Monticello addresses capital project plans talks water projects

by David Boyle
News Director
Members of the Monticello City Council prioritized capital plans, discussed garbage and received reports on water on March 26.
Members of the council continued a discussion from their previous meetings related to capital projects outlook.
As part of the discussion, City Manager Kaeden Kulow showed the projects from last year that have been completed, including replacing the city garbage truck, replacing city meter reader, and sewer pump repairs at the Hideout Community Center. Kulow also shared that the city has budgeted to repair the leaking roof at the city visitor center.
At the city council meeting on March 12, members of the council identified a variety of projects. Kulow shared other capital projects that are currently underway, including a Spring Creek pipeline project, city sewer repairs, and an airport pavement preservation project.
At the meeting members of the council identified capital projects to prioritize in the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1. 
Members of the council identified the number one need for maintenance at the city swimming pool, with number two being the city fire truck and main line. Next on the list is upkeep and needed improvements at city parks, with pavement of streets, such as 500 North, identified as the next priority for the upcoming year.
Members of the council recognized the list could change as needs arise but the list also gives city staff direction for how to focus on capital projects.
At the meeting, members of the council also received several different reports related to water, including an update on the Spring Creek Waterline project.
Jones and DeMille representative Katie Andrews updated the council on the progress of the project, including the remaining steps to prepare the project for construction. These include a cultural inventory along the proposed path for the pipeline, and a Goshawk survey in that area as well. With that, the project timeline is the design completed by October of 2024, but the following winter will likely push construction back to starting in late spring/early summer of 2025 to be completed that fall.
In other water news, the council heard a report from Public Works Director Nathan Langston. Langston shared that as of March 26, Loyds Lake was at 84 percent capacity, with Reservoir 1 at 65 percent capacity, Reservoir 2 at 40 percent capacity, and the Secondary Pond at 60 percent capacity.
With 15.1’’ of water in the snow pack at Camp Jackson as of March 25, the city was at 92 percent of average accumulated precipitation.
With runoff still on the way, all forecasts show another level one ‘green’ water year, although staff recommended waiting until the April 1 report before planning to set the water rate. Secondary water is tentatively ready to be charged on April 15, depending on weather conditions.
Members of the council also heard a report from the Utah Division of Water Rights alerting the city to the water adjudication process that is underway in the county.
The process secures water rights by cleaning up the state books with a judicial decree. The division is currently in the beginning stages of notifying property owners and water rights owners in the Eastland/Ucola area.
At the meeting, members of the council also discussed garbage and refuse. Council members received an update on the city landfill. 
Kulow said the city dump income compared to expenses shows a loss in the past three fiscal years ranging from $2,000 to $8,000. Kulow added the city landfill deficit is more than covered by the sanitation budget excess.
Kulow said that as of the last report, the city landfill is estimated to be at 90 percent capacity. The city has been setting aside about $2,600 annually to eventually pay for the closure of the landfill.
About $90,000 in a Public Treasurers Investment Fund (PTIF) will go to the eventual closure. The state will cover the majority of closure project and the city is required to provide a match. An outdated estimate put the city match at around $36,000 but staff and council said they anticipate that match requirement has risen.
Members of the council spoke about shoring up the losses at the city dump by being sure to collect all fees from users at the dump. The council also discussed that extending the life of the landfill may eventually require limiting more items that are accepted at the city landfill in the future.
In other garbage-related news, members of the council passed an updated garbage and refuse code. The code updates include wording that motor oil and other vehicle fluids are unacceptable waste in receptacles.
The code also allows for community waste burns, so long as residents alert fire crews via the non-emergency dispatch. Failure to notify dispatch would result in a $100 fine if fire crews are called to respond to a burn. Members of the council approved the updates to the code unanimously.
At the meeting, council also received a detailed report on needs at parks and other city grounds. Irrigation needs are listed at all city parks. Other needs include updates to equipment and dirt at the city ball fields. Needed upgrades at the park are among the top capital priorities identified at the parks.
The council also discussed but ultimately deferred action on a potential raise for the city council and Mayor. 
The increase would be the first in about 20 years. The city council held a public hearing at their previous meeting on the issue and received no public input on the proposal. The increase would raise the Mayor’s compensation to $4,000 annually and city council members to $2,000 annually. Applying the raises would be an annual increase of $3,500 total to the city budget for the five council members and Mayor.

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