Manti will have fireworks for Fourth,
unsure about the rest of celebration
By Suzanne Dean
MANTI—The Manti City Council has agreed to schedule Fourth of July fireworks but is holding off on deciding whether to go ahead with the city’s full, annual celebration.
“I think we should go ahead with the fireworks, regardless of how the celebration would be impacted. People can watch those from their backyards, ” City Manager Kent Barton told the council during a Zoom meeting on April 29. “I believe we have a consensus on that.”
Barton said he had participated with city officials around the state in a conference call with Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, chair of the Utah coronavirus task force. He said the officials were advised, “Don’t cancel” local celebrations, “but be prepared for whatever direction they give us.”
Barton noted that Ilene Roth, proprietor of the Ed “Big Daddy” Roth Museum had cancelled the Rat Fink Reunion, traditionally held in Manti during May. Roth was within five weeks of when the reunion was scheduled, and didn’t have clearance to go forward, he said
Some of the regular participants in the reunion telephoned the city to express concern about how the cancellation might affect the local economy, Barton said. City staff suggested the callers donate one night’s lodging to local lodging places affected by the coronavirus crisis.
Because of the Mormon Miracle Pageant being discontinued and resulting loss in visitor revenue, the city was planning two ATV runs this year, events where visitors come in for guided rides through the Arapeen trail system in the mountains east of town. “I suspect we’ll be able to do those and maintain our social distance,” Barton said.
“I’m just looking forward to having the opening of our field down there, Councilman Jason Vernon said, referring to the baseball/softball five-plex on the north end of the city, which city officials view as a potential economic development asset.
“I’m looking forward to a ribbon-cutting,” Mayor Korry Soper said.
Earlier, Barton reported that a large baseball tournament scheduled this spring at the new complex had been cancelled because of the coronavirus.
Barton also gave a positive report on the city budget through February but said no one knows how March and April will turn out. “We’re hearing sales tax is down, but we don’t have enough data to know how the city will come out,” he said.
As of the end of February, the city had brought in 66 percent of budgeted revenue for the general fund, while expenses were at 64 percent of the general fund budget. “That leaves us in a positive situation with net revenue of about $50,000,” Barton reported.
The city has separate funds for water, sewer and electricity. As of the end of February, those funds were all positive as well, Barton said.
The water fund was $50,000 in the black; the sewer fund showed a plus $133,000; and the electricity fund had net revenue of $25,000.
Barton said the surplus revenue could serve as a reserve account for completing water, sewer and power capital projects.
In other discussion, Councilman Darren Dyreng, who is also manager of the Ephraim Branch for Cache Valley Bank, described his branch’s effort to process Payroll Protection Loans (PPLs) for small businesses. The loans were established under the multi-trillion dollar CARES Act passed by Congress.
He said he walked into his office one morning to 54 messages from local businesses asking about the loans.
“We have been pushing just as fast as we can,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It’s just been crazy how busy it’s been.”
He said Cache Valley Bank, which has 18 branches around Utah, expected to receive funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration for $500 million in loans.
“Everyone we have in our system should be funded,” he said.
Mayor Soper told Dyreng, “I want to thank you and let you know how much we appreciate your hard work.”