The Commission met on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at the Kane County Courthouse. Commissioners Gant and Heaton were in attendance, with Commissioner Chamberlain away attending the 2022 One Utah Summit in Cedar City (oneutahsummit.com). The meeting was called to order at 3:06 PM. Commissioner Heaton provided the invocation and Kane County Attorney Rob Van Dyke led the room in the Pledge of Allegiance. After approving consent items, the commission addressed the regular agenda.
This week’s agenda contained seven items, but even with three of them tabled for future discussion the meeting lasted for close to two and a half hours. The commission chambers at the County Courthouse was standing room only for the second week in a row, with members of the public and representatives from the City of Kanab filling out the room. Notably, every Kane County commission candidate was in attendance, including Pat Horning, Camille Johnson, Patty Kubeja, Celeste Meyeres, and Commissioner Andy Gant.
The meeting started with Kane County Health and Prevention Specialist Morgan Wood presenting a Resolution Recognizing October as National Youth Substance Prevention Month, which was unanimously approved by the commission. Commissioner Heaton said, “My hat’s off to our attorney Rob and to Mr. Wood. It’s amazing to me, as I’ve rubbed shoulders with some of these programs, what they do in this community,” adding, “I wholeheartedly support this effort and any recognition we can bring to this.”
Next up was the annual presentation from the Utah State University Extension on their 2022 programs and events. Kane County Director Elizabeth Davis, Horticulture & Small Farm Agriculture Assistant Professor Victoria Xiong, and 4-H Program Coordinator Angie Reidhead thanked the county for its support and shared an informational slide show on a wide range of USU Extension activities including 4-H programs and events, livestock and agriculture workshops and events, farm restoration and renovation projects, and more. By way of introduction, Davis explained that “Extension is the partnership between the land grant university, which is Utah State University, and the county to provide research-based programming and resources at the county level.” Commissioner Heaton commented, “I want you guys to know we really appreciate these reports,” going on to add, “I think it’s important that the people understand that this is why the county is supporting 4-H.” Davis noted that Extension programs are provided free of charge due to the county’s support.
The commission revisited the Reserve at Swains Creek issue, with comments from the public, the developer, and County Land Use Administrator Shannon McBride included for the record. The developer reported that the plan had been adjusted to include single-family dwellings, but that no resolution had been reached regarding the location of the private helipad. Ultimately the issue was tabled pending further consideration.
Kanab Center Director Torrey Cluett next presented the third quarter numbers for Kanab Center, noting for the record that more than $92k of donated space for community events has been provided year-to-date. The center hosted 232 events during Q3, with the majority being local and community events.
Kanab City Manager Kyler Ludwig, Kanab Fire Chief Joe Decker, and Kanab City Attorney Kent Burggraaf closed out the meeting with the presentation of a Cooperation Agreement Between Kanab City and Kane County – Authorization For Structural Fire Protection in Unincorporated Kane County. Burggraaf explained that the primary issues are liability exposure and cost for the city when responding to structure fires, vehicle fires, and hazmat calls outside the city limits, noting, “Without having an appropriate agreement in place there’s some real, serious concern that we’re waiving our privileges and immunities that are otherwise established by state code.” The agreement is not a contract obligating the city to respond to fire emergencies outside the city limits, but rather an acknowledgement of the fire department’s authority to use its discretion in responding outside its service area. The agreement also authorizes Kanab City to bill residents of unincorporated areas for structure, vehicle, and hazmat fire services provided by the city, as well as the county’s backing in efforts to collect on those bills.
Chief Decker noted that, “If someone calls 9-1-1, politics shouldn’t get in the way of that. But on the other hand, if my people are not covered to go do the neighbor a favor, and put themselves at risk to do that, I can’t in good conscience ask my people to go out,” adding, “This is an agreement to allow us to help, because currently it’s not there.”
The agreement is one year in duration and conceived as a pathway to a broader discussion of solutions for providing fire services to residents in unincorporated areas. City Manager Kyle Ludwig said, “To be up front, this is potentially a steppingstone for one direction or another. It could go to the direction of ‘we’re doing this for a year’ because that’s the minimum allowed, and if collection works out well, we continue on the same path. If collection doesn’t work well for the services rendered, that we’re coming back to you [the county] and seeing if there’s some wiggle room. Or, if there’s no wiggle room, we’re actually just cutting off services at the city limits,” going on to add, “This is kind of an intermediary step. There is a sense of urgency on it, because we’re hanging out there with liability, and to put the fire chief in the position where if a call comes in this afternoon for a structure fire out east of town, we’re deciding to put Kanab City taxpayer resources on the line for non-Kanab City residents.”
The agreement doesn’t solve the fire services issue for unincorporated areas, but does provide protection for Kanab City Fire while responding, as well as means for the city to recoup its costs on behalf of city resident taxpayers.
The commission voted unanimously to adopt the agreement pending review by the county attorney.
The meeting ended with a motion to adjourn at 5:19 PM. The motion carried unanimously.
Kane County Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 3:00 p.m. at the Kane County Courthouse. Join the meeting by phone at (435) 676-9000 using code 168030#. Recordings of the meetings can be found at kane.utah.gov/gov/dept/commission/.