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.
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.
This election year is one in which voters are being asked to consider several changes to the Utah State Constitution. As voters enter the voting booth in eleven days they will find four constitutional amendments on the ballot.
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.
Jim Montgomery is a candidate for county council district 2. District 2 runs from the Garnet Drive intersection up to the Peterson Overpass; this includes all of Peterson up to Smith Creek and through Enterprise, to and including the West side of Stoddard Lane.
Montgomery is running against Lyle Nelson.
Rod Haslam was elected to the Morgan County Council in the county’s 2008 election. He began serving his term in office at the beginning of 2009. In this week’s county council meeting, Haslam resigned from his position after serving for two of the four years in his elected term.
In a night that began with conflict and accusations, Chairman Sid Creager took center stage at the council meeting on behalf of the council to explain, to the extent they are able with the investigation continuing, the events that led up to the charges being filed against Garth Day. Chairman Creager also explained the decision process that brought about the council administrator position to be posted on the county website.
In the last council meeting the council made the decision to inform Rollins Ranch that they are in default. Over the past year there has been contact on many occasions between the residents of Rollins Ranch and the county. The subdivision has received neither conditional nor final acceptance since the developer has not completed the required improvements. Because of this the county is not in a position to offer services to these residents.
Emotions were running high and rhetoric was strong during the public comment period in the county council meeting on Tuesday. There were many more attendees at the council meeting than usual, and outbursts from the group attending were common. All of the comments related to the recent events surrounding the charges filed against former council administrator Garth Day.
Garth Day, former County Council Administrator has been charged with forty three criminal charges. Day has been being investigated for the past few months, and the investigation has finally reached the point at which charges are being filed. Day has been served with 38 felony and 5 misdemeanors. He has been subpeonaed to appear in the Second District Court in Morgan on Monday, October 4, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.
Last week The Morgan County News reported on a Meet the Candidate night. County Attorney Jann Farris was unable to attend. Many of the questions were directed to Al Lundgren, candidate for Morgan County Attorney.
The race for the Morgan County Sheriff seems to be decided as Neil Porter has withdrawn from the race. Porter contacted the county office on Tuesday and informed them he would be withdrawing from the election, and removed all of his political signs.