There were several public hearings held at the December 9 Kane County Commission meeting.

The first was for the 2014 Kane County Budget. Clerk/Auditor Karla Johnson had a Power Point presentation on the budget. The commissioners thanked all departments for their efforts in keeping their budgets down for a “good sustainable budget.”

Charlie Saba asked what happened with SITLA funding, which is down.

Sky Chaney said he was impressed with the budget, but he questioned calling it sustainable with a possible 5 to 10 cent gas tax increase. Commissioner Dirk Clayson said counties are working for a different formula with state gas taxes. The county does not want to put the burden on property tax. Road maintenance costs are rising and state funding is less each year. Counties are having to borrow from the General Fund to pay for road maintenance.

Chaney also asked about road litigation costs, reasoning more roads, more maintenance costs. “Does the county get any federal money for road maintenance?”

Clayson answered no on federal funds. Clayson added, “the cost to keep roads is actually less than the impact if RS2477 roads are abandoned.” He has the documentation for that and invited Chaney to see it if interested.

Commissioner Doug Heaton spoke on the importance of access to natural resources, saying, “Schools in Kane County are shrinking in attendance because we don’t have sustainable jobs.”

In reference to natural resources, Chaney stated that Secretary of Interior Salazar signed a lot of leases for Utah and suggested “it is hard to cry poor.” The commissioners responded, “not in southern Utah.”

Resolution 2013-21 adopting the 2014 budget passed unanimously. The 2014 budget is $23,514,200 compared to $24,206,063 in 2013.

The next public hearing was for the 2013 budget opening. The only change had to do with the Alton Road project. Sky Chaney asked, “How the county did with the 2013 budget?”

Johnson replied, “The county is on target and is $30,000 better than what was projected.”

The commissioners unanimously approved Resolution 2013-20 adopting the budget opening changes.

The third public hearing was for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project for application. Two trucks are needed for the Meals on Wheels Program, which serves 160 meals a day, three times a week delivered to homes from Alton to Johnson Canyon. The commissioners approved the grant application for the CDBG grant.

The Long Valley Sewer Service District has requested an easement on old Highway 89, which is between the sewer lagoons for their planned expansion. The commission approved abandoning the portion of the road for the purpose of lagoon expansion. They also wanted to make sure people using the road still have access.

The 2014 Public Defender contract was renewed at the same rate as last year, $59,827, which includes the 1.5% COLA. William Leigh serves as the Kane County Public Defender.

The commission approved application for a Title V easement to the Yellow Jacket Ranch on Yellow Jacket Road. The change will reduce maintenance issues and no county abandonment is necessary.