City Council Minutes

Thursday, January 11,2001



ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SPECIAL MEETING JANUARY 11, 2001, 4:00 P.M. CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS PRESENT: Mayor Daniel McArthur Councilmember Sharon Isom Councilmember Rod Orton Councilmember Larry Gardner Councilmember Bob Whatcott Councilmember Suzanne Allen City Manager Gary Esplin City Attorney Jonathan Wright City Recorder Gay Cragun OPENING: Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. The flag salute was led by Councilmember Isom. The invocation was offered by Jonathan Wright. Mayor McArthur advised the audience that anyone interested in leading the flag salute or offering the invocation was welcome to do so. HERITAGE WEEK: Cleo Atkin, Chairperson of Heritage Week, invited the Mayor and Council to attend the 139th anniversary celebration for the City. She reviewed the schedule of activities and advised all are free. FEE WAIVER FOR USE OF PARK: City Manager Gary Esplin explained the City received a request from AYSO for a waiver of fees for use of Bloomington Park January 13 through February 24 for soccer games. Staff recommends approval as the City consistently supports non-profit youth sports activities. The applicant should, however, be required to conform to all rules and regulations for use of City facilities and City scheduling of the park takes first priority. A motion to approve the fee waiver as requested was made by Councilmember Gardner. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Isom. Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows: Councilmember Gardner - aye Councilmember Isom - aye Councilmember Orton - aye The vote was unanimous and the motion passed. CHANGE ORDER FOR ENGINEERING SERVICES/RIVER ROAD WIDENING: City Manager Gary Esplin advised that staff recommends approval of a change order for engineering services for the River Road widening project, Phase I. Councilmember Whatcott arrived. The project will include widening from the Virgin River bridge to 2450 South. He explained this project was bid using State funds, then it was decided to increase the scope of work and rebid to take advantage of savings. The total cost of the change order is $11,968. A motion was made by Councilmember Isom to approve the change order as requested. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Whatcott. Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows: Councilmember Isom - aye Councilmember Whatcott - aye Councilmember Gardner - aye Councilmember Orton - aye The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried. St. George City Council Minutes January 11, 2001 Page Two City Manager Gary Esplin advised the engineering contract is with Sear Brown. ENGINEERING SERVICES AGREEMENT FOR GAP WASH BRIDGE: City Manager Gary Esplin advised that staff recommends approval of an engineering services agreement for a gap wash bridge on Dixie Drive. In order to accommodate drainage in the area and protect the Tonaquint Cemetery, funds were budgeted for installation of a culvert in this area. As part of the SID in this area, Rosenberg has been engineering a sewer line, and the City can realize a savings by adding engineering for the gap wash bridge to their contract. The amount of the contract to facilitate design and construction engineering is $27,910. A motion was made by Councilmember Gardner to approve the engineering services agreement as requested. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Isom. Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows: Councilmember Gardner - aye Councilmember Isom - aye Councilmember Whatcott - aye Councilmember Orton - aye The vote was unanimous and the motion carried. CONTRACT WITH SUNROC FOR RED HILLS DRAINAGE PROJECT: City Manager Gary Esplin advised that staff recommends approval of a contract with Sunroc for Phase 2 of the Red Hills drainage project. Historically, drainage from the red hill went to 400 East, but because of construction, flooding has taken place in the Sunroc area between 200 and 400 East. Staff is proposing to apply funds to this project which were budgeted last year for an easement and portion of storm drainage, and Sunroc will install the rest from 300 East to 400 East. Sunroc has secured easements from all affected property owners. A motion was made by Councilmember Gardner to approve the contract as requested. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Orton. Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows: Councilmember Gardner - aye Councilmember Orton - aye Councilmember Whatcott - aye Councilmember Isom - aye The vote was unanimous and the motion carried. DISCUSSION ER BLOOMINGTON GENERATING STATION: Mayor McArthur advised that staff is ready to present options to remedy concerns of Bloomington area residents affected by the noise from the diesel generators at the wastewater treatment plant. Water and Power Director Wayne McArthur advised if the City had been successful in its bid to purchase a coal fire power plant, this would have been a solution to the problem. However, the City was not successful in its bid, and therefore other alternatives have been identified. One alternative would be to build a dirt berm and plant trees on top to screen the plant at a cost of $6,000. Putting a muffler on the plant is not feasible as it would put too much back-pressure on the engines. The cost to move the plant is too difficult to determine at this time, but an estimate would be $1,000,000 to $3,000,000. Another option is to enclose the generators in a metal building and insulate and air condition it at a cost of $143,000. To switch to natural gas would cost $2,400,000. The final option of installing a scrubber on the exhaust is not feasible because at this time there is not available technology for this type of engine. Additionally, staff looked into the possibility of additives which might cut down on the emissions. He advised that at the current time the plant is operating under a state permit, and the amount of emissions per hour is within St. George City Council Minutes January 11, 2001 Page Three the parameters of the permit from the State Department of Air Quality. The City is, however, running the generators more than originally permitted for. UAMPS has applied for a variance, and it looks like the City will get the permit for the number of hours needed to operate the plant. Mr. McArthur advised that shutting down the generators would cost the City about $400,000 per month, depending on the market. City Manager Gary Esplin advised that in the entire history of the City, it has never seen such high power prices, and the City could not continue to pay those exorbitant prices, nor could it afford to pay millions of dollars to move the facility. He advised it was his opinion the high price of electricity was short term, and staff’s recommendation is to construct a building around the generators, build a berm around it to screen the plant from the neighbors to make it as compatible as possible, and try the additives which supposedly minimize pollutants while increasing the efficiency of the fuel by 40%. Marketing representatives for the additive are coming to St. George next week to let the City test the product. He advised that the City was not asking for waiver of any air quality requirements, but neither did it want to have to adhere to stricter air quality regulations than required by law. Mayor McArthur commented the City is trying the additive at no risk - if the additive does not work, the City does not have to pay for it. Mrs. Simkins asked how the City could prevent the smoke from going into her backyard. Water and Power Director Wayne McArthur replied that operating within the parameters of the State permit was the best the City could do, and the State has indicated the amount of emissions per hour is acceptable. Teresa Olsen advised she spoke with Harold Berge with the State Division of Air Quality who advised her the City was not in compliance as its permit is for 1,350 hours, and it has run over 5,000 hours by November creating four to five times more pollution than allowed. He advised her that that UAMPS had not applied for a variance or responded to the air quality notice of violation. Additionally, it may be past the time when UAMPS can even apply for a variance. If UAMPS wants to continue to run the plant, low nitrogen oxide retrofits for the engines will be required at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars per engine, and there are seven engines. City Manager Gary Esplin advised the City is aware of the pollution, but once the permit is given, UAMPS and the City will be mandated to meet the pollutant limits in the permit. The issue being addressed currently is the noise issue, as well as the City’s commitment to meet whatever requirements the State imposes, but currently the City does not know what those requirements are as it has been acting through UAMPS. Staff was simply directed by the City Council to prepare alternatives to deal with the noise issue. The reason the plant has been running in excess of its permits is because of the power crisis. Councilmember Orton advised he met with the Director of the Office of Energy who advised that every diesel generator in the State is currently running, and air quality is being monitored. Teresa Olsen advised that the issue is larger than additives, and the State does not have one test to verify what is coming out of the generators now. The City was required by the State to run an air quality test at the end of 2000, but it did not. The only test run was in April of 2000, and the City did not use any calibration equipment so the test is worthless. Mayor McArthur assured Ms. Olsen that the City will abide by whatever directive it receives from the State. St. George City Council Minutes January 11, 2001 Page Four Water and Power Director Wayne McArthur advised the smokestacks are tested once a year. A portable monitor is inserted into the stack and calibrated, and the results are sent to the State. All procedures and results are documented, and the City has not been notified of any problems. Mr. McArthur explained the City belongs to UAMPS, as does the diesel generating station, and it must work with other communities. The UAMPS attorney is setting up a meeting to discuss operation of the diesel generators, but in the meantime, UAMPS has received permission to operate the diesel engines. Mr. Esplin advised he would contact Mr. Berge with the State Division of Air Quality in the morning. Ms.Olsen inquired why the cost of moving the facility was difficult to ascertain. City Manager Gary Esplin replied that a decision first had to be made whether or not to leave the existing engines there for use as back-up, or build a new facility and buy new engines. Right now everyone in the country is trying to find diesel engines to buy, and their cost is unknown. Mr. McArthur advised the $1,000,000-$3,000,000 estimate to move the facility is only the cost of the infrastruture around the plant and does not include the engines themselves. A gentleman in the audience inquired if the City had considered selling the generators and rebuilding in a more desirable location. Councilmember Whatcott replied that if the City sold the engines, it might not be able to find any to replace them. Mr. Slemboski commented that if the generators were being used as a commercial enterprise, a problem with zoning existed, and zoning laws should also apply to the City. City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the purpose of the facility was not only to provide backup, but to regulate voltage. The engines’ use is not commercial, as the power is used by the owners. Some power may be sold, but in exchange the City receives power at other times, as the power is traded within the system. Hours of operation, however, does need to be resolved. Councilmember Isom commented that while constructing a building and building a berm is a good idea, a decision should be postponed until information has been received from the State. Councilmember Allen arrived. City Manager Gary Esplin agreed with Councilmember Isom, and commented it would be foolish to construct a building if the City could not afford to run the facility or a permit could not be obtained from the State. Staff’s intent today was simply to present alternatives for consideration, and the best cost-effective alternative is to build a building. He commented that wherever the facility is placed, it will impact someone, and that is why the State has regulations. Councilmember Gardner inquired if a conditional decision could be made depending on the outcome of the City’s discussions with the State. Mayor McArthur replied he would entertain that motion. A woman in the audience expressed concern about double tankers driving on narrow residential streets to reach the wastewater treatment plant, and their impact on the safety of children and the elderly in the area. St. George City Council Minutes January 11, 2001 Page Five A gentlemen in the audience commented it appeared the City Council was ignoring the pollution aspect of the generators. He advised he did not want St. George to become as polluted as Salt Lake City or Los Angeles. Teresa Olsen requested specifications for the building proposed to house the generators. She advised she was informed by two engineers that it would cost $500,000 to $1,000,000 to construct a building sufficient to hide the noise. Water and Power Director Wayne McArthur advised Ms. Olsen that he would provide her with the specifications. Ms. Olsen commented that use of the generators by the City was for economic reasons, not an emergency. Councilmember Gardner replied that at some point economics can become a crisis, and everyone wants utilities as cheaply as possible. In the past four months the City of St. George has expended an extra $3,000,000-$4,000,000 to purchase electricity, and that is a crisis. He stated that in his opinion, a crisis exists by looking at what the citizens of St. George would be losing and would be forced to pay without use of the generators. A gentleman in the audience advised that several residents in the area have been unable to sell their homes without dropping the price significantly. Councilmember Isom advised this is true everywhere in the county. A woman in the audience commented that the City located the wastewater facility where it did because it is out of sight, and therefore out of mind. Mayor McArthur replied the facility was located where it was because of gravity flow, and the City is trying to find the best solution it can to the problem. Councilmember Gardner assured those present the City Council has not forgotten about the issue as Councilmembers are constantly being contacted about it. A gentleman in the audience advised Bloomington residents receive their power from Dixie REA, yet the City’s facility was built in their neighborhood. He expressed concern about the weight of the tankers which cross the Man O War bridge, and advised that most residents of the area are aware of the traffic and diesel fumes created by the tanker trucks. A gentleman in the audience commented that because operation of the plant saves so much money, the cost of relocating it would be paid for in a short time. City Manager Gary Esplin replied that would be true if the plant were operated 365 days a year, but currently the City is only running the plant when the cost of electricity it produces is less than that on the market. Currently the market rate is $.07-$.08 per kilowatt hour, while the City has traditionally been paying $.02 per kilowatt hour. The City did not think it would ever have to run the diesel plants to save money, but he anticipated the cost of power would eventually come down. He advised running the diesel plants was not a long term solution, and the City needed to purchase a big block of power, which it is trying to do through UAMPS. Mayor McArthur advised the City’s goal is not to run the plant, and the only reason it is running now is because of the current power situation. Councilmember Whatcott commented that while he understood the concerns of the Bloomington residents, every neighborhood in the City has some sort of situation they are unhappy with. He expressed assurance that the City Council was trying to remedy the situation, but in the meantime it was running the generators because of the crisis situation. St. George City Council Minutes January 11, 2001 Page Six A woman in the audience inquired if the City would accept liability for any accident caused by a tanker truck. Mayor McArthur replied that the City could increase its traffic enforcement, but could not accept any liability. A woman in the audience inquired if the City anticipated a reduction in the need for power considering all the growth in the City. Mayor McArthur replied that growth is inevitable, and one of the City’s roles is to provide infrastructure to meet that growth. A woman in the audience inquired if the City would be willing to buy one of the homes devalued due to the generators or the recent placement of a manufactured home in the Bloomington community. City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the City has been blamed for allowing placement of the manufactured home, but in reality federal law allows their placement in every residential zone of every city in the United States, and there is nothing the City can do to change that. A woman in the audience asked for assurance that the City would not expand its operation at the site since the generators were lucrative for the City. Mayor McArthur advised this was a possibility, but the City was currently looking at building another generation facility elsewhere. He advised that the generators were not lucrative as they were used to save money, not make money. Councilmember Orton commented that City Council members take their jobs very seriously and try to represent every citizen in St. George. The City Council is not trying to hurt property values to benefit the City in any way, and is looking at every possible option. He explained that while he is a Bloomington resident, he could not be more concerned about Bloomington’s issues than about issues in other neighborhoods of the City. He stated that every neighborhood had problems, and the City Council was trying to do the best it could. Councilmember Gardner stated that in spite of problems, St. George is a good place to be, and the City Council is dedicated to keep it that way. He commented that life is not bad just because there are a few problems to deal with, and the City Council has promised it would try to find a solution. He explained it was easy for Bloomington residents to request that the plant be moved, but that is beyond what the City is able to do at this point. The City Council first needs information from the State before it can take action, and if generation from the facility is within the bounds of the permit and it is anticipated that the City can continue to operate the plant, then the City must mitigate as best it can the effects on the neighborhood. This appears to be with a building and berm and trees. If the State says "no," then the City will flip the switch. Councilmember Gardner advised that the cost to construct an 85’ x 100’ building would be in the area of $25 - $40 per sq. ft., depending on what type of machinery is needed. He made a motion to construct a building and a berm with trees if approval to continue operating the plant is received from the State. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Isom, who commented that if the building, berm and trees did not solve the problem, the City would continue to address the situation as best it could. Councilmember Allen commented that the Bloomington area is not the only neighborhood with problems, and the City Council is working for the entire community. She commented she felt the issue could be resolved, but it would take more study and information. She asked the Bloomington residents to be patient and let the City Council do its job. St. George City Council Minutes January 11, 2001 Page Seven Bryce Christensen commented that if the old engines were replaced with new ones, there would be less emissions. Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows: Councilmember Gardner - aye Councilmember Isom - aye Councilmember Allen - aye Councilmember Orton - aye Councilmember Whatcott - aye The vote was unanimous, and the motion carried. Councilmember Isom temporarily left the stand. SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WITH SHIVWITS: Mayor Daniel McArthur explained this settlement agreement is an historic document which has taken years to negotiate and involves users of the Santa Clara River including Santa Clara City, the City of St. George, the Shivwits Band, and Washington County Water Conservation District. An official signing will take place on Monday, January 15 at the Shivwits reservation. A motion to approve the agreement and authorize the Mayor to sign it was made by Councilmember Whatcott. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Orton. Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows: Councilmember Whatcott - aye Councilmember Orton - aye Councilmember Allen - aye Councilmember Gardner - aye The vote was unanimous, except for Councilmember Isom who left the stand. The motion carried. Councilmember Isom returned to the stand. DISCUSSION RE DOCTORS’ FREE CLINIC: City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the City could work consistently with the recent Supreme Court decision concerning donations by municipalities in order to donate property for the Doctors’ Free Clinic. There are three sites owned by the City that appear to be suitable: (1) on Dixie Drive south of the southernmost veterinarian clinic, (2) along Riverside Drive on property adjacent to property owned by Ence Realty, or (3) the Elks Field site. The location on Dixie Drive will require fill and there may be wetland issues. The property along Riverside Drive was donated to the City, and a joint parking lot would be needed with the adjacent property. Additionally, there may be political concerns. There are zoning concerns with the Elks Field site in that a commercial enterprise there may be an intrusion into the residential zone, and the City at this time does not know its plans for the Sunbowl. The site may be needed as part of a future overall park complex. Mayor McArthur commented he preferred the Dixie Drive site. Dr. Doxey advised he had not seen either the Dixie Drive or Riverside Drive sites, but preferred a central location in town. Their first choice is the Elks Field site. Mayor McArthur asked Dr. Doxey to consider the Dixie Drive or Riverside Drive sites and not the Elks Field site. Dr. Doxey advised the board of trustees would like to receive a proposal from the City. St. George City Council Minutes January 11, 2001 Page Eight Councilmember Isom commented if the clinic is planning for expansion, the Dixie Drive site would be best as there is already bus service in the area. Carol Sapp, representing the Southern Utah Homebuilders Association, inquired about a realistic date for beginning construction if the board of trustees approves the Dixie Downs site. City Manager Gary Esplin replied that there would not be any hold-up from the City, but there may be a zoning issue and a 404 permit may be needed. If the Corp says that the area is within the 100 year floodplain, the time to begin construction will obviously be lengthened. The Clinic could probably begin construction quicker at the Riverside Drive site. Community Development Director Bob Nicholson advised that both the Dixie Drive and Riverside Drive sites were zoned commercial. Kent Garrett advised there may be political implications with the Riverside Drive site, as promises were made by Ence that building would not take place east of his property line. Blaine Weber commented he did not think the 100 year floodplain or obtaining fill would be a problem at the Dixie Drive site. City Manager Gary Esplin advised he would have the Engineering Department shoot grades on the site and stake the property lines. Blaine Weber inquired if the City would participate in construction of the parking lot, as it could be used in conjunction with the nearby walking trail. City Manager Gary Esplin replied that funds were available for participation in construction of the parking lot. He advised that once determination is made about the 100 year floodplain, construction could begin. Carol Sapp advised that before the Engineering Department begins its work, Dr. Doxey should get approval from the Board on the site. Dr. Doxey advised the Board is also working with the hospital on a possible site on the vacant lot behind the temple apartments. A motion was made by Councilmember Allen, and seconded by Councilmember Whatcott, to authorize drafting the agreement. Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows: Councilmember Allen - aye Councilmember Whatcott - aye Councilmember Isom - aye Councilmember Orton - aye Councilmemer Gardner - aye The vote was unanimous and the motion carried. ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION: A motion to adjourn to an executive session to discuss litigation was made by Councilmember Whatcott. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Gardner. Mayor McArthur called for a roll call vote, as follows: Councilmember Whatcott - aye Councilmember Gardner - aye Councilmember Allen - aye Councilmember Isom - aye Councilmember Orton - aye The vote was unanimous and the motion carried. St. George City Council Minutes January 11, 2001 Page Nine _______________________________ Gay Cragun, City Recorder