Eldredge approached the San Juan County Commission on October 11 to discuss the situation, which will cost the county $450,000.
Eldredge said the current system at the jail is DOS-based and loads with floppy disks.
A recent inspection by the Utah Department of Corrections found that corrections need to be made to the system soon, or the county risks losing the contract which houses 76 state inmates. There are generally between 20 and 30 county inmates at the jail.
The program to house inmates generates approximately $1.6 million each year for the county.
Twenty companies responded to a request for proposal and six submitted proposals, ranging from $340,000 to $750,000.
The lowest acceptable bid is just less than $400,000, but there are concerns about the equipment and service from the low bid company, which is based in Alabama.
“With the kind of money we are spending on this – half a million dollars – it would be nice if the companies can provide trained support,” said Commissioner Phil Lyman. “For that kind of money, we should have somebody trained and able to support it.”
Commissioners approved a $450,000 bid from KUBL Group, based in Ft. Collins, CO.
Officials expressed hope that a recent increase in state funding may help the county reimburse the capital expenditures budget for the new system.
In other matters at the Commission meeting, Eldredge reports that the sheriff department also needs to replace their old analog telephone system. The current system is about 15 years old.
Challenges are the interaction of the telephone system and the emergency 911 system and compatibility across several existing telephone platforms.
Frontier and Emery Telcom provided bids for the system. Commissioners approved a $29,138 bid from Frontier for a new and integrated system.
Eldredge adds that the Humane Society in Moab would like to expand the spay and neuter clinics that they sponsor in San Juan County.
The Sheriff said the clinics are very successful and help address costly expenses for his department. It costs the Sheriff’s department approximately $100 every time a stray dog is picked up. The Humane Society seeks $5,000 from the county.
Commissioner Lyman said he would like to look closer at the program before making the $5,000 funding decision.
A number of county residents approached the Commission regarding a variety of issues at the October 11 meeting.
Lois Scheer stated that County Assessor Shelby Seely should be removed from office because he is not attempting to be in compliance with state regulations.
State law requires that a county assessor secure proper licensure within three years of being elected. Seely has been in office for nearly two years and has 14 months remaining to secure the licensure.
Scheer states that it is too late for Seely to complete the process to secure the licensing and asked commissioners to have him removed from office.
“He is not qualified,” said Scheer. “It takes two and half years to get your license and he has made no attempt.”
Commissioner Lyman said the Commission can’t remove an elected official. “This would not be a commission-driven process, it is a citizen-driven process,” said Lyman.
Lyman added that there would be a decision at the end of three years and asked, “Why come in at the end of two years? …This appears to be a public forum to defame an elected official in a forum where we have no control to affect change.”
Seely said he is at work every day, and the Assessors office operates correctly and efficiently.
“People elected me to this office and the work is being done,” said Seely.
Jackie Steele addressed the Commission about the Latigo Wind Farm and “the fact that commissioners went ahead and allowed sPower to build” the 27-turbine wind farm north of Monticello.
Steele said she has suffered, stating “all you can see are wind turbines” on a secluded property that she owns.
“It is not right that sPower went in and San Juan County and Monticello didn’t get anything on it except the taxes,” said Steele.
Commissioner Lyman said, “There is a process, there are laws, and people with private property can do certain things. Now it is in the court system.”
Seventh District Judge Lyle R. Anderson recently ruled that San Juan County did not allow proper due process while approving a Conditional Use Permit for the wind farm.
Mexican Hat resident Joy Howell and Julie Palmer discussed issues regarding “big haul trucks” going through Mexican Hat
“We have blind corners and very fast truck traffic and want to know where to go to address the issue,” said Howell.
While there are several warning signs as you approach the Mexican Hat bridge from the south, there are no warnings for southbound traffic
“We would prefer better signage and possibly signs far enough away to avoid the road entirely,” said Howell.
It is a physical shortcut to travel from Kayenta, AZ to Bluff through Monument Valley, but it takes longer than staying on Highway 191 because of sharp turns, a narrow road, scenic stops and the large number of visitors.
Concerns about water issues in Mexican Hat were also addressed. The visitors said that wells drilled in the area generally get more oil than water, and the community sewer system is not maintained.
“The town reeks in the morning,” said Palmer, who added that the fulltime population in Mexican Hat will drop to 18 people this winter.
Ben Musselman discussed a request for the Navajo Department of Transportation (NDOT) to assist in the funding of a road project near the Hatch Trading Post.
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) provided nearly $2 million for the project, based upon cost projections that were made several years ago.
When the actual bids came in, they were several hundred thousand dollars higher than the engineer estimates.
Musselman said that if the NDOT funding comes through, the road will go forward as designed. If not, the project could shrink to meet available funds by dropping from 4-inch to 3-inch paving, or shortening the length of the road construction.
The public access group SPEAR approached the Commission for assistance in securing a right-of-way on the Pacheco Trail. The trail begins at the Blanding Visitor Center and heads east to a number of other trail heads.
“This is important because it is our main way to get out of Blanding to our trails,” said SPEAR chairman Brent Johansen.
The trail crosses private ground in several locations and there is uncertainty about future ownership of the ground. The county and City of Blanding are interested in working with the property owners to help secure the rights-of-way
“Without this trail, the whole area could become a dead issue anyway,” said Joe F. Lyman. “If the county owned the trail, we could set it up, secure the fences and move ahead.”
“It is certainly in the county’s interest to secure the trail,” said Commissioner Lyman.