Carbon County Commission Deals With Burning Issue

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The Carbon County Commission was faced with a need to change the county burn ordinance and they were not happy. The change is due to revisions in a Utah administrative rule implemented by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Carbon County Emergency Services Coordinator Jason Llewelyn and Area Fire Management Officer Rudy Sandoval informed the commission of the change and explained since the county has a burn ordinance in place, it must adjust to stay in compliance with the new state regulation. The new regulations handed down from the state drastically change the open burn season for areas zoned as residential. Open burn season is the time when farmers, ranchers and home owners may burn ditches, debris piles and other items with a burn permit obtained by the county. Open burn season for areas zoned as non-residential agricultural will remain from Nov 1-May 31 and is closed June 1-Oct 31.

Areas zoned residential including rural residential and agricultural residential will face significantly smaller windows to burn. The new burn season for which the county can issue permits in any area zoned as residential is now Mar. 30-May 30. Also, there is a window from Sept. 15-Oct. 30.

With many agricultural small farms in the county zoned in combination with residential areas, this could have a major impact on the local farmers in the county. It also puts the onus on public dispatch to know how every address in the county is zoned. Commissioner Casey Hopes stated that his family’s farm will be impacted directly by this imposed change. Commissioners John Jones and Jae Potter both felt that this rule was done without adequate input from rural communities and was a knee-jerk reaction to the Wasatch Front’s inversion and pollution problems.

Sandoval stated that the county had to make the adjustments or risk losing accreditation and face fines. If the county did not already have a open burn ordinance, it would not have to make the changes. The changes to the county burn ordinance passed with a unanimous vote, but the commission would be following up with DEQ to find ways to either exempt the county or have the ordinance rewritten to take into account the makeup of the counties involved.

Other notes from the meeting:

Commissioners opened and reviewed three sealed bids for the public defender contract. Oliver and Sitterud submitted the lowest bid at $5,175 a month, but commissioners will review the bids to assure all criteria was met and will announce the decision at the next commission meeting.

There was approval for a contract with Waste & Water Logistics, LLC. to take water samples and to clean the water vaults at North Springs Shooting Range.

Commissioners agreed not to oppose Price City’s move to implement a ZAP (Zoo, Arts, and Parks) tax to help fund parks and area recreational facilities.

Carbon County Search and Rescue will now be a sub-department of the Carbon County Sheriff’s Department. Search and rescue has operated as a non-profit under the county’s 501(c)(3) tax status. Carbon County Clerk Auditor Seth Oveson felt that it was a cleaner approach to handling the funds and assured the commission that funds will remain in a restricted account and only used for the purposes for which they were donated. Funds help buy equipment needed for a viable search and rescue department.

A contract was approved for the Carbon County Airport to buy Avgas fuel from Avfuel. They also approved a master plan for the airport hanger and lease agreements. The plan deals with drainage issues, sewer lines, elevation concerns and a drainage pond.

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