It Is Paid For, Now Where’s the Title?


By Julie Johansen

Emery County Water Conservancy District manager Jay Mark Humphrey recently requested that the Emery County Commission write a letter showing support for the transfer of title for water rights to the ECWCD now that the last payment for the Emery County Project has been made to the Bureau of Reclamation.

The payment was made in November, but transfer of title for these water rights has not been secured. This project includes the Joe’s Valley Reservoir, Swasey Diversion Dam and subsequent canals. Humphrey has been to Washington D.C. and feels that the atmosphere has definitely changed and now is the time to actively pursue this action. This would transfer the water rights back to Utah and they would be state controlled instead of federally controlled. Other in-state water projects have received partial title but the Bureau wants to keep the reservoir and water rights.

The question of whether to move forward with a Community Reinvestment Area was discussed but tabled for further study. Adam Long, a financial consultant, outlined the advantages of forming a Community Investment Agency to help communities with economic development. He presented the outline of how this agency works to create an investment area with amenities for investors, which counties are unable to do.

Jacob Sharp, manager of the Castle Valley Special Service District, approached the commission for approval of a resolution authorizing a $900,000 bond, of which $619,000 will be grant money. This money would be for municipal water treatment, street, curb and gutter improvements. Approval was granted and a public hearing is scheduled for April 4 at a commission meeting. Alex Buxton, public finance consultant, said this was to close on April 10. When questioned about the remainder of the 10-year bond from 2009, they responded that it was $12.5 million grant and there is about $2.7 million left, with 2019 as the final year.

The commission also approved the cities’ priority list for presentation at the CIB. A resolution to form an Advisory Board for the Emery County Fair and the by-laws for this board was also approved. The agreement between Utah State University Extension Service and the county that has been in place for many years was also approved. Marketing funds for the Emery County Fair, Tamarisk Restaurant, John Wesley Powell Museum and the MECCA  Bike Club were also approved. A letter of support for GOED Fast Track Grant adjustment, which would help enable businesses in Emery County to apply for these funds, was also approved.

A grant application to fund computerizing burial records for local cemeteries was discussed and approved. A change order was approved for an extension of 82 days to Nielson Construction for the completion of the Emergency Watershed Protection Projection, making the completion date April 21.

County Treasurer Steve Barton asked the commission to approve deferral agreements for payment of real property taxes from individuals who have requested. These agreements arrange for payment of taxes that have been delinquent for five years.

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