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News Briefs for 25 Oct. 2013

Article Date: 
25 October, 2013 (All day)

Council advises on water concerns
Amid public concern that there is not enough water for future development plans, one Morgan County Councilman made some suggestions.
“Water is always a hot topic in Morgan County,” said Councilman Robert Kilmer.  “I want to make one thing clear to the public: Morgan County is not in the utility business.  We don’t have control of the water.”
Kilmer was addressing those who spoke out during a public hearing prior to the council approving the creation of the Snowbasin resort special district zone.
Morgan County Planning and Development Services Department Director Charlie Ewert said Snowbasin developers are proposing their own culinary water and sewer systems, and have to adequately identify where the water for their development would come from.
Kilmer suggested that those concerned with water speak with their individual water companies and Weber Basin Water.
“You actually have more power than we do with your local water companies.  You need to be vocal in your local water company, and voice your concerns there,” Kilmer said.  “Make sure (developers) prove they have the water.  Don’t just come to us and hope we can do something about it.”
Councilman Logan Wilde agreed, also suggesting residents take their concerns to the state water engineer at the Utah Division of Water Rights.
Council suggests dissolving rec board
After two years of debating an interlocal recreation agreement among Morgan County, Morgan City and the Morgan County School, some are about ready to give up.
“I vote we terminate the whole, dissolve everything,” Morgan County Councilman Lyle Nelson said.  “I’m getting really disgusted.”
Morgan County Councilman Robert Kilmer told the county council that option had been discussed by others, as well.
At issue is which entity would be liable in the event of a lawsuit.  The school district has accepted liability since all recreation programs take place on district property and in district facilities.  The county has agreed to accept liability only for actions and decisions made by the recreation board.
However, the city does not agree to paying out to defend itself from any lawsuit since no recreation programs are held on city property.
“By signing the agreement, we are accepting liability and could therefore be held to pay out.  It gives us liability that otherwise we don’t have,” Morgan City Councilwoman Shelly Betz said.  “It is not in the city’s best interest.”
Kilmer said an insurance policy purchased by the rec board would not shield the board from lawsuits.  While the board could purchase a policy, it would not be worth much, he said.
Planning Commission allowed electronic meetings
The Morgan County Council unanimously approved allowing members of the Morgan Planning Commission to attend meetings using electronic means if necessary.  
Charlie Ewert, Morgan County planning and development services department director, said the request mirrors the same provision the county council has to attend meetings electronically.
“The planning commission has been working hard, and helps me maintain perspective,” Ewert said.  “It helps me not plan for the county in a vacuum.” 
Public works department shares annual review
Since beginning employment a year ago, Morgan County Facilities Director Mike Waite’s laundry list of public works department responsibilities has grown from a list on half a sheet of paper to a list that now takes up three pages.  The new list includes cleaning out culverts in the fall in preparation for the spring runoff.
“In some cases, this is the first time the county has cleaned these,” Waite said.  When an 18 inch diameter pipe has only one inch of space left, it is obvious the culverts need to be put on a yearly cleaning schedule, Waite said.
This year, the department also helped build a new hog barn on the county fairgrounds and control weeds on county property.  The department has also coordinated a major road project.
Waite said he is a strong proponent of Eagle Scout projects and court-ordered community service that can benefit the county.
Waite also made efforts to get his department certified in flagging and onsite inspections.