Southern Utah News Articles
Residents still unhappy with Kanab City Council over SRS contract
The Kanab City Council met on Tuesday, July 23, at 6:30 p.m., at the City Council chambers. The agenda had seven items, plus reports.
Following the call to order, invocation, Pledge of Allegiance, roll call, approval of agenda, and approval of the past meeting’s minutes, the council addressed the agenda items. Councilmen Michael East and Arlon Chamberlain were excused. Accounts payable vouchers to the tune of $166,570.43 were approved.
The open public comment period drew several speakers. Joanne Rando-Moon started it off with a story about Best Friends, 20 years ago, trucking water in from Fredonia, due to a well running dry. She was critical of the sale of water to Southern Red Sands, LLC, and reminded everyone that the golf course, so often referenced in discussions, had their water cut off. She begged the council to “not run out of water.”
Laura Klina reminded the council that they represented all the city’s citizens, not just those in favor of the sand mine, that the outraged persons were not going to go away, that water was critical to life in the desert, and that the lawyers hired and brought in for the meetings were there to advise the council. The attorneys had been allowed to speak for only three minutes each.
She also chastised the council for not making the contract with SRS public. The mayor said it was on the state website page posted with other information. Klina stated that it could not be found.
Both sides agreed to look further into searches for the contract. The point being, it was not yet a complete and signed contract, that Jeff Stott was still in negotiations with the SRS attorney, that the wording indemnifying the SRS Limited Liability Company and protecting the city’s interests was “getting close.”
Mary Beth Kuntz read chapter and verse from a city ordinance defining and requiring “civility” in meetings by the speakers, observers and participants.
She reminded the council that one council member at the last meeting called the signs in her yard, “stupid.” She pointed out this was her right, and the statement was not a “civil” statement.
She also pointed out that the council did not listen to the recommendation from the scientists of the Utah Geological Survey, as they stated the reports used by the council were not complete and should not be used for decision making.
She reminded the council of the varying stories and requests of SRS, LLC requesting two wells, not one, and six 120-foot silos, not two. She expressed her concern that too many facts were changing and they had no firm business plan.
Emily Martin expressed concern that she and people like her were being ignored. She asked that the contract be reviewed and rescinded, and stated the city was vulnerable.
Latimer Smith pointed out fracking was damaging to the environment, that it was banned in places, and why would the city participate in fossil fuels extraction at this point with our knowledge of the damage it causes to the earth.
Jim Hold stated he was a concerned citizen and asked the council to reconsider the contract and rescind it, citing its 50-year duration, lack of annual payments for water, its failure to indemnify the city against pollution.
He also took exception to a councilman for referring to citizens as “rogue” citizens and this was not acceptable behavior for a public official and that the council had ignored generally accepted standards for factual studies.
Sandy Katz pointed out to the council that she had had her water bill change from a set price at 10,000 gallons to 7,000 gallons and that is a price increase indicating a lack of water availability. She also stated she had a sign in her yard and that was her right.
Bart Battista, candidate for councilman this fall, spoke last, mainly to beseech the council to ensure that the indemnity clauses, even as the negotiations continue, protected the city’s interests.
At some point Mayor Robert Houston said, “If the clause does not get worked out, the whole contract will come back before the council for review.”
He also said, “that to not have a contract to sell water to SRS was to leave as much as $300,000 a year on the table.”
The observers and speakers were left wondering if money was the only driver of this alliance with a potentially polluting sand mine. This ended the comment period.
The next order of business included Mike Reynolds presenting a series of zone changes that had passed through the Kanab City Planning Commission, and he was presenting them for approval before the City Council.
The first was a request by Victor and Paul Patel for a zone change from RA (rural agriculture) to C3 (commercial) on property between the highway east of town and the Rivers of Life building, specifically Parcel K-14-6 Annex, for the purpose of developing more motels and cabins.
Road improvements to Chinle Drive were discussed, but the consensus was it was too early in the process to work out traffic studies. Motion was made to accept by Jeff Yates, seconded by Celeste Meyeres, and the vote was unanimous for acceptance.
The next proposal included a few changes to Chapter 13 of the Land Use Ordinance affecting Extended Stay RV Parks. Several minor changes were made to the overall chapter, and then a new paragraph 13-5 was added to cover all issues the Kanab Planning Commission had desired to see in a new Extended Stay Park.
There was some discussion on concrete and asphalt roads and parking spaces and minor word changes put into place. Yates motioned to accept, and Byard Kershaw seconded the motion. Voters were unanimous for acceptance.
Next was a change in Ordinance in Kanab Creek Ranchos KRC-720 Zone, which basically was to make land available for more duplexes, which were proposed to be on 10,000 square foot lots, versus 13,000 square foot lots. A request was also made for the council to review paragraph 14-220 for clarification. This was put off until another meeting. Yates motioned to accept, Kershaw seconded, and the change was unanimously accepted.
The last item for Mike Reynolds was some minor word changes in the new Chapter 22 Outdoor Lighting Ordinance. During the creation of some public information pamphlets, it was noticed there were some inconsistencies and they were being addressed. The clarifying language was motioned to acceptance by councilwoman Meyeres, seconded by Yates, and the vote was unanimous to accept the changes.
The last item was the acceptance of a contract between Kanab City and the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, the Interlocal Cooperation Agreement for the establishment and operation of the Kane County Major Crimes and Drug Task Force.
This contract had been a verbal agreement for several years and was now to be formalized. It simply means the city and county would share in two officers – a crime investigator and a drug enforcement officer.
The cost to the city was $57,000 per year, paid quarterly, for fees and any equipment. Yates motioned to accept the contract, Kershaw seconded, and the vote was unanimous to accept. The meeting was then adjourned.