Blanding has a new police chief and a new fire chief after the November 10 meeting of the Blanding City Council. The appointments were made by Mayor Calvin Balch.
Jason Torgerson, a 13-year veteran of law enforcement, is the new Blanding Chief of Police. For the past five years, Torgerson worked for the San Juan County Sheriffs office, where he served as a detective and head of the drug task force.
Torgerson replaces Lloyd Watkins, who recently resigned after serving for approximately one year as Blanding Pilce Chief. Watkins is returning to southwest Utah to be closer to his family.
Torgerson said that his goals of Blanding Chief of Police include insuring that the city officers are well trained, seeing that they are aggressive in fighting crime and keeping up the work on the fight against drugs.
“The police represent the community and we need to earn their trust,” said Torgerson.
Corey Spillman was named the new Fire Chief in Blanding, replacing Craig Stanley. Stanley has served as fire chief for the past five years.
Stanley was recognized for 29 years of service with the Blanding Fire Department. He expressed his appreciation to the city and to a number of volunteer fire fighters who were in attendance, in addition to their spouses and the families who support them.
In other matters, Rob Bowring discussed the annual concert which he brings in to support the baseball and softball programs at San Juan High School. Charlie Jenkins is the headliner again this year, with one and possibly two other musicians coming along.
Bowring said he has contacted several large companies in hopes of raising funds to support the concert, such as Jones & DeMille and LeGrande Johnson. He added that he will now contact smaller business owners who he feels support activities at the high school all of the time.
The city infrastructure is in good shape. There have been several natural gas hook ups, which is typical when the weather turns colder. The reservoirs are higher than normal in October and the pipeline has more output than usual.
A slight decrease in recreation department revenue concerned the city enough to look for a cause. Kim Palmer found that the numbers dropped in July, when cool, wet weather brought a decrease in use of the outdoor swimming pool. The outdoor facilities have been winterized.
The Storm Water Participation Agreement was approved and the Storm Water Rate quadrupled, from $1 to $4 per month for residences and an equivalent increase for commercial properties. David Johnson, Kelly Law, and Taylor Harrison voted for the rate increase while Joe B. Lyman and Robert Ogle voted against. Lyman suggested a rate increase from $1 to $2, but his motion failed after the majority of the council said that the need is too great for a raise from $1 to $2.
The fund has generated approximately $30,000 each year for the storm water system. That will now increase to approximately $120,000 per year.
The official voter canvass was accepted by the council. Five additional ballots came in that were postmarked correctly. There were 647 voters, representing 51 percent of registered voters. There were no changes to the election results overall.
David Johnson noted that the positive vote for the public funding for parks and recreational facilities indicates that the residents are pleased with the Wellness Center.