Ephraim City approves budget, trying to improve culinary water service
By James Tilson
EPHRAIM—The Ephraim City Council reviewed the new city budget and approved two measures to forward the city’s plans to improve culinary water service to the city.
The Ephraim city staff presented the proposed 2018-2019 city budget to the council. The tentative budget will be reviewed by the council and will come back on the agenda for public hearing and approval on June 20.
City Finance Director Steve Widmer told the council three areas had undergone significant changes: Payroll adjustments that were requested by the council; expenses associated with the airport were lowered to reflect a balance of responsibilities with Manti; and the water fund reflected new revenues to be accrued pursuant to the new rates which will go into effect in October.
City Manager Brant Hanson added there were also new capital outlays for a new generator for the library–for the elevator if there is a loss of power–and for new defibrillators for city vehicles. Hanson explained having the defibrillators became an important issue last September when one of the city’s power linemen suffered a non-fatal electrocution.
City Community Development Director Bryan Kimball presented the recommendation from Franson Civil Engineers for bids on culinary water pipe for the Ephraim Tunnel. The bids were coming before the council because the amounts were much higher than anyone had expected. According to Kimball, the higher prices were caused by the recent increase in gasoline prices, and also a construction boom, which led to a greater demand in construction materials.
Kimball told the council Franson had recommended the bid from ICSO Industries, even though its bid was not the lowest. Franson told Kimball even though Valley Implement had a slightly lower bid, it had not specified a delivery date. ICSO had specified a July 30 delivery date, and with time of the essence, a specific date was an important factor.
Councilman John Scott asked Kimball if there was a penalty for failure to deliver on time. Kimball assured Scott the city could resort to litigation if there was a failure to deliver on time. Hanson also said standard contract terms would contain penalty provisions.
However, Mayor Richard Squire said the city did not want to delay the construction for any reason, if possible, because of the rise in construction costs as the summer progresses. Hanson said the real issue facing the city and the contractors is scarcity of pipe due to increased demand. Kimball said Franson had assured him they had used ICSO many times, and they had a good reputation.
The council approved the bid by ICSO Industries.
The council approved Resolution ECR 18-10–Water Rate Adjustment. This formally approved the water rate raise as recommended and discussed at the public hearing on May 2. Kimball added that any users of city water residing outside city limits would be paying 1.5 times the rate for all city residents.
Widmer asked the council to approve an extension of the independent audit service provided by Larson Certified Public Accountants for five years ending in 2022. Widmer told the council, “We as a staff are very, very pleased with their services.” He said the city had been using their services for more than 10 years, and they have always done a very good job, and are very pleasant to work with. He also pointed out changing accounting firms would result in extra costs as a new firm learned the city’s system. The council approved the extension.