The county received a report on 2010 finances from their independent auditor. The auditor reviewed the county’s revenue and expenditures and provided comment on controls and policies in the county government. The provided comment on the status of the theft from Morgan County by the former council administrator, Garth Day.
Several months ago the county council changed the body that hears appeals to planning commission and county council decisions. The county had previously had a board of volunteers that heard the appeals cases. The council had been struggling to have enough volunteers to keep the appeals board working. They also had challenges with the appeals board keeping current on the knowledge necessary to make good decisions. Appeals are rare, and the law and county codes are complex. Last year the chairman of the appeals board wrote to the council about his concerns relating to the capability of the board to render good decisions.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s department removed more than 7,000 marijuana plants growing on a farm above Porterville. The sheriff’s office worked with other law enforcement agencies and more than 50 officers were involved in the operation.
After years of work, cleaner water for some residents in Mountain Green became even closer on Tuesday in the County Council. A conditional use permit was granted to Cottonwood Mutual Water Company to allow construction of a well house. This brings the water company one step closer to bringing a new well online to replace a well contaminated with nitrates.
The Morgan County Sheriff’s office would like residents to be aware of a scam that is taking place in the community. Residents have been contacted by an individual who claims that they have a family member who is trapped in Mexico.
In a surprise move, Member Ned Mecham brought the issue of the purchase of land adjacent to the fair grounds back to the county council agenda. Mecham has been a consistent proponent of the purchase of the land, but had been unable to muster the votes necessary to pass the purchase at a price the school board would approve.
After months of negotiations the county reached agreement with the developers of Rollins Ranch. The developer agreed to complete all identified improvements per the initial development agreement by August 31 and to pay the outstanding tax bill of approximately $23,000. The county agreed to waive interest and penalties on the unpaid taxes, to take the developer out of default, and to begin issuing building permits once the taxes are paid and the improvements are complete.
he county council has been negotiating with the developers of Rollins Ranch for many months. The owners of lots in the subdivision are caught in the middle of this ongoing problem of an unfinished subdivision that has not been accepted by the county, but has homes that have been constructed.
It was a somber atmosphere in the courtroom as Garth Day entered with his attorney, Amy Hugie. As U.S. Magistrate Judge Samuel Alba read each one of the six charges aloud to him, Day responded with a weak and barely audible whisper. With each charge presented to the defendant, the judge confirmed that Day understood it and also , understood that the government is required to prove their case against him beyond a reasonable doubt. Day was also informed that if he changed his plea to guilty, he would waive his rights to a trial and therefore relieve the government from having to prove their case. In each case Day responded in the affirmative.
The city water rate is currently based on a 12,000 gallon monthly minimum. The current rate is $2.00 per 1,000 for the first 12,000 gallons. The council approved an increase in the rate to $2.25 for the first 12,000. That is approximately an 11% increase. For usage over 12,000 gallons per month the current rate is $3.00 per thousand. This rate will now increase to $3.25. The council estimates that this will generate an additional $50,000 in revenue per year. The city plans to use these additional funds for capital improvement projects that will be needed in the next few years. The city is planning improvements to 700 East and other projects that will need water system updates to be a part of the total package of improvements. They new water rates will be effective July 1.
The council could not finalize the approval of tax rates. The county has not yet provided the numbers. The council continued that portion of the public hearing until the county provides the new rates.
In a letter from Governor Herbert to state employees, the Governor stated, “As you are likely aware, the Utah State Legislature’s recent action on H.B. 328 has generated a review of the State’s 4-10 hour workweek. To comply with legislative mandates and remain within budget constraints, while maintaining customer service, the State of Utah will return to operating hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The council reported that the city has made the final payment on the city building.
4th of July Committee Report
The fourth of July committee reported to the council. They reviewed the agenda of events and talked about the many hours volunteered to make the day a success. They asked the city for an additional donation to the event and asked for help with the electrical at the park as well as the business licensing. The council expressed support and committed to help the committee solve the problems they are having.
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) advises motorists and truckers using Interstate 84, as well as local residents in eastern Morgan County, that work will begin on a project to replace the roadway decks of the I-84 bridges over the Union Pacific Railroad at Taggart, Morgan County, beginning this week.
In a move that will provide some help for budget shortfalls at the Sheriff’s office, the Morgan City Council determined to contract with the county to have the services of an additional deputy for 84 days during the summer months.
The Morgan County Republican party elected new county officers at a well attended organizing convention on April 9 at the Morgan County Courthouse Auditorium. Outgoing president, Larry Hatch, expressed thanks to the party’s delegates for turning out in very nearly perfect attendance. It was the county delegates who cast the votes that put the new slate of officers in their respective positions.
In council meeting Member Ned Mecham came out swinging against the animal control building. Mecham said, “I have talked to people from both ends of this county. The only ones I hear that are excited about this building is on the county council. I haven’t talked to one person in this county that think it’s a great idea for the county to go more in debt. Last year we went one and a half million for the road bond and this is another $600,000 that has been approved for a building for twenty five years. I haven’t talked to anyone that thinks that this county going into debt is a good thing. I know if this is put on the ballot, I know that the county would defeat it and I know our budget this year. I know that the road department is a mess and is going to need to take money out of the general fund. I know that our Sheriff’s department is going to need money out of the general fund…I know we are going to need more money for the school resource officer. I know that diesel now is up 30-35% and I know gasoline is up 30-35% which is going to take a lot more money for fuel out of our general fund. I think it is a disservice to citizens of this county to go further in debt…”
Federal charges have been filed against former Morgan County council administrator Garth Day. Charges were dropped at the state level several months ago as the investigation was turned over to federal officials. At the time that the case was turned over to federal jurisdiction, County Attorney Jann Farris said, ““My fear is that Garth will be released immediately from the prison [state prison] due to the non-violent nature of his crimes and his lack of a criminal record and prison overcrowding. I do not feel like that would be appropriate considering the damage he has done. In the federal system he will more likely get and serve a significant prison sentence. In my judgment that will be in the best interest of justice.”