During the work meeting prior to the regular meeting of the Kanab City Council on October 25, City Manager Duane Huffman addressed the city’s business license fee structure, emphasizing any fee changes enacted need to occur prior to the first of the year (when renewals are due), so businesses can plan accordingly.

Section 9 of the General Ordinances describes the purpose of business licensure as a means of “maintaining a current index of licensed businesses and raise revenues to offset the cost of implementing the ordinance.” It requires every individual who carries on business or any non-profit enterprise to be licensed. Organizations and businesses grossing less than $1000 a year are exempt from the fee, but not the licensing requirement.

Huffman suggested the ordinance’s purpose also lists protecting residents and visitors from fraud and misrepresentation, ensuring that sales taxes are properly reported, and regulating specific types of businesses.

Huffman has estimated the cost of the licensing program to be between $40,000-$60,000 and said only about $30,000 was collected in licensing fees this year. The city has budgeted to collect $55,000 in fees next year, with an additional $7500 in fire inspection fees.

“If the city intends to collect the budgeted amounts, the ordinance needs to be amended as soon as possible to prepare for renewals at the beginning of the year,” stated Huffman.

Currently, businesses pay $50/year and those with employees pay an additional $10/employee.

Huffman indicated that in order to meet the budgeted amount, those fees would need to double to $100/year and $20/employee.

No action was taken by the council on this issue during the regular meeting, although it is anticipated they will take it up in November.

The regular meeting was dominated by a General Plan change request from Jim Guthrie to change a 10-acre parcel of land south of the Kaneplex road, just off Hwy 89A at the Arizona border, from very low density residential (VLDR) to manufacturing and distributing (MD).

Guthrie and his associates have received funding from the Department of Energy (DOE), through the efforts of Sen. Robert Bennett, to study the feasibility of using a new process called “hydro gasification” to convert carbon based products (coal and wood) into natural gas (methane) using a non-oxidizing process that doesn’t convert impurities, like sulfur, mercury, selenium, and lead into air polluting gases like sulfur dioxide (SO2) or smog.

Guthrie told the council there were very few of these pilot plants in the world today, and it would be part of the testing to produce a clean coal technology desperately needed at this time.

“When fully operational, it would be a five ton per day reactor that, if proven to be successful, the Chinese government would commit to a 25 ton reactor, which would lead to commercial reactors of 100 tons per day,” stated Guthrie.

Guthrie said there would be no “flare-off” or burning of fossil fuels, and therefore minimal air pollution involved in this conversion process and that it is proving to be 15-18% more efficient than established ‘partial oxidation’ technology used today at a cost of 24% less.

“The plant proposed for Kanab is strictly for a test facility and is not intended to be the beginning of a larger operation. We need to be close to a coal source (the new Alton coal mine) for the testing facility, but it wouldn’t be big enough for a commercial operation in the future,” Guthrie remarked, when asked about any long-range plans.

The council voted unanimously to change the General Plan for the parcel described from VLDR to MD, which was approved by the Planning Commission, to accommodate future detailed proposals for use of the site as they develop and are presented to the council. “This is only a General Plan change and not a Conditional Use agreement,” said Councilman Shaun Smith.

Vicki Hooper was appointed to head the Literary Arts segment of the Kanab Arts Council. She is a published author and a storyteller with an extensive background in literary endeavors.