Spring City holds cheery holiday December meeting and discusses possible police volunteer idea
By Doug Lowe
SPRING CITY—A good holiday spirit seemed to abound at the last City Council meeting of 2019, on Thursday, Dec. 5.
During the meeting, soon-to-be-retired mayor, Neil Sorensen, was on the receiving end of multiple thanks expressed by council members as well as those in the audience. Likewise, the city’s new mayor-elect, Cynthia DeGrey, was given a warm welcome by Sorensen, other members of council, and the audience.
Thanks were also expressed to those who have worked, either as city employees or volunteers, to help make the spirit of the season visible around the city—from the decorated light poles on Main Street to the Christmas tree effect created by the lights strung one the tree in front of City Hall.
The expression of appreciation extended to those in the volunteer fire department, the EMAC volunteers, and many others who contribute to the wellbeing of the city and its residents.
The lion’s share of the meeting went to discussing the terms of a contact presented by Austin Hiskey, with the U.S. Forest Service, spelling out the city’s responsibilities for maintaining a small, remote public recreation area, far up Spring City canyon, affectionately called “the Mud Hole.”
In effect, the city’s leadership told the Forest Service representative, that keeping the picnic area functional—with things like culinary water coming out of its three spigots and a properly maintained rest room—was so highly valued by local residents that the city was willing to continued providing the water, cleaning out the outhouse, maintaining the signage, and do whatever else was needed, within reason, to continue having the Mud Hole available to the public.
Mayor Sorensen expressed his strong sentimental attachment to the place by saying, “My parents went there when they were young, and took me there when I was young. Going there has been a family thing for multiple generations.” The fine details of the new contract will need to be studied by the city’s leadership and legal counsel, but it appears that the mutual cooperation between the city and the Forest Service is going to continue.
Perhaps the only jarring note in the whole evening, was something that did not appear to upset anyone, but that required several motions and amendments before finally being tabled in order to allow time for further study.
At issue was a proposal by Councilman Brunner that the Chief of Police be authorized to choose a few individuals to head the local version of a national volunteer program called Volunteers in Service to Police (shortened to VISP.) Several other cities in Utah, and many more in other states, have highly useful and successful VISP organizations.
Speaking about having “a background in law enforcement,” Brunner urged approval of the proposal. And, at first, it appeared that would be the case. But, Mayor-elect DeGrey, said, “I don’t feel good about empowering any one person to pick those who will led and serve in this program. I think the mayor and council ought to have some say in the matter.”
Others expressed agreement with the wisdom in DeGrey’s position, and the proposal was tabled. Since then, in an interview, Police Chief Clark Christensen, explained that he himself was “on the fence about starting a VISP program here in Spring City.” His concerns were two-fold: the time it would take from his other duties to train the volunteers, and the possible lack of enough things for the volunteers to do.
“I wonder if they might get bored because the places where VISP seems to be really successful are bigger towns, like Orem and Brigham City, where there are more things that the volunteers can help with.”
So, the question of whether VISP program comes to Spring City is still up in the air until the new council and mayor take the reins in January. Until then, things that are up in the air and involve reins may best be left to little old drivers so lively and quick that you’ll know right away…ETC.