The Kane County Commission meeting on June 11 began with a presentation by County Clerk Karla Johnson, who presented the minutes of the results of the property tax sale held May 24. This summary listed all properties up for sale due to unpaid taxes, showing the amount of taxes due and the final price paid at the auction. Most properties on the list were redeemed by the owners, but fourteen were sold. The minutes document was accepted unanimously by the commissioners and signed by Commission Chair Clayson. There is a chance there will be a second sale later this year for some properties that were withheld from the list for legal technicalities.

In the second item of business, Karla Johnson and Budget Director John Livingston presented the calculations used to determine the 2018 property tax rate. In the last year, real property rates increased in value by 10.82%, though the assessed values of real property decreased by 2.09%, due in part to equipment depreciation. Personal property values had a large increase, up 35.24%. After running the numbers based on projected budgeted revenue of $4,850,772, the final certified tax rate for 2018 – .003822% – was approved unanimously. This is slightly lower than in 2017 because property values and new growth have increased. The final rate will add the state assessing and collecting rates, which have not yet been determined.

A petition to the county was sent in by the Bloomington Utah Stake of St. George. They are planning an event for approximately 150 youth to reenact the Pioneer Trek June 5-8, 2019. They will walk, pushing handcarts, and are requesting permission to use the 30-mile North Fork Road between Navajo Lake and Zion Ponderosa Resort. While the county does not retain the authority to “permit” this, they are appreciative of the notice so they can be of help if needed. Sheriff Tracy Glover will contact the petitioners and offer that support.

Finally, the new Bryce Canyon National Park Superintendent, Linda Mazzu, was formally introduced. Mazzu has been here about a year. Previously she was at Yellowstone N.P. and has worked with the Park Service on and off for 36 years.

A discussion regarding how Kane County and the Park Service can work together was held, and she updated the commission regarding things going on at the park. She pointed out that Bryce Canyon is the 12th most visited national park in the U. S., and second most visited of the “Mighty 5” parks in Utah. Like many parks, visitation is significantly up, and she talked about efforts to control the crowds using shuttles, parking attendants to direct traffic in their three parking lots, and more, such as the planned cell tower to improve reception in the region, and where it might be located. Over Memorial Day weekend, the shuttle into the park carried about 25,000 visitors. While the shuttle is not mandatory at Bryce, that number amounted to about half the visitors that weekend.

There are also problems with people hiking in without water and then realizing they still have to hike back out, and volunteers and staff are there to make sure people get out safely.