Thursday, January 12,2006
ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING
JANUARY 12, 2006, 4:00 P.M.
ADMINISTRATION CONFERENCE ROOM
Mayor Daniel McArthur
Council Member Rod Orton
Council Member Suzanne Allen
Council Member Bob Whatcott
Council Member Gail Bunker
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
City Recorder Gay Cragun
Council Member Larry Gardner
Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order, welcomed all present, and led the pledge of allegiance. The invocation was offered by Rev. Paul Del Toro of the Church of Christ.
DISCUSSION WITH WCWCD:
Barbara Hjelle, representing the Washington County Water Conservancy District, explained that the new pooling agreement provides for new development to be paid for by impact fees on an escalating scale, with each city paying only for the water it actually uses at the actual cost of the water. There is a 5% surcharge charged against all retail sales of water which is intended as a bonding/capacity/rate stabilization tool. The surcharge can be raised if there is not enough in the reserve fund. The agreement is a major guiding document in central planning how water resources will be provided. The capital facilities plan must be approved by each city council, which is the governing factor of the cost to each municipality and what impact fees will be. In 2006 impact fees for water are somewhere around $4,500, rising by a 5% increment each year thereafter. This should be enough to cover through 2038 and the Lake Powell pipeline. Upon questioning, she replied that she did not know if there was a provision in the agreement to address the issue if one city could hold up the agreement if it did not want to approve the increase.
City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented it was his opinion that one city could not hold up the agreement.
Ms. Hjelle disagreed with Mr. Guzman and commented that she would review the issue. She explained that a capital facilities plan is the mechanism by which cities have control of major costs to citizens. Two committees are planned - one consisting of mayors to make policy level decisions, and a technical committee made up of water managers from each city to make operating and maintenance plan decisions which would have to be developed and approved by each city. The impact fees will begin when the water treatment plant is operational and the agreement is fully
executed and a trigger date is agreed upon. As soon as the City of St. George signs the agreement, it will be presented to the other cities for execution.
Council Member Orton expressed concern that someone not represented in the pooling agreement could be a member of the board and vote.
Ms. Hjelle explained that once St. George has signed the agreement, the other cities will not be able to make changes to it as negotiations have drawn to a close.
City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented that the make-up of the board was a concern, but was done according to state law.
Council Member Orton suggested a meeting be scheduled with the Washington County Commission to ascertain their understanding of the pooling agreement and water needs for the County.
Ms. Hjelle replied that the City?s understanding of the pooling agreement was more sophisticated than that of the Commissioners, especially details of the capital facilities plan and charges.
Mayor McArthur commented that a meeting with the Commissioners would be scheduled.
Council Member Whatcott commented that current residents would not see an increase as a result of the pooling agreement, and that new development would have to pay the larger impact fee.
City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented that residents would see a 5% increase on their water bill.
Council Member Whatcott commented that the opportunity to pool could lower that increase.
Ms. Hjelle commented that the more cities that participate in the pooling agreement the better. There is also an emphasis on water conservation, cooperating with reuse, and maximizing secondary water use.
Water Services Director Barry Barnum commented that he was comfortable with the pooling agreement. If the City alone maintains possession of the water treatment plant, and growth is 6%, the current block of water available to the City would be exhausted in 2012. He commented he did not see a downside to the agreement.
He suggested that if pooling is approved, some functions such as sampling should be pool-wide with one entity doing all the sampling. He suggested that an MOU be entered into requiring reimbursement from the County for this service.
Council Member Orton inquired if the water portion of the Water and Power Board would be needed if the pooling agreement is approved, or if the board should be county-wide.
DISCUSSION RE GOLF FEES:
City Manager Gary Esplin explained that a discussion on course needs for the next few years and how to pay for them was needed. The current fund is up $300,000, but that will not buy what is needed. The current budget has no capital in it except for cart purchases and leases, and improvements, possible restaffing, and maintenance needs have to be paid for. The golf pros were asked to project some scenarios. St. George Golf Club and Southgate need certain improvements to keep up with the current level such as upgrades to the pro shops and parking lots, equipment replacement, and capital improvements on the courses such as sand traps and playability issues. If the City wants to change the way the pro shops are staffed, and add maintenance positions, this will be $350,000 annually. He suggested that the pros be made City employees, with two in the shop and four to six part-time staff members at each course, including cart people and marshalls. On a five year plan, $990,000 is needed the first year, $1,000,000 the second, etc. Sunbrook has an annual debt service of $750,000 and Southgate has $147,000. The problem is how to make up the difference between the amount the City has and the amount needed to stay competitive. If improvements aren?t made, there will be a significant problem. Golf fees have not been raised for three years. He then introduced Linda Butterfus, the City?s new Golf Service Coordinator. He then reviewed rate structures. 28% of play at Southgate is pass play. He suggested a 5% increase in the rack rate and a 25% discount to those who want to buy a discount card for at least $250. There would no longer be a resident vs. non-resident rate. An alternative is to keep the resident vs. non-resident rates and bump up the non-resident rate, although people will find a way to qualify as a resident. Mr. Esplin commented that $22 was a fair rate for resident golf. Green Springs is $33, Sky Mountain is $17. If rates are not increased, costs will have to be cut.
Council Member Whatcott suggested that Sunbrook be increased to $60-$80 for a non-resident, with locals playing at the current rate with no increase.
Council Member Orton commented that golf is the City?s number one economic impact, and whatever it does, the City must take care of its citizens and raise income at the same time.
Council Member Whatcott commented that the proposed increase for non-residents was not enough.
Jerome Jones, Golf Course Maintenance Manager, advised that in 2001 it cost $4,000 to fertilize one time - it now costs $10,000, and someone has to pay for that.
City Manager Gary Esplin suggested that a loan from the Economic Development Fund be made to the Golf Course Fund for five years.
Council Member Orton suggested that Sunbrook fees be raised to $80.00 with a cart for a non-resident, and $45 with a cart for a resident. The other three courses? fees should be set at the City?s cost, plus a little extra for operation and maintenance.
It was the consensus of the Mayor and City Council to suspend sales of punch cards, hire additional staff to meet maintenance needs, have the pros become City employees with the concessions handled differently. If the pros want the concessions, they will have the first opportunity, but they will need to show that the employees staffing the concessions are not being paid by the City. An agreement is needed to account for costs and hours.
It was the consensus of the City Council to charge $100.00 for a four month pass good for use June through September. There will no longer be any punch cards, but the Cache Card would be offered instead with a discount off the regular rate.
It was the consensus of the City Council to charge $80.00 with cart at Sunbrook for a non-resident, and $55.00 with cart for a resident.
City Manager Gary Esplin advised that he would provide more figures for the City Council and Mr. Jones can proceed to purchase the equipment needed.
DISCUSSION RE SEWER AT THE RIDGE:
Water Services Director Barry Barnum explained that the Ridge proposes that the City take over its private sewer system under the criteria that it be brought up to City standards, that the City pay half and they pay half to bring it up to City standards at $60,000 each, and that the Ridge be allowed to pay their $60,000 over 12.5 years with no interest.
Council Member Whatcott inquired if the residents of the Ridge were asking the rest of the community to fund their payment for 12.5 years when they were not willing to pay their assessment of $300 each.
Mr. Barnum advised that if approved, the Legacy would be asking for the same arrangement, and the cost to upgrade its sewer is $200,000.
After discussion, it was the consensus of the City Council to deny the request. The Ridge will have to pay its $60,000 share up front, and adhere to the City?s policy with regard to taking over private sewers.
DISCUSSION WITH CARY BLAKE:
City Manager Gary Esplin advised that Mr. Blake would like the City Council to reconsider access issues and a private gate for his new development.
Bill Ronnow, an attorney representing Mr. Blake, distributed a map of the project, and advised that Mr. Blake would now like to have private roads and a gated community in his new development. The final plat for the project will be on the next City Council agenda for approval.
Mayor McArthur commented that the City previously made mistakes by allowing gated communities and private roads. Public roads are needed for connectivity in the community.
Council Member Bunker agreed with Mayor McArthur, commenting she felt gated communities were bad for the community.
Council Member Allen commented there were too many problems with private roads.
Mr. Ronnow commented that private roads had been done in the past, and inquired if the City was going to change its ordinance which currently allows them.
Mayor McArthur replied that the City was going to change its ordinance.
Mr. Ronnow inquired as to the basis for denial of Mr. Blake?s request.
Mayor McArthur replied that the City Council was not denying the request; Council Members were offering their opinions.
Council Member Allen commented that this was not the first time the City Council has expressed its opinion about gated communities and private streets. It did so previously with Frank Lindhardt on two of his projects.
Public Works Director Larry Bulloch read the provisions of the Subdivision Ordinance with regard to private streets.
Mr. Ronnow inquired what the issues were in relation to the criteria in the ordinance.
City Attorney Shawn Guzman replied that public access is desired.
Cary Blake, applicant, stated that he had the right location to compete with Stonecliff and the Ledges, and inquired why the City Council has allowed private streets and gated communities elsewhere.
Council Member Orton commented the area in which Mr. Blake?s project is located had not been master planned.
Public Works Director Larry Bulloch commented that the reason the City Engineer is not in favor of private streets in this location is because all of the streets between the river and Indian Hills Road are private. This would make all the streets east of Indian Hills private, with only one public street on that entire side of the valley. Additionally, Mr. Blake?s location is not an ideal location for private streets as more public circulation is needed in the area.
City Manager Gary Esplin advised that Mr. Blake?s parade home was approved without final plat approval, and was done so solely because Mr. Blake said it would be built within a subdivision of dedicated, public streets. If he had requested private streets, a permit would not have been issued.
City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that the plat came in with public streets, and Mr. Blake is now requesting a gate. He has never made a formal application for private streets.
ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION:
MOTION: A motion to adjourn to an executive session was made by Council Member Orton to discuss potential litigation.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Whatcott.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a roll call vote, as follows:
Council Member Orton - aye
Council Member Whatcott - aye
Council Member Bunker - aye
Council Member Allen - 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 Allen.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, and all voted aye. The motion carried.
A brief discussion took place on the pooling agreement with the Washington County Water Conservancy District.
A brief discussion took place with regard to zoning, density, and attainable housing in the Tonaquint area. The Planning Commission has invited the City Council to a field trip in this area at 4:00 on Wednesday.
A report was made on the recent trip taken by Mayor McArthur, City Manager Gary Esplin, and Council Members Rod Orton and Suzanne Allen to look at attainable housing projects in Atlanta and Colorado.
Council Member Bunker invited the Mayor and City Council to attend a dinosaur board long range planning meeting on February 3.
Council Member Bunker reported that the St. George Musical Theater has been charging for use of the City?s building as a dance studio, yet they are not paying any rent for the facility. After discussion, it was the consensus of the Mayor and City Council to advise the SGMT that they cannot charge for use of the facility.
City Manager Gary Esplin gave a brief update on the NRCS project in the Virgin River in the Bloomington area.
The meeting then adjourned.
Gay Cragun, City Recorder