By Julie Johansen
Although several items of business were on the agenda and addressed during the Emery County Commission meeting on Tuesday, the final two items will remain on the attendees’ minds longer than all the others. Two items were requested to be on the agenda for a vote, but had been listed by the Chair of the Commission as only discussion items.
The first item of controversy listed on the agenda was in regard the Southeastern Regional Development Agency (SERDA) request to use county grant funds to hire a grant writer to pursue funds for economic development in the transition from coal. Jade Powell, deputy of SERDA, remarked that this was miswritten and was not for a transition from coal, but rather ways to extend the life of the coal fired plants in Emery County.
This was also restated by Commissioner Lynn Sitterud. However, Commissioner Keven Jensen felt that this was not transparent nor honest as it had not been presented in an open public meeting and he had lost faith in accountability to Emery County. The reply was that he had been invited to other public meetings but refused to attend or answer any correspondence.
The next item on the agenda was discussing a written resolution inviting the Utah Inland Port Authority Board to negotiate project areas within Emery County, specifically Green River. This too was discussed with much controversy and it was questioned why it had not been written on the agenda to call for a vote.
Commissioner Jensen stated that he did not know enough about it. Commissioner Sitterud replied that they merely needed an invite from the commission to look over the industrial park in Green River to consider bringing industry to that area as the nuclear plant once planned there was evidently not going to happen. It was merely an economic venture to help Emery County.
Other items of importance at the meeting included the approval of signing the 2024 Master Lease agreement between Emery County and Gauge Automotive, Inc. for patrol cars and other vehicles used for the county.
Donations were also approved for the 2024 Castle Country Classic Livestock Show in the amount of $3,500 and $150 to the USU Eastern Woman of the Year.
Emery County also ratified a letter written stating the county’s stance against the Bureau of Land Management decisions on the Labyrinth/Gemini Bridges area trail closures. A letter of support for the Carbon County Aviation Campus Workforce Development Project was approved. This is an USU Eastern pilot program expansion. This is being supported by the Southeastern Regional Development Agency.
Approval was given for a letter to Blue Castle Holdings regarding the Green River Industrial Park and the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration Lease with Emery County, as it appears that the nuclear plant is no longer happening and that lease could be terminated so that other economic ventures could be sought.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Emery County and Castle Dale City for the use of city property and facilities for the upcoming Emery County Fair received approval. A contract with Bingham Party Rentals to provide attractions at the 2024 Emery County Fair was also approved.