Public Hearings Close Out 2020 for Emery County Commissioners


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By Julie Johansen

At 3 p.m. on Tuesday, a public hearing was opened in the Emery County Commission Chambers for comments and discussion regarding the establishment of Emery Mitigation Special Service District. This district would allow for receiving federal mineral lease funds as a mean for mitigating impacts from extractive mineral industries and also an energy efficiency upgrade, a renewable energy system or electric vehicle charging infrastructure, together with all services and functions ancillary there to and/or necessary and proper to carry out and provide the named service, including but not limited to energy research within the district’s boundaries and related matters.

Following Emery County Commissioner Lynn Sitterud’s introduction of the hearing, Eric Johnston, attorney liaison between the Seven County Coalition and Emery County, explained why the organization of a Special Service District was advantageous to the county. He stated that there were two main reasons: 1. There was no prescribed election the scope, services and boundaries that could be set by the district and 2: The ability to use federal lease monies to operate. Johnston also said that a name change was at the discretion of the commission as it was formerly the San Rafael Special Service District.

Commissioner Kent Wilson related to the public that other special service districts funds will not be diminished by forming this district. It will also isolate the San Rafael Research Center so that the country would not have liability of the center. The hearing was closed and will reconvene in 60 days for further comments.

A second public hearing was then opened in the commission chambers. This hearing was conducted by the Gil Conover, Chairman of the Local Building Authority of Emery County. This public hearing was to receive input from the public with respect to the issuance of the Local Building Authority of Emery County lease revenue bonds in one or more series in the aggregate principal amount not to exceed $419,000 for the acquisition and construction of renovating an existing building as a research laboratory and related improvements.

Commissioner Sitterud gave an overview on the funding of the San Rafael Research Center, stating that Emery County approached the Community Impact Board to request $7,491,000. They were successful in receiving a grant in the amount of $7 million and a low interest loan (.5%) in the amount of $491,000.

Commissioner Sitterud further explained how they plan to repay this loan, stating that solar project monies will be used. Also, when contracts with coal, molton salt and thorium research begin in the center, those funds will also be used. The streams of income won’t put stress on Emery County budgets, he said.

There were no comments or discussion from the public, so the public hearing was then closed.

Later that evening in the commission meeting, a resolution was approved by the commissioners to authorize an annually renewable lease agreement; authorizing the issuance and sale by the Local Building Authority of Emery County of its $491,000 lease revenues bond; authorizing the execution of corresponding master resolution and security documents; and authorizing the taking of all other actions necessary to the consummation of the transactions contemplated by this resolution and related matters.

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