Southern Utah News Articles
Prayer and public comment addressed in Kane County Commission meeting
The Nov. 19, Kane County Commission meeting opened with a prayer given by Kane County Attorney Rob Van Dyke, and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Rhonda Gant.
This was followed by a public comment from Utahn Julian Hatch, addressing Kane County’s practice of placing “Prayer” on the official county agenda. The Utah Supreme Court has ruled on this issue in Society of Separationists v. Whitehead (Salt Lake City Council) in 1993. Hatch’s full comments can be read in today’s Letters to the Editor, or heard in the audio file found here https://utah.gov/pmn/files/445483.MP3.
After reading his comments, Hatch handed a signed copy of his statement to Commission Chair Dirk Clayson, who thanked him for the copy. Van Dyke then made comments about the fact he had received a couple of phone messages from someone who did not give their name, but which clearly resulted in the Resolution cited below.
Tourism Director Camille Johnson asked Hatch where he is from. Hatch answered that he is an American, a Utahn and a military Veteran.
Later in the meeting, Van Dyke presented Resolution R-2018-25, which formally establishes “Invocation and other Opening Procedures for County Commission Meeting.”
The public comment section of this Resolution changes the current procedures for public comment, which included a three-minute time limit for each speaker at the beginning of each meeting. The new public comment directive reads as follows:
“After the Pledge of Allegiance, the Commission Chair shall invite public comment... Prior to beginning the public comment period, the Commission Chair may lengthen the three minute time limit based on the apparent desire to provide public comment or reduce the three minute time limit or set a total time limit for all public comment based on the amount of business that is on the agenda. The Commission Chair may reopen and take public comment at a later time in the meeting, so long as similar equal opportunity is given to the public to provide comment and there is no violation to a specific notice requirement for public comment in the Open and Public Meetings Act. Individuals giving public comment shall state their name for the minutes of the meeting, may deliver any comment to the Commission, are encouraged to speak loud enough for the Commission and the public to hear (but not shout), shall refrain from using vulgar or profane language, and shall refrain from threatening or defaming any person.“
The full resolution, which also addresses prayer/invocation at the beginning of each commission meeting, can be read under Item 15 here: https://utah.gov/pmn/files/445503.pdf.
Agenda items then began with recognizing Leslie McPherson, who, after a long career as the dispatcher in the sheriff’s office, is retiring. Both former Sheriff Lamont Smith and current Sheriff Tracy Glover praised McPherson’s contributions to the smooth running of the dispatcher’s office.
Next, Carol Lee Hunt, election specialist in the Kane County Clerk’s office, gave the canvass of the November 6 election. Hunt described the process of counting ballots to ensure accuracy and secrecy in counting the ballots. She also overviewed those ballots, that for various reasons, could not be counted – often because voters did not sign the affidavit on their mail-in ballots. This election had an especially large turnout of 81.31 percent of eligible voters.
In Item 3, a public hearing for Resolution R-2018-28 was held for a budget opening presented by Budget Director John Livingston. Four budget lines received increases in spending. First, the Tourism Fund received $20K for a study regarding the viability of an eastern shuttle service to Zion National Park. The Planning and Zoning department budget increased by $30K for salary and benefits needs. $5K was put into the County Fair budget for a better fireworks show. Finally, the Roads Fund was increased by $200K to pay for mounting legal services for road access litigation.
The Kane County Tourism Board welcomed new board member Brooks Bradbury, who is replacing retiring member Carrie Smith.
Subsequent to an earlier Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Kelly Stowell presented the final approval of an Intergovernmental Agreement between Kane County, the National Park Service, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It was approved to finalize design and improvements to Stud Horse Point Trail near Amangiri Resort. Kane County assumes these responsibilities for this non-motorized trail.
The Kane County Water Conservancy District appointed two new members to its board. Mike Keener and McKay Chamberlain will fill those seats.
The County Insurance Committee, led by IT Director Dave Owens, presented renewal plans for the 2019 health insurance program. Because insurance claims were fairly low in 2018, the county will enjoy savings over last year’s costs on medical, dental and vision plans, all of which were newly negotiated. All new plans were unanimously approved.
Tax Assessor Ryan Maddux discussed Board of Equalization tax exemptions for both Primary and Part Year Residential Properties. If owners live in their homes at least 183 days per year, tax rates are lower. Rules regarding application fees were set at $50 for late request forms, and unanimously approved.
Land Use Authority Director Shannon McBride presented Ordinance O-2018-22, 23 and 24, which officially vacates a variety of narrow easements in Duck Creek Pines Subdivision, the Movie Ranch South Estates Subdivision, and Strawberry Pines Subdivision.
Resolution R-2018-24 was adopted to appoint Alan Alldredge as an Executive Committee member of the Southwest Regional Response and Coordination Team.
Next, Attorney Van Dyke presented Ordinance O-2018-26, amending the bonding of officers to update regulations regarding such bonding against potential theft and crime.
Van Dyke also presented a MOU regarding the transfer of the local bucket truck from Kane County to Kanab City, outlining the responsibilities of all entities using the truck. It is used periodically by the county and all cities in the county, and the MOU acts to set procedures in using this piece of equipment.
A discussion on how to provide fire protection to the Old Ponderosa Subdivision pointed out that currently the area, which has about 300 privately owned parcels, has no official firehouse. The suggestion that this subdivision be annexed into the East Zion Special Service District (SSD) was presented, and also the idea of setting up a new SSD for fire services only was brought up. Commissioner Clayson said he would rather see a whole new SSD that included water services, since in this subdivision water is hauled rather than piped in. Because owners of land here must vote or petition their wishes in this matter, it was decided to table the discussion for further review.
Lastly, Mary Reynolds from Resource Management discussed the procedure for applying to request Forest Service Road Easements, after which Commissioner Jim Matson moved to table for further research.