EPHRAIM—Last September, Ephraim responded to a report that more than a dozen residents in the mobile home park on Ephraim’s Main Street had been without utilities for weeks after their homes were moved by the property owner. Eventually utilities were restored, but the council believes conditions in the park continue to deteriorate.
The mobile homes sit on a property owned by Kingdom Management LLC, a Cedar City based company run by Kolby Pulsipher.
The Ephraim City Council addressed the issue again at its most recent meeting last Wednesday. Councilman Lloyd Stevens said, “The promises made to the council by Pulsipher to resolve safety issues in the trailer park have been broken.”
“Pulsipher is treating our complaints as recommendations only, but we have to make them mandates, with teeth,” Lloyd said. “Mostly I am concerned that serious health, safety, and fire concerns remain in the park, from trailers with extension cords to adjacent trailers, debris, refuse and broken-down cars blocking access roads. We have to do something before someone dies.”
In September, Mayor John Scott said, “While as a city we are limited on what we can do in navigating personal property rights issues, we felt we needed to step in to assist our residents. We are concerned about them and want to make certain they have access to the basic necessities they need.”
Pulsipher promised to rectify the problems, but no action has been taken.
The council is now searching city, state, and federal laws to find out what actions the city can take to protect the citizens in the trailer park.
Many of the trailers are so old that we do not even know how old they are, many should never have been allowed in the park in the first place, and it is almost impossible to find out the names of who the original owners of the trailers are, the council noted.
Also, if the trailer park were condemned and closed and residents evicted, where would they go?
The council is aware that the issue goes even beyond safety because most of the families simply have nowhere else to go.
The next item on the council’s agenda was about the food pantry. Marty McCain, Sanpete Food Pantry, reported that the last mobile food drop for Ephraim would be Thursday, Oct. 28 in the Zions First National Bank parking lot. He invited council members to come and see “just what we are doing here.”
The pantry has made a trip once a month to Ephraim and other Sanpete communities over the last five months, and between 25-35 families are helped at each drop. “We handed out 97 kid packs in Ephraim,” said McCain.
“Our experience has shown that there are still far too many hungry children in Sanpete,” McCain said. He also said libraries are being used as drop locations. “We want to make it easy for those who need the food to get it, without having to drive to Mt. Pleasant.”
McCain thanked the council for their support in the pantry’s mission.
After McCain’s remarks, the council granted V-Dot Meats a conditional use permit to expand their productions, which are currently located at 25 N. 100 East. The new facility will be located at 567 W. 100 North, within the city’s industrial park zone, and will process 50-head of beef a day according to owner Ryan Rees.
The planning and zoning board unanimously approved the request, and conditions were set so that all USDA regulations as well as smell moderation and proper waste product management be followed. Rees hoped to begin construction as soon as plans and permits were approved. He said the facility would probably employ as many as 28 full-time, well-paid employees.
The facility will use about 15,000 gallons of water per day, the equivalent of about two residences. The council wanted to make sure there would be sufficient water for the facility, even during summer months.
Rees also plans to have a retail outlet so locals can buy beef products. It will also be a venue for local meats to be sold. There are a lot of livestock producers here in Sanpete who currently have to ship their product out of state. He hopes this will create more of a farm-to-fork environment for Sanpete and Utah in general.
“This will just make us a little more independent as a community,” said Torrie, Rees’s wife.
Rees will continue to run the V-Dot Meats facility on 100 East for custom meat processing.
The final item on the meeting’s agenda was that Jonathan Kennedy has been hired to replace Steve Widmer, who has served as Ephraim’s financial director since 2008.
“When I came in, we had to scale back tremendously on our expenses in the midst of that recession; it was a rough year,” Widmer recounted.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed being the finance director here in Ephraim. I was also finance director for 13 years in Evanston, Wyoming. There have been so many projects that the city has developed since then. The Canyon View Park stands out in my mind as one of my favorite projects.”
Widmer added a lot of system changes and procedures to help things run more smoothly as well as streamlined the budgeting process, including fraud monitoring.
Kennedy will begin his office Nov. 1st. He has been employed at Snow College in the controller’s office since 2015. He and his wife Lisa have four children and have lived in Ephraim for 20 years.
“I’m happy for the opportunity to work with Ephraim City and help them to continue to achieve financial stability,” said Kennedy.