The Monticello City Council is asking voters to approved two new sales taxes on the November ballot. The taxes were the big agenda item at the August 27 meeting of the Monticello City Council.
The sales taxes are being considered by the Council due to the loss of the resort community sales tax, and the need for recreation, primarily replacement of the City swimming pool.
The council approved two resolutions at the meeting. The first is to place a question before the voters on the next ballot regarding a .1 percent sales tax to be used to fund recreational facilities.
City Manager Myron Lee told the council that the sales tax would generate $5,484 a year, based on the sales tax generated in the 2007 calendar year. Mayor Doug Allen suggested that the number is wrong, due to the fact that the .5 percent resort tax generated more than $100,000 a year. He felt that even with the change in food sales tax, it would be a higher amount than the number stated by Lee.
The second resolution will place before the voters a question regarding a sales tax to fund construction and maintenance of streets and highways within the City. The tax will be for one percent, the maximum allowed under Utah state law.
City Recreation Director Eddie Allred was present at the meeting to report on the Swimming Pool. Allred said the circulating pump went out the day before the pool was set to close. He said that in order to meet regulations next year, a second drain has to be installed in the pool, or an anti-entrapment system installed.
In addition, the lighting system is in terrible shape, the roof leaks, the filtration system needs to be repaired, doors and windows are 50 years old, and several other issues. Allred said the council needs to decide if it is feasible to open it again or shut it down. He recommends that they talk to the Health Inspector and County Building Inspector and get their recommendations.
Lee said that City risk management has inspected the pool and would issue a recommendation soon.
Allred said it would be costly to get the pool up and running for a year or two and the council needs to decide if it’s worth it or not. He reported that it was a very good year for the pool, with a lot of use right up until the last day.
Councilman Scott Frost asked if the revenue is enough to pay the staff. Allred said that it probably did cover staff costs, but not the utility bills, which run nearly $3,000 a month for heat and electricity in the inefficient building.
Councilman Jeremy Hoggard asked what type of facility is needed to replace the existing building. Allred said it needs to be up do date and be multifaceted, including areas for lap swim, diving, water slide, and other entertainment for children. He said it doesn’t need to be as large as the Cortez pool, but should be a size that is feasible for our community.
Councilman Todd Randall asked that if it is just a summer pool, does it need to be inside a building? Mayor Allen said that he would like to see it become a year round pool. There were also concerns raised about the unpredictability of Monticello weather.
Allred presented the council with bids and proposals from three architects for a pool feasibility study and initial design. The recommendation of the recreation committee is to select the EDA Architects proposal. Allred said surveys and community meetings would seek input on the design from citizens. The council approved the $25,000 bid.
The council prioritized their 2009 short term Community Impact Board list, which includes lighting for Main and Center Streets, aquatic center, metering/expansion of secondary water, water storage, pavilion/bathrooms for Veterans Park, and more.
City Recorder Cindi Holyoak reports that the pavilion at Veterans Memorial Park is out for bid. She told the council that they only have $103,000 to spend and the cost of the project would be significantly more than that.
They plan to lay the cement, put up the main building, and plumb the bathrooms, but not finish them until there is more money available. Mayor Allen suggested contacting CDBG program officials to see if there happens to be more money available, as was the case when the City was building the skate park.
City Manager Myron Lee reported on a meeting with UDOT regarding the construction of Main and Center Streets. UDOT told the city that the federal money that comes to build and reconstruct roads is tied to the federal transportation bill, which expires in October.
Future funding is dependant on federal funding policies and whether or not Congress funds the transportation bill. At this time, the bill is in serious jeopardy of funding being significantly cut. As a result, UDOT has been asked to cut it’s 2009 spending by 50 percent.
Due to this, the Highway 491 project that had been anticipated for construction in the spring, is now a 2011 funding, that could be built as early as October, 2010.
At this time, any work on Highway 491 is not likely for 2009. They hope to bid the project next fall and be ready to build in 2010. UDOT is also concerned that when the funding is received, it will be at least $2 million short of the cost of construction. The council expressed a great deal of concern over whether or not the road will last long enough to hold up until 2011.
In other business, Scott Frost was sworn in as the newest member of the Monticello City Council for a term of one year and four months.
Councilman Brad Randall made a report on the San Juan ATV Safari. He told the council that Blanding is the host city this year, and they have received early registration of over 125 riders. He pointed out that with the number already received, it will be the largest Safari to date and organizers hope for 175 to 200 riders to attend.
Randall also reported on the VMTE Fund Raiser Golf Tournament. Randall said 22 teams signed up and paid, and 21 showed up to play. He said that the tournament made nearly $10,000, compared to $6,000 in 2007.