By Julie Johansen
Tara Jensen presented her new business proposal, Cedar Corner/Country, to the Castle Dale City Council at their February meeting last week. She recently purchased Dr. Sanders’ office and has other businesses renting office space in this building. Her hope is to be able to purchase the space between the new Castle Dale building west to her current property.
Castle Dale City will be demolishing the buildings recently purchased from Roger Swenson. Jensen would like to build a two-story office building with the possibility of 27 business spaces for rent. The building would have a green space, courtyard, conference room and office supply room featuring copiers, printers and other necessary business machines.
Realizing that Governor Spencer Cox is trying to get businesses to branch out to rural Utah, Jensen would like to provide space for those expansions. She is still looking for funding in the form of grants and her own business growth but wanted to receive feedback from the council. The council applauded her ventures.
The next item on the agenda was a request from council member Julie Johansen to begin a monthly reward program to recognize a citizen, business or volunteer from within the city. She stated this would increase rapport with the community and possibly encourage more citizens to attend council meetings. The council felt that a monthly recognition could become redundant and suggested that a quarterly recognition would be better. They also reminded that it was difficult to find grand marshals for the previous parades.
Zoning administrator Kerry Lake reported on a recent land use committee meeting. During the meeting, The Swell Retreat presented some updates to its business plan and a short-term rental license was granted to Danny Van Wagoner for a couple of the apartments on 300 West.
Fire Chief Britni Moreno reported that the fire department is working to offer additional training opportunities. This would include wildfire certification opportunities for the participants. She also reported growing numbers in the department.
Council member Doug Weaver wondered about the city sponsoring The Hope Squad through the city fire department. His comments stated that young people have nowhere to go for help in these areas and he felt it would be beneficial to the youth in the area.
City recorder Jaki Collard spoke about an increase in sales tax from last year and a small increase in transient room taxes.
City clerk Lael White reported that she had conducted some research and found other cities in Utah that also had inadequate and insufficient audits. She spoke of other cities and towns in Emery County who are using a different software company for bookkeeping that have problems as well.
Council member Johansen read an email to the council she received in response to her inquiry to the Utah State Auditor’s office about not being able to get a proposal on the agenda to solve audit problems she reportedly sees in the city. The letter stated that the council needed to work together to correct this problem and do it before the end of the current fiscal year.
The letter suggested that there are two software programs available for municipalities that produce figures for an audit. Pelorius. which is for smaller municipalities, or Caselle, which requires a certified person to make the reconciliations at the end of the year. Johansen stated her concern that the audits have continually come back insufficient, stating that training and experience are needed.
Johansen also pointed out that an auditor told her that a recent law requires a certified accountant make those final preparations, which is included in Pelorius. However, with Caselle, one has to be hired. She also reminded them that Kimball and Roberts had answered her question if Pelorius would correct the audit and they had said yes.
The mayor responded that the decision had been made to wait until the next budget session to put this on the agenda. Council member comments included that they would look into the new law to verify her report.
“Whichever one the city wants to use doesn’t matter to me, but let’s meet the requirements for a better audit and do it timely. It is the council’s responsibility to see that this can be done,” Johansen said.
Council member Jordan Leonard reported that they are anticipating the new youth city council beginning soon with an organizational meeting with a group of ambitious youth.
Council member Joel Dorsch asked about organizing the annual Easter egg hunt and the response was to follow the health department guidelines but to move ahead. The response was the same in regard to Castle Dale Days in June.