by Kara Laws
The Blanding City Council approved changes to the city events policy on April 10. The events policy outlines the type of events that can be held on Blanding City property, such as in a park.
In an early council meeting, the council learned that some of the changes it wanted to make, such as allowing consumption of alcohol, are prohibited by state law.
City Attorney Kendall Laws has been working with City Manager Jeremy Redd on the questions about state regulations regarding public parks and facilities. The questions included if the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW) banquet, held in the San Juan Wellness Center, is violating state law and if alcohol could be consumed at special events in local parks.
After further research, Laws clarified that alcohol consumption is allowed on public property only with a special event alcohol permit from the state. This permit does not allow event-goers to BYOB but instead requires them to purchase on site.
Because Blanding residents have voted against alcohol sales in Blanding, alcohol consumption is not an option within the city parks or buildings.
Councilwoman Cheryl Bowers clarified that she never supported the sale of alcohol and that alcohol was not the reason she addressed the event policy to begin with. She said the entire policy felt too restrictive, and she wishes to make it easier to host events in Blanding.
Councilman Robert Turk said he is not in favor of alcohol, that the people have already spoken, and he stands by that.
Laws informed council that the discharge of firearms is what is prohibited by state law. However, he added, “You cannot infringe on Second Amendment rights.”
As a result, hosting the SFW banquet has been, and will continue to be, within the scope of what the city can legally allow in their public buildings.
With all that new information, the council voted to make the following changes to the event policy:
1. Illegal drugs, alcoholic beverages, and the discharge of firearms or dangerous devices are prohibited.
2. Events that involve camping, tobacco, weapons, archery, or amplified sound must receive prior approval from the city.
3. Safety, security, and the impact to the city and residents will be considered before granting approval.
In other council news, City Engineer Terry Ekker presented the bids for the Eastside Sewer Trunkline Project. The low bid is still higher than what the city put toward the project.
The Eastside Sewer Trunkline Project is an upgrade to the city sewer system. It is designed to take pressure off the sewer line that goes south along Main Street and will allow a waste line to be put in east of town.
The project is designed to give better sewer access to residents as well as ensure the current system is not overfilled, which no logical person with a nose would ever want.
Officials state that the project is consistent with the city goal to help Blanding grow in a smart way and create infrastructure that can support growth.
Due to the funding challenge, Ekker suggested the project drop a lateral line (#2). This will change the number of pump stations, but it will make the project financially feasible.
The Council awarded the project to Lance Excavation for $2.4 million, contingent upon the funding they can receive.
In addition, Harold Lyman addressed the group with several suggestions for the city. Included in his suggestions, he presented the Blanding City motto, which reads, “Firm as the mountains around us! Firm in promotion and celebrating vision, leadership excellence, and the triumph of high achievement.”
Lyman asked that the city use the motto and create a plaque or sign of some sort to hang in the city office. Council said they would consider the request.
In other news, Mayor Joe B Lyman appointed two new members to serve on the nominating commission to help choose the new justice court judge.
Leslie Haven and Tony Dayish were proposed to fill those positions. Council approved.