The situation regarding the status of Monticello City Manager Trent Schafer remains ongoing following the January 23 meeting of the Monticello City Council.
Mayor Doug Allen started the meeting by informing the public that there would be no discussion during the meeting related to the situation with the City Manager. He said the that the council is working on the issue and hopes to resolve it as soon as possible, but had no indication as to when that would be.
Schafr has been on paid administrative leave since December. The city has four key administrative positions which remain unfilled.
Councilman Walter Bird was sworn in for a second term in office, which will be a four year term. Bird was approved unanimously by the Council as Mayor protempore, meaning he will fill in for Mayor Doug Allen in the event Allen is unable to attend a meeting.
Myron Lee, representing the Utah Department of Transportation, along with Kurt Thornock and Chet Johnson, discussed the Highway 491 road project. Thornock said the remaining portion of the project will run from the intersection of Highway 191 to the Port of Entry. The project will include new curb and gutter, sidewalks, storm drain system under the highway, lighting, and stamped/colored concrete in the park strip area between the curb and gutter and the sidewalk. Thornock said that UDOT plans to start construction of the project in the Spring of 2009.
Public Works Supervisor Nathan Langston presented the Council with current water usage data. The report shows that the city is collecting 260,000 gallons of water per day at this time.
The historic average is 310,000 gallons per day, down about 50,000 gallons a day, which is being attributed to a dry summer and cold winter. In contrast, the use in the city is currently up about 50,000 gallons as well.
Langston reported on work done by the city water department in 2007. He said that the city installed 1,000 feet of water main on 100 East, including two new hydrants and six new valves; 800 feet of water main on 200 South, including a hydrant and three valves; 400 feet of water main on 150 West, repaired a leak in the industrial park well, and flow tested and did general maintenance on all fire hydrants.
Langston told the council that the mountain water project is mostly complete. In 2008, the city plans to work on the Main Street and Center Street infrastructure project. It is out for bid and is scheduled to begin construction in March.
Langston also told the council there is a small leak in the small storage tank which will need to be looked at, and they are considering hiring divers to locate the leak to determine what needs to be done.
The tank is approximately 60 years old. They are also looking at putting in new water lines at several locations around town to stay ahead of scheduled road work.
The sewer department drained and cleaned the sewer lagoons to deal with an algae problem. Langston reports that the maintenance program is working very well, and they have cleaned more than 12,000 linear feet of sewer line and didn’t have a sewer claim this year.
In the coming year, the city will work on projects on Uranium Drive, Main and Center streets, better testing equipment for the sewer lagoons, and having another certified operator in house.
The sanitation department purchased a new garbage truck in 2007 which Langston reports is running great. They are currently expanding the poly cart and dumpster inventory and in 2008 will look at the possibility of a recycling program and recycling stations, and for a way to get rid of the oldest garbage truck.
Streets Supervisor Benny Musselman told the council the street sweeper is on it’s last leg and is currently burning “more oil than gasoline”., He presented the council with prices on a new street sweeper. A new machine costs approximately $116,000, with a used machine around $90,000. Musselman said he doesn’t see the feasibility of purchasing a new machine at this time and feels it would be smarter to contract out the street sweeping, as the monthly cost is just about the same as a payment on a new machine, and there is no maintenance, repairs and employee costs with contracting it out. The issue will be on the next council agenda for a decision.
Stewart Gorie, President of the Monticello Senior Citizens, approached the council regarding an ongoing problem with ice in the parking lot at the Senior Center. Gorie told the council he appreciated the work the City has done to try and deal with the problem, but there seems to be a dispute over whether the problem should be dealt with by the County or City. The council said they will work on solving the problem.
Winn Westcott approached the council about a shelter for the Big 4 tractor. He is concerns that once the tractor is completed, it needs to be put in a shelter out of the weather where people cannot vandalize it, or take parts off of it.
Westcott told the council they are looking into grant money and working with companies who might give the city a donation of part or all of the building as a tax write off.
Westcott said they would like to see it located close to the barn and attached by a walkway so visitors would have to go through the visitors center to access the tractor barn. In the meantime, they would like to put tractors in a fenced-in area this spring to attract visitors.
When the Big 4 is running, it will need to be used, and they would like to have a schedule of times it is run so people can come and see it. Westcott told the council there are several other people with antique and historical items who would be interested in displaying them in the building.
The council approved a service contract, by a 3-2 vote, with Data Information for maintenance of the city website and computer system maintenance. Michael Martin of Data Information, presented the council with a proposal to purchase software that would allow the City to be able to make changes to their own website, as well as allow city employees, volunteers, and committee members put up information about various events. He pointed out that it would take out the element of paying someone to make the changes, and allow the City to take charge of their own site.
Martin, who is also a member of the City Economic Development Committee, said that this one change would meet eight of the goals the committee has set forth. The cost from the company Martin recommended was $6,061. A second bid is over $19,000.
Martin said that this system would be easy to use, and let more people be involved in the process, advertise events, as well as promote and market the City. The Council postponed the decision on the issue until more information can be gathered.
The Council also appointed Cassie Boyle to the Parks and Beautification Committee and approved alcohol licenses for Canyonlands C Store, Woody’s, and Peace Tree Juice Café.