By Julie Johansen
Dave Ure, School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) administrator, presented a short video and slideshow to explain the SITLA program to the Emery County Commissioners during their meeting on Tuesday.
The video, entitled ”Building the Trust,” explained how the program began in 1894 by the enabling act but it was not until 1994 that the present day SITLA program began. In 2005, there was $22 million. Through investment, sales and grazing, it has grown to over $82,000,000.
This year, Emery County received the second largest payment per acre in the state. Ure presented the commissioners with a PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) payment check for $290,754, which was just over $0.87 per acre. Emery County Schools received $423,577. These funds go directly to the county schools and each school’s community council can decide how the money is spent. Community councils are comprised of the school’s principal, two teachers and community members.
Next, two public hearings were held to give the public an opportunity to hear and discuss the 2019 amended budget for Emery County and Castle Valley Special Service District as well as the budgets for 2020. Both presented balanced budgets and were approved by the commission. It was during the hearing for the county budget that many librarians and members of the country library board had comments and questions for the commission. A breakdown of that discussion can be found by clicking here.
Next, USU Extension agents Christine Jensen and Rowe Zwahlen updated the commission on the program within the county. Zwahlen reviewed the livestock show, master gardening program and landscaping at the Museum of the San Rafael. Home agent Jensen shared information about the youth development programs and partnering with schools. She spoke of grants received and pending to assist with opioid crisis in the county.
The commissioners then explained their desires for the mineral lease money disbursement for 2019 and 2020. The state continues to send Emery County a portion of Carbon County’s money so the commissioners have put a freeze on the mineral lease monies in order to pay Carbon County the amount owed by Dec. 31. It is the commissioners’ desire to use $35,000 off the top to develop and expand the EMS services in the county.
It was reported that Castle Dale, Green River and Huntington have joined with the rest of the county to use Sunrise Services for building inspections in those cities. Finally, the commission meeting schedule for 2020 was approved following the same format as 2019. Holiday schedules will also remain the same as previous years. Following several ratifications of yearly agreements, the meeting was adjourned with holiday wishes from the elected officials.