The Kane County Commission approved the 2012 county budget for $22,108,740 after Clerk/Auditor Karla Johnson reviewed the budget in detail with each fund. Property taxes have been reduced 10 per cent. Johnson reminded all that the 2012 collection will be below the 2008 collections and before the tax increase. “Many may not see an actual reduction, but it will be a reduction on what would have been,” said Johnson.

Commissioner Doug Heaton thanked Commissioners Jim Matson and Dirk Clayson, saying they are financial wizards. Heaton also said that the Public Safety Facility will be a good thing financially for the county.

At the public hearing section, with a total of 23 in the room, Sky Chaney congratulated the commissioners and said he feels good about the budget process, and that 90 percent of his survey is in favor.

Caralee Woods asked if the county has a backup plan for the Public Safety Facility if the state doesn’t provide the number of prisoners promised. The commissioners indicated yes they have several. That is why they plan to pay the debt down as quickly as possible. They have PILT money and mineral lease money, as well as some other funds. People continue to commit crimes. The Alton Coal project will bring in $30 million in Mineral Lease Funds. The county goal is to minimize what comes out of the General Fund. They want to strengthen the economy and reduce the burden of property taxpayers. 

The commissioners believe the Land Use changes have impacted the economy in a positive way because building permits are up.

Sky Chaney asked if the Travel Council is working on tourism. Commissioner Clayson said that the past three years have had record high tourism. But added, “jobs in tourism don’t support families and it is seasonal work. We are looking for a balance between industry and environment. We want to be more business friendly.”

The commissioners indicated there is too much government red tape and regulations. Commissioner Heaton said, as a contractor, he has built in three counties, and Kane is the more difficult.

Also approved was the opening of the budget after a public hearing.

The commission voted to publish delinquent taxes electronically this year. There was a discussion that these are tough times, of being more sensitive, and that people do not like to see their names in the paper. Although the commissioners approved this, the general feeling was this might come back to bite them.

The 2012 regular meeting dates were set. Work meetings will be as needed and posted.

Ordinance 2011-4 was approved rejecting proposals and denying municipal type services for the storage or transfer of nuclear or radioactive waste. The ordinance does not affect through traffic on Highway 89.

The commission adopted Ordinance 2011-5, which is the new General Plan. The public hearing was held at the last meeting.

 The Rural Unimprovement Subdivision Ordinance 2011-7 was adopted. The banding zone was done away with. The public hearing was held at the last meeting.

The Coyote Bounty ordinance was amended to include Fredonia. Many Kane County cattlemen winter their cattle on the Arizona Strip.

At the public input section, Charlie Saba asked where the money comes from for the coyote bounty, citing that the county is now overrun with rabbits. The money to pay the $20 bounty comes from the livestock industry and wildlife organizations.

South Central is seeking an easement east of Kanab for a fiber optic cable transmission line. The county owns lot #91 from a tax sale. A 10-foot wide easement at the back of the property was approved.

Resolution 2011-13, inter local agreement name change, was approved which amended the Utah Counties Insurance Pool to Utah Counties Indemnity Pool.

The commission approved recommendations from Assessor Linda Little that four properties qualified for primary, instead of secondary status.

Commission goals for 2012 are:

• Manage effective budgets, including lower taxes in 2012 with major debt reductions.

• See RS2477 roads litigation to acceptable levels of accomplishment.

• Maintain enlightened land use ordinances and administration.

• Manage General Plan elements and schedule updates as needed.

• Limit Department of Interior Wild Lands Initiative and Wilderness Study Area impacts.

• Restructure bond financing for the Public Safety Facility.

• Maintain economic development programs.

• Develop project management oversight and planning capabilities.

• Establish needed courthouse and county buildings security.

• Plan for appropriate capital expenditures, including Fund 21.

• Develop and maintain effective communications, both internally and externally.

• Set “B” fund maintenance priorities.

• Aggressively support natural resource development in Kane County and adjacent areas.

• Establish marketing strategies for the Travel Council.

• Clear out and clean out upstairs of County Courthouse building by either sale or disposal.

• Review existing ordinances and resolutions and revise as necessary.

• Consolidate and manage existing office and building space.