The discussion continues on whether the county ought to build a facility to replace the animal control building currently rented from veterinarian, Dr Lott. It also seems that the project has come full circle.
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 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.
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
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.
There was some debate on Tuesday night in council meeting about what is likely a relatively innocuous contract. The debate, however, may be a reflection of challenges the county will continue to face when approving contracts.
In the county council meeting on Tuesday night, the council considered applicants for the district four council position. This position was recently vacated by Member Rod Haslam, who is suffering with health problems. The applicants were Fred Jacobson, Jim Jones, and Ronda Kippen.
Jacobson, Jones and Kippen appeared together before the council and answered questions. The candidates began with a summary of themselves and their qualifications.
Cottonwood area of Mountain Green.
Malan was sited for driving under the influence (DUI), leaving the scene of an injury accident, unsafe lane travel, expired registration, carrying a concealed weapon while intoxicated, and open container.
Kimlyn Porter is a candidate for County Recorder. The recorder tracks land ownership and changes as well as providing information for the county assessor for taxing. Porter is running against the current county recorder, Brenda Nelson.
The Morgan 2nd District Court gallery was filled to near capacity at Monday’s arraignment for Garth Day as he and his attorneys, Brad Smith and Amy Hugie, entered the courtroom. Day stood beside his defense lawyers and listened as the presiding judge, Judge Michael DiReda read the long list of charges against him. Day then confirmed for the judge that he had received a copy of the list of 43 charges against him.