Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for October 12, 2011
Kane County responds to DOI and opposes Fly Catcher Habitat
Byard Kershaw, Resource Committee Chair, presented a draft five page letter to Ken Salazar at the Department of the Interior (DOI) with reasons why Kane County should not be designated as habitat for the South West Willow Fly Catcher at the October 3 Kane County Commission work meeting. Areas along the Paria River, where the proposed habitat would be, have tamarisk, which is considered a noxious weed in Utah. No South West Willow Fly Catcher has been spotted in the area. Shawn Welch, attorney for roads litigation, assisted. October 14 is the deadline for comments.
Commissioner Dirk Clayson reported on his attendance at the Uinta County Energy Summit. He said the meeting was inspiring regarding economic development. Representative Rob Bishop inspired all attending with his remarks. Clayson said the Ute Indian Tribe works very closely with the county and are prosperous.
Clayson continued his report on the UAC, Utah Association of Counties, meeting. One item which will affect Kane County has to do with assessing and collecting. The county collects for several state and county entities. The state is looking at ways to change the process and be less burdensome on the county. Clayson reported that any change could threaten Kane County up to $100,000. Currently, small counties receive overflow from larger counties who have collected more than their cap.
An item of interest from the UAC conference was that 25% of the nation’s uranium comes from dismantling nuclear warheads.
A big issue was should counties be able to do their own land use bills? The state feels counties should be more united. That brings the question of how much state influence? That could lead to the next question, “How much state control of counties land use bills?”
Beer taxes go toward law enforcement and substance abuse programs. Another statewide increase in beer taxes was suggested, with the proposal that the money go toward inmate prisoner programs. Condition of Probation (COP) versus contract prisoners will be a big discussion throughout the state. With the new Public Safety Facility, Kane County will need to take a stand.
Because the suicide rate in Kane County is high and the majority are related to substance abuse, various programs were discussed that have been effective in other counties. Kane County could use a Drug Court for example.
In other business, the commission is looking at a new Kane County logo. They are suggesting it be simplified and are looking for ideas.
Clerk/Auditor Karla Johnson went over the 2012 budget elements and the process. The commissioners are requesting a condensed and easy to get information. They receive the information, but it is on several pages. They would like a “monthly one page snapshot.”
Both Kane County and Garfield County Resource Committees are suggesting they have a joint meeting several times a year. Both counties are dealing with many of the same issues.
An update on the Long Valley roads situation found that prior to the Water Conservancy work, the roads were not up to Class B standards and the Water District brought them back to the standard they were. The county will not upgrade. The residents have the option to upgrade themselves. The Water Conservancy engineer will look at the original problem, and they will get their part done.
Another road issue is with Zion View roads. The county currently is in a ‘hold harmless’ funding formula. That means no state funding for those roads. Bert Harris, Roads Department, said the formula needs to be changed. The county is currently doing an analysis based on today’s rate to present to the state. They need more basis for consideration than just population. Harris said they need to count miles of road. The funding issues has nothing to do with Zion View. It is a state funding issue.