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Emery County Commission discusses issues


The Emery County Commission met in their regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 19 at 9 a.m. in the commission chambers. Those present were Commissioners Randy Johnson, Drew Sitterud, Ira Hatch and Emery County Sheriff Lamar Guymon and County Attorney Dave Blackwell.
The pledge of allegiance was recited and the opening prayer was given by Commissioner Sitterud. The first item on the agenda was the consideration and the approval of a financial contribution to the Quivira Coalition Grazing Conference to be held on Dec. 13 in Moab. Commissioner Hatch said it would be beneficial to support the conference and a contribution of $250 was approved.
The next item on the agenda was the consideration and approval of a financial contribution to the Green River High School Close-up participants. The Close-up program takes students to Washington D.C. to learn about the Senate and the House of Representatives. They watch them in action and meet with the senators and congressmen from Utah. The participants also tour Washington D.C. A $250 contribution was approved.
The next item on the agenda was the approval of a tax abatement for a citizen. It was pointed out that the deadline for indigent tax abatements is Sept. 1 and forms can be picked up at the courthouse. Abatements after this time are at the discretion of the commission.
Rick Benson representing the Baptist Church in Ferron was on hand to discuss their property and the buildings under construction there. He said the buildings were incorrectly described and wanted to correct that information. The buildings are not part of the church and are taxable. The buildings are listed as being partially complete. The buildings belong to a separate organization and are not part of the church.
The county assessor, Jim Fauver measured the buildings. He said the taxes can be abated at the discretion of the commission.
The property and buildings are used as a camp and retreat for young people. A leadership program for churches across the nation and for Utah and community youth. The youth learn leadership skills, horsemanship and work ethic. The camp is funded with donations and volunteer labor for construction. An arena and a lodge are under construction. Participants pay a small fee for participation which covers the insurance and the food during their stay. They work on the buildings until the money runs out and then construction ceases until more funds become available. Benson said that the horses are a big part of the program and that when the facility is completed they would like to hold horsemanship camp for young people in the community.
Commissioner Hatch made a motion to abate 50 percent of the taxes as a commission abatement. The motion carried.
The next item on the agenda was a tax abatement for a home in Ferron, due to the owner’s illness.
The next item on the agenda was Mayor Glen Dale Johnson from Green River. He said they had met in Green River with the travel council and discussed the money coming into the county from the transient room tax. Anticipated monies collected from the transient room tax in the portion of Green River which was formerly Grand County is approximately $120,000.
The mayor requested that the commission remember where the money is generated and return a large portion of it back to the city. The impacts of the motels and restaurants are concentrated in Green River City. The appraised value of the Grand County property is approximately 18 million. It was 16 million when an independent economic study was completed by John Groesbeck, since that time another motel has been added to the valuation.
Mayor Johnson went on to explain the costs which Grand County covered and those presently covered by Emery County. He also presented the budget requests from the Green River Clinic and the Green River Community Center.
Commissioner Johnson said they will look hard at the transient room tax and they know the importance of having it go back to the source, but to realize that there will be some gaps.
Mayor Johnson expressed his appreciation and that of the city to Commissioner Johnson. He said Commissioner Johnson is truly leaving things better than when he started. “Thanks for all your help and good luck in all you do.”
Under citizen concerns the matter was brought up of some county owned property in Clawson that the city would like to use to make a ball field. Commissioner Sitterud recommended that the county go through the process to let Clawson go ahead with the ball field. Commissioner Hatch recommended issuing them a quick claim deed to the property.
The next item on the agenda was the consideration and the approval of the commissioner adjustments for the board of equalization. The first one was concerning a house owned by the Four Corners Mental Health in Huntington. The house is being used by a family and they live there with reduced rent during a transitional time. The abatement of taxes on this house was approved. Two adjustments were also made for trailers which are in bad repair. Commissioner Sitterud recommended they accept all of the board of equalizations and the motion carried.
The next item on the agenda was the approval of the contract with the state history. Kathleen Truman said this contract approval was needed to keep the process up to date.
The next item was the approval of the renewal for the Huntington Airport contract. It was determined that the contract would be looked at and evaluated and considered for a longer period of time. In the past contracts have run for four or five years. A longer contract would also help the operator to secure long-term contracts. Currently the operator is pursuing contracts with gas and utility companies to fly their lines.
The next item on the agenda was the opening of the bids for the construction of a roof over three bays at the sander shed. The bid from Stilson Construction was accepted for $8,971. Rex Funk from the road department explained that the money was in their budget and they also had some funds left over for fencing and other repairs.
The next item on the agenda was the consideration and the approval of the contract with the state of Utah for $27,270 for funding of work on the RS-2477 right of ways. Commissioner Sitterud said the money will be used to finish up what they currently have going and that this will be the end of the grant money.
Commissioner Hatch pointed out that a new chair for the RS-2477 state committee will be appointed by the governor. Concern was expressed that Emery County will no longer have someone on that RS-2477 committee. Commissioner Johnson was on the committee and now someone will need to be contacted to see what can be done about getting an appointment to that committee from our county.
The next item on the agenda was the presentation of the check edit list, additional claims, requisitions and dispositions by Clerk Bruce Funk. Commissioner Hatch said that any more expenses that are trickling in from the fair should be brought before the commission. A digital reader was approved for the recorder’s office. Dixie Swasey said they will be receiving thousands of prints from Grand County for the annexation and the microfilm reader they have now is worn out. The bid was accepted for the bid that came with a maintenance agreement attached.
Pat Snowball was next with personnel matters. She said they will be advertising for a 10 hour position at the Elmo Library. She also requested the approval of the appointment of Shawnee Barnes to the GIS department for a 90 day contract. Clifford Kemple was also approved for a temporary position with the road department. They will be working on laying pesticides down. Also, she presented Ray Petersen for approval as the new public lands administrator and Marlin Eldred for a six month routine pay increase.
Sheriff Guymon presented the requests from the Sheriff’s Office. They are currently in the process of interviewing for a position vacated by Jeremiah Johnson when he moved to the drug court. The positions of two officers who resigned are also being filled. Sheriff Guymon said they would like to fill one of those positions with a matron position. He suggested moving their secretary who has experience in that area into that position and then filling her current position as secretary. The commission accepted the sheriff’s recommendations.
The next item discussed was the county vehicle policy. It was determined that most of the Utah Association of Counties recommendations are common sense and things the county already has in place. The policy as it applies to the sheriff’s office will be adjusted and looked at again.
The commissioner reports were next on the agenda. Commissioner Hatch expressed concern with the way the water situation with the Skyline Mine is currently being handled. He said meetings with separate entities have been held and he feels the issue can be more adequately addressed if everyone meets together to see which direction the study will take. Commissioner Johnson said he had just sat through six hours of meetings where the same old material was rehashed.
Commissioner Johnson said that Commissioner Hatch has been elected to the board of UAC. Sheriff Guymon has been elected as first vice president of UAC for the year which means he will take the position of president next year. Commissioner Johnson also commented that a sheriff has never been the president of UAC.
Commissioner Sitterud said they will be meeting with the department of natural resources to discuss wild and scenic rivers and they hope to enlist their help in the fight against wild and scenic. The county has had some success on the forest but the BLM hasn’t dropped any off their list. The hope is to hold BLM to the law because there is a regulation that any polluted river isn’t eligible. Commissioner Sitterud pointed out that all of the rivers on the desert are polluted with salt.
It was also mentioned that the UAC conference held recently in St. George was filled with good information for counties. Commissioner Hatch mentioned that the Moore cut-off road is moving along and it should be under contract by April. The Consol road will not receive the asphalt this year.
Commissioner Hatch said the BLM travel plan will be out in January or February and the county needs to get its teeth into it when the time comes and see how it overlays our road system. We also need to focus effort into the RS-2477 roads so we’re covered on access on the desert. Commissioner Hatch also mentioned the new Workforce Services Building which is being moved into at the current time. He encouraged all to attend the open house when it is scheduled. The new building will enhance services.
The next item was the approval of travel council contract employee Norma Dean Hawkinson to a part-time county employee with no benefits and she will remain at the same salary.
A citizen brought up the matter of the Joes Valley boat ramp saying it has had a severe impact on the resort and the marina. Commissioner Sitterud said the bid on the project is $200,000 and the forest service has to do an environmental assessment archeological study which could take up to a year.
The canvassing of the election took place on Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. The commission also set up two budget hearings. The budget must be completed by Dec. 17.
The meeting was adjourned. The next commission meeting will be held on Dec. 3 at 4 p.m.

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