Economic Crunch Hits Again

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By Julie Johansen

The Affordable Care Act and a revenue drop in Emery County requires a revamping of the county emergency management system. 

Emery County EMS Supervisor Jim Gordon explained the options  regarding the EMTs to the Huntington City Council Wednesday Evening. If Emery County continues to pay the wages of all EMTs, it will also be required to offer insurance and other benefits required by the Affordable Care Act. This has become cost prohibitive for the county so to address the issues it has come up with three solutions:  

1. EMTs would become employees of their respective cities. The city would pay their wages and get reimbursement from the county. The county would continue to provide ambulances, maintenance, fuel, taxes, etc. required for the system.  

2. Forming a special service EMT board. Under this option nothing would be deferred to the city.

3. Cities would assume the entire ambulance service for their geographical areas and then receive the profit. Whoever holds the license would receive the profit.

Huntington Mayor Hilary Gordon reported at the meeting that the EMS is not a money-maker but does hold its own. The county has not confirmed any proposal, but the EMTs prefer the number one option. It appears that it will require a consensus among the cities in order for EMS to efficiently continue providing services. The county must be compliant with the Affordable Care Act by July 1, 2016.

The cost of repairing city hall lights and decorative lamp post lights on main street was discussed. There are some incentives offered by Rocky Mountain Power if the city acts quickly. The repairs need to be completed by June 8 to receive the discount from Rocky Mountain Power.

 Huntington City will advertise for a garbage watchman. This person will work 20 hours a week.

A business license was approved for Country Time Ag Rentals. The business will be located at 170 West 400 North and will have farm and yard implements, including tractors for rent.

Safety concerns for city employees were voiced. The council decided that it needed to initiate some safety training for employees. The council is also looking at replacing a maintenance truck because it is a safety hazard. This motion was tabled so that council members can look into options and consider prices of a new truck.

Huntington City is considering purchasing 40 acres of land from SITLA, which is around its water storage reservoir. Underground water project lines are located on the property. This purchase was approved unanimously.

Mayor Gordon voiced concern over the speed of cars on main street at the school crossing. Options are being considered. She is also working with UDOT to continue sidewalks, curbs and gutters to the north end of town. Council members then reported items in their areas of responsibility that include the splash pad renovation, cemetery care and city beautification. Huntington City’s Easter egg hunt will be held Saturday, March 19 at 11 a.m.

Zoning Administrator Gary Arrington spoke about how to best enforce existing ordinances. The Planning and Zoning Commission is updating Huntington City’s general plan and will be ready for consideration in a couple of months.

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