Commission introduced to legislative auditor, receives report on grants, Cal Black Airport
By David Boyle
Members of the San Juan County commission heard an introduction from the Utah legislative auditor general office, approved the publishing of county ordinances, and approved a five-year plan for Cal Black Memorial Airport.
At the December 6 meeting members of the commission heard a brief introduction from the audit manager tasked with performing the government compliance audit of Grand and San Juan Counties.
At the meeting, Jesse Martinson explained that the work of the office of the Legislative Auditor General is prioritized by the state legislative audit subcommittee.
Members of the committee include the President of the Utah Senate, the Speaker of the Utah House, and majority and minority leaders in the state house and senate.
While any members of the legislature can request an audit the government compliance audit was requested by Utah Senate President Stuart Adams and Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson in October of this year. The two highest-ranking members of the state legislature are both Republicans representing parts of Davis County.
At the December 6 meeting of the county commission, Martinson explained his office has been commissioned to do an audit in San Juan and Grand counties.
“We’re looking at compliance with the open meetings act. We may also look in other areas that we may find may carry risk we have not scoped out any other areas. That is the main area that we are tasked to look at at this time.”
Commissioner Bruce Adams asked what will happen once the audit is completed with Martinson explaining the findings will be presented to the state audit subcommittee before being released publicly.
“Throughout our audit process we’ll give you an opportunity, anything that specifically deals with this commission we’ll sit down with you, go over findings that we may have, so you’ll have an opportunity to respond and to comment on that before its released.”
When asked Martinson also explained that they can make recommendations to state agencies or the state legislature as part of the findings.
Director of Communications for the Utah House of Representatives Alexa Musselman shared in an email in November that while the time length for an audit process can vary, they are typically completed in six-to-eight months.
The stated mission of the office of the Legislative Auditor General is to provide objective and credible information, in-depth analysis, findings, and conclusions that help legislators and other decision-makers improve programs, reduce costs and promote accountability.
At the meeting members of the commission also approved an ordinance that will publish all county ordinances, County Administrator Mack McDonald says the move will also set up the county to revisit outdated ordinances.
“In accordance with Utah code, we are required years ago to codify and put in book form all of our ordinances here at the county that began since county inception.”
McDonald pointed out that includes old ordinances such as restrictions for spitting on sidewalks or regulations for dance halls. While outdated codes are unlikely to be enforced, the county will be revisiting ordinances in the near future.
At the meeting members of the commission also received a report on the Cal Black Airport.
McDonald reported that per Federal Aviation Administration requirements the county must periodically submit a five-year capital plan for the county-owned airport located near Halls Crossing.
The plan approved by the commission includes the installation of new weather reporting equipment in 2023, the planning and completion of taxiway rehabilitation and lighting in 2024 and 2025, and airport pavement preservation and upgrade of solar power equipment in 2027.
While the total estimated cost for improvements to the airport is nearly $3.6 million over the next five years, over 90 percent of the costs will be covered by the federal government, with less than five percent covered by the state and less than five percent by San Juan County.
As a result, San Juan County will contribute $186,000 towards the nearly $3.6 million in upgrades to the airport over the next five years.
Because the county has taken FAA funds in the past, they are obligated to continue to maintain the airport.
The commission also approved a notice to negotiate a contract with current airport engineering company Jviation.
Members of the commission also approved a $10,000 grant from the state Department of Public Safety for mental health services for first responders.
The grant requires quarterly reports and spending records for over five years, with limits on how the funds can be spent. Adams said $10,000 is a small amount for what the county is trying to treat.
“There are so many attachments and paperwork to do, is it worth trying to get $10,000?”
McDonald said while the needs far outweigh the amount allocated to the county, he believes the work to administer the funds will benefit first responders who don’t always get the support they need to address post-traumatic stress disorder.
At the meeting, the commission also approved a contract to assist with the Information Systems department throughout the county and went into the board of equalizations to adjust 10 county properties.
During commissioner reports Commissioner Willie Grayeyes reported he is continuing to work to develop an understanding on the proposed road between Oljato and Navajo Mountain with continued collaboration with the Utah Lt. Governor.
Commissioner Kenneth Maryboy did not attend the meeting.