In a controversial move, Governor Herbert signed into law House Bill HB477 and in one stroke of the pen significantly reduced the openness of Utah government. He took this action after repeatedly supporting a policy of transparency.
In the council meeting on Tuesday the council remained deadlocked on the issue of the land purchase from the school district, effectively killing the land purchase. Members Ned Mecham, Don Mathews, and Howard Hansen were in favor of the purchase, Members Ronda Kippen, Lyle Nelson and Chairman Tina Kelly were opposed. Member Kilmer chose to abstain. The issue needs four votes to proceed.
In a five to two decision on Tuesday night the council voted to eliminate the current volunteer board of appeals in favor of a one person professional paid position to hear and decide appeals cases. The county will contract with one or more individuals, likely from outside the county, to hear the cases.
A lively debate ensued in the county council when an item about the upcoming plans for parks was raised on Tuesday. Member Ronda Kippen who has the portfolio assignment on the council for parks brought forward items to inform the council of plans for a bowry at the park in the Cottonwoods and also identified manpower gaps for the care of the parks. The county has recently had turnover in the jobs that have traditionally maintained the parks and now is faced with the dilemma of how to address the needs as spring approaches.
After long negotiations it appears that the DATC (the Davis Applied Technology Center) will be opening an entrepreneurial center in Morgan. The DATC has a center already on its campus in Layton and have been working to establish a second location in Morgan.
The Center provides training and office space for businesses in the early stages of their development. Businesses can lease office space in the center. This lease will provide them office space as well as access to resources such as printers and other office equipment needed for start up businesses.
At the city council meeting on Tuesday night the Morgan City council acted to amend an ordinance passed in 2007 relating to the historic district in Morgan. The historic district includes the business district section of Commercial Street as well as areas behind these businesses.
Brain Tumor Foundation – Ride for Kids Presentation
See Ride for Kids Thanks City and Sheriff’s Department on this page.
Sign Ordinance Amendment
The ordinance will change the required acreage for two signs. The current requirement is 300 foot of frontage and a minimum of 3.5 acres. The amendment was approved unanimously to change the requirement and eliminate the minimum number of acres required.
The leadership of the Utah Ride for Kids were present at the Morgan City Council meeting on Tuesday. They presented a plaque and tee shirt to the city and the sheriff’s office as a token of their appreciation for the city and county’s continuing support of their annual fund raising event.
The Ride for Kids event occurs each August and is a motorcycle fund raiser ride that starts at This Is The Place Heritage Park, in Salt Lake, crosses over East Canyon and ends at Riverside Park in Morgan City.
After several back and forth discussions the county has made an offer to the school district to purchase land adjacent to the Fair Grounds. With a vote of 4 to 2 in favor, the council approved an offer to the school district of $59,800. The council also stipulated that the county would not participate in the surveying or fencing costs. The purchase will be paid for from the restaurant tax fund. Members Nelson and Kippen voted against the offer and member Kilmer, who works for the school district, abstained. Member Nelson expressed concern that the county was paying more per acre than the school district had paid in their recent purchase.
Stacy Lafitte is the clerk/auditor for Morgan County. Lafitte was born and raised in Morgan and with the exception of one year attending Utah State University, has lived here in the county. She grew up in a small family of her parents and one younger brother.
Sheriff Breshears has had many challenges in his first two weeks in office. As he took office he was already faced with a department poised to hire four new officers to fill vacancies left by officers who had left to pursue higher pay, to replace his position, and to evaluate potential replacements for an officer on leave. He had stated in his campaign that his goal was to persuade the county council to raise the pay for officers to try to head off the turnover problem faced by the department.
The number one story for Morgan County in 2010 was Garth Day. It seemed that the council administrator position brought controversy with him from the beginning. First, the position of council administrator, and then the person filling the position became controversial.
The November election is story number two. 2010 will likely be a pivotal year for politics in Morgan County. Four of the seven seats on the council were up for election. A fifth seat changed due to the resignation of Rodney Haslam.
In the Morgan City council meeting on Tuesday the council passed an ordinance banning “synthetic cannabinoids.” The substance has been given the street name of “spice”. This follows similar bans by other cities like Ogden and Layton. The Morgan ordinance is patterned after the Layton Ordinance.
Public Hearing -Resoution 10-39 Adjustment to Budget
The city adjusted revenues down based on actual revenues for the year. To balance the budget, the council reduced expenditures to compensate for lower revenues.
At the end of 2009 the county completed the Fairgrounds Parkway and the new bridge that was a part of the project. 2010 saw a verbal battle with the developer, Morgan Valley Partners, to receive payment for the developers portion of the project.
It was the last county council meeting for council members Sunday, Lundgren, and chairman Creager. The next council meeting will be in the new year and will see a new council seated and a new chairman chosen. The council thanked those who were leaving for their service and Chairman Creager took a moment to share his thoughts at the end of his service. The following are Chairman Creager’s parting remarks to the county:
At a hearing on Monday the county indicated that the prosecution of Garth Day will likely be handed over to federal authorities. For the past several months the FBI has been investigating the actions of Day in allegedly committing fraud and forgery at the same time as the county investigation has been proceeding. The FBI has met with county officials, obtained documents of actions by Day, and identified areas for prosecution.
At the council meeting on Tuesday the county council passed the general plan. It took about fifteen minutes, but the plan itself has been many years in the creation. The general plan sets the foundation for the direction of the county in years to come
Extension of Barbara Anderson preliminary subdivision approval
Normally preliminary approval of subdivision expires at the end of a year. This approval has been extended once and a second extension has been requested. This extension will be for one year.
The Community Impact Board, (CIB) at a meeting on November 4, approved funding for the proposed new County Building. The county is proposing a building to house the animal shelter and better utilize the cost being paid to a veterinarian to house the shelter.
The county has been struggling with space issues for some time and has been exploring whether this building could solve some of those space problems.
A heated discussion ensued at the county council meeting on Tuesday as the council considered, for the third time, the Rose Hill well land use agreement between the county and Wilkinson Cottonwood Water Company.
The votes are all tallied and winners declared in the county races. Don Mathews will continue his service on the council representing district five. Mathews beat opponent Austin Turner by forty six votes with 53.4% of the vote. This race had been too close to call until the absentee and provisional ballots were counted.
We recently completed ‘mid-term’ elections. As usual Morgan citizens responded well with a relatively high percentage turn out. As a community we, like the rest of the nation, were mostly focused on the national scene. It is, after all, what we see and hear in the news. Unfortunately, sometimes we do not pay as close attention to what is going on in our own county as we should.
At the finish line of the 2010 Morgan County Elections on Tuesday night, there were many incumbents that crossed the finish line ahead of their competition and will remain in their positions with the county. Two of those incumbents that voters chose to return to office included Jann Farris as Morgan County’s Attorney who received 67% of the vote and Brenda Nelson as Morgan County Recorder with 58% of the vote.
The council met on Wednesday morning and appointed Rhonda Kippen to the county council. Member Karen Sunday moved that Kippen be appointed and Member Al Lundgren seconded the motion. Kippen was appointed with Member Sunday, Lundgren, Kelley, and Hansen voting in favor and Member Mathews and Chairman Creager opposing.
For the last several years the county has been considering a new building for county services. The county currently leases space for the animal shelter from a local veterinarian, Dr Lott. The cost of this contract could pay for a bond of approximately $350,000. The county is also hopeful that they can obtain a grant from the NRA for $50,000 for a classroom in the building that could be used for many different applications, including hunter’s safety and other training programs.