East Carbon City Council Discusses 24-25 City Budget


The East Carbon City Council meeting began a little different this time. East Carbon City Mayor David Avery began the meeting wishing his wife, who was in attendance, a happy anniversary as he handed her an anniversary card. After this was done, council members congratulated the two, then it was all business after that.

Council moved on to discussing the budget, which was presented by Gary Keddington. Keddington advised that East Carbon City had received a mental health grant in the amount of $25,000 and that grant will roll over into the new budget as it can only be used for mental health programs.

The city also received a grant for a little over $12,000 for the new youth archery program. This money was used to buy all of the equipment needed to start the program and the city will budget in an estimate of what it would cost to continue through the years. Keddington stated that whatever is not spent this year will roll over into next year as well.

There was a recent audit done on the number of trashcans that had been assigned out, allowing the city to charge residents with a second trash can accordingly. Mayor Avery advised that, as of right now, the city should break even but that council needs to be advised that the city may find themselves in the negatives once again for their garbage budget.

Mayor Avery said that it’s fine to break even, but council may need to discuss increasing trash rates in the future to avoid the city finding itself in another predicament.

Councilman Charles Abeyta expressed how out of control the dump has become. Councilman Abeyta stated that because the dump is free, the city is having people from all over bringing their garbage in and dumping it wherever.

“They’re savaging through the mess and bringing it back into town,” stated Councilman Abeyta. “We need to make some really strong decisions, because it is a mess.”

Councilwoman Liz Ferguson spoke up stating that, while her opinion may not be a popular one, she wondered if it be possible to re-allocate money that had been budgeted for wage increases to cover budget issues for garbage.

“I’m just thinking that if, you know, we’re giving increases in wages because we don’t have the budget for our transfer station, and we’re gonna increase the citizens garbage, that may not be a good thing,” stated Councilwoman Ferguson.

Several council members agreed that the point was understood, but there’s a dual issue of the extreme increase in the cost of living and East Carbon city employees already making much less than those across the state. It was mentioned that there is a chance that they could start to lose police officers, maintenance workers and EMT’s.

Council members then discussed giving employees the cost of living raise but, instead of just giving the merit raise, that they sit down and do an annual review with each employee and their merit raise will be based upon that review.

Council discussed that maybe there needs to be a charge to use the dump, because council members are concerned that someone is going to get hurt. Councilman Abeyta stated that individuals are climbing over the metal piles and its dangerous.

Keddington informed council that on May 1, a new law was passed stating that municipality salaries for department heads or city executives must be discussed in an open public forum. There may not be any sort of increase in wages or benefits prior to there being a public discussion, and increases must be agreed upon. The city is required to allow for public comment, input or concern.

Council then motioned to move into open session to discuss the 24-25 budget. Council approved the 5% wage increase for a few of the city employees. Keddington continued through the budget line by line, discussing one of the biggest changes in the General Fund is transitioning the part-time animal control employee to a full-time employee. Keddington advised that a move like this would cost the city approximately $65,000. Keddington advised that once they make that move, it’s a continuous one, not just a one-time thing.

As Keddington continued through the budget, he mentioned the amount being given to firefighters when they are called out by EMT for a lift assist. Councilwoman Barbara Robinett, who is also the Ambulance Director, advised that she had a few questions in regards to the compensation that is being given to the firefighters. Robinett stated that when her ambulance personnel come out to assist, they are not being compensated for that.

Robinett also mentioned that, over the years, it is very seldom that they call out to the fire department for a lift assist, but even when they have, no one shows up. Robinett then directed her questioning to Councilman Jesse Stewart, asking him if she is incorrect in her statement. Councilman Stewart stated in recent winter months, there was a call for assistance in which three fire personnel showed up, stating that they do come when they are available.

East Carbon City Police Officer Philip Holt spoke up, stating that he had a recent call where a lift assist was requested and three fire personnel showed up to assist. Holt advised that he has had them show up to a few different calls that he has been on.

Councilwoman Robinett advised that her issue is that her ambulance personnel who are showing up are not being compensated. Mayor Avery interjected, advising that a Utah State Human Resource Representative recently came down to inform council that state law advises that city workers who are also volunteers in other departments, such as for the fire department, are required to “clock-out” when called out. They were told that individuals on city payroll are not to be paid their hourly wage while responding to a fire, lift assist, etc.

Keddington stated that the EMT’s are not being called out to those lift assists, they are voluntarily coming out, whereas fire personnel are being called out.

“When you call somebody and say we need you over here, now you have asked them to leave their job and to leave what they’re doing,” expressed Keddington.

Officer Holt did mention that there could be an issue with too many fire personnel showing up, whereas when a call comes through, all personnel are receiving that call. Councilman Stewart said that he has mentioned maybe having the volunteer fire fighters taking on-call shifts so that there is clear communication as to who is expected to show up.

Discussion continued in regards to East Carbon City Fire personnel compensation. Keddington continued to advise that there is a vast difference in the way that ambulance personnel and fire personnel are compensated. Council members were advised that, as of right now, there are only five firefighters for East Carbon City, which is a concern for the city.

Keddington proceeded to go through the city budget by advising that, if for any reason, East Carbon City needs to amend the budget in the future, that is something that can be done.

Council then motioned to close discussion on the 24-25 budget before approving the 24-25 amended budget. Keddington then informed the council that he was required to go over a state assessment that is required. Keddington moved through the presentation, with council adjourning once it was complete.

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