Golf continues to be the hot topic for the Monticello City Council. At the May 14 council meeting, the open Superintendent position triggered a discussion on the future of the course.
Councilman Jeremy Hoggard expressed concern about hiring a full time permanent employee for the open position. Hoggard suggested that the city may consider leasing the course to a private entity in the fall.
Councilman Jerry Ward reiterated his feeling that at the end of the season, the City needs to explore other options. He said that it would be a good idea to get someone to fill in for the summer and hope that the course breaks even or makes money.
Councilman Brad Randall said he wants to see where the course goes this year with the new employees and give them a chance to make it work. “I think we need to have some faith and trust in the people we hire,” said Randall.
Mayor Doug Allen said the city should analyze the year before making decisions, especially as there are no offers to buy or lease the course. Councilman Scott Shakespeare asked if anyone on staff could take over as superintendent for the remainder of the season. Allen said there is some concern about spreading employees too thin.
Allen said there have been four applications from qualified people. Randall made a motion to continue the search as advertised. Randall and Scott Shakespeare voted to continue, Ward and Hoggard voted against. Mayor Allen broke the tie in favor of continuing the search as advertised.
City resident Cooper Jones asked about trespassing on his property by the City. The city went through his property for the mountain water project. Jones said he was never talked to about the trespass on his land, and a mess was left and never dealt with. Mayor Allen said the City clearly did not do their due diligence on the property. Allen apologized for the trespass and said the city would make sure Jones’ property was cleaned up as soon as possible.
Jones also asked about rules regarding subdivisions and asked for regulations everyone must follow so developers are treated fairly. Mayor Allen said that the Planning Commission has been actively working on the issue. City Manager Myron Lee said the Commission met the previous week and has an ordinance dealing with one and two lot subdivisions that is ready to be presented to the council.
John Black asked for an update on deer complaints by city residents of North Creek Lane. Black said that summer is approaching, the growing season has started and he doesn’t want to see the issue drag out until August. Guy Wallace, of the Division of Wildlife Resources, said that removal of animals must be requested by the City. He said the DWR regulations regarding removal of animals pertain to agricultural crops, and this situation does not fit that requirement, therefore the City must make the request for removal. Wallace said deer have been removed in the city twice before, and if the city wants deer removed, the DWR will come up with a plan.
Bruce Bunker said he has done everything possible to keep deer out of his haystack, but they tear down his fence. Bunker estimates it costs him $12 a day to deal with the deer. Bunker asked why it is resident’s problem and said that the State of Utah, who owns the animals, should start managing them. “I don’t want you to exterminate the deer, but we are making no effort to manage them,” said Bunker.
Bunker added that as many as 40 turkeys took up residence in his yard all winter long and created similar problems. Black said his garden is fenced, but problems come from trails in his yard, manure left behind, and trampling everything in the way.
Mayor Allen said there is obviously a problem with deer destroying property, but other citizens like the deer. Councilman Scott Shakespeare said he has had calls on both sides of the issue and said deer issues need to be on the agenda at the next council meeting.
Debbie Empy, from the Utah State Auditors Office, met with the City Council to answer questions about the findings of a recent audit. Empy said that the annual audit looks at financial statements and some internal controls, but the State Audit addressed specific questions and concerns.
Mayor Allen said he met with the private auditor several weeks ago and expressed concern about how a part-time council can know what is going on in a city if an audit doesn’t point out problems. Allen asked, “What good is an audit if it doesn’t bring some of that out?”
He pointed out several things that he felt the auditors should have had concerns about, and questioned who should bring those things to the attention of the city if it’s not the auditor. Empy said that auditors are often hesitant to tell entities how to run their organizations.
Mayor Allen said the city hopes to have all the changes recommended by the audit in place within six months, at which time the city will report back to the State Auditors Office.
Public Works Director Nathan Langston reports that the ponds are full and Loyds Lake now holds 2500 acre feet, with 1100 acre feet to go until it’s full. The Division of Natural Resources predicts that another 1300 acre feet will come off the mountain.
Langston reported on a project to clean a sewer pipe and install a liner to repair the pipe. The project cost $53,000, but Langston said it would have been more expensive any other way. Langston said there have been no problems with sewer in the area since the project and it is expected to last 50 years.
In other business, the council renewed the Seventh District Court Juvenile Restitution Program to maintain Loyd’s Lake. Art Adair, who supervises the program, said that when the new pavilion was erected, the volleyball court, campfire area, and horseshoe pits were torn up. He asked to get the areas repaired and to get a pressure washer for the restrooms and pavilion. Randall said the City already has a trailer and tank used to water plants.
City Manager Myron Lee presented updated Drug, Harassment and Termination policies for city personnel. Lee said new employees have to pass a drug test. The council unanimously passed the updated policies.