San Juan County approves $163,000 in grants to local businesses

The San Juan County Commission approved the distribution of grants to eleven local businesses, provided public notice of next week’s candidacy filing period, and approved a program designed to stop up sales tax leakage at their latest meeting.

At the commission meeting on February 15, Elaine Gizler, Director of Economic Development and Visitor Services, presented the considered distribution of the Rural Grant Fund. 

Eleven local businesses were awarded a total of $163,000 in grant aid, with $10,000 being kept for childcare, should a new business be established.

The money for the Rural Grant Fund comes from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity and is intended to be given to local, rural businesses whose business and stated goals will provide economic development for the county and its communities. 

Gizler explained that the requests in the applications “totaled over a million dollars.” In 2021, $95,833 was allocated to six local businesses.

County Administrator Mack Macdonald encouraged local businesses to continue to apply for this grant fund every year saying, “There will be more opportunity in the future.”

Local businesses are welcome to apply for the grant money, applications are considered according to the stated goal or project’s impact on economic development. 

Recipients of the grant fund are asked to report to the Community Economic Development Board in six months with invoices and a discussion concerning the grant use and its impact on economic development. The findings are then reported to the state. 

Gizler stated that the Community Economic Development Board “ranked, voted and had a lot of discussion on the requests.” The board ultimately chose to award the eleven businesses based on their project’s return on investment to the local economy. 

Commissioner Bruce Adams made a motion to approve the distribution of the Rural Grant Fund, Commissioner Willie Grayeyes seconded. Commissioner Kenneth Maryboy was not present. The motion passed unanimously. 

At the meeting, County Clerk/Auditor Lyman Duncan presented the public notice of the upcoming General Election on November, 8.

The filing period for qualified political candidates and local school board of education candidates will be February 28 through March 4.

Elections will be held for five county offices in San Juan County. Each election in San Juan County this November is for a four-year term.

Both the Second and Third San Juan County Commission districts are up for election this year.

The San Juan County Clerk/Auditor, County Attorney, and County Sheriff offices are all up for election as well.

Representation in the Utah House of Representatives is up for election as well for a two-year term.

Elections are also being held in Utah for a four-year term for state treasurer, a two-year term for the Federal 3rd Congressional Representative, and a six-year term for U.S. Senator.

The 1st, 3rd, and 5th San Juan School board districts are up for election this fall as well for four-year terms.

Commissioner Adams asked for clarification on the School Board elections, as District 1 and 3 will not have incumbents seeking election.

At their January 18 meeting, the county commission approved the Eastland Adjustment map created and suggested by the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission. 

The map places three incumbent board members, Lori Maughan, Lucille Cody and Steven Black, all into a single voting district, District Four. 

Lucille Cody, the current representative of District Four, will complete her four-year term this year. Maughan and Black still have two years left of their four-year terms, but are no longer eligible to serve as School Board Representatives of Districts One and Three. 

Megan Gallegos, of the Clerks/Auditor office, reported that Maughan and Black will do a coin flip to determine who will finish their final two years of their four year term as the representative for District Four. The other board member will serve their final two years as an at large member of the board. 

The commission also approved the collection of the Annual Gross Sales in San Juan County in 2021 in an effort to stop potential sales tax leakage. Gizler presented the request for data on behalf of the The Southeastern Utah Association of Local Government (SEUALG).

The Association will receive the name, address, NAICS Code, and gross sales of every business in San Juan County. The data will be given to Zions Bank to organize and assess the data to determine Sales Tax Leakage. 

Gizler explained Carbon and Emery counties complete a Sales Tax Leakage assessment yearly. The Southeastern Utah Association of Local Government has requested to work with San Juan County this year to provide the same service, which is free to the county. 

Commissioner Adams made the motion to approve, Commissioner Grayeyes seconded and the motion was approved unanimously. 

The Commission approved and sent a letter to the Manti-La Sal National Forest in support of the Cultural Site Visitor Management Project proposed by the Monticello Ranger District. 

County Public Lands Planner Nick Sandberg presented the proposal to the commission. The project aims to address increased visitation and the ensuing damage to four Ancestral Puebloan archeological sites. The sites include Doll House, Lewis Lodge, Dry Wash Caves, and Twin Kivas. All four sites are located in the Bears Ears National Monument. 

Development for the Doll House, Lewis Lodge, and Dry Wash Cave sites is included in the proposal. Increased visitation to these three sites has created a need for better established trails, designated parking areas, and kiosk installation for site etiquette and direction. 

Sandberg explained there will be no development at the Twin Kivas site, saying “that site is not a good one for visitation and there has been damage there.” The proposal includes plans for “mitigation of past visitor damage” at the Twin Kivas. 

Commissioner Grayeyes asked if the proposed trails are already existing trails. Sandberg explained, “There could be at each individual site more than one trail that visitors have developed.”

The project would establish a single, well-defined trail to these sites as well as specific parking areas. Kiosks will be established to provide direction and hopefully mitigate further visitor damage. 

The Forest Service is currently holding public comments concerning this proposal until March 4. Commissioner Adams made a motion to approve the letter of support, the motion passed unanimously. 

The Commission approved a subdivision of 40 acres 1.5 miles west of Monticello City along County Road 101. The Commission also approved a lot amended in size in Spanish Valley. 

The Commission approved a contract with Go Travel Sites, the host of Utah Canyon Country Websites for Visitor Services and Economic Development content. Gizler explained that Go Travel sites will split the current website into two, with one website dedicated to economic development and the other dedicated to tourism. 

San Juan Record

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