Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for August 31, 2011
Salary parity for elected officials topic of discussion on budget opening
At the public hearing for the Budget Opening at the August 22 Kane County Commission meeting, the only item that brought discussion was salary parity for elected officials. Commissioner Jim Matson explained how the formula works. Several concerned comments, all directed at the dramatic raise in the commissioner’s salary, were: “The commission increases have almost doubled, although the salary is much deserved, that increase will cause people to raise ‘Kane.’” “We’re in a recession.” “Taxpayers will reject raises.” “You get what you pay for.” “I don’t dispute the raise, but recommend it be incremental.”
The last increase to the commissioner’s salary was when Commissioners Joe Judd and Steve Crosby were in office.
Commissioner Doug Heaton told the citizens present, “We appreciate your input. It is valuable to us. I have concerns about the public bubble. The government sector is not impacted by economic swings. I’m torn as a businessman.”
Herb Alexander asked how much money has been spent on road litigation, “As a citizen, I’m paying taxes to sue myself.”
The resolution to adopt the amended budget, adopt the model for salary parity and adopt the salary recommendation, with the amendment that the commission salary receive half the proposed increase now, and the other half if and when the commission is able to reduce the county budget by $300,000 in 2012 or 2013. The resolution passed unanimously. A public meeting on taxes is planned for Tuesday, September 6 at 7 p.m. at the Kanab Middle School.
The commission approved a title transfer and non-monetary exchange for the property the Thrift Store is on to the Kane County Hospital Service District. Although the Thrift Store belongs to the KCHSSD, apparently the property did not. The county discovered that when the county, rather than the hospital, received a bill from Kanab City for the repair work on the sidewalk.
Commissioner Matson told the five people present from Church Wells that the county does not want to dictate policy. The county goal is for them to have local governance. John Swendeman said they do want to reorganize the SSD and get started. “I believe we have good community support. There are water items that need to be dealt with,” said Swendeman.
Appointed to the Church Wells SSD were: John Swendeman, Bob Javaurakas and Kevin Barnes. In the process, the new SSD will update the by-laws. Commissioner Matson complimented them for their willingness to work and serve in their community. There is a meeting at the Water Building Office in Church Wells on August 30 at 6 p.m.
The commissioners received an update on the Big Water Initiative for dis-incorporation. Commissioner Heaton said, “If Big Water wants to be part of the county and receive the same services, they will cost more. We can’t provide the same services at the expense of the rest of the county.”
Commissioner Dirk Clayson added that they would also be subject to the county zoning ordinances. Commissioner Matson suggested they need to have good information and understand the consequences of dis-incorporation. The commission decided a town meeting would be appropriate with the pros and cons of dis-incorporation.
The bid from Wheeler Cats Machinery was awarded for a grader in the Roads Department. The bid was $252,000, less $107,580 for the trade-in. It is a good deal for the county. The Kane County Roads Department takes good care of their equipment.
The budget was discussed for the County Fair Building. With the estimated cost at $400,000, the county has $200,000 in their fair budget.
Chris Oderkerin requested more time to evaluate the county recommended road realignment on his property to solve his denied request to abandon a county road. The commission told him they appreciate his participation and the access needs to be kept open.
Reporter’s Note: At the August 29 work meeting, the commissioners felt that the salary parity issue was not adequately noticed and therefore will not be implemented until after the public hearing on September 6. They want more transparency in government.