East Carbon Council in the Dark Over Carbon County’s Response to Assist with Lighting Issue

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During the regular East Carbon City Council Meeting, Mayor Orlando LaFontaine brought up an issue that has been around for decades. The lack of any highway lighting at the turnoff from Highway 6 onto state route 123 leading to East Carbon, Sunnyside and Columbia.

At night there is little illumination to see the turning lane coming and it has been the scene of many accidents over the years as drivers are straining to figure out what is going on. В It is easy to miss the turn and have to loop back, even for drivers who have lived in the area for years.

After years of wrangling over this issue, Mayor LaFontaine stated that U-DOT has agreed to install an overhead light at the junction to improve visibility. Under state statute, U-DOT will not maintain the solar light system. Those duties will fall to who has the jurisdiction of the property the lighting system is on.

Mayor LaFontaine said he asked the Carbon County Commissioners if they would be willing to take on the maintenance costs of the light. He said he has been told the estimated cost would be $1,000 over 2-5 years at the most. He thought this would be on their agenda, but they have not done anything about it.

Council person, Barbra Robinette, commented that she had asked a couple of the commissioners about it and was told they don’t want to set a precedent on taking on the maintenance of a light to benefit a few. If they do it for East Carbon and Sunnyside, they would have to do it in Wellington and on Ridge Road.

Hearing that, the council’s reaction was anger and outrage. В They felt that the situation was totally different because it is on a state road and out in the county. It benefits the county, not just East carbon and Sunnyside.

“Who pays for the six lights at the rest stop?” ask LaFontaine.

“I want to know when we quit paying taxes to the County?” asked Councilman Dave Maggio. “We pay our county taxes and go into Price to buy food, fuel and clothes. We are county residents, too.”

Several council members brought up that Westridge mine and the CO2 plant pay taxes that benefit the county tax base, not East Carbon’s.

“All we get is the funny smell. Not that it’s that funny.” added LaFontaine

The parcel of land that the light would be on is not part of East Carbon City limits. The parcel is part of Carbon County and currently listed as being owned by a private citizen. East Carbon City Attorney, Jeremy Humes, felt like East Carbon could not legally step in for the maintenance as they had no stake to the land it would be on.

After continued heated discussion, the council moved to get on the agenda of the Carbon County Commission and plead their case.

In other business, В the city will be looking at selling the U-dot truck they have unless they can locate a plow and spreader for it. The medium sized truck they have has been repaired and is ready to be put back in action.

A new treadmill has been

acquired for the fitness center, but two more treadmills need repairs. Approval to take care of this was granted. The council discussed and gave permission for Liz Marquez to move ahead with a membership drive promotion for the fitness center.

The combined fire department will be attending several Wildland fire fighting trainings over the next several months. Approval to send as many firefighters from the force as possible was approved for the March Training.

Discussion on the loss of CIB funding grant for the reservoir was brought up. Councilman Maggio stated that the city needed a grant and that even a zero interest loan would not be acceptable. LaFontaine said if they were turned down by the CIB for grant money, they could look to other agencies for funding.

Fontaine went on to commit to pursuing several other grants to improve East Carbon, including one to acquire new play ground equipment and to expand the trail system.

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