Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for September 16, 2009
Fredonia Town Council meeting draws big crowd
The residents of Fredonia continue to attend the town council meetings in full force to stay abreast of town happenings. Tuesday, September 8, was no exception.
With no public comments made, the meeting quickly moved into council committee updates. The first update was from the landfill committee. Cody Judd is the council member over the landfill. He explained they have been reviewing the budget for the landfill and looking for ways to reduce spending and increase revenue.
John Barlow, business manager for the AZ Strip Landfill, presented the council with a few findings from a recent audit. “The end of this year, our budget was about $16,000 over for Fredonia payroll than we budgeted…$16,000. So, we started wondering what’s going on here.”
Barlow continued, “We are paying Kurt Henry out of the landfill budget. The landfill never agreed to that.” Henry’s salary to open the roll-off in town on Fridays and Saturdays is approximately $5,800. “Then we find out they were taking 10 percent of Tom Corrigan’s wage out of the landfill for part of last year too.” The budget for Fredonia payroll was only intended to pay the driver’s salary and benefits.
“I really think that money belongs to the landfill.” Barlow requested the town reimburse the landfill for the payroll funds taken out of their budget. According to Barlow, the landfill has a very tight budget. “If we really stay on top of it, in one more year, we will have our bonds paid and our trucks paid.”
The council agreed to place the issue on the agenda for the next meeting.
Fire Department Chief Harris Allen informed the council they had information, which may lead to an arrest, on the suspected limb pile arson.
Marshal Dan Watson informed the council the Marshal’s dummy car had been vandalized. The severity of the vandalism will cause the town not to replace the vehicle at this time.
Mayor Dixie Judd addressed the residents in attendance in order to explain the necessity of the upcoming November bond election. It is the same election held in the spring, however, due to problems down state, the election must be held again.
It did pass in March, but “we can’t use it because it wasn’t done in November, to no fault of ours.” Judd continued, “And with our drought and any growth to our town it is really vital that we do have this.” Part of the bond will pay for a more effective second reservoir. It will be a bond, it won’t be taxes… and so we’re hoping you do understand this and you can feel good about helping us out with this.”
After updates, Lee Esplin of Savage, Esplin and Radmall, presented the council with a proposal to take over several aspects of the town office bookkeeping, including payroll, collections, bill payment, etc. Esplin explained his services should be a cost savings to the town, “With Freda going to part time, you shouldn’t have to replace her.” Esplin reviewed the various items on the proposal. “A lot of this would mean Marilyn (Johnson) would move out more to the front and handle the people coming in.” The proposal would leave only a few other things for the staff to take care of, but according to Esplin, “I think Marilyn and Freda could handle that in the office.”
Judd told attendees, “January of 2008, going back in the minutes, we did approve this.” She then motioned to approve the proposal for Savage, Esplin and Radmall to be the accountants. The proposal was unanimously approved.
Dino Desimone of the NRCS approached the council regarding the Fredonia Flood Retarding Structure. There had been a public hearing at 5 p.m. to discuss the matter and their proposal in full. The dam has been deemed unsuitable by FEMA, and required the town to begin researching alternatives.
After years of research, NRCS and engineers Kimley Horne are confident in their proposal to rehabilitate the damn and divert floodwater from the town into Kanab Creek. NRCS would pay 65% of the estimated $4.3 million project, with the town responsible for the remaining 35%, approximately. The council has a list of additional funding options to assist with the remaining 35% and approved unanimously for Kimley Horne and NRCS to move forward with the next steps of the project.
Eagle Scout Dallin Jourdain asked for approval of his Eagle project to replace and complete walkways at the town library, which was unanimously approved.
The council agreed to split the cost of an electronic reader for the cattle scales at the rodeo grounds. “The total cost of the system would be in the $900 range,” stated council member Greg Honey. The council determined the upgrade would be beneficial.
Honey discussed the cemetery and an ordinance that had been brought up during the work meeting and a few necessary changes. The cemetery ordinance was approved with the understanding that those changes would be made.
He also reviewed bids for the sprinkling system for the cemetery, which were between $30K and $40K. “I don’t think we have to make that decision today. If we wanted to get some bids, we put it out.” He would take the information back to the cemetery committee and then return with a recommendation.
Cemetery board member Hazel Hatch stood and said, “I just have one question. I know this is a touchy situation, but are we going to switch back to culinary water?” Hatch indicated the secondary water was damaging head stones. They tried to clean them, but she felt it had not been effective.
Honey replied, “We, we are, yeah. We talked about it, we got approval from the council to do it.”
Public Works Director Jay Mackelprang explained the dire situation of Fredonia’s water supply. “I promise you if culinary water was going to the cemetery, we would not have drinking water, and I promise you that. There is not a doubt in my mind.”
Council member Cody Judd expressed his concern as well, stating if it did switch to culinary, the town would have to have a way to switch back if resources were low.
Mayor Judd said when it cools off, “we have got to go to culinary water, at least to try it because there is so much damage out there. But let’s do it when it is safe to do it with our water supply, this fall.”
Several codes reviewed at the recent work meeting were the next topic. The dress code was first. Mayor Judd gave each council member what she deemed a respectful code and stated she would give it to the office staff for review to be voted on at the next meeting.
The code for full time requirements was next, with the council voting unanimously to maintain the 40-hour work week requirement to receive benefits.
Nepotism was tabled until council member Brent Mackelprang could be present, and animal codes were tabled for further review by a committee.
Also discussed was the upcoming Harvest Festival and Santa’s Express, organized by the Parks and Recreation Committee and the pool parking lot.