The Blanding City Council unanimously voted to participate in a cooperative agreement between the state and city to transfer fiscal responsibility for wildfires from the city to the state. The agreement was approved at the December 13 council meeting.
The agreement will protect the city if a fire breaks out within city limits and spreads through the federal land around the city. It lifts the fiscal responsibility of such a fire from the city and gives it to the state. Essentially it is a form of fire insurance for Blanding City.
The agreement requires the city to spend approximately $2,500 a year on fire safety programs, trainings, prevention, community preparedness, and wildfire mitigation outlined in the cooperative agreement.
Some of the annual trainings will already qualify. The agreement must be put into practice within two years of signing and will be reviewed for renewal every five.
Fire Chief Corey Spillman was asked how comfortable he is executing the Cooperative Agreement. Spillman assured the council he is confident that he can fulfill all the requirements.
In other news, Councilman Robert Ogle presented the new bylaws for the Blanding Area Travel Council (BATC) and asked the council to approve the changes. The BATC started out as a private group, but when they started to accept tax dollars to fund their goals, they became an advisory board to the city.
The city council recognized that they have fiduciary responsibility over the council. The decisions made impact Blanding resident tax dollars, hence the need for bylaw approval.
Councilman Ogle reported on current and future BATC projects, including a “Come to Blanding” promo that encourages people to, as it states, “Come to Blanding”. The video features a family receiving an invite in the mail and taking a family vacation in San Juan County. It can be found on YouTube under the Blanding Utah – Gateway to Bridges channel.
Some of the bylaw changes include a fee for all BATC members, an elected board of six to help manage and streamline decision making, and all members must be San Juan County residents.
The BATC will continue to work to increase tourism domestically but has not gone as far as visiting other countries and pushing foreign tourism. Mayor Calvin Balch suggested the BATC report on what they are doing and their goals annually. The BATC bylaws were approved.
Recreation Director David Palmer reported that while annual revenue for city recreation is down slightly for the fourth year in a row (this includes youth sports, wellness center passes, and pool use), all the numbers for 2016 are not in the books yet. Palmer has high hopes in a new membership system at the Wellness Center. It requires members to scan their cards upon arrival.
The new system pulls up a photo of the member, which helps verify that the right person has the card and cards are not being shared. Palmer said they have weeded out some issues just by having the new system.