City Council Minutes

Thursday, June 9,2011

JUNE 9, 2011, 4:00 P.M.

Mayor Daniel McArthur
Councilmember Jon Pike
Councilmember Gil Almquist
Councilmember Gloria Shakespeare
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
City Recorder Gay Cragun

Councilmember Gail Bunker
Councilmember Ben Nickle

Mayor McArthur called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. The pledge of allegiance was led by Mayor McArthur and the invocation was offered by Councilmember Shakespeare. He announced that any vote would have to be unanimous since there were two Councilmembers absent.

Consider approval of a request to use the Dixie Sunbowl for an ice hockey program. Brad Harker, applicant.

Brad Harker, applicant, explained he is part of a group who all are avid hockey players and who have participated in hockey programs here in St. George but are not the originators or partners in any hockey program. It has become evident that the owners of the former ice rink will no longer be able to continue. As a result he and others want to make an attempt to restore a hockey program as there is a huge demand for one. Last year in the Sunbowl the ice rink averaged 40,000 skaters a month. He advised that they have arranged to purchase the equipment from the former ice rink owners and have been looking for a location. He explained the most feasible option for this year is to try and go back into the Sunbowl with the potential of a three month season. He stated they hoped to generate enough profit to pay off the equipment and have a debt free hockey program. At that time they would look at getting into a building. He stated he and his partners feel there is a sustainable program in St. George and will escrow funds for utilities and clean-up and they are more than prepared financially to make sure they hedge against any concerns.

City Manager Gary Esplin stated he supported using the Sunbowl for this program for a short period of time. The use, however, could not be long term as the City does not yet know what will happen in the area of the Sunbowl in the long term. He stated the City had no problems with the past group, but they could just not pull it off. There are some issues with the restroom and liability issues with the steps and accesses at the Sunbowl.

Mayor McArthur commented he had many complaints from nearby neighbors about the lights at night. He inquired if there was a way to reduce the lighting.

Mr. Harker explained that the use would typically be until midnight or 1:00 a.m. He wondered if moving the rink to the other side of the Sunbowl would help reduce complaints.

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June 9, 2011
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City Manager Gary Esplin commented that perhaps a way could be found to shield the direct light or look at not using all of the lights.

Mayor McArthur commented he was supportive of the request but did not want to receive any complaints about the lights or noise.

Councilmembers Pike and Shakespeare indicated their support for the project.

Mr. Harker advised they would like to use the Sunbowl from November through the end of March.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Pike to approve the request to use the Sunbowl subject to working out the details with the City Manager and staff.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Almquist.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained the City has received a request to locate a consignment shop in Ancestor Square, which is a C-4 zone. He stated staff has no problem with locating consignment shops in C-4 zones as long as they are indoors.

It was the consensus of the Mayor and City Council to proceed, as long as the consignment stores are located indoors.

Energy Services Director Phil Solomon distributed a handout and explained that 12 years ago the Southern Utah Transmission Technical Task Force was formed which includes the City as part of UAMPS, Rocky Mountain Power, Pacificorp, Deseret Power and Dixie Escalante Rural Electric Assoc. The task force has done a lot of contingency planning and the joint transmission study was done to eliminate redundant transmission lines in the county. The plan has taken since 2007 to be finalized and now all four entities have come together, with the objective being to define who does what as far as transmission to accommodate growth. He then reviewed historical loads, projected loads, recent transmission system improvements, and proposed improvements through 2025.


Energy Services
Energy Services Director Phil Solomon advised that this fiscal year will end with revenues of $55 million and expenditures of $55.2 million. April and May have been hard with regard to temperatures and the market has been soft. 80% of the budget is for power purchases. The Citys energy levels are at those of 2004.

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City Manager Gary Esplin explained that enterprises funds are allowed to be used from year to year. There is no question that power costs are going to go up and no question that a rate increase will be needed.

Mr. Solomon stated the City is still part of UAMPS, and in their last budget increased their transmission charge to the City by 12.5%. The Energy Services Department has debt service because of the power plants and a debt coverage ratio has to be maintained.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented the Citys philosophy has always been that since it is a monopoly in the area it serves, it can always adjust rates. The question is when to adjust rates - now to meet the Citys cash balance policy, or delay any increase as long as possible.

Mr. Solomon advised that next years projected revenues and expenditures show a positive cash flow of $1 million, assuming everything goes as forecasted. Challenges to be faced include transmission increases by UAMPS, a 20% increase by WAPA, reliability issues, and air quality issues. The Citys portfolio is 45% coal, 40% gas, almost one megawatt of solar, with the rest in hydro and renewables.

Development Services
Development Services Director Matt Loo explained there was a recent restructuring of Inspections and Development Services. The affected budgets are 36% less than five years ago. There are now only nine employees, the same number as in 2003. The training amount in the proposed budget is higher than the past three years because of required continuing education credits in order to maintain certifications. Structural plans are sent out to three different companies because the City does not have a structural engineer.

Ed Baca inquired if the reduction in employees was due to attrition or lay-offs.

Mr. Loo replied it was a combination of both - retirement, re-assignment, and cross-training. In January the Development Services Department absorbed the Community Development Department.

Councilmember Pike inquired despite the budget, if the organization was working better.

Mr. Loo replied that it was - response times are down - the turnaround on a residential permit is two days.

Councilmember Almquist inquired if a discussion could be had on a paperless submittal process for bigger projects such as Sun River.

Mr. Loo replied that research would have to be done on software and costs. The last time staff looked at it, it was very expensive.

Mr. Loo advised with regard to golf, the retirement of debt service last year helped tremendously. He stated he was hoping for one fiscal year without any surprises such as a flood. The courses are in the best shape they have been in for a long time.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that golf is down $400,00 this year, but almost the entire amount is a result of the flood and shutting down Southgate. Staff is talking

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about doing more marketing from the standpoint of hiring someone part time to encourage play. At the City Councils request, the fee card was done away with and this cost over $100,000 in revenue right off the top from the previous year. The City is also working on the pro contracts.

Mr. Loo advised the City is looking at taping phone calls at the pro shops. There will also be a quarterly accounting of all tournaments and costs and fees generated and where those fees go. The City will also begin receiving an additional $10 per person for tournaments.

Support Services
Support Services Manager Marc Mortensen explained the Support Services Division is comprised of 24 employees and is a division of the City Managers office. The Division consists of diverse functions - Tech Services, GIS and Fleet. With regard to Tech Services, 13 years ago there were only three employees and today there are 11. A budget request has been submitted for orthophotography to participate with Washington County to update maps. The latest maps are from 2006. Back-up storage software and hardware is also being requested, as well as hardware to convert fax lines to voice-over IP lines. Staff would like to move all servers to the Tonaquint Data Center. The IT Division consists of the Webmaster, technicians who answer service calls and management of all cell phones. He explained that the Fleet Division consists of 13 full-time employees. Budget requests from this Division consist of two vehicle lifts, diagnostic equipment and software. Fleets goal is preventative maintenance. It services 805 units.

MOTION: A motion to adjourn was made by Councilmember Almquist.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Pike.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

Gay Cragun, City Recorder