City Council Minutes

Thursday, September 25,2008

SEPTEMBER 25, 2008, 4:00 P.M.

Mayor Daniel McArthur
Council Member Suzanne Allen
Council Member Gil Almquist
Council Member Jon Pike
Council Member Gloria Shakespeare
Council Member Gail Bunker
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
City Recorder Gay Cragun

Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. He then led the pledge of allegiance. The invocation was offered by Rev. Alex Wilkie. Mayor McArthur announced that the new airport groundbreaking will be held October 17 at noon.

Airport terminal design team members Michael Spitzer and Martin Wander presented a power point presentation on design of the new airport terminal building consisting of the agenda, team, fact sheet, process, what sets the City of St. George apart, schematic refinements, floor plans, roof plan, elevation and section, curb front view, and the main lobby view. Connie Turner of Connie Turner Designs reviewed the interior finishes.

Airport Manager Rick Crosman advised that the proposed standards, rules and regulations will govern future commercial development at the new airport and do not affect current lease agreements. The proposed standards help ensure compliance with FAA regulations and incorporate best business practices. He then presented a power point presentation covering public and private meetings and participants, a general overview, opinions, and major identified issues.

Council Member Allen inquired if user concerns had been resolved or incorporated into the documents.

Mr. Crosman replied that many meetings have been held with the users and many of their concerns have been answered but it is just not possible to answer all concerns. All user comments have been provided in the documents, and all three documents are available on the website.

Chris Peterson, on behalf of the user?s association, stated that Mr. Crosman has listened to their concerns and responded and they appreciate him. He expressed support for the new airport and expressed a willingness to work with the City in continuing to improve the standards, rules and regulations.

St. George City Council Minutes
September 26, 2008
Page Two

Josh Bevans, Chamber of Commerce President, read a statement on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce thanking the City for its efforts to bring about the new $177 million dollar airport. He encouraged the City Council to consider plans that would make it friendly to businesses and residents.

Ed Baca inquired if the studies included anything with regard to helping existing businesses transition to the new airport.

Mr. Crosman replied that this is not a part of these studies, however, there are a lot of issues with regard to transition which need to be answered and they are being worked on.

Mr. Peterson inquired if the City would support them in seeking to secure funding to assist some of the businesses move to the new airport.

Mayor McArthur replied that there is still time to work through this process. When the old airport property is handed over to the purchaser in January, 2011 there cannot be anything on it.

Public Works Director Larry Bulloch advised that the City Manager has given a directive to issue a request for proposals for third party hangar development. There may also be consideration for City money to help move hangars.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson advised that in April the City adopted a six month ordinance relating to digital billboards. The ordinance expires mid-October. A permanent regulation is needed soon. There are 30 billboards along I-15 within the City and the potential for them to convert to digital must be considered. There were complaints about the brightness of the one at the Dixie Center and it was toned down twice. The issue is brightness and the image they create for the City as people drive through.

Ray Snyder distributed a handout entitled Digital Billboards and reviewed it.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that the ordinance could be extended for up to another six months if there is a compelling reason to do so, but the City would have to be very specific why it was doing so. The City could also adopt federal standards and then change the brightness levels at any time very easily.

Ray Draper, representing YESCO, advised that their billboards do not have video; the digital displays are stationary but change every eight seconds.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised there is a strong billboard lobby in Utah and Utah law is pro-billboard. The City can regulate the spacing of billboards, but it cannot prohibit them.

Mr. Draper advised there are no other legal spots in St. George on which to install a billboard.

St. George City Council Minutes
September 26, 2008
Page Three

Mayor McArthur advised that regular billboards could be removed and replaced with digital billboards.

Mr. Draper advised he did not agree that the current number of billboards allowed are all that should be allowed because as the City continues to grow, businesses will need to advertise. He stated that all electric billboards can be dimmed down dramatically and there is nothing wrong with them as long as they are regulated properly.

Ray Snyder reviewed the differences in suggestions proposed by Ray Draper and those proposed by staff.

Ray Draper commented he would like the opportunity to convert existing billboards to electric billboards.

A discussion took place about methods and instruments used to measure brightness.

Mr. Draper commented he has reports which indicate there are no more accidents than usual due to electric billboards.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented he preferred the electronic billboards to the old ones and he did not think the City should worry about trying to have fewer billboards. The issue is an acceptable brightness standard.

Ray Snyder inquired about the use of electronic billboards at the new interchange.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied they would be allowed if they meet the standards.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson inquired if YESCO could simulate a drive through of I-15 showing all the billboards converted to electronic billboards with a brightness of three candles above the ambient light level.

Mr. Draper replied this would not be realistic.

Josh Bevans recommended approval of the digital billboards for safety and economic reasons.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised the matter would be scheduled on a City Council agenda.

Council Member Almquist inquired about the spacing of the billboards if everyone converted to electronic billboards.

Mr. Draper replied that the electronic billboards are so expensive that not every billboard will be replaced with an electronic billboard, and he did not see the price coming down any time soon.

Council Member Almquist inquired about a policy for non-billboards.

St. George City Council Minutes
September 26, 2008
Page Four

Mr. Draper commented he liked the proposal submitted by Mr. Nicholson which allows 20 seconds of video display, with a 20 second pause following every video display.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins explained that the third floor of the Arts Center is now the second largest space available for rent outside of the Dixie Center and has a capacity of 500 persons. There have already been 15 requests to use the facility. The space is almost 5000 sq. ft. and has a kitchen. One issue is public vs. private and the setting of rates so that the private sector is not undercut. Another issue is profit vs. non-profit. The City does not rent to commercial businesses.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the City has hard costs and it must develop a policy as it will receive a lot of requests to waive the fee for use of the facility. He advised that requests to use the facility for proms, however, should be considered as the School District is a partner with the City in the Town Square, and the City uses its facilities.

Council Member Almquist commented that as a taxpayer, he wants the facility to be managed properly and cared for and there should be a charge to cover the City?s costs to provide these services.

Mayor McArthur commented that the facility will be available for City-sponsored events at no charge.

Mr. Perkins recommended that rental fees be set higher than the average but about as high as the highest. He suggested a $250 refundable deposit. He stated the City will receive many costs for waiver of the rental fee, and if the fee is waived, the City then has to pay these hard costs.

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested that as part of the budget each year an amount be budgeted to cover fee waivers for use of the facility.

Council Member Bunker advised that the Care and Share wants to use the facility for free with no cost to the City except wear and tear on the facility.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that a City employee would have to be present at the facility at all times during events, and that is a hard cost to the City.

Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins requested that any time an item is scheduled on the City Council agenda to request a waiver of the rental fee, that the cost to the City be presented too.

Mayor McArthur commented he did not know why the City would want to waive a hard cost.

Council Member Almquist suggested the City have on its website something about the facility and its availability, as well as directing people to other available private facilities throughout the City.

St. George City Council Minutes
September 26, 2008
Page Five

Mr. Perkins advised the City in the past has charged non-profit organizations half price for rental of facilities. He advised that a definition is needed for ?non-profit?.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied the City?s philosophy will be that it will rent the facility at a price higher than average and it will develop hard costs for use of the Town Square and third floor of the Art Center.

Council Member Almquist suggested that rates be determined for full price rental fee, a non-profit rental fee, and a partner rate.

After discussion, it was determined that the Mayor and City Council did not want the facility used as a conference center.

MOTION: A motion to adjourn to an executive session to discuss personnel issues was made by Council Member Pike.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Bunker.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a roll call vote, as follows:

Council Member Pike - aye
Council Member Bunker - aye
Council Member Almquist - aye
Council Member Shakespeare - aye
Council Member Allen - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

MOTION: A motion to reconvene and adjourn was made by Council Member Pike.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Council Member Almquist.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, and all voted aye. The motion carried.

Gay Cragun, City Recorder