Concerns Over Changes to Purchasing and Sale Ordinance 455A Brings Public Comments

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It was the final agenda item of the night at the last Carbon County Commission meeting that generated public comment. On Wednesday night Nov. 6, the commission dealt with a fairly routing agenda, but as the subject of modifying Ordinance 455A came up, there was some public input about making changes.

Ordinance 455A is part of the county purchasing policy. The modification is being looked at as a result of a request by a landowner to have a small parcel of county land deeded to him. According to county attorney Christian Bryner, the ordinance was not clear on how the county could handle a sale or purchase of adjoining property by a property owner.

He explained that state law requires that public notice must be given for sale of significant pieces of property. That sale is then subject to a bidding process and sold to the highest bidder. What the stature also says is that counties are allowed to define what “significant properties” are.

Bryner said that the county ordinance should be modified to say under $100 thousand is able to be sold without the bid process at the commissioner’s discretion. Commissioner John Jones also wanted to make sure there is a provision in the ordinance that the county will retain all mineral rights.

Bryner said there are still details to be worked through and the ordinance change should be tabled.  Lynna Topolovec asked to address the commission. She was concerned that any county property could change hands without public input. She pointed out that depending where a piece of property was located in the county, that parcel could be very large. She gave the example that if the land was valued at $500 an acre, that would translate to 200 acres of land sold without a bidding process.

Commissioner Jones said the changes were to address those small slivers of property that are adjoining a landowner and are too small to do much with. He gave an example of a piece of land in front of a home that could be bought by another home owner, just to block the first home owner from making improvements.  He stated that the residents of the county should give some trust to the commissioners to act in their best interests on some matters.

Topolovec expressed that there needs to be public input on all sales. Bryner said he took many of her points into consideration as he was constructing the modification to the ordinance. He will send her a copy of his proposed changes. The matter was tabled until all parties have a chance to review and comment on the proposal.

In other business, the commission convened the Municipal Building Authority to award a contract to TSD contractors for work on the Nine Mile Canyon Road. The bid amount was $16,724.

Glenna Etzel was named employee of the month by her supervisor, Clerk Auditor Seth Oveson. He stated she has been a great asset to the department and instrumental in updating the department data base.

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