New Moroni council deals with needs to replace secondary irrigation system

Moroni City officials pose after being sworn in Jan. 16. From left are Mayor Paul Bailey, who was elected in 2017; Councilman Bevan Wulfenstein, who won a four-year term in November 2019; Councilman Troy Prestwich, who was elected to a two-year term; City Recorder Carol Haskins; Councilman Craig Draper, who won a four-year term; and Councilman Thayne Atkinson, who was elected to a four-year term two years ago.


New Moroni council deals with needs

to replace secondary irrigation system


By Suzanne Dean 




MORONI—At its first meeting of the year, the Moroni City Council confronted the need to replace most of its secondary irrigation system.

Last summer, there were repeated pipe breaks. And with the current configuration of the system, each time a pipe broke, the system had to be shut down citywide for repairs.

“It was really frustrating for the customers,” Carol Haskins, city recorder, told the Sanpete Messenger.

At the council meeting Jan. 16, Councilman Craig Draper said he had consulted with someone knowledgeable about water pipe. “What they said in a nutshell was that the pipe [in the city system] is not good.”

The pipe that is in place wasn’t designed for the type of system that exists today, Councilman Thayne Atkinson said. “When the pipe was put in, the system wasn’t pressurized.”

A related factor is a law passed by the 2019 Utah Legislature that says after April of this year, all secondary water connections have to be metered, so the irrigation provider can bill customers based on the amount of water used.

Moroni could replace pipe; configure the system so different sections could be shut down for repairs while the rest of the city continued to have water; and install meters, all in the same project.

“It’s a huge cost, but we’re going to have to do it eventually,” Atkinson said.

Mayor Paul Bailey said grants are available that could provide as much as $3 million. He said he wanted to discuss options in depth at the next council meeting Feb. 19. “Let’s come to the next meeting with some ideas,” he told council members.

Another looming need, the mayor told the council, is for a culinary water well. The EPA limit on nitrates in culinary water is 10 parts per million (ppm). The city has two wells. Water from the older well, drilled in 1968, is over the 10 ppm limit. Water from the newer well has a fraction of 1 ppm of nitrates.

The only way the city can use water from the old well is by mixing it with water from the new well, Bailey said. Water from the two wells combined comes out at under 2 ppm of nitrates.

In other discussion, the council considered how to respond to the resignation of a full-time public works employee over the Christmas holidays. The employee had reported to Burt Kendall, the public works director.

Mayor Bailey said the city needs two employees in public works, because some tasks are two-person jobs.

The council discussed whether to hire the second employee part-time and add another part-time person during the summer to help with park and cemetery upkeep.

“If it’s an existing position, and we’ve had it all along, that’s what we ought to do, have a full-time person,” Councilwoman Jennifer Lamb said.

Councilman Bevan Wulfenstein said it would be good to hire someone who could train under Kendall and be ready to take over his job when he retired.

The council decided to advertise a full-time position and keep the job open until the right person or persons applied.

The mayor also made assignments to council members for oversight of and liaison with various city department and functions:

Councilman Craig Draper: Planning and Zoning Commission, Board of Adjustment, Opera House and recreation. Draper will also serve as mayor pro tempore.

Councilman Thayne Atkinson: Streets, sidewalks, sewer and Christmas activities.

Councilman Bevan Wulfenstein: Cemetery, parks and the former Mud Boggs arena.

Councilman Troy Prestwich: Culinary water, secondary irrigation, emergency management and Easter activities.

Councilwoman Jennifer Lamb: Fire Department and Fourth of July celebration.