City Council Minutes

Thursday, January 13,2005

JANUARY 13, 2005, 4:00 P.M.

Mayor Daniel McArthur
Council Member Suzanne Allen
Council Member Rod Orton
Council Member Gail Bunker
Council Member Bob Whatcott
Council Member Larry Gardner
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
City Recorder Gay Cragun

City Manager Gary Esplin

Council Member Orton called the meeting to order and welcomed all present. The invocation was offered by Greg Lobel of the Eric Kimball Foundation. The pledge of allegiance was led by Council Member Allen.

Council Members Gardner, Bunker and Whatcott arrived.

Public Works Director Larry Bulloch reported that all roads were open except those with permanent damage - the old Tonaquint bridge and Valley View bridge. Staff is pursuing the possibility of temporary bridges at those locations and will follow up with the hope to have them open within a month or so. Complete reconstruction will take years and $5-10 million in work. Staff is trying to assess the damage and what can be done to avoid further damage, particularly along the Santa Clara River. Numerous homes are still standing but remain threatened. Staff has mobilized contractors to try and shore up the river banks in these areas to avoid future damage, particularly if there is another storm within the next week or two. UDOT inspections are complete; repairs were incidental and have been completed and everything opened. The I-15 bridge was not repaired and is structurally safe, but some additional work will be needed. Management of the Santa Clara River needs to be given a great deal of attention. The corridor was viewed as being 100 feet wide, but it is 600 feet wide now, and this corridor needs to be preserved and everything kept out of it in the future to avoid future damage.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins reported that staff?s major priority has been with regard to safety and access. All affected parks have been closed and staff is in the process of fencing them off. Mathis and Blake Parks have been completely closed. Clark Corner Park no longer exists. A portion of Tonaquint Park will be opened on Monday for limited access to the nature center, tennis courts, and cemetery, but will be posted indicating that anyone crossing the boundary will do so at their own risk according to the state of emergency declared by the Mayor. Staff has been working with the police and city attorney to post the property correctly. Staff is trying to open portions of the virgin River Trail, but sections have been closed with fences and barricades. Staff is also trying to determine what can be reclaimed and shored up at Blake Park as there was infrastructure damage to this area, including the pond which served many City facilities. Staff is concerned about the ability to served undamaged areas such as the cemetery, and is doing an analysis of all sites and trying to get them all back on line. Four miles of trail were lost. The Bloomington Park will be the largest reconstruction project as all water and power lines have to be replaced. Total acreage lost is 27 acres - this land no longer exists.

Brad Last commented that federal help for individuals will be limited to a maximum of $26,500 per household. FEMA will be here next week to meet with individuals.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson reported that his department?s main role has been to work with the Fire Department to determine which homes can be reoccupied safely. Two or three cities have volunteered to send inspectors to St. George to help with the workload.

Water Services Director Barry Barnum reported that the drinking water is safe. It is being tested every day. Every area where there has been a break has been isolated and there has not been any contamination. Gunlock wells are out of commission, and staff will try to get two wells back on this weekend and are working on this right now. The rest will have to be inspected to see how quickly they can be brought back up. It is hoped they will be back up and running within the next two weeks. The City is currently using Snow Canyon water, spring water, and Millcreek well water, and is holding its own. The tanks in Snow Canyon are starting to gain, but everyone is being asked to conserve. Some of the homes in the Green Valley area are being served by fire hoses hooked to the hydrants, but all have water. The sewer system plant has taken on thousands of tons of mud. Staff has been successful in clearing a couple of headworks chambers and the sewer plant is running and doing okay. There will be much recovery to do, but the plant is operational. The rest of the system did not fare so well such as the distribution system under the I-15 bridge. Quality Excavation is working on it right now. Also, at Mathis Park a significant portion of the 36" outfall line disappeared. Work will begin on this in the morning. Staff is working with the property owner to restore a sewer line in the area by Blue Duck Lane. Many property owners in this area lost a significant portion of their properties and the City will have to run sewer lines in places where they were not before along the fronts of the lots. They would like to get some rocks, trucks and contractors and build a berm to backfill their property, restore it, and put the sewer line in the original location. Staff will have to see how the State feels about this, and they will be down to take a tour. There was another break at the Tonaquint bridge. A meeting will be held on this tomorrow. There are three places where raw sewage is going into the river.

Scott Taylor reported that staff has gone to Gunlock to try and remove debris from the spillway. A section of the Quail Creek line has been exposed and will have to be filled in.

Matt Loo reported that eight holes were lost in the front nine of Southgate, along with the water pump. The repair process will take eight months to one year once it can be figured out what to do with the channel. In Sunbrook one and maybe two greens were damaged and are being redesigned, along with the Woodbridge nine. It is hoped that approval can be obtained to do a temporary nine and 27 holes at Sunbrook by Tuesday. Several bridges were lost. Contractors are ready to help out.

Energy Services Director Phil Solomon reported that power has been restored to everyone. Staff is in the process of energizing the Gunlock line to five wells. There is damage at the Southgate substation. One of the main circuits will have to be repaired and rebuilt. This morning one of the substations hit its loading limits and crews were out to shift the load to other substations. The Valley View crossing will have be repaired. At Gunlock only one pole was lost, along with 5000 feet of underground conductor to the hydro and well 11. The hydro is now off line and well 11 will be back in business soon. A 69 KV pole at the Dixie Center has eroded, but he advised that he designed the caisson and it is 35' into the ground to bedrock and is fine. Staff will come back after the river has receded and pack road base around it.

Mayor McAthur arrived.

Marc Mortensen advised that eight cities have called to offer their support and assistance, if needed.

Fire Chief Robert Stoker reported that his department?s main concern has been inspecting homes, moving people back into their homes, or getting their belongings out. Homes which have been damaged along the Santa Clara River have been tagged with green, yellow or red tags. The Police Department has been great about keeping people out of the neighborhoods which have been damaged as the displaced residents are concerned about the security of their homes. Staff has helped move people move from the homes which are unsafe and were red-tagged. It has been hard to keep residents out of their own homes, but it is for their own safety.

Larry Bulloch advised that City staff will go house by house as a team and look at the status of each home, advising residents whether they can enter the home or not.

Carol Sapp advised that her son lost his home, and she thanked the Fire Department and City staff for their assistance.

Mayor McArthur advised it was important to keep track of volunteer time. Volunteer names and the amount of time they spent helping was needed.

Council Member Orton advised that LDS stakes have become involved and will provide a list of volunteer names and the number of hours worked. He asked the media to help in this endeavor by advising the public that they should call in with their names and the time volunteered.

Council Member Allen commented that neighbors on Indian Hills expressed appreciation for the kindness extended to them by the Police Department.

Phil Peterson explained that the FEMA process has begun and he has been working to develop more details on damage estimates. Arrangements have been made with Public Works, Water, Wastewater, Parks and Trails to have an individual travel around with FEMA representatives and answer any questions they may have. Customer service representatives have been helping to find places for the displaced residents to live, and the rules normally followed with regard to deposits, etc. have been relaxed for those displaced from their homes.

Police Chief Marlon Stratton reported that he has been running double shifts, focusing on residential and danger areas. It has been comforting for the neighborhoods to know that there are officers stationed on the street to protect their property and answer questions. The department will continue to operate at that level until residents can get back into their homes. The emergency operation center will continue to be operated through tomorrow, but the department provide numbers to City department staff to help citizens with answers to their questions and make sure they get the help their need. Emergency Operations Planner, Hal Carlson, will be working with Marc Mortensen and Shawn Guzman and the Finance Department to deal with whatever needs the citizens may have.

Marc Mortensen inquired who was going to oversee and facilitate a clean-up effort. He stated that a structure was needed for the recovery process, and asked if that had been addressed or would be addressed in the near future.

Police Chief Stratton replied that the EOC would oversee clean-up efforts.

Mayor McArthur advised that the EOC needed to be kept operational as long as there were calls.

Marc Mortensen complimented all City departments, specifically the Police Department and Craig Harding, on the professional manner in which the emergency was handled. He explained that Cory Frost is working with Craig Harding and Hal Carlson to develop a web page with recovery effort information.

Council Member Allen inquired where citizens could turn in found items.

Police Chief Stratton replied that they should be turned into the Police Department, who would then make sure the items were returned to their owners.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that he tentatively scheduled a meeting with certain members of the AOPC who have been affected by the disaster.

Energy Services Director Phil Solomon suggested that a committee be formed to deal with specific flood issues.

Mayor McArthur reported that UDOT will be sending people down to help with the emergency fund process, and said that they would streamline the process for the City. Red Rock Waste has donated dumpsters which they will haul to the landfill at no charge.

Marc Mortensen advised that dumpsters would be in place tomorrow, and he would work with the Fire Department on their placement.

Carol Sapp advised that the Parade of Homes would continue as planned, and all of the homes are okay.

Council Member Orton reported that Bryce Christensen saved Bloomington and Jason Rogers saved the Dixie Drive bridge. He also thanked Quality Excavation for their assistance.

Mayor McArthur commented that the City has discussed helping families of soldiers serving in Iraq by giving them a $75 discount on their utility bills, and perhaps this could be done for those families who have lost their homes.

Phil Peterson advised that he would create an application for this purpose.

MOTION: A motion to adjourn to an executive session to discuss pending litigation was made by Council Member Gardner

SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Whatcott.

VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a roll call vote, as follows:

Council Member Gardner - aye
Council Member Whatcott - aye
Council Member Allen - aye
Council Member Bunker - aye
Council Member Orton - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

MOTION: A motion to reconvene was made by Council Member Whatcott.

SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Gardner.

VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, and all voted aye. The motion carried.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented that staff did the best they could under the circumstances and they regret not being able to save everyone?s homes.

Mayor McArthur advised that Ron Thompson indicates that February and March are the wettest months of the year, and there is a possibility of more rain. He advised that a press conference with FEMA and the State was held last night. At the meeting FEMA explained that for public restoration it can offer 75% reimbursement of funds expended, plus volunteer expense within the first 48 hours after the event can count toward the remaining 25%. With regard to personal loss, the maximum amount FEMA can provide to qualified recipients is $27,000 per household, based on ability to pay.

The meeting then adjourned.

Gay Cragun, City Recorde