Blanding City approves long-term raw water sale to White Mesa Mill

By David Boyle
News Director
Members of the Blanding city council approved a water sale to Energy Fuels, discussed a policy related to collections and received an annual building report as part of their latest meeting.
Members of the city council approved an annual agreement to sell water to Energy Fuels and the White Mesa Mill at the March 12 meeting.
The four-page agreement outlines the terms of the 10-year deal to sell 250 acre feet of raw water annually to the mill at a rate of $100 per acre foot for a yearly total of $25,000.
The agreement has other terms as well including a measure to encourage conservation with any unused water obligated to the mill being charged at 50-percent rate or $50 per acre foot.
The agreement also outlines that if raw water is unavailable to the mill for a given month the city will reduce the annual fee by 1/12, and the conditions of ‘availability’ of water based on the water level at Recapture.
The city has sold water to the mill since Recapture Reservoir’s creation, but the agreement has been a topic of review of the city for the past few years.
Members of the council in attendance approved the agreement unanimously.
Members of the Blanding city council also began a discussion to establish a policy related to when to send Blanding City utility accounts to collections. The recommended policy would establish guidelines for sending accounts to collections when they were at least 90 days past due in order to ensure timely payments and minimize financial loss to the city.
City Manager Trent Herring shared a report that over the past 15 years the city has sent around $179,000 to collections and received just about 14-percent of that amount over the 15 years.
Policy outlines include definitions of when accounts would be past-due and the process to initiate collections after a 90-day past due period.
As part of the discussion staff also shared concerns about the way water and sewer connections are done to trailer parks. While the city services just one connection to parks, each trailer is charged a connection fee. As part of that connection fee, trailer users then receive 5,000 gallons of water monthly. Staff recommended that the city move to charging the park at the single connection for the metered amount used, as a result park-owners would then bill trailers individually for their water usage, the city Equal Pay program could make for a static amount to allow landlords to charge trailers a set amount month to month for water utilities.
The city Equal Pay program sets up a fixed monthly amount for utility users to pay based on historical usage patterns. The billing is based on historical usage data averaged over time, typically twelve months.
Variations in the usage or billing will be reconciled annually. Meaning customers may receive a credit or be charged additionally as necessary.
Members of the council discussed the merits of the current trailer park system vs a switch and planned to bring the discussion to a future meeting.
At the meeting members of the council also heard an annual building report; staff shared that in 2023 there were 27 building permits were issued, with six new stick built dwellings built as part of 2023. Community development director Bret Hosler shared that often permits and projects roll over a few years meaning the city averages around 40-45 active permits at anytime.
Members of the council also heard the annual presentation from San Juan High National Honor Society (NHS). The group hosts the annual Easter Egg event in Blanding with financial contributions from the city, this year the egg hunt will be at 5:00 pm on March 28 at Centennial park. After hearing a presentation from two students members of the council gave the go-ahead to give $900 in funds towards providing 3,000 pre-filled easter eggs for the event. The grant to the NHS was part of the annual budget.
Herring also asked the council if they’d like to explore a noise ordinance for the city. He noted they have heard concerns from some residents, and that noise ordinances are not uncommon for towns in the state.
Council member Charlie Taylor, who is a Sgt. with the Utah Highway Patrol, said he believed excessive noise issues could be resolved under the state nuisance laws.
Members of the council didn’t vote but signaled support for Taylor and Herring to look into seeing if the nuisance laws could work in place of having an additional ordinance which would need enforcement.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday