Garbage, housing, golf fees on agenda for Monticello City Council

by David Boyle
News Director
Members of the Monticello City Council updated fees at the Hideout, clarified the updated garbage code and received reports on the economy and housing at their latest meeting.
The council approved a resolution updating the consolidated fee schedule for new pricing at the Hideout Golf Course, as well as an approved fee for a variance request at the December 12 meeting.
The resolution as presented had slight changes in green fees and cart fees as well as having slightly decreased prices for local golfers. The proposed Hideout fee changes also included a holiday rate for busy days on the course, including Pioneer Day and the 4th of July. 
While the exact definition of who receives a local vs non-resident rate is not defined in the original resolution, members of the council voted to make the definition of a local as someone who resides within Monticello city limits.
Members of the council also approved a $900 variance application fee. City administrative staff made comparisons to other Utah municipalities and found the fee would cover administrative time plus the $700 to $800 charge for the board of adjustments to review variance requests. The pricing is higher than city staff anticipated, but they report other cities charge that amount, with most charging higher.
Members of the council approved both fee schedule changes in a joint resolution.
In other golf news, council member Nathan Chamberlain reported the city had offered the superintendent job to a South Carolina resident with 30 years of experience. With an acceptance, he will begin the job in February.
Members of the Monticello City Council also continued discussions around cleaning up Main and Center street.
City Manager Kaeden Kulow said after looking at possible enforcement they shared the city already has weed control and general nuisance in the code, but they are looking for council input on how to address run-down buildings along the main corridors.
“I’d like to know what points do we want to focus on when it comes to our commercial businesses,?” asked Kulow.
Kulow gave an example of a vacant building with a door down. In one example, the city would contact the business and let them know they need to address the issue. After giving them some time, possibly a few months, the city would then charge a $50 monthly fee until the issue is fixed. If the issue is still not addressed after another set of time, the city would arrange for fixes and bill the owner. 
The example gave an idea of how the code could work. However, exactly what would be included, such as level of fees, timing, and other details, remains completely undecided. City staff asked for council input on the matter.
Council members asked to look at code in similar-sized cities in the region, such as Price, to consider options. The council also had questions about how the code would be enforced. Plans were made to bring the item back before the council at a future meeting.
Council members also approved a raise in their compensation. The motion raised council compensation from $1,500 to $2,000 yearly, and Mayoral compensation from $3,000 to $4,000 annually. 
Following the raise, council members discussed scheduling compensation raises for council members and the mayor so that the compensation increases would be incremental over time rather than larger raises after years of stagnation.
Members of the council also received a report from County Economic Development Director Elaine Gizler.
Gizler highlighted the county work including receiving and distributing grant funding, working on addressing sales tax leakage with residents leaving the county for certain purchases including auto sales.
Other work highlighted included the housing needs study, installation of trails in Spanish Valley, the loss of a large amount of county Transient Room Tax if Gouldings is bought by the Navajo Nation, and the annual county business basecamp conference. 
When asked about the greatest challenge of attracting industry to the area, Gizler said near the top is the lack of housing.
“Lisbon Valley Mine and Energy Fuels, between the two, both have about 50 jobs open monthly that they can’t fill because we don’t have enough housing.”
Gizler suggested the city look at planning and zoning to create more housing, including increasing density.
“So we can keep kids here and quit exporting them out to other areas. If we want our kids to stay here they have to have housing and have to have jobs.”
Members of the council also heard from Tamara Docksteader from the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments about the programs to address housing rehabilitation.
Programs are designed to fix qualified residents homes including addressing roofs, sewage leaks, broken furnaces, mold mitigation and other projects.
Members of the council also revisited the garbage and refuse code updated in October. Kulow shared a document to highlight some of the key changes in layman’s terms. Council members heard feedback especially related to disposal of yard waste.
Kulow clarified that large yard waste such as tree branches would not be accepted in polycart bins. However, raked leaves and grass clippings will be allowed in polycarts as long as they are bagged and the lid fully closed on the garbage cans.
Unbagged yard waste including branches are accepted free of charge at the city dump.
Among the three main updates to the garbage code include polycart placement, approved garbage handling and restricted garbage.
The city code requires people to place and remove their polycarts within 24 hours of pickup to keep roads clear especially for snow removal. 
Approved garbage handling requires bagged garbage to prevent trash blowing around town. The code also doesn’t allow garbage bins to be so full the lid can’t close and doesn’t allow residents to place garbage next to cans.
Among restricted garbage items include construction waste, lithium or lead acid batteries, paint, large electronics and appliances.
Members of the council made plans to revisit the code once again in the new year to see if any adjustments were needed.
Members of the council also approved some technology upgrades to city equipment.
Council approved an update in security for city servers with city IT representatives suggesting the city upgrade their server to government-level encryption.
The upgrade will cost somewhere between $4,700 to $6,500 but Kulow said those costs would be preferable to a ransomware attack.
When asked about security levels, Kulow guessed the move would take the city from a ranking of four out of ten on cyber-safety to an eight out of ten.
The council also approved a change to Centinel anti-virus software. That change will save the city $1,200 annually as the state will pay for the software as part of a five-year campaign.

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