Judge rules plaintiffs in Mt. Pleasant case don’t have standing to sue

 

By James Tilson

 

02-21-2019

 

MANTI—Most complaints in a civil suit filed by a former mayor and former city employees against the city of Mt. Pleasant were dismissed last Wednesday in 6th District Court, with the judge saying the plaintiffs did not have legal standing to file the case.

Judge Wallace Lee heard oral arguments in the case of David Blackham and others vs. Mt. Pleasant City. Other parties to the suit were Jane Banks, former city recorder, and Sam Day, former public works director. Former Mayor Sandra Bigler dropped out of the suit a couple of months ago.

Heather White of Salt Lake City represented Mt. Pleasant City in a motion to dismiss the suit. She argued the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue the city under the theory of “public interest standing” because all of the plaintiffs had resigned their positions and no longer worked for the city. She also argued the issues raised by the plaintiffs could be addressed through the political process.

Judge Lee agreed with the city’s argument, and dismissed all but one count of the plaintiffs’ suit against the city.

“I think it was a good day,” said Mt. Pleasant Councilman Kevin Stallings, describing his reaction to the judge’s ruling. “[The council] is looking forward to focusing on the big things we’ve got going.”

Stallings expressed hope the ruling would end the drama that has swirled around city government in recent months.

“I appreciated the judge giving his appreciation for both attorneys, and I’m impressed with the court system and how it gives both sides the opportunity to state their case. But the quicker this can be put to rest, the better everyone will be. We have work to do, and I’m anxious to get back to it.”

However, Blackham felt the ruling did not protect the people of Mt. Pleasant from potential wrong-doing by their elected officials. “The judge’s decision ruled that citizens cannot sue [their elected officials]. I think it is a loss and a tragedy to our democratic process to give elected officials that much power.”

But Blackham still saw some good in parts of the judge’s ruling. “I was pleased the judge castigated the city for not using an attorney (during its meetings to advise on its actions).”

In their original complaint, the plaintiffs asserted that even though they did not meet the “traditional” definition of standing to sue (i.e. suffering some “distinct and palpable injury”), they did have “public interest standing.”

“Public interest standing” requires a plaintiff to be an “appropriate party” and the issue of the suit must be of “sufficient public importance” that it could not otherwise be addressed by the usual political process of election or legislation.

White argued the plaintiffs were not “appropriate parties” because they had resigned their positions and were no longer working for the city. “The plaintiffs are now merely members of the public at large.”

White argued if the issues alleged by the plaintiffs were as egregious as claimed, the plaintiffs should have brought an action while they were still working at the city. Now, as ordinary citizens, they have the same remedy as all other citizens.

“If the citizens of the community are upset by the council’s actions, they should vote them out.”

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Steven Tycksen of Draper, tried to tell the judge, “What we’re trying to do is a course correction within the city government. (to check) a council that has run amuck with the state laws.”

Tycksen countered White’s argument, saying the plaintiffs were acting on behalf of the city at large, and the issues at stake could not be resolved through the usual process. “These are not just political issues. The council will not solve the issue themselves.”

Commending all of the parties for their sense of service to Mt. Pleasant, Judge Lee said, “Some of the best people in the world live in small towns.”

In ruling in favor of the city, the judge found the plaintiffs did not have traditional standing, nor did they qualify for public interest standing.

Judge Lee did allow Blackham to proceed personally on one of his claims, regarding his request for public documents under the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA).

Lee ruled Blackham may be able to seek attorney fees for his efforts in seeking records of certain closed meetings of the city council, but only from a time dating from his filing of an amended complaint until the city eventually turned over the requested records.

Moroni couple looking to build aquaponics facility

 

By James Tilson

 

02-21-2019

 

Cliff and Teri Sackett

MORONI—A Moroni couple have received a variance from the state of Utah to grow tilapia, a type of edible fish grown on fish farms.

But they say their operation will be much more than a fish farm. They plan to use aquaponics, a form of agriculture in which waste from fish is used to fertilize vegetable plants, and in which the vegetables are raised in water rather soil. Such a system, they say, can produce remarkable yields.

Cliff and Teri Sackett, experienced fish farmers, are looking to develop their aquaponics facility just of Moroni. The final facility, they say, will be 1 acre under glass.

“Other people have called us a ‘fish farm’,” Teri says. “It’s a lot more than that. We actually will be producing from 5,000 to 11,000 heads of vegetables a day.”

The Sacketts explain that in an aquaponics facility, fish, plants and microbes work together to achieve high efficiency. The technique uses much less water and much less space than traditional “dirt” farming, without using any chemicals as fertilizers.

The fish exude waste and ammonia into water. That water from the fish tanks is pumped into the vegetable beds, where naturally occurring microbes break down the ammonia into nitrates. Those nitrates are absorbed by the plants. The water is then filtered and pumped back into the fish ponds.

“The fish provide a constant, organic source of nutrients for the plants,” Cliff says.

The Sacketts point out aquaponics is not hydroponics. In hydroponics, plants are growing in water, but chemicals are used to fertilize the plants. The system must be flushed out at least once a year.

An aquaponics operation in which vegetables and fish are grown together in a water environment. The system shown is a little different from the one planned by Cliff and Teri Sackett of Moroni (left). In the example, fish and vegetables share the same space. The Sacketts plan to keep the fish and vegetables separate but to use water from the fish area, which will contain waste from the fish, to fertilize the vegetables.

Teri says, “One of the things I like about aquaponics is it’s self-sustaining. And where we are putting our facility under glass, there will be much less water use than (in) irrigation or hydroponics. This method is much more conducive to a drought-stricken area.”

“With dirt farming,” Cliff says, “you’re constantly having to re-fertilize, constantly watering, yet the farmer will never have it just right. And the plants have to devote significant energy to putting roots into the ground.”

“With aquaponics, the plants never have to grow through the dirt, their nutrients are constant and always correct. The growing time from seed to harvest is 42-52 days, versus 120 days for traditional methods….And with aquaponics, we’ll have a full-year growing season.”

Another advantage, Teri says, is avoidance of problems that are showing up in vegetables grown in California.

In California, farmers don’t allow manure to age. It stays in liquid form and is sprayed over the fields. The result can be e.coli.

“We don’t have that problem, because fish don’t produce e. coli,” Terry says.

Aquaponics is super productive.

“In California, an acre of lettuce would produce 20,000 heads in a season,” Cliff says. “At best, they’ll get three seasons, maybe only two. Our facility will produce 5,000 heads a day. In one week, we would do two-thirds of their season. In two weeks, we’ve produced as much as their entire year. And we can produce 12 months a year.”

At peak production, Cliff says, the Sackett aquaponics operation could conceivably produce 230,000 heads of lettuce per month. At the same time, it could produce 20,000 pounds of tilapia per month.

Right now, the Sacketts are looking for a primary investor to replace the one who dropped out as of January. They will need at least $5 million to fully capitalize their project. But they are not worried anyone else will try to take the project out from under them. “We’re the only ones with the variance (for the tilipia); it’s personal to us,” says Cliff.

Once they have the financing, they estimate it will take 8 to 9 months to build the facility and get it running.

Map shows locations of 49 heritage areas around the country. About 10 other heritage areas are under consideration.

Heritage areas face loss of funding if not reauthorized

 

02-21-2019

 

 

Click to expand this graphic, which is designed to illustrate the “logjam” Congress will face if forced to pass a separate reauthorization bill for each of 45 national heritage areas.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—When leaders of national heritage areas gathered last week, their main focus was the need for Congress to pass reauthorizing legislation so the heritage areas can continue in business.

The Alliance of National Heritage Areas (ANHA), an association that includes most of the 49 heritage areas around the country, met Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 12-14, in Washington, D.C.

The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA), which operates in counties along U.S. 89 from U.S. 6 to the Arizona border, was represented by Suzanne Dean, publisher of the Sanpete Messenger. The Messenger has done contract work for the MPNHA.

Monte Bona, executive director, said MPNHA has accomplished a lot since 2010, when the Department of Interior approved its management plan. But he said there’s a lot more to do, which is why reauthorization is so important.

“Since we were founded, we’ve received $2.4 million, but we’ve leveraged that to support over $40 million in projects,” Bona said. “That shows we are a heritage area that uses its money to leverage money and do projects on the ground.”

The research that went into the management  plan showed the MPNHA, which takes in Sanpete, Sevier, Piute, Wayne, Kane and Garfield counties, has 1,000 buildings listed or qualified to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Bona said.

“That’s a lot of buildings that potentially could be restored,” he said. “The heritage area can only afford to assist a few projects each year. It needs to continue its work, on a community-by-community basis, to preserve and interpret the Mormon pioneer heritage.”

A heritage area is a designated geographic area that has a nationally significant historical or cultural theme. Some areas are contained within a single city or county. Many, like the MPNHA, take in several counties. Some cover most of a state.

Unlike national parks and monuments, heritage areas don’t own any land. They aren’t staffed by federal employees. Rather, each heritage area is managed by some sort of nonprofit entity, generally one set up by the local people who originally campaigned to get the area established. The areas use federal funds with local matching dollars to do projects to preserve and interpret their historical or cultural themes.

The 49 heritage areas were created one at a time, or a few at a time, by bills that went through the U.S. Congress between the 1980s and 2014. The MPNHA was created in 2006. Over the years, different areas have received markedly different levels of federal funding.

However, one common feature in all heritage-area legislation is that after a certain period, generally 15 years, the areas “sunset,” or cease to receive federal funds, unless Congress reauthorizes them. In most cases, if federal funds were cut off, the areas couldn’t continue operating.

It turns out that sunset dates for 45 of the 49 areas fall between 2019 and 2024. The MPNHA sunsets in 2021.

At one point, it appeared each heritage area would be on its own trying to get reauthorized. Then the week before the ANHA meeting, Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y. and Rep. David McKinley, R-W.V., introduced a single bill to reauthorize all 49 areas at once. This time, authorization would extend for 20 years rather 15.

In a letter to all members of the House of Representatives, Tonko and McKinley wrote, “National heritage areas are considered one of the Department of Interior’s most cost-effective initiatives, relying on a public/private partnership in which every federal dollar is matched with an average of $5.50 in other public and private financing.”

Another thing the Tonko-McKinley bill seeks to do is equalize funding for all heritage areas. Growing out of the complexities of the authorization and appropriations processes, and the discretion given to the U.S. Department of Interior to divide the total amount appropriated for heritage areas among the 49 areas, funding per area has been ranging from about $300,000 to $700,000 per year.

The proposed legislation proposes to increase total heritage-area funding from $20 million to $32 million per year, which would bring all areas up to what the best-funded areas are receiving. In recent years, the MPNHA has received about $320,000. So if equalization were approved, funding to the local heritage area could nearly double.

The MPNHA was originally authorized for $10 million over its 15-year-life. “But we haven’t received anything close to that,” Bona said. “If for no other reason, we ought to be reauthorized so we can get close to the amount we were originally authorized.”

In recent years, Congress has been reluctant to take up “program legislation,” bills establishing or reshaping federal programs. It has preferred to leave existing programs in place and focus on how much to appropriate to the programs.

“This time we need to go for and can go for a program bill,” said Sara Cappen, ANHA chairwoman. “I’m committed to giving it our very best effort, and hopefully it will stick.”

Referring to a graphic the AHNA has created depicting the “legislative logjam” that would be created if Congress had to pass an individual bill for each heritage area, Charles Flynn, AHNA treasurer, said, “You show this to the (congressional) committee staffs, and either they’re going to be incredibly hassled for the next four years, or they need to go for the blanket approach.”

But Shawn Pomaville-Size, chairwoman of the ANHA Advocacy Committee, said local heritage areas still need to be prepared to go for individual authorizations “in case the program bill doesn’t pass.”

 

[Read more…]

Robert Worley of Sunrise Engineering presents preliminary engineering findings to the Mt. Pleasant City Council.

Engineers propose alternatives for Mt. Pleasant water improvements

 

By Angela Marx Thompson

 

02-21-2019

MT. PLEASANT—A engineer from Sunrise Engineering talked over alternatives for increasing the culinary water supply with the Mt. Pleasant City Council at a council meeting Jan. 29.

Robert Worley said that as of 2016, the city needed to be generating 1,334 gallons per minute to be in compliance with a state requirement that cities grow their water supply at 1.2 percent per year.

Mt. Pleasant is producing 1,270 gallons per minute, a shortfall of about 64 gallons per minute. But that was in 2016. Since the state is looking for the culinary supply to increase every year, the shortfall is undoubtedly larger today.

Worley went on to outline the five alternatives for solving the problem:

  • Alternative 1 (not recommended): Do nothing. Worley said this option would effectively end the city’s ability to grow in population.
  • Alternative 2: Treat water from Sneak Springs. The city once used that source but had to discontinue the use because the water from the springs was coming in contact with water from the surface. Alternative 2 included drilling a new well.

Worley described three scenarios for implementing Alternative 2.

  • Alternative 2.1 would use the existing conveyance for Sneak, Barton and Coal Fork Springs. Water from all three sources and put all of the water together, which would mean all of the water would be required to be treated. A treatment facility would be required and would have to be running at all times.
  • Alternative 2.2 would divert Sneak Springs into Coal Fork Creek to convey the water to a treatment plant. Worley said a potential advantage to this scenario would be that the treatment facility would only have to be run when the water from Sneak Springs was needed.
  • Alternative 2.3 would be to construct a new pipeline, isolate Sneak Springs, and treat that water separately. This was the preferred scenario two years ago and, again, has the advantage of only needing to run the treatment facility as the water is actually needed. The pipeline would need to run an estimated 2.5 miles.

The other three alternatives were:

  • Alternative 3 would be to treat water from Sneak Springs and divert water from Pleasant Creek for additional capacity. It was noted that Pleasant Creek is currently being used for irrigation.
  • Alternative 4 would leave Sneak Springs alone and focus on drilling two new wells.
  • Alternative 5 would develop a new spring in Sulfur Springs Canyon area and also drill one well for additional water. Testing is underway to determine the actual viability of this alternative. There is a risk that once development is complete, that the same challenge with surface water could exist in the new spring. This alternative would also require the city to secure additional water rights.

Councilman Kevin Stalling noted that the option of drilling at least one well was attractive because there would be no need to treat the well water.

It was also noted that the well by the city’s cemetery was a “good producer,” but that it had been necessary to close off the top 100 feet to avoid contamination.

There was much discussion of the feasibility and the costs associated with building and maintaining a water treatment facility. While treating existing water is the safest option, Worley said, it is also the most expensive.

Council members agreed that if a water treatment facility were ultimately needed, it should be built in a place and at a scale to make it possible to treat multiple water sources, if necessary.

Worley indicated that all of the available options had been “scored” with respect to logistics, potential cost and impact on the community.

Alternatives 2,.3 and 5 were “tied” as being the most feasible at this juncture. Worley stressed that these alternatives and their prospective costs and impacts are very preliminary.

Worley briefly identified the grant opportunities Sunrise was exploring. He said there are programs for water infrastructure development that provide up to 75 percent of projected costs in the form of grants.

The council appeared to agree that Sunrise should continue identifying locations for at least one new well and continuing to test development of a new spring.

Council members said growth of the city was inevitable, and at some point, additional water would be required.

No work could begin before spring, But by May, the engineering team will need additional direction.

A follow up discussion is planned at a work meeting Feb. 26 at 4 p.m.

Manti aims to make zoning changes that will help Main Street businesses

 

By Teri Forbes

 

02-21-2019

 

Manti—City Council members continued to discuss and refine changes to Manti’s zoning ordinance at their last meeting.

The council reviewed line-by-line the language of the zoning ordinances and spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the proposed changes to the commercial historic district.

During an extensive discussion on the sign ordinance, Mayor Korry Soper said signs shouldn’t be so restrictive to business owners.

Dr. Michael Clay, head of Urban Planner International, is scheduled to attend a March 6 meeting to present a revised outline of the proposed ordinances.

Soper shared that he and Kent Barton, city administrator, met with Six County Association of Governments and discussed potential future infrastructure projects. These included the final phase of a sewer project. They also discussed economic opportunities and ways to develop infrastructure in the industrial park.

Soper mentioned that there was a legislative reception Feb. 19 and extended an invitation to council members.

The Mayor reminded council of the Utah Municipal Power Agency, UMPA, conference held Mar. 20-22. All council members are planning to attend.

The Mayor also stated that business on Main Street seemed to be struggling and invited suggestions to stimulate sales. This then prompted the council members to engage in a thoughtful discussion about the businesses on Main street and how or what they might do help the business owners.

Barton reported that he was advised the Mormon Miracle Pageant, in this, its final production year is planning to run 10 nights rather than eight. The dates of the performances are June 11-15 and then on June 18-22.

The next city council meeting is scheduled Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Manti City says, ‘Don’t feed the deer’ as first step to controlling problem

 

By Teri Forbes

 

02-21-2019

 

MANTI—While the need to mitigate the danger and nuisance of deer roaming out of control has been discussed time and again at Manti City Council meetings, a permanent solution is being prepared.

The No Feeding Ordinance will be considered for passage at the next city council meeting said city administrator, Kent Barton.

Over the last several months city council has heard and has responded to residents with a solution to manage the deer population. The council’s self-imposed deadline is to have the ordinance in place no later than March of this year.

In preparing for the final revision to the ordinance, council members unanimously agreed at the last council meeting that for purposes of the No Feeding Ordinance no other invasive species such as raccoons or turkeys would be included. For clarification, “deer” means wild deer living in nature and does not include privately owned, captive deer.

The next steps are to first, adopt the ordinance, then set a fine schedule for feeding offenders. The task that follows will be the city’s completion and submission of a certificate of registration (COR) to proceed with the Urban Deer Control Program coordinated by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR).

In previous reporting deer mitigation was referred to as a ‘hunt.’ It is not and will not be an open hunt. The city’s plan being drafted intends to designate an archery professional, at a time of year yet to be determined, to lethally remove the deer.

Many cities in the state have struggled with the same deer mitigation challenge. One such city is Draper. Draper’s plan, accessible online, stated that “many forward-looking city councils have come to accept the use of trained veteran bow hunters to maintain deer herds. Bow hunting has an impeccable record of safety, is an efficient and proven method of killing big game and is quiet and unobtrusive – one successful solution to urban deer problems.”

With the success of other cities and the partnership of the DWR, Manti believes the ordinance is the best possible solution to a tough situation.

 

County commission considers update for P&Z ordinances

 

By James Tilson

 

02-14-2019

 

MANTI—The Sanpete County Commission and Planning Commission hosted a work meeting last Monday to discuss updating and revamping the county’s planning and zoning ordinances.

The goal is to bring them up to date and deal with nagging issues plaguing the county.

The commission’s open work meeting, which was attended by commissioners Scott Bartholomew and Steve Lund, county economic director Kevin Christensen, planning administrator Devan Fowles, and planning commissioners Gene Jacobsen and Leon Day, addressed how to update the county’s ordinances.

“Our ordinances are really old and outdated,” said Bartholomew. He pointed out the county hired Fowles to enforce the ordinance last year, but in that time Fowles had determined the ordinances needed a major overhaul.

“There have been some changes over the years on the state level, in terms of development, and the county would like to bring our ordinances up to date,” said Fowles. To do so, the county has hired Dr. Michael Clay from BYU to make the initial recommendations of changes that need to be made.

Fowles explained, “BYU has a great reputation in helping municipalities and counties improve their ordinances.”

Dr. Black, who was also present, told those in attendance he would take the list of the counties’ issues and concerns, compile a set of ordinances to address those, and then bring those ordinances back to the county for action in March.

Bartholomew said, “There is no set time frame, we don’t want to rush him, we want to get this right. Our ordinances are a living document, which will be tweaked and amended as needed as we implement the rules and find out what works and what doesn’t.”

However, Dr. Black also noted there were many “topics” of issues of concern to the county, and it might take more than one set of meetings to address them all. Also, once the new ordinances are brought back to the county, those must be brought to the public for comment before they can be enacted.

Most of the meeting was taken up with identifying the issues that would need to be addressed by Dr. Black for the county. Bartholomew reminded those attending that the meeting was not about trying to decide how to address the issues yet, which would be done after Dr. Black brought back his recommendations.

The most prominent issues revolved around various people trying to get around ordinances about what kind of buildings could be used as a dwelling for human occupation, especially in areas bordering on or near national forest areas. Storage containers, “shabins,” sheds in mountain recreational areas acting as “wooden tents,” “tiny homes” on wheels and Wilderness Urban Interfaces (WUI) all fell into these general concerns.

Vacation rental ordinances, in depth nuisances, major/minor subdivisions “loop-holes,” road issues and buffer zones were all other issues that came up during the meeting. Dr. Black told the audience he would likely be back in front of them sometime in February, with the aim of getting actionable ordinances by sometime in March. At the same time, the county will identify what other issues may need to be addressed at later meetings.

Leonard Everitt, 86, and Mary Kay Mickelson,80, were among the fi rst members of Moroni Feed Credit Union when it was organized 50 years ago in 1969. In 2009, the name was changed to Utah Heritage Credit Union. At right is Donald Watson, current president and CEO of the credit union. Photo was taken last week at annual meeting where credit union observed its golden anniversary.

[Read more…]

Amid Mellor fallout, Fayette mayor resigns

 

By Robert Stevens

 

02-14-2019

 

FAYETTE—Fayette Town Council members are now steering a ship through murky waters with no one at the helm.

During a meeting last Thursday, Feb. 7, the council announced the challenges of reorganizing the town government had gotten more complex with the resignation of the mayor.

Councilman Brandon Jensen, who was presiding during the meeting at Fayette Town Hall, announced Mayor Brenda Liefson had dropped off her keys to the town hall as well as all materials and documents connected to her job as mayor.

“She didn’t give an official letter of resignation, but she has turned in everything associated with her position as mayor, and we as a council has taken that as an act of resignation,” Jensen said.

Liefson, who took office on Jan. 1, 2018, was the only Fayette mayor over more than a decade to spot the misuse of public funds that siphoned off 10-12 percent of the entire town budget from 2009 (possibly earlier) to 2018.

After putting an end to the theft , Liefson reportedly began to receive a lot of pushback from members of the community for her actions to pursue prosecution of former town clerk Tracy Mellor.

A report on the Mellor case from the Utah State Auditor’s Offi ce lauded her, but apparently the criticism she received in the community was too much. She is reported to have said, “I’ve had enough.”

“If someone is interested in applying and assuming that responsibility, you need to come forward and let the council know,” Jensen said. “We want people to know and have the opportunity to volunteer.”

The council announced it that time Fowles had determined the ordinances needed a major overhaul. “There have been some changes over the years on the state level, in terms of development, and the county would like to bring our ordinances up to date,” said Fowles. To do so, the county has hired Dr. Michael Clay from BYU to make the initial recommendations of changes that need to be made.

Fowles explained, “BYU has a great reputation in helping municipalities and counties improve their ordinances.”

Dr. Black, who was also present, told those in attendance he would take the list of the counties’ issues and concerns, compile a set of ordinances to address those, and then bring those ordinances back to the county for action in March.

Bartholomew said, “There is no set time frame, we don’t want to rush him, we want to get this right. Our ordinances are a living document, which will be tweaked and amended as needed as we implement the rules and fi nd out what works and what doesn’t.”

However, Dr. Black also noted there were many “topics” of issues of concern to the county, and it might take more than one set of meetings to address them all. Also, once the new ordinances are brought back to the county, those must be brought to the public for comment before they can be enacted.

Most of the meeting was taken up with identifying the issues that would need to be addressed by Dr. Black for the county. Bartholomew reminded those attending that the meeting was not about trying to decide how to address the issues yet, which would be done after Dr. Black brought back his recommendations.

The most prominent issues revolved around various people trying to get around ordinances about what kind of buildings could be used as a dwelling for human occupation, especially in areas bordering on or near national forest areas. Storage containers, “shabins,” sheds in mountain recreational areas acting as “wooden tents,” “tiny homes” on wheels and Wilderness Urban Interfaces (WUI) all fell into these general concerns.

Vacation rental ordinances, in depth nuisances, major/minor subdivisions “loop-holes,” road issues and buffer zones were all other issues that came up during the meeting.

Dr. Black told the audience he would likely be back in front of them sometime in February, with the aim of getting actionable ordinances by sometime in March. At the same time, the county will identify what other issues may need to be addressed at later meetings.

Tara Daniels, teacher at Ephraim Middle School, spoke to the Ephraim Council Wednesday night, along with her students, about their project to design a city fl ag for Ephraim. The students asked the council questions to help them settle on the eventual look of the fl ag.

Analysis underway to project, prepare for future growth in Ephraim City

 

By James Tilson

EPHRAIM—Engineers reported to the Ephraim City Council last week concerning future capital improvements and the impact-fee structure.

Ephraim has hired Sunrise Engineering to conduct a review of Ephraim’s future needs for capital infrastructure improvements, based on future growth.

Based on that analysis, the engineers will calculate how much the city’s impact fees may have to change in order to balance the need to have developers pay for future growth, versus having current residents pay for infrastructure improvements to encourage growth and grow the city’s tax base.

Robert Worley and Jesse Ralphs were on hand to present Sunrise’s preliminary findings on the need for capital improvements for wastewater and public safety. They explained the city’s needs for capital improvement would have to be analyzed before they could properly consider an analysis of impact fees. After this presentation, Sunrise would come back in two weeks to discuss capital improvements to streets, parks and water.

To analyze the need for future wastewater capital improvement, Sunrise needed to estimate future growth of Ephraim’s population. To fi nd that, Sunrise looked back to 2000, and looked at the growth of Ephraim’s population since then to calculate the average growth rate.

Sunrise had to calculate both Ephraim’s and Snow College’s growth rates, since they are growing at much different rates (2.86 percent versus 5.71 percent). At an estimated growth rate of 4.3 percent, Ephraim’s current population of 7,482 could be expected to grow to 11,399 in 2028, and 17,366 in 2038.

Then Sunrise had to look at the city’s wastewater collection system (i.e. sewer pipes), and see where any potential issues might be. Two major issues stood out to Sunrise: the existence of obsolete clay pipes in the city interior, and the possibility of annexations in the next 20 years.

Of the two, the replacement of clay pipes would cost far less than the need to expand the wastewater system over the next 20 years. However, only the replacement of clay pipes would not be eligible for impact fee, as those were maintenance costs and not new infrastructure. Therefore, over the next twenty years, the city could expect to spend $2,815,000 on the city’s wastewater system, of which only $294,000 would not be eligible for impact fees.

Sunrise next discussed future public safety (i.e. police and fire emergency services) facility improvements that would be required over the next twenty years. Sunrise estimated the level of service provided by these departments by comparing the square footage of building space to population. Based on these numbers,

Sunrise concluded the level of service by the public safety departments are “really good right now, will be pretty good in 10 years, and in 20 years will be needing expansion.”

To maintain the same level of services,  Sunrise estimated the police and fi re departments would need to expand their current buildings at a total cost of $1,648,334. 

However, all of the improvements to public safety departments would be eligible for impact fees, and would likely have a lesser impact on current residents.

 

New Ephraim recreation director says he’s glad to come to the ‘big city’

By James Tilson

 

02-14-2019

 

EPHRAIM—After working the same job in rural Alaska, Ephraim’s new recreation director says he’s “moved to the big city now” and he couldn’t be happier to settle into Central Utah.

Donnie Wood, who officially started on Jan. 1, took over from the retiring Phil Murray.

Wood has worked in recreation for most of his life. In fact, his first job at age 14 was working for the recreation department in his hometown of Oxford, Ala. making $4 an hour.

After he graduated from high school, he spent three years as a high school sports official before going on a mission to Hawaii for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then he started working on his degree at Jacksonville State University, where he met and married his wife, Veronica.

While in college, he joined the Air Force National Guard and in 2009 served a tour of duty in Iraq. When Wood left the Air Force in 2013, he decided he wanted to get back into recreation management and he took a job in Oxford, Mississippi (same town name as his hometown, but in a different state) managing youth leagues.

But the “great adventure for the family” started when he took a job managing the recreation department for Bristol Bay Borough, Alaska. Wood called the job a “great decision.” “When the job showed up on my radar, it was like a dream come true.”

Wood lived in the very little town of Naknek, which is located at the mouth of Bristol Bay, where the Aleutian Islands start. While the town only had a full-time population of 900, during the summer, when the salmon started to run, the population ballooned to 9,00010,000.

And people were not the only ones drawn to the little town by the salmon. Wood said the residents grew accustomed to sharing fish with brown bears.

“They run around our yards just like the deer do here,” said Wood. “When you walk outside, you have to look around the corner to make sure you’re not going to startle a bear.”

Brown bears are the larger cousins to grizzly bears and are related to the even larger Kodiak bears, which are located a couple of islands over from Bristol Bay. However, according to Wood, the brown bears were pretty docile, although the bears and humans tended to stay out of each other’s way.

“Most of the time, the bears would come down to eat [the salmon in the river], and we’d leave our fishing. When they finished, we would go back. Except of course when momma bears with their cubs came down. [Then] everything stayed out of their way.”

Distances and sports events are a little different in Alaska, Wood notes. Th e nearest town to Naknek is South Naknek, population 40, which is only about a mile away. But South Naknek is across the Naknek River, and the only way to get there is by boat or plane.

Wood re-started a turkey shoot for South Naknek, which has been held in the past but abandoned. By the time he left , the shoot had turned into a two-day event with people coming from all over the peninsula.

After almost four years in Alaska, Wood decided it was time to come back to civilization. He has two children, Josephine 13, and Ezra 7, and with his daughter approaching high school, he and his wife felt the children would benefit from more social and educational opportunities. So they began to look for jobs in the lower 48.

Wood had connections in Utah. He had friends who lived here, and his sister had graduated from BYU. He interviewed for a couple of jobs, but the job with Ephraim worked best for him.

“We love it here,” says Wood. “People would ask us how we were adjusting to living in a small town, and we would have to giggle. We feel like we’ve moved to the big city now.”

He says they’ve been welcomed by everyone—the people, the city, the staff and employees. “Everyone’s been super helpful.”

Wood has been figuring out the relationships that go into his job. That’s been important, he says, because the city doesn’t own the facilities it uses for its recreation programs.

“We want to keep these relationships strong, and make sure the facilities stay in good shape, since they don’t belong to us,” he said.

He has also learned the city has been studying the possibility of building its own recreation facility, although he cautions the project is in the early planning stages.

Wood is also working on plans for summer programs, not just for the kids, but also for adults. He has looked at the Utah Summer Games held in Cedar City for inspiration, and thinks Ephraim may eventually host a biathlon or triathlon.

Sanpete Pantry seeks more county coin to continue charitable works

 

By James Tilson

 

02-14-2019

 

MANTI—Representatives from the Sanpete Pantry reminded the county commission on Tuesday that it feeds Sanpete residents very efficiently, but it will also require more assistance to continue its operations in the future. Jeff Jarman, President of Sanpete Pantry, spoke to the Sanpete County Commission about the dangers he sees in running the charitable operation. “We cannot continue to operate in the manner we do,” said Jarman. “We would like to pay our employees better, and have a stable source of revenue.”Jarman pointed out the pantry has an annual budget of $60,000 a year, which when compared to the number of people served in Sanpete County, works out to a total cost of $5 per person served per year. Out of the $60,000, the county provides $5,000 per year. Thus, the cost to the county to distribute 30,000 pounds of food per month comes out to $0.42 per person per year. “And this figure does not take into account the “Kid Pack” program,” which provides a sack of food on the weekend for “at risk” children. Jarman related the efforts at increasing the pantry revenue sources beyond the charitable events the pantry sponsors every year. Over the last three years, the pantry has instituted a cardboard recycling program, through the use of a cardboard baler procured by the pantry. “Volunteers collect old corrugated cardboard from more than 60 locations on the north side of the county, removing 6,000 pounds per week from dumpsters and landfills,” he said. “However, most of our volunteers are retirees, or work for minimum wage. We cannot replenish their ranks when they quit, and we are afraid we will have to suspend or drastically reduce this program in the near future.” Jarman asked the commissioners for an additional $15,000 per year from the county, or “$1 per person served per year from the county, and $1 per family served from each political entity’s zip code.” Commission Chair Scott Bartholomew reminded Jarman the county’s budget had already been set for the current fiscal year. “We know this is not an action item, it is informational,” said Jarman. Bartholomew told Jarman if he were to come back to the commission in the fall before the budget considerations had been made, “we may be able to slide it in.” Bartholomew also told Jarman he would make sure the pantry’s request would be on the mayors and commissioners’ agendas this month. Also during the commission’s meeting, the Central Utah Counseling Center (CUCC) reported on its yearly independent financial audit. According to the report, the CUCC showed a profit of $531,000, which they intend to use in capital improvement. Their “total net position” is $3.9 million, which is deposited in a reserve account. And finally, the audit made “no findings,” which CUCC’s representatives explained meant the CUCC was in total compliance.The commissioners appointed Keith Jensen as Chair of the Government Efficiency Committee, Jay Olsen to the Sanpete Water Conservancy District Board to replace Edwin Sunderland and Claudia Jarrett to the Board of Adjustments to replace Erica Wightman.

Eighth-Grade Letters to the Editor

 

02-14-2019

Add a stoplight at Walmart intersection

By Payten Andreasen

 

Payten Andreasen

Ephraim is a great small town to grow up in. There are a lot of things to do in this small city, and there have been a lot of improvements to Ephraim. I am thankful for all of the upgrades and new additions to this town. Like the splash pad down at the park by the middle school. Or the new bank on Main Street, or the salon and stores behind the car wash at the north side of town. Other things have been improved as well. Like the sidewalks, which were made wider and easier for wheelchairs as well. There has been a lot done for Ephraim to make it a happy and safer place for everyone, but I have a suggestion for our community to benefit it more. I propose a simple plan that could help a lot with our town and make it safer for all people. Down by Walmart, there is a four-way intersection, the car wash, others stores and the cemetery. I propose to add a stoplight by Walmart on that four-way intersection. There have been a couple of crashes in that area, and there have also been many complaints about drivers having to sit and wait to turn because some people won’t let them go; and a lot of people pass it daily. I believe that a stoplight there can decrease the chances of crashes and people get to turn when it’s their turn. People cross that intersection by foot too and can never get across. There are many people that live close to Walmart and decide to walk instead, but it’s always difficult if they have to cross that road with cars speeding past. I respectfully request a stoplight by Walmart to help these situations.

 

Ephraim needs a new stoplight

By Morgan Chidester

 

Morgan Chidester

I am writing about a new stoplight in Ephraim. Ephraim is growing bigger and bigger. There are many people in cars, going places. We have one stoplight here in Ephraim. I am grateful for our one and only stoplight. Though each light is only on, or off , for a short time, it prevents people from getting injured or worse. Without it, there would be crashes happening, all of the time. I think as Ephraim is growing, it would be appropriate to have another stoplight in our town. I suggest this because, some parts of Ephraim are always busy and tricky to get through. I’m confident that if, we had another stoplight, more injuries, accidents and worse would be prevented. You’re probably wondering, where the new stoplight would be. I think that a new stoplight at the intersection at Malena’s and Subway would be perfect. It is always a little difficult to get to places in that part of town. This new stoplight would have many benefits. It keeps streets orderly and safe, for people and their vehicles. It will decrease the little traffic we have. Th e stoplight would allow people to cross the street without having to wait a lot. I appreciate the time I have had to request a new stoplight. It is something that could keep everyone in our community safe. Everything starts with an idea and I wanted to spread this idea.

 

Fix the sidewalks

By Colter Denton

Colter Denton

I am writing to bring up a problem that has been on my mind for a while now. I live in Sterling and there are hardly any sidewalks in the whole town. I understand that Sanpete County is not very wealthy, and our latest drought has left it even worse, but we severely need sidewalks in Sterling. My friends and I walk across town frequently, and the trails are very rocky and uneven. The trails are also very muddy most of the winter months. Walking often on these trails makes me very dirty and can ruin nice clothes. If we had some sidewalks, I would go salt them in the winter if I had to. That would be better than slipping on the ice, which happens quite often. Also, it wouldn’t take that much money to just put some sidewalks along Main Street, and maybe even Center Street. Judging by how many different times U.S. 89 has had work done to it in our county for no apparent reason, I’d say we have plenty of money for a few sidewalks in my hometown of Sterling. All I ask is that we get just a few sidewalks in my small town, which doesn’t have many at the moment.

 

Keep roads great

By Rowan Eichelberger

 

Rowan Eichelberger

I feel like a proper thank you is in order to the Ephraim City Public Works Department. Here in Ephraim city we have amazing roads. They are so well maintained and so nice to drive on. When I have driven through other towns, I have noticed that many do not have very nice roads and you must dodge potholes and drive on torn up roads. Wonderfully, here in Ephraim we don’t have to worry about running into huge potholes or going over rocky roads. Let’s all say thanks to our city Public Works Department for making sure that the roads are taken care of. I think we often forget about the importance of our roads and thanking those who help maintain them. They spend time in the heat of the summer, filling potholes, putting tar in cracks in the street and repainting lines and crosswalks. These people spend the early hours of winter days to clear the snow from our roads and sand them. I would also like to thank all those of you who pay your property taxes, because part of that property tax goes to your city to help take care of our roads. Even when you pay your sales tax it helps with the roads; so thank you. Honestly paying your taxes help benefit Ephraim City for the better. Thank you for your support of our city, the roads and especially the people that help keep our city great.

 

Thank the Lunch Ladies

By Chloe Hennagir

 

Chloe Hennagir

Our lunch ladies at Ephraim Middle School are amazing. Lunch ladies spend hours in the kitchen. They come early enough to make breakfasts for students. These ladies don’t have the option of running late. They have to make an incredible amount of food and have it done in a certain amount of time, so that students like me can have a hot meal. Sometimes students will purposely mix all of their food on their tray and leave it for the lunch ladies to clean up. Sometimes students will say mean things about the food to the lunch ladies. That happens more in elementary school than it does in middle school. They have to wipe down the tables, do dishes, clean trays and decide on what to do with the left overs. When there isn’t enough food for everyone, they have to find something for those students to eat. Lunch ladies do so much for us and they don’t always receive a thank you. When I have the chance to write thank you letters to the people in our school, I have noticed that it is very rare for lunch ladies to have more than two cards. Every day as I am receiving my food I tell the person that is giving me my food thank you. Then, later after I finish my lunch I say thank you as I’m stacking my tray. So, thank you to all of the wonderful and hardworking cooks. I appreciate all of the cooking, cleaning and effort that goes into your job.

 

Host some baseball tournaments

By Troy Madsen

 

Troy Madsen

I think that Sanpete County needs to host some baseball tournaments over the summer. All of the kids that play for Sanpete Chaos have to travel for hours at a time just to play some games. I play for the Sanpete Chaos accelerated baseball team. During the spring and summer, we travel one hour every Monday night to go play two games. We usually play really good teams and I think we would get better if we didn’t have to go so far. It’s just like home field advantage. There is a brand new baseball complex in Manti. Everyone who wants to come to our games can. We could charge a $3 admission fee to keep the complex going and to fund tournaments. All of our friends, family and even strangers could come watch our baseball games under the lights. What’s better than a cold coke and hotdog while watching some baseball? I’m glad that they made a new baseball complex. I’m going to try to work as field crew there over the spring so I can make it look really nice. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be the only person that would also want this change. Ask anyone on our team. Even ask our coaches. We also need an indoor baseball training center to train in the winter. All of the kids that don’t play basketball in the winter get bored and have a lot of time on their hands. That’s not good. When teenagers have a lot of time on their hands, they get into trouble. If kids who are bored in the winter have a heated training center, they can have a lot more fun and stay in good shape. In the end, I think that sports are a very important thing to worry about. Kids need sports to stay active and if they don’t, they can get in big trouble.

 

Show a little kindness

By Tess Larsen

 

Tess Larsen

Kindness is something you should always be thinking about or doing. It’s not always easy to be kind, but it’s always right. All of our schools have a strict no bullying policy. But, do we all always follow through with it? I have seen kids in the halls looking as sad as ever. I watch as every kid walks by ignoring them or some even laughing. I think to myself “How hard can it be to say a little hello or show a small smile?” Sure, you might have not been the one who has caused this person’s pain. But you can be the one to restore their happiness. Bullying isn’t always physical; it can be words. Words sometimes can hurt more than a punch to the face. If you keep ignoring someone who is suffering is that a form of bullying? I mean it is repetitive and it can be hurting them in some way. Imagine being the person sitting there being taunted by something that has just happened or even a memory. It would be torture. I know for a matter of fact that I would never want to be them. Think to yourself for a second when you observe someone who might be feeling this way. The littlest things can tear them down, but the littlest things could also build them up. Talk to them, make them realize they are perfect in their own little way. We all need to be more aware of what’s going on in our schools. Teachers, parents and especially students, be kind. Share a small smile and make a new friend. Even if they’re not “popular,” they’re still worth every second of your time. Make sure to be a light, and most definitely be their light. Show kindness every day in every way.

 

Put seatbelts on the buses

By Isaac Peterson

 

Isaac Peterson

Buses are great vehicles because they take kids to school each day. School buses also put less pollution into the air because there are not as many cars driving to the schools. But, there is one significant problem with the schools buses. Every seat on the bus doesn’t have a seat belt. Seat belts are very important things that protect us from car crashes and other vehicle hazards. Buses are big, tall vehicles, and can tip and flip over by ice or from strong wind. Five days a week, kids get on the bus for a ride to school and back home without the safety of a seatbelt. On average, six million car accidents happen in the U.S. in a year and more than 90 people die every day from car accidents. Around 2 million people are permanently injured and to add to that, 3 million people get injured each year in the United States. On average, 134 students die each year, riding the bus. That’s about two buses full of students. The reason why most people die in car crashes is because they weren’t wearing a seat belt. Seat belts are expensive, on average it would cost between $7,000 and $10,000 per bus. That is a lot of money, but that is nothing compared to the cost of a life. This action will lower the deaths from car accidents each year. School is an important place to go, and it should be safe to get there.

 

Take care of stray dogs

By Olivia Scharf

 

Olivia Scharf

Sanpete County has a major dog problem. Dogs are always running on the loose whether they got loose, or are strays. To solve this issue, people should watch their dogs more carefully, or fence them in. For the strays, perhaps we can build a shelter. The money for the shelter could come from residents, just from the pure kindness in their heart. Besides building a shelter, perhaps people could take in some strays. The community can help give the dogs a home that they deserve. Perhaps we could set up a foundation for people to donate money so we could buy a shelter, or expand a shelter that we already have. I’m trying to think this out logically, and I don’t believe by putting the animals down will help at all. Putting them down means that you are taking a life away and it’s not too polite if you think about it. Many dogs are missing in Sanpete and that could be someone’s best friend. If everyone got involved to try to fi nd someone’s dog, I bet that Sanpete would become a safer, carefree place. There is a Facebook page that helps families reunite with their missing dogs. The Facebook page is called, “Sanpete Lost and Found.” I would just like to say thank you to them for helping families get their dogs back. It really is a wonderful thing that they are helping the entire community get their beloved animals back. If you are missing a pet, then report it to your local police station.

 

Don’t shorten winter break

By Jonah Thomas

 

Jonah Thomas

I am writing to the Sanpete Messenger to address the problem this year with the winter break being shortened by a week. Th is was the first year that our school district has done this. They made the summer go a week longer. But I don’t think it would matter as much if they didn’t do that because we were already used to going to school at that time. Plus I don’t think very many people do tons of crazy stuff a week before school, so that doesn’t really matter. Shortening the winter break made more of a commotion. I’ve been hearing tons of people complaining about the break. The parents had been excited to spend lots of time home with their kids; but because of this they had less time. Plus lots of kids were skipping the last couple of days at school because their parents said they could. When they were thinking of changing the break, they took a vote with all the staff at the schools asking if they cared about changing the break size. The majority voted against it. They just discarded what their staff voted on and did what they wanted. This was brought up when talking to one of my friend’s moms, who is mad about them doing this. During this conversation she stated she was not going to send her kids to school because it wouldn’t be worth going on days when we were not doing anything. I think the kids need a little time to be out of school around Christmas.

 

Keep the Manti Pageant

By Isaac Warby

 

Isaac Warby

I am writing to the Sanpete Messenger to discuss my opinion of ending of the Manti Pageant. I don’t think that ending the Manti Pageant is a good thing to do. The Pageant brings money to the community. The Pageant has also been a tradition for many years. Ending the Pageant end will hurt businesses and take away part of our culture. I think the Manti Pageant should continue because of how much money it brings in to both Ephraim and Manti. During the Manti Pageant, the hotels and motels are filled. That brings in a lot of money for the hotels. Restaurants also benefit from the people who come to watch the Pageant. The Pageant has been one of the main events in the summer and many local businesses will be hurt without it. Tradition is another reason that the Pageant should keep going. Why take away an event that has been here for years? Families in the area have participated in it every summer for many years and are sad to see it end. Th e Pageant has become a place where people reconnect and serve in the community. The City of Manti should keep putting on the Pageant. The community and town leaders could even find sponsors to help keep it going. I hope the Pageant keeps going for many years.

 

Thank the crossing guards

By Brynlee Wathen

Brynlee Wathen

You may have seen a friendly face in a fluorescent yellow or orange vest standing on the side of the road with a stop sign in hand, but you may have never noticed their important role in your community. Crossing guards all over help hundreds of kids daily get to and from school safely. According to the article Report: More Kids Are Walking to School by Tanya Snyder, it said, “But school encouragement—or at least parents’ perceptions of it—has grown markedly, from 24.9 to 33 percent.” This growth in children walking to school was a result of safer paths for kids who walk and bike to school. Crossing guards play an important role in these safer paths. Our friends in the vests may get paid, but what they do is no easy task. In fact I would still call it a service. They wake up bright and early, rain or shine to help with the safety of our community. They always put on a smile and get their duty done. They are not just city employees, they are also friends. In today’s world there is always technology on hand. Everyone seems to have smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart watches, etc. All of this technology is great but can be distracting. An article on health. utah.gov called “Pedestrian Safety” states, “Each year in Utah, 30 pedestrians are hit and killed by a car and another 785 are hospitalized or treated in an emergency department after being in a crash with a motor vehicle.” Crossing guards play an important role in our community and I believe they deserve more thanks than they get. They are there every day to keep us safe. The least we could do is say thanks.

Spring City Council elects interim mayor, council member to fill vacated seats

 

By James Tilson

 

02-14-2019

 

New Interim Spring City Mayor Neil Sorensen, right, and Councilman Craig Clark, left, are sworn in by Spring City Recorder Dixie Earl last Thursday night at the Spring City council meeting. Sorensen takes over from Jack Monnett, who resigned to care for his wife. Clark takes over the council seat vacated by Whitney Allred, who resigned to take over as the treasurer.

SPRING CITY—Spring City’s council picks interim mayor, appoints resident to fill council vacancy.

Neil Sorensen, the acting mayor pro tem, and Kimberly Stewart, former councilwoman, had both applied for the interim mayor position. The position came open last month upon the resignation of Mayor Jack Monnett, who had vacated the position to care for his wife. Monnett’s wife was injured in a catastrophic auto accident, which left her without the use of her legs and one arm.

The interim mayor’s term will go until the end of 2019, at which time there will be a new election in Nov. 2019 for a two year term to bring it into line with the other government positions in Spring City.

Sorensen told the council, “I’m not the best person for the job, but I have a great knowledge of the city’s infrastructure.” He asked to be elected to the position in order to continue to oversee the improvement to the city’s infrastructure for the next year.

Stewart agreed with Sorensen’s assertion that he was the most knowledgeable person of Spring City’s infrastructure. “I think Neil should stay on the
New Interim Spring City Mayor Neil Sorensen, right, and Councilman Craig Clark, left, are sworn in by Spring City Recorder Dixie Earl last Thursday night at the Spring City council meeting. Sorensen takes over from Jack Monnett, who resigned to care for his wife. Clark takes over the council seat vacated by Whitney Allred, who resigned to take over as the treasurer. Spring City Council appoints interim mayor, resident will fill council vacancy council, where he can actually vote on the issues in front of the city.” Stewart said she decided to run for mayor, because she could be in the office regularly, and help with the transition to new city staff.

The remaining members of the council voted three to one in favor of Sorensen, and he was sworn in that night.

Also up for election by the council was the council seat vacated by Whitney Allred, who was taking over the position of city treasurer. Jane Hawks, Joe McGriff and Craig Clark all applied for the position. Of the three, Clark was the only lifetime resident, and had been serving on the city’s planning and zoning committee. Clark was elected by the council by a vote of three to one to one.

The council urged the two unsuccessful applicants to apply for the now-vacant seat from Sorensen, which will be decided next month.

Ted Hinckley and John “Tennessee” Stewart asked the council to consider a long-term “arrangement” with the Spring City Bluegrass Festival for use of city grounds, including the City Hall/Community Center for four years. Hinckley and Stewart, who run the festival, explained they were looking for a long-term relationship with the city in order to allow “strategic decision-making” by them for future festivals.

The council closely questioned the two men about the events surrounding last year’s festival, especially certain events surrounding security at the event. Hinckley and Stewart assured the council they had learned from those situations, and they would not be repeated. They also told the council the festival would no longer use the city’s non-profit status for donations, so as to maintain separation from the city.

The city approved their request, with formal contracts to be drafted and signed by the parties.

Before the council meeting, there was also an informational “town meeting” by the planning and zoning committee to talk about planning for future growth. The gathered audience was told that, according to state law and county ordinance, Spring City was required to have a master plan, which addressed future growth.

They said their master plan was made to “preserve our small town feel and open space, flexibility for new businesses and residential development, and maintain property values.”

However, most of the audience were concerned about possible annexation. They were told the city could not initiate an annexation petition, only property owners adjacent to the city could. And then, the pros of annexation – increased property value, access to fire, power, water, sewer and road maintenance services, as well as snow removal, orderly growth and a voice in city policy—far outweighed the cons—higher property taxes, but lower utility costs.

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