By Julie Johansen
A new council member, Emily Mills, and returning members, Brad Giles and Joel Dorsch, took their oath of office with Castle Dale City Recorder Jody Gerber at the Castle Dale City Council meeting on Thursday.
An audit report from Kimball and Roberts was then presented virtually to the council. The audit news was positive and the council was very grateful for the news, citing the new accounting systems, audit committee work and the work of the office staff.
A $10,000 USDA Fire Department Grant was also ratified. This grant is a matching grant with in-kind service hours already filling this requirement. These funds are being used for much needed equipment in the fire department. A new pay schedule was also approved. This will be bi-weekly with time sheets due on Friday every two weeks and checks issued the following Friday.
During the meeting, a public hearing was opened following the closure of the regular meeting. The purpose of this hearing was to discuss water rate increase for those outside of city limits. This rate increase was given to the city by the Castle Valley Special Service District.
Several outside city limits citizens addressed and questioned the council. Their main concern was that their service is not the same as the service in the city. The explanation was that city residents received this raise on their county property taxes. The raise in fees for outside residents went from $103 every two months to $121.82 every billing period. Following the closure of the public hearing, Resolution 1-11-24-A was passed with a vote of four to one abstention.
Also during the meeting, the short-term rental business licenses fees were reduced by 50%, going from $200 to $100. Benefits for the office staff to meet Utah Retirement System qualifications were also discussed. For every 80 hours, employees earn four personal time off hours. This was approved by the council.
Nosh Arrien, Castle Dale City Maintenance Supervisor, then announced the safety awards, which were based on hours of work for the city. A donation of $250 was also approved for the MECCA Mountain Bike Club.
Departmental reports were then presented to the council with both EMS Lead Kyle Larsen and Fire Chief Britni Moreno calling for more volunteers for their departments. They are working diligently on recruitment.