Monticello Council gives county control of elections
The Monticello City Council voted to enter an inter-local cooperation agreement with San Juan County during their meeting July 9 that will allow the county to conduct vote-by-mail elections for the city.
Monticello City Recorder Cindi Holyoak said the action item came about when the State of Utah began encouraging counties to conduct all elections in an effort to maintain consistency.
She added that it’s difficult for city recorders to manage an election with the many other items on their plates.
Another issue with cities handling vote-by-mail ballots is that cities don’t own the state signature database, so it’s impossible for the city recorder to verify signatures when mail-in ballots are received.
The cost the city will incur for election services provided by the county was unclear based on sample invoices available during the July 9 meeting and will be determined conclusively at a later date.
Holyoak confirmed that the city has gotten increased voter turnout since moving to the vote-by-mail system.
In other business, the council heard a report from Jason Nguyen, Monticello Site Manager for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management in Grand Junction.
Nguyen gave details on the DOE five-year review report for the Monticello Mill Tailings Site (MMTS) that was completed in 2017.
The DOE conducts five-year reviews for the MMTS because contamination remains in place that prevents unlimited use and unrestricted exposure for portions of the site.
Nguyen stated that equipment buried by the DOE to test ground water is still functioning satisfactorily and gave Monticello a positive report in that regard. He added that the DOE keeps three employees at the MMTS to monitor groundwater treatment.
Based on the review report, the contamination removal is functioning as intended and continues to be protective of human health and the environment.
He detailed DOE efforts to work alongside Monticello governing bodies on an ongoing basis.
The council discussed the possibility of an open house to allow Monticello residents to speak with Nguyen regarding his work on the MMTS.
The council also discussed the possibility that Nguyen could visit area schools to provide educational opportunities for local students.
The due date for the next DOE five-year review report of the MMTS is scheduled for June 30, 2022.