By Julie Johansen
Mayors from Castle Dale, Orangeville, Huntington, Elmo and Clawson met with the Emery County Commissioners on Monday evening in a Council of Government (COG) meeting.
The council had four items on the agenda, beginning with the discussion of the resignation of Trent Bennett as a building inspector for Huntington and Castle Dale. All of the other cities are under contract with Emery County for Sunrise Services. Zoning administrator Jeff Guymon said that the contract with Sunrise has been in effect for several years and it would seem advantageous for the rest of the cities to also be covered by the same contract. At the present time, they are following a 1997 fee schedule.
Castle Dale City Mayor Danny Van Wagoner commented that it seemed best to keep it all under the same umbrella, but if competition arises, then reconsider. The council decided that it was in the best interest for the citizens of the county to all be under one deal. Guymon will send necessary papers to be signed to Castle Dale and Huntington cities.
The next item on the agenda was animal control and the animal shelter. Currently, Emery County is under contract with Emery Animal Health for $30,000 per year, which the county has been paying. Dr. Glen Jensen of Emery Animal Health had approached the commission with a request from animal rights to decrease the euthanization rates at the shelter. He stated in order to do this, the price would need to be doubled. The commissioners asked the mayors if they would be able to help incur this cost. Questions included whether the service be put out on bid, should the cities pay proportionately according to the number of animals brought in from each city and what about private citizens who bring in animals.
It was decided that the county would negotiate a budget for this next year and then numbers would be considered more closely for another year.
Emery County Commissioners Kent Wilson and Gil Conover next discussed the consideration of combining the Fire Special Service District with the Emergency Services of the county. Commissioners commented that there are two systems working well, making sense for them to be put together. Emergency services personnel are lacking, especially in Castle Dale, Orangeville and Green River. The mayors were asked what should be the top priority of the county and the decision to change Emergency Services is a challenge, especially for funding. The mineral lease monies are increasing but it was decided that no one area could be cut; rather, it would have to be across the board.
As it is budget time, the county is trying to analyze the budget and find funding for the combination of these two emergency services. It was decided that they would need to “rob Peter to pay Paul” if they hire someone to help manage and oversee these services. Huntington Mayor Leonard Norton emphasized that garage leads will need to realize that this manager is there to help them as well as to find and write grants. It was also noted that in the state’s opinion, EMS is not a critical service but the commissioners feels that it is.
The meeting schedule for COG for 2020 will be the first Monday of each quarter with the first meeting on Jan. 6, 2020. It was also mentioned that the League of Cities and Towns representative would like to be included.
Mayoral concerns were next on the agenda. Mayor James Winn from Elmo was asked about the housing concerns with the growth in the Elmo/Cleveland area. Intermountain Electric’s expansion in Carbon County will bring in the need for an increase in housing in these areas, even as much as 100 homes in the next ten years. Local banks have agreed to help with financing in this growth. Infrastructure and property available for subdivisions seem to be some of the obstacles with this growth.
Other topics from the mayors included the inspections of fire hydrants needed each year and the need for cities to adopt ordinances to collect TRT tax from short-term rentals. It was reported that the Hunter Solar Project is beginning and all permits have been issued.