Gary Snyder has been working to build a new house on his lot for nearly two years. Snyder desired to build a larger house on his lot, but the area in which he lives is zoned for only one residence for the size of his lot. This would have meant that in order to build a new home Snyder would have been required to demolish his existing home. Snyder could not afford to build a new home and demolish the old one.
The county has been experiencing steady increases in incidents on the county waterways. County Emergency Management Director Terry Turner reported that on peak summer days there are five hundred individuals on county rivers. About three years ago the county invested in training and equipment to prepare for any incidents. The team, called the swift water rescue team is made up of two parts. The first is called the “hasty team” and is called out initially to assess the situation and to begin operations. The full team has a little less than twenty members who can be called on for larger operations. Because the team is made up of volunteers who have other jobs not all members are available for all calls. Last year the team was activated three or four times. There were two near drowning incidents in the county last year and the issues seem to be trending higher each year. Turner requested pay given to compensate individuals for the time they spend. Individuals who participate are required to complete extensive training on an annual basis on how to perform water rescues safely. The council approved $6,000 annually for pay to the swift water rescue team unanimously.
City Mayor Jim Egbert and Council Members Shelly Betz and Tony London appeared before the county on Tuesday. The city has been raising funds for more than a year and has raised more than $66,000 from county residents and businesses to date to build a splash pad in the county. Member Betz said, “When the mayor and I were first elected there was the lack of a water facility here in Morgan County…We did a lot of field trips to visit splash pads…We talked Weber Morgan Health and the Department of Water Resources…We decided that this is something we absolutely could do in Morgan County and that is was possible through donations from the community.” She reported that the splash pad design was developed through significant community input. Splash pads are designed for children of all ages and they also work well for children with disabilities.
After a long search Shane Stephens and Debbie Sessions were appointed to serve on the Morgan Planning Commission. The county council has been searching for some time for qualified candidates who are willing to serve. Sessions has been a regular attendee at planning commission and county council meetings and has been a great example of citizen participation in governmetn in the county.
Caucuses across the county last week reported record numbers of attendees. A combination of interesting races including a run against Senator Hatch, and strong encouragement from the LDS Church resulted in many first time attendees. This was also the first time for the new precincts and the Republican Party in particular struggled with the size of the new precincts.
Morgan county will receive $550,000 in a grant from the state of Utah for improvements to the airport after the county agreed to provide a ten percent match of only $55,000. The funds will be used to pave the taxi area sleeves at the airport.
Visitors to Commerical Street over the past few weeks have noticed a sign in a business window that reads “Morgan City unfair to business and residents... put in for business license 5 months waiting still nothing from city but they say ‘we want business’.” Local resident Mike Ingle said he posted the signs “to get the city’s attention”.
In January 1862 An act of the Utah Territorial Legislative Assembly established/defined the boundary of Morgan County. Morgan County was blessed with an abundance of natural resources. The acreage also became an essential piece of real estate for services making their route to the west coast. These included the telegraph, railroad and future utilities that would eventually traverse Weber Canyon.
In a close, four to three, vote Tina Kelley was re-elected as Morgan County council chair. The discussion to select a new chair opened with Member Ned Mecham nominating Don Mathews for the position. Member Kilmer seconded it. Member Nelson raised concerns about Member Mathews travel schedule. Mathews has attended meetings by phone several times over the past year as his work has required travel. Member Mathews indicated that his schedule is changing and he would be present at all but one meeting in the next year. Nelson also expressed concern about whether Mathews had time to serve the hours necessary to fulfill the duties of council chair. Member Nelson nominated Council Chair Tina Kelley for a second term. The council then voted and Kelley was re-elected to serve a second term by the narrow margin. Member Mathews was voted in as Vice Chair of the Council unanimously.
A high speed chase occurred on Dec. 14, through Morgan County at about 9:30 p.m. A vehicle traveling at very high speeds was spotted by Morgan County Sheriff’s deputy who did a radar check on the vehicle.
Facing additional charges about to be filed by the Morgan County Attorney, Josie Foster plead guilty and provided a written confession on Wednesday to two felony charges, burglary and possession of a controlled substance. Foster admitted to burglarizing multiple Morgan County homes. The burglary charge carries a sentence of between one and fifteen years and the possession charge between zero and five years.
A part-time employee of the Morgan School District was arrested on Tuesday afternoon, November 29. Morgan City resident Josie Foster, was arrested and charged with two counts of residential burglary for theft of prescription drugs. She was also charged with misdemeanor theft. County Attorney Jan Farris is currently looking at multiple cases relating to the arrest.
With a unanimous vote the county council determined to stop work on a new animal control building for the county. This represents a complete reversal from earlier this year when the only opposition to the building was from Councilmember Ned Mecham. Mecham has voted against the building each time a vote has come before the council. He has repeatedly stated that during the difficult economic climate in which the county finds itself that the time is not right to construct this building.
Sat. Nov. 5, Deputy Peay was on the scene for 8 hours to assist in the wrecks that took place on I-84 in the canyon heading west bound. The wrecks happened about 6:30 A.M. when a semi jack knifed on the bridge due to icy road conditions. This caused a chain reaction involving 27 vehicles and 5 semi trucks wrecking.
On Friday, November 4 at approximately half past the noon hour, a Morgan County Deputy noticed, what appeared at first to be, a minor problem. He had his eye on the 7-Eleven store in Morgan City, located at 404 East 300 North, on State Street.
Tony London has served on the Morgan City council for fourteen years. He grew up in Morgan County, in Croydon. After he married, in 1979, he moved to Morgan City. He has three children and two grandchildren. He works at Holcim as the plant terminal manager. His responsibility there is for shipping product to their customers.
Garth Day appeared before Judge Dee Benson on Tuesday for sentencing. Judge Benson first invited Day’s attorney to speak. Day’s attorney, Brad Smith spoke and requested that the court deviate from the recommended sentence. He asserted that when Day came to him on August 27 of 2010 he was a “broken man…He had in effect sold his self respect and honor for money…I have watched him take difficult steps to restore his honor,” said Smith. Smith asserted that Day had come forward voluntarily once he felt that discovery was imminent, but that he had revealed the full nature of his crimes beyond what was going to be immediately discovered, including a bank loan and a letter of credit of which the county was not yet aware.
In response to threatened litigation and to address public safety issues the council approved a project on Tuesday to replace drain covers in the Highlands. During flooding season the drains overflowed and caused flooding in a residents house. Council Chair Tina Kelley also reported that there have been problems in the winter as the covers ice over the create hazardous walking conditions. Parents have complained about this situation and the hazard it creates for their children.
The county emergency management director, Terry Turner, reported that FEMA has authorized approximately $98,000 in funding for the county based on expenses for flood control. The county is required to match 25%, but the volunteer efforts in the county more than covered the 25% match so the county was not required to spend any cash from the budget.
In a four to two vote the county council approved building the animal control building which has been under discussion for several years and heavily debated since the new council took office. The county currently leases space from local veterinarian Marion Lott for $1,300 per month. The council has been debating whether to replace this lease with a facility built by the county for several years. Last year the council took action to request a low cost loan from state funds to construct a facility for animal control. The decision to borrow the money was not heavily debated in the council at the time, but has caused controversy and debate ever since new councilmembers took office in January. The initial decision was for a loan of $600,000 to fund a building that could include expansion to manage the overcrowding in the county building. Later, due to cost estimates, the council scoped down the building. At present the plan is for animal control and garage space for county vehicles, but the council is still considering some additional options.