for the cost soon. The BEAR program specialist will be in the area contacting businesses in the county to see if there are any specific needs. He thanked those who help with the Buckhorn Kiosk ribbon cutting. There was a great turnout. There is an Emery County Business Chamber Lunch and Learn on May 21st st the Museum of the San Rafael. The focus of the meeting will be on the importance of being on- line with your business. He attended an Invision Utah brainstorming session at the AOG with local leaders focusing on getting their perspectives of the area and where they want to be. There will be an EMT appreciation dinner on May 21. He attended COG meeting with the mayors from the county communities where they discussed economic development and strengthening their communities. In conjunction with Archeology Week there were activities at the Museum of the San Rafael. There was a good turnout. He participated in interviews with Channels 4 & 5.
Commissioner Horrocks said they met with Keith Heaton from the CIB where they discussed projects and the role of CIB. He attended a meeting with the Seven County Coalition where they discussed projects that will benefit the seven counties in some form or another. He has spent a lot of time working with the Emery County Housing Authority helping to rehab the apartments and get them ready for inspections in July. The Weed/Mosquito Building is fully functioning now.
Steven Barton reminded the Commissioners of the MECCA Bike Festival on the San Rafael Swell.
The commission approved Michael Taylor to the Emery County Fire Protection Special Service District board representing Cleveland Town. The aquatics center hired lifeguards for the summer including: TJ Lacock, Madi Allinson, Valerie Chynoweth, Travis Fehlberg, Devin Willson, Kaitlyn Saling, Zachery Fauver and Jaxon Winn. Julie Cox was approved to be a museum volunteer. Scott Sitterud was approved to be a volunteer with the IT Department.
Kori Cook, Angela Pulli, Lee Moss, Josh Hess, Matt Mecham and Joyce Guymon were approved as volunteers for the Huntington Library. Michael Grange with the sheriff’s office was approved for a wage increase upon completion of his six month orientation period.
Cell phone stipends were approved for the following road department employees: Larry Newman, Travis Winn, Coby Hunt, Merrill Duncan, Joel Jensen, Terry Seager, Thad Morris and Steven Kemple.

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