City Council Minutes

Wednesday, June 30,2010



ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
WORK MEETING
JUNE 30, 2010, 5:00 P.M.
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

PRESENT:
Mayor Daniel McArthur
Councilmember Gloria Shakespeare
Councilmember Gil Almquist
Councilmember Gail Bunker
Councilmember Jon Pike
Councilmember Ben Nickle
Deputy City Attorney Paula Houston
City Recorder Gay Cragun

OPENING:
Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. The pledge of allegiance to the flag was led by Gay Cragun and the invocation was offered by Councilmember Bunker.

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC:
Jerry Campbell reported that the AOPC will be hosting a Meet the Candidates forum on October 15 at the Holiday Inn in St. George. He invited the Mayor and Council to attend.

Joe Hagan inquired what new tenants and air carriers will be operating at the new airport.

Mayor McArthur replied that the new airport is a replacement airport and the only commitment made is when it will open it will have the same services as presently at the old airport. The City is working on attracting new tenants and FBOs.

Marc Mortensen advised the City has been working with seven regional and national airlines, but it is very difficult to approach new airlines in this difficult economy. As the area continues to grow it will be more appealing to other airlines. Some have asked for incentives which the City is not prepared to offer at this time.

Mayor McArthur advised the City has received a grant to help market the new airport. The new airport is built for future expansion.

Mr. Hagan inquired if Fed Ex will be using air cargo instead of trucks.

Mayor McArthur replied that is up to them as a private enterprise. He advised the FAA was in town today and began installing navigational aids. The replacement airport will have an ILS when it opens which will open up opportunities for other airlines.

Mr. Hagan expressed concern about the condition of roadways within the City and inquired when the City would begin resurfacing them.


City Engineer Dave Demas replied that due to budget restraints, crews are focusing on slurry and chip seals; no overlays or reconstruction until the budget turns around.


St. George City Council Minutes
June 30, 2010
Page Two

Some chip seals will have a top coat to dress them up. The City is still patching potholes.

Don Graves expressed appreciation for police offers who show up to venues when they are off-duty. He asked the Mayor and City Council if they thought the proper role of government is to use tax money from one group to favor another group of people, such as the Citys first-time home buyers down payment assistance program.

Mayor McArthur explained that these funds are entitlement funds through a Community Development Block Grant program and can only be used for certain things mandated by the federal government. In addition to using these funds for the down payment assistance program, the City has used them to pave roads in the Bowler Ence Marsh subdivision and has replaced water and sewer lines in the Dixie Downs area, as well as help to build a park. These funds can only be used to assist low income people or in distressed neighborhoods.

Community Development Director Bob Nicholson explained that Community Development Block Grant program funds have to be used to benefit low to moderate income individuals or neighborhoods. The down payment assistance program has been a good program and has been able to help many people get into a home. If the homebuyer lives in the home for 15 years, the funds become a grant. If they sell the home before 15 years, the funds have to be repaid.

Mayor McArthur commented that this program helps workers remain in the community.

Councilmember Almquist commented that the Citys goal is to help as many people as possible by benefitting an entire neighborhood. He stated he was against redistribution of wealth, but throughout the nations history there have been those who have reached a certain level of economic strength and developed community groups who have given to non-profits to benefit the entire community.

Mr. Graves commented an employee of Dixie College with a base salary of $45,000 received a down payment assistance grant of $10,000. He inquired why this man needed help more than the checker in the grocery store or waitress.

Mayor McArthur replied they can all apply for the program. The program is a good one which helps people in the community to be able to afford a home.

Mr. Graves advised the College employee is 38 year of age and should have been able to save $10,000 for a down payment.

Councilmember Bunker commented that while she feels it is not the role of government to become involved in social aspects of society, there is a need in our community and it is not our role to judge.

Mr. Graves advised that all candidates for sheriff have said they will turn over to City the names of employers who are employing illegal immigrants so that the City can revoke their business licenses or impose fines.


St. George City Council Minutes
June 30, 2010
Page Three

REPORT FROM COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT:
Community Development Director Bob Nicholson advised that the Community Development Department will be merging with the Development Services Department effective August 1. He advised that he will continue to work part-time but Matt Loo will be the new Community Development Director. The Community Development Department has been working on updates to the Little Valley plan, the Tonaquint plan, and updating the Citys general plan.

REPORT FROM LEISURE SERVICES DEPARTMENT:
Leisure Services Director Kent Perkins advised new carpet is being laid at the Dixie Center and a new access road and parking lot at the Dixie Center is being designed due to the new Dixie Drive Interchange. A new trailhead will be built close to where it is located now. A goal at the Citys tree farm is to plant 1000 trees in the parks system this year. The 4th of July celebration will be held on July3rd this year, along with a parade. Parks Planning is ready to begin construction of a trail at Slick Rock Park and is doing master planning for the JC Snow Park, Worthen Park and Tonaquint Park. They are working with the Virgin River Restoration program for a master plan of the Virgin River flood plain. Staff would like to identify a legacy project each year in conjunction with the marathon.

REPORT FROM DEVELOPMENT SERVICES DEPARTMENT:
Development Services Director Matt Loo advised the department is in the middle of restructuring with the Community Development Department and Public Works Department. Approximately 14 positions will or have been eliminated and some employees have already retired. Building permits average between 18-24 a month. It is estimated the City will finish the year at 300-400 permits. There are still a few commercial projects coming in with some big projects planned for the College and hospital. With regard to golf, three holes are closed to play at Southgate because of the Dixie Drive Interchange project. The contractor has moved to Phase 2 and is ahead of schedule. As of Friday the project will be 50% complete and there should be no problem making the deadline of October 1 for the reopening of Southgate. Golf generated $320,000 last month.

REPORT FROM POLICE DEPARTMENT:
Police Chief Marlon Stratton advised the department is down about four officers right now due to relocations, and they are in the process of filling those positions now. The School Resource Officers are working warrant enforcement now while school is out. Traffic units are staying busy and have been proactive in reducing the number of accidents. There is an increase, however, of accidents on River Road. The department has been notified by the jail that they are full so the department will have to use discretion in how that challenge is dealt with. The Drug and Gang Task Force has had increased participation from other agencies and cities and is seeing quite a few gang members moving into the county from other areas. The most abused drug right now is prescription medication. The 800 megahertz communication system is up and running.

Councilmember Pike was excused from the meeting.




St. George City Council Minutes
June 30, 2010
Page Four

REPORT FROM ENERGY SERVICES DEPARTMENT:
Energy Services Director Phil Solomon advised he attended the recent APPA conference to make two presentations and missed his long time partner, Ross Hurst, who was like a father to him. The APPA published a memorium to him in its weekly publication. He advised that the 40 megawatt gas turbine project has been completed and the plant is running. A dedication and open house for the project will be held in the fall when the weather is more pleasing. Another 150 kW is being added to the solar farm. The department is moving transmission and distribution lines to make way for the new Dixie Drive Interchange project. With regard to resources, the new unit helps the resource mix and provides good peaking power through 2014. The Citys portfolio is about 45-48% coal, and if the cap and trade legislation passes, rates will increase anywhere from 30% to 80%.

UPDATE FROM WATER DEPARTMENT:
Water Services Director Barry Barnum advised the department is working on the new water tank by the new interchange and replacing old water lines in the center part of town. There is plenty of water this year and the department ended last year under budget and has a balanced budget for next year.

Mayor McArthur then dismissed the meeting at 6:15 p.m.



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Gay Cragun, City Recorder