Decisions Affecting Emery County Face Commissioners

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By Julie Johansen

Area Manager of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands, Jason Johnson, discussed an agreement between Emery County and firefighters at the Emery County Commission meeting on Tuesday.

This memorandum of understanding describes Utah wildfire policy revisions and replaces previous policies. Some high points, according to Johnson, include the insurance fund and fee schedule. The responsibility on the initial attack on smaller fires belongs to the county fire warden but once it expands, then a new system is called in and responsibility is delegated to the state. The county needs to decide who will make that decision to call in the state, which at times can be very controversial. Johnson also reminded the county that each county needs a wildfire preparedness plan, which Emery County does have. However, it needs to be updated. If a wildfire is caused by negligence, nuisance or recklessness, the county will need to recover the cost from the responsible party.

Next, two bids for county scrap metal were opened and reviewed but no decision will be made until next meeting. Approval was given for Cleveland and Elmo libraries to apply together for the KUED mini-grant while Green River library was also approved to apply for this same grant.

Discussion continued regarding a parcel of land taken off greenbelt tax status. In order to be greenbelt qualified, all acres must be used for agricultural purposes. An alternative policy was suggested by Emery County Assessor Kris Bell. The item was tabled while county attorney Mike Olsen reviews the agreement. Two other parcels of land were approved for tax abatements, one for elderly and another veteran abatement.

Amanda Leonard was approved for appointment as Emery County Event Coordinator. Commissioners cautioned that a clear line of authority needs to be followed because of other family working for the county. The Huntington Creek Watershed Resource Management Plan was approved to be added to the Emery County General Plan as an appendix. A business license was granted for 4 Brothers Archery.

Commissioner Ethan Migliori reported that a public hearing regarding county sales tax will be held Tuesday evening. He also announced again the USU Eastern business conference to be Friday and Saturday at the college campus. He stressed that the conference would be advantageous to any business, whether just beginning or mature.

Commissioner Keith Brady applauded the Emery County Sheriff’s Office on its lockdown and evacuation drills at Book Cliff Elementary ad Green River High School. He also commented about the Des Bee Dove ATV trail and explained that he had walked the trails to see what needed to be done. He also noted a Fair Board meeting Tuesday evening at 6 p.m.

Commissioner Paul Cowley complimented the County Road Department for all its hard work on the roads damaged by recent flooding. He also reminded all of the Forest Service Planning Meeting on Friday at 5 p.m. at the fairgrounds in Price.

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