The Kanab City Council meeting on July 25, 2023, was a short but productive one, as the council dealt with some topics about which the public have been anxious to hear. During the work meeting, the city council reviewed preparations for the school and youth athletics process, and reiterated the date and location of the truth in taxation public meeting - at the Kanab City Library on August 8. City Manager Kyler Ludwig offered the contact information and budget specifics available on the City’s website for any citizen of Kanab looking to get more information on the truth in taxation process. Public Works Director Jake Dutton gave an update on various water and sewer projects, along with a list of locations for upcoming chipseal projects - Dutton was optimistic as he mentioned filled positions and his staff’s increasing qualifications with things like CDL and wastewater management certifications, as well as potential for grant money to replace hand-read water meters with computerized equivalents.
Following the work meeting updates, the city council meeting began in earnest, starting as always with a public comment period. The Mayor opened the floor, and referenced agenda item number 9 - the truth in taxation process review - as a potential cause for comment. There were a few comments, only one of which was specific to that topic - others were in regard to road health and stormwater drainage in certain locations in the city.
With the public’s concerns heard, the meeting continued on to a discussion regarding a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and federal organizations like the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management - the MoU is discussing a cooperative effort between the city and these agencies to develop a management plan for the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. “We’ve been involved in this process,” said Mayor Johnson, “we’ve sat in on meetings, we’ve made comments - spent a lot of time making comments - we’ve got to be a part of this so they can’t say we haven’t been playing ball with them … but I wonder why after we make these comments they don’t seem to listen really. Makes you wonder why, makes you feel a little bit foolish for participating in it, but we still got to.” Council member Chris Heaton added, “We need to work to get this resolution in place so we can be heard and a part of those discussions, though it is frustrating at times.” The Mayor summed up, “This resolution will allow us to continue to take part in those discussions.” The motion was made to approve the resolution, which approved the MoU, and it passed unanimously.
Dutton was called on again to present the next item to the council, which was consideration of purchasing asphalt for different road repairs and city projects, including Creekside, Sherry Belle Trailhead and La Estancia. Dutton clarified that while La Estancia’s roads are private, the city is acting on this project due to the work being done specifically on the city’s infrastructure beneath the roads.
The following agenda item, the discussion and consideration of speed limits and school zones around the new Kanab Elementary School, was part of an ongoing discussion of how to “improve the safety of the roads around the school,” per City Manager Ludwig. This would include crossings on Powell and Kanab Creek drive, as well as portions of those roads that would be restricted to a 20 MPH speed limit. With a few adjustments for budget and locations on some of those walks, the motion was made and passed.
City Staff next updated the council on the new police facility and remodel, with details on budget and developments. The update detailed the progress being made on the new facility, and City Manager Ludwig was able to give a walkthrough of sorts, illustrating via photos the layout and appearance of the facility. “Most of the officers have contributed in one way or another … the city staff has done this in a very professional way, and it’s been done by people you wouldn’t expect.” The images are available in the council packet in the public notice website if members of the public would like to review.
The final item on the agenda was, as mentioned at the beginning, of it, the review of the upcoming truth in taxation process. Ludwig offered both the City’s website and their social media as sources for information, and reemphasized the meeting to occur on August 8, where the final decision will be made on the upcoming tax increase. “The City’s portion of your property tax is 13 percent,” said Ludwig, “... so when we say 93 percent increase, it is because Kanab City’s portion is very small. What that looks like is 15 dollars and 76 cents on the average home. Some homes may have larger increases in their valuation, some not, so that $15.76 is our average.” The meeting on August 8 will have specifics on where that increase will go, in areas like cost-of-living, equipment maintenance and recreational areas. As this was a review for the sake of informing the council and public, no formal actions were necessary on the subject.