The Blanding City Council discussed the project at length at their December 11 council meeting. Determining where to start the process may prove to be difficult. While the city is expected to eventually install transmitters at all utility meters, it may cost residents who currently have hard-to-read meters.
The Council passed an ordinance several years ago that outlined the process if utility meters have accessibility problems. The ordinance, which has never been fully enforced, outlines the steps that should be taken. If city residents don’t remove the obstacles, the ordinance states that they should pay the cost to install a radio meter for approximately $200 or face a $50 per month charge.
Now that the city has access to radio meters, the Council will begin enforcing the policy.
Councilman Kelly Laws suggested that the installation of the 400 transmitters be done in a pattern to save expenses. Laws said, “We should do a whole block at a time.”
In other matters, the council held a public hearing on potential changes to the ATV ordinance. The last change to the ordinance was in 2008.
The proposed changes will allow residents to use ATVs on most city streets for an increased number of purposes.
City residents at the hearing generally voiced support for the proposed changes but also expressed concern about younger residents on four wheelers.
“Older people seem to be riding like people, while the younger people ride like they don’t seem to know that they could be dead in a minute,” said Sharon Smith.
There was general consensus that the ordinance should make it easier for law enforcement to ensure that ATV riders are properly licensed and trained.
The ordinance currently states that ATV traffic cannot pass school buildings while school is in session. Some thought that it meant no ATVs from 8 am to 3 pm on school days, while others thought that it meant no ATVs from August to May.
The intent was to keep school age kids from riding ATVs to and from school.
After much discussion, Laws stated that it was clear that the new ordinance was not ready for approval. Laws signaled that the ordinance will be reviewed again and another public hearing is likely.
The Council said that they would like the City ordinance to be similar to the county ATV ordinance.
The Council accepted a two-year contract with the Canyonlands Natural History Association (CNHA) to operate the bookstore at the city visitor center.
The new contract will forward 20 percent of gross sales to the city. The prior contract forwarded 22 percent of gross sales.
While approving the new contract, the Council would like to have CNHA officials attend a council meeting to brainstorm about ways to increase the visibility and profitability of the visitor center.
The Council heard a series of reports from city organizations, including the fire department.
The Blanding Fire Department faced one of its biggest challenges ever in November when the San Juan High School library was engulfed in flames caused by an arson fire.
Fire Chief Craig Stanley reported that the fire was the biggest he has seen in Blanding over the past 25 years.
Stanley reported that the fire “flashed-overt”, meaning that everything in the room ignited at once in a fire where temperatures exceeded 1200 degrees.
“We are glad that happened before we had firefighters in the library,” said Stanley.
He said that fire crews attacked the inside of the fire and helped contain it to the library.
He added that the Monticello fire department focused on the roof of the school, while the Bluff fire department helped get everything under control.
Other reports were heard about the natural gas systems and the water department. At the time, the snowpack at Camp Jackson was just 33 percent of normal.
“Normal is damn dry, so if we are at 33 percent, we are worse than dry,” said Laws.
A recreation report showed that use of the City Recration Center is down 9.6 percent for the year, which has been expected.
Overall use is still higher than what was budgeted. Memberships dropped from 1,273 to 1,186, in addition to 190 college memberships.