Blanding City Council talks transportation master plan, virus

The Blanding City Council moved through business quickly at their March 10 meeting.
The COVID-19 virus was a topic of discussion at the city meeting.
City Manager Jeremy Redd went over some basic recommendations to prevent the spread of disease, including hand washing, avoiding close contact, and making sure sick employees stay home. 
“The biggest concern with coronavirus is our staff being sick for a week or two,” Redd said, “I don’t see disruptions to essential services.” 
Redd emphasized that the city will follow the lead of the experts. “We’ll leave it to the professionals. We’ll follow the State of Utah and San Juan County in what they tell us we should do… I just want everyone to recognize that Blanding City has looked at it and has a plan in place.”
In addition, much of the time was spent discussing the Transportation Master Plan with Jones and DeMille Engineer Chad Sonderegger. 
Sonderegger presented a story map and proposed transportation routes. With the estimated growth of Blanding City between .5 and one percent, the engineers looked at areas of the city to address growth and prioritize capital improvements.
The plan includes proposed future annexation areas, as well as growth areas within city limits.
Sonderegger reports the plan will allow developers and contractors to understand what they need to plan in certain areas.  
City Manager Jeremy Redd stressed the need to get information to citizens to make their voices heard.
“We really want the public to comment,” he said, “We want to get it right.” 
Sonderegger added, “This really can affect people who own a lot of land.”
The council discussed ways to get the message out, including an open house planned on April 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. Computers will be set up to allow people to see their property and how the transportation master plan would affect it. 
In other business, City Engineer Terry Ekker updated the council on the re-bid of the stormwater project.
Most of the scope is the same, although an additional 45 days is added to the construction timeline to attract more bidders. The start date is also later.
April 1 is the bid date. Ekker hopes to have a recommendation to the council by April 14. 
Ekker also had a water report for February. The water year is slowly dropping to average. The major difference between this year and the prior year is the amount of moisture received in February and March last year. A dry February brought the water numbers back to average. 
Councilmembers also heard of efforts to inform the public on the new color-coded water rate structure adopted several months ago. The council will set the water color at the first meeting in April. An open house will be held so residents can see how much they will pay under the new rate structure.
Blandingwater.com is a new website where the public can see what their water bill will be. Marketing materials will be sent and letters mailed to the biggest water users. 
The council discussed the road leading to the old city dump which the county plans to change from paved to gravel.
Councilmembers discussed whether it makes financial sense for the city to take over and maintain the pavement or to let the county turn it into a gravel road. 
City Engineer Terry Ekker said, “I don’t think we can maintain dirt and gravel roads cheaper than the county can.” 
City Manager Jeremy Redd added, “I don’t think there’s enough benefit financially to take it over.”
The council agreed to leave the road in the hands of the county for now, with the knowledge that they could step in if they need to. 
Chief J.J. Bradford reported on the police department in February. Cases are up again compared with 2019.
Chief Bradford notes that violent assaults associated with alcohol use are once again a major factor.
City Manager Jeremy Redd briefed councilmembers on the recreation numbers for February. The Wellness Center recorded 2,860 visits, with volleyball participation and revenue about the same as in 2019.
New LED lights for the outdoor baseball scoreboards have been installed and are much more visible.
The council adopted amended rules of procedure and order to reflect situations where both the mayor and mayor pro tempore are absent.
The most senior councilmember will preside if the mayor and mayor pro tempore are absent. 
The city also discussed a proposed ordinance so purchasing is more in line with state code. A new ordinance would allow the city more flexibility in the procurement process. A public hearing will be held April 14 regarding the proposed ordinance.

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