City Council Minutes

Thursday, February 10,2005

FEBRUARY 10, 2005

Mayor, Daniel McArthur
Council Member, Suzanne Allen
Council Member, Gail Bunker
Council Member, Larry Gardner
Council Member, Rod Orton
Council Member, Robert Whatcott
City Manager, Gary Esplin
City Attorney, Shawn Guzman
Deputy City Recorder, Miriam Palma

City Staff:
Assistant to the City Manager, Marc Mortensen
Matt Loo, Economic Development
Joe Vincent, Administration Director
Larry Bulloch, Public Works Director

Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. and welcomed those present. He requested that Marc Mortensen lead the Council in the Pledge of Allegiance and that Reverend Wilkey provide the scripture and prayer.

Gary Esplin explained that the previous Flood Permit Ordinance approved by the Council was temporary and will expire this week. He indicated that the ordinance they will vote on tonight is permanent, but omits permanent structures, until the flood study is complete. Until that time, any appeals will be made directly to the Council.

At this time, General Stockton, Director of the Army Corp of Engineers, returned Mayor McArthur?s call. The call was put on speaker phone.

Gary Esplin complimented the Corp staff on their responsiveness. He said the City of St. George has nothing but good to say of the help they have provided. However, he explained, we have come to a sort of log jam between where the NRCS authority lies and FEMA requirements. Mr. Esplin explained that it is his understanding that the Corp can step in, if there is eminent danger to the community. He said there is the potential for flooding from runoff over the next 30-60 days.

General Stockton - Indicated that he had been in contact with his staff in Utah and he was sure they did not understand that the City is in eminent danger. He promised to make some telephone calls and get back to Mayor McArthur that evening.

The Mayor expressed his appreciation and ended the call. He asked that the Council refocus on the flood ordinance and called for a motion.

Council Member Orton made a motion to approve the Flood Ordinance as written. Council Member Whatcott seconded and the vote was unanimous as follows:

Council Member, Suzanne Allen Aye
Council Member, Gail Bunker Aye
Council Member, Larry Gardner Aye
Council Member, Rod Orton Aye
Council Member, Robert Whatcott Aye

Gary Esplin explained that while FEMA and other agencies have been extraordinary, they have very strict guidelines to follow. However, progress is being made. A needed waterline has been bid out and is ready to proceed. Staff is working on bids for golf courses, parks, bridges, roads, etc. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has already received a $6,000,000 allocation for infrastructure. Unfortunately, they must allocate Administrative charges off the top (which could be up to $1,000,000) the rest will be designated to infrastructure in Santa Clara, St. George and the County.

The NRCS priority list includes: 1) clean debris from the confluence to above Gunlock; 2) channel protection for the Swiss Village in Santa Clara, 3) Dixie Drive from the Mathis to the Dixie Drive bridges. Staff is getting easements to do this work now.

Councilman Orton asked if cleaning under the Man o? War bridge is included. Mr. Esplin told the group that while it must be done, there will some problems getting matching funds. He had been under the impression that volunteer labor would be counted toward our match on all projects, but now he finds that it can only be used for temporary repairs or emergency responses. Permanent repairs require cash and the City could be liable for up to $1,250,000.

At this point, General Stockton called Mayor McArthur. He said he had spoken with Acting Division Commander, Colonel Flora, and as he suspected, Colonel Flora was not aware of the eminent danger. General Stockton vowed to remove any impediments to the cash flow from the Corp.

Following General Stockton?s telephone call, Gary Esplin continued his flood update. He explained that the Federal Highways are willing to help with cleaning under the Mathis, Dixie Drive and Man o? War Bridges, the problem is what kind of environmental documents need to be done in order to use their money.

He said staff has contacted Senators Bennett and Hatch to get a supplemental appropriation to complete some of our priority work.

Mr. Esplin indicated that, financially, the biggest problem is the golf courses. The City is losing a great deal of money while they are out of commission.

Council Member Gardner noted that residents have noticed the sand bar below the Man o? War bridge and are concerned. He asked if it can be removed under emergency funding. Mr. Esplin said that staff has worked out a deal with a contractor who needs all of the silt and will haul it to his project, a short distance away, for free. Bidding requirements can be waived because he needs it now and it is a short haulage, which will save the roads in the area.

Council Member Orton wondered if the needs of the home owners are being met, which led to a discussion of the various fund raisers in the community and in particular a book being edited by Lyman Hafen and sold at the Parade of Homes to benefit flood victims. Council Member Bunker indicated they will go on sale February 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Mall and at Lin?s Market.

Council Member Gardner told the group that he had attended an Economic Development Meeting on behalf of Mayor McArthur. He indicated that a $2,000,000 recycling company is considering St. George, along with 4-5 other areas, to relocate their plant. The company processes 100 tons of recycled paper annually which in turn is sold to tissue paper manufacturers, etc. They would employee approximately 50 people.

Mayor McArthur asked if there was need to adjourn to Executive Session. Gary Esplin responded that he had some items to discuss.

Council Member Gardner made a motion to move into Executive Session. Council Woman Allen seconded and the vote was unanimous.

Council Member Gardner made a motion to adjourn and Council Member Whatcott seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Council Member Allen asked Mr. Esplin how the City was going to pay the State loan now due. He indicated he felt it would be forgiven.

Council Member Gardner announced that he had not told a potential restaurant owner who is looking at renting in his Main Street building that the City and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints would approve his liquor license in spite of the fact that they are within 500 ft. of a Church and a park.

The group discussed the fact that the Tabernacle may not be a working Church and the Zion?s Bank Park is more in the line of landscaping that a park. They directed The City Attorney?s Office to contact the Church and State to get direction.

Hearing no further comments, Mayor McArthur called for motion to adjourn. Council Member Gardner made the motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:30 p.m. It was seconded by Council Member Allen.

Miriam Palma, Deputy City Recorder