City Council Minutes

Thursday, May 26,2011

May 26, 2011, 4:00 p.m.
Administration Conference Room

Daniel McArthur, Mayor
Gary Esplin, City Manager
Ben Nickle, Council Member
Gail Bunker, Council Member
Gil Almquist, Council Member
Gloria Shakespeare, Council Member
John Pike, Council Member
Shawn Guzman, City Attorney
Barry Barnum, Water Services Director
Deanna Brklacich, Budget and Financial Officer
Kent Perkins, Leisure Services Director
Larry Bulloch, Public Works Director
Marc Mortensen, Assistant to the City Manager
Marlon Stratton, Police Chief
Phillip Peterson, Finance Director
Robert Stoker, Fire Chief
Miriam Palma, Deputy City Recorder

Mayor Dan McArthur welcomed all to the dedication of Fire Station #8 in Sun River. This fire station will serve the southern part of the St. George valley. He spoke of the dedication of the St. George Fire Fighters and expressed his appreciation for them. Also on the program were Fire Chief Robert Stoker, Darcy Stewart and City Manager, Gary Esplin. The Dedicatory Prayer was given by Rod Orton. Mayor McArthur then asked the Firemen who were in attendance to come up and sing Are You from Dixie? with him.

At this point, the meeting moved to the St. George City Offices. Mayor McArthur welcomed those present, asked Miriam Palma to lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and then rendered the invocation.

Mayor McArthur commented on the Fire Station #8 dedication and announced special events which will take place in the coming weeks, such as: the Friday Night Movies in the Town Square, Five K Fun Run at the old St. George Airport, and Embracing Our Heros a farewell to the 222nd and 227th military divisions.

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Gary Esplin introduced Roxanne Finnerty and Patrina McCoy from Victim Services, and turned the time over to them.

Ms. Finnerty noted that she and Ms. McCoy work on a grant which requires them to report back to the City Council each year. She told the group that they have three volunteers who work with them. She said that volunteers are often those who have participated in the Citizens Academy and find they would like to be more involved in this service.

They were pleased to report that victims information brochures have now been translated into Spanish. The translation work was done by Chris Burrows, a court translator, who donated her services. The brochures are available through the police officers as well as in the office.

When asked how victims are identified, they responded that each morning the police reports are reviewed and victims contacted, or if an officer feels the victim needs immediate assistance, they will contact them at the time of the crime. Contact is made as soon as possible.

In response to how many of the victims are Spanish-speaking, they felt the number was approximately 15-20%.

Chief Stratton thanked Ms. Finnerty and Ms. McCoy for their work and said he could not imagine the Police Department without them

Gary Esplin introduced the next item and asked that Council Members consider approval of an agreement in the amount of $36,355.51 with Gordon Paving to do the 2011 Crack Seal project. Mr. Esplin indicated that this project is part of the Citys ongoing pavement management program which is allocated from $1 million to $2 million each year.

Council Members asked that the pavement management projects be added to the website so citizens will know what will be done each year. When asked how many bids were received for this project, Cameron Cutler responded that there were three, which is one more than is usually received.

Hearing no further comments or questions, Mayor McArthur called for a motion.

Motion: Council Member Bunker made a motion to award a bid in the amount of $36,355.51 to Gordon Paving to perform crack sealing on various City streets.
Second: Council Member Pike seconded.
Vote: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows:

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Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Councilmember Nickle - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

Gary Esplin asked Ray Snyder, City Planner, to introduce this item. Mr. Snyder distributed handouts showing the location and number of Gold Buyers, Second Hand Stores, Antique Dealers, Pawn Shops and Check Cashing/Payday Loan businesses. He reminded Council Members of past discussions on this subject and the need they have expressed to ensure that the Citys best interests are met when dealing with the influx of such businesses. He asked for direction in re-writing the applicable City zoning ordinance.

Council Members agreed that the zoning ordinance needs to be revamped to clearly indicate City needs. They discussed the distance which should exist between such establishments and if there should be more restrictions in the historic downtown area than in other commercial locations.

A discussion ensued regarding the definition of Historic Downtown St. George, whether to use the RDA definition or Historic Preservation definition. It was decided that the RDA definition should prevail. Regarding distance between such businesses, many opinions were expressed which ranged from 600 ft. to 2 miles.

It was decided to have Mr. Snyder come back to Council with a map showing the location of all such businesses overlaid with a zoning map. Council Member Shakespeare also asked that a timeline of the issuance of each business license be brought to that meeting. Laura Woolsey, Business License Manager, agreed to prepare the list.

Gary Esplin gave Council Members an update regarding the budget and capital projects which are pending such as: completion of widening and infrastructure on Riverside Drive from Bluff to 3050 East; widening 1450 South from Stone Cliff to 3000 East; additional funds for pavement management; Tabernacle Street medians and a roundabout at 400 East; eight pickleball courts; increased lighting and the addition of security cameras at JC Snow Park; new parking lot at Cotton Cove Park; additional restrooms at Cox Park and the new water gardens; pedestrian crossing over Sand Hollow Wash near Snow Canyon High School; an outdoor amphitheater at the Opera House; a pavilion at Shadow Mountain Park; parking improvements at Tonaquint Park; fishing pond and historic garden at Seegmiller Park; and a picnic area at the Tawa Fishing Pond.

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Mr. Esplin indicated that he had asked several department heads to appear here tonight to update Council Members on new developments in their departments.

Police Department
Marlon Stratton, Police Chief, began by reminding Council Members that Russ Peck has retired and that Officer Golding will be retiring soon. Richard Farnsworth has been promoted to take Officer Pecks position and Scott Staheli to Officer Farnsworths position. Kyle Whitehead will take Officer Goldings place. This has given several employees a chance to advance their careers.

He described a recent awards ceremony in which individuals whose lives had been saved by City Police Officers came and spoke. It was a powerful experience which gave officers an emotional lift.

He discussed the need to rearrange staff assignments as there are three officers on military leave. He noted that in hiring new officers, he had limited recruitment to those who are certified or are in the process of certification. He received over 60 applications.

He told Council Members that the Department is very busy and that because his officers are involved day to day in extremely negative situations, the Department is trying to ensure that they are able to stay physically and mentally fit.

He discussed the rise in crime, especially in prescription drug overdose, gang-related crimes and identity theft. He talked about the marijuana grow take downs which the Department participates in with Federal, State and County officials and the extreme danger of these situations

When questioned about their involvement in illegal worker status cases, he indicated the Department is working with area businesses and State and Federal agencies.

Public Works
Larry Bulloch, Public Works Director, introduced Miriam Palma, Jay Sandberg and Cameron Cutler from his staff. He discussed the Department restructuring and how employee job descriptions have changed. He indicated that Public Works faces challenges, but has formulated strategies to face those challenges.

He told those present that now that the airport is built, a big challenge will be to promote it and use it to its full potential. He indicated that the City would like to 1) attract additional air carriers and 2) build up businesses to promote economic growth. He cited the new Heliport, which has just been recruited by the City, as a step in that direction.

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Mr. Bulloch discussed the need to promote positive working relations and heal old wounds. He praised Rick Crosman, previous airport manager, as one who got us through the building stage, and has now left City employ. The new airport manager will be Rich Stehmeier. Mr. Stehmeier, who starts on June 13, is currently the airport manager in Logan, Utah. Mr. Stehmeier has an aviation background, but also a degree in Business and Marketing. He has good personal and public relations skills.

Other challenges faced by the Public Works Department are related to flood recovery and planning for current and future flooding and drainage needs. Jay Sandberg, Engineering Services Manager, has taken the lead in this area. He and Mr. Bulloch are working with the Water Conservancy District to implement a Regional Flood Authority and a flood water fee to build regional flood projects.

Ongoing challenges also exist in the need to constantly expand and improve transportation services. Cameron Cutler, Transportation Services Manager, will take the lead in this area by working with State and Federal Agencies to identify funding and create solutions to maximize the use of fund to solve the Citys transportation issues. The Department is working on recognition of a northern transportation route through the tortoise reserve.

He told Council Members that Ryan Marshall, Transit Manager, has done a great job in developing the transit program. Ridership has increased from 55,000 rides when the program began, to approximately 400,000 rides per year. Mr. Esplin requested that a transit expansion plan be developed and brought before Council.

Water Services
Barry Barnum, Water Services Director, expressed his appreciation for the support of the Mayor and Council as well as other department heads. He noted that the largest project the Department is involved with is building the East Bloomington water tank. This tank will serve upper Sun River and development near Miles Post 2. An irrigation pond will also be developed.

He said that this is a good water year. Gunlock Reservoir is still over flowing and the Water Conservancy District is doing a good job managing Quail Lake.

When questioned as to whether or not it would be possible to capture water from the Santa Clara River and divert it to the Reuse Line, Mr. Barnum indicated that he has received money from FEMA for this purpose. He stated he thought it would take years for the reuse water to be used, but it is already in good demand. When questioned regarding bringing reuse water to the Ledges, he indicated that it is a very steep lift and may cost the developer upwards of $1.5 million.

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Mr. Barnum spoke of a water tank in the industrial park that needs to be refurbished. A new membrane was put in years ago, but is now leaking again.

Phillip Peterson, Finance Director, praised his employees and indicated that while managing the Citys finances, they sometimes forget to take care of themselves. This year, however, they have requested new hardware and software to upgrade the finance and utility billing systems. He explained the enhancements and how they would affect operations.

Mr. Peterson spoke of meeting the State deadline for posting the Citys financial records online so that financial transparency can be achieved. St. George was one of the few cities in the state to meet this deadline. He told Council Members that there are some utility bill collection issues that he will bringing before them at a later meeting for discussion.

Leisure Services
Kent Perkins, Leisure Services Director, expressed appreciation for the cooperation between Departments. He felt it is exciting to be a part of City staff.

Mr. Perkins told Council Members about programming efforts in Recreation. He said that it has been a year of many successes and indicated that revenues are up 16% this year, even at the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center (SHAC). Mr. Perkins spoke of a grant which staff has procured to allow them to teacher economically disadvantaged children to swim. The program has been a big success.

This year the 100,000th runner will cross the finish line of the St. George Marathon, which is in its 38th year. There are plans to give that runner a lifetime pass to the marathon. He said staff is creating a new website which will honor running legends. There will also be expanded information, facts and statistics.

Dixie Center
Expenditures are down and revenues are up. Staff is working on a program to track exactly what it costs to run the Dixie Center. They will analyze all costs for each event and by the end of the year should have some good, solid information for Council.

Mr. Perkins gave some statistics regarding parks. Staff maintains 38 parks encompassing 3,000 acres; 21 trail heads; 16 trails; and 38 parking lots. Approximately 20,000 flowers, from the City greenhouse, have been planted; there are 2,500 trees on the tree farm; and there were 1,200 parks reservations. The west side of the Tonaquint cemetery will be planted with sod this year and

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lots will be sold. Parks personnel have an average of seven certifications each. An updated Trails Masterplan will be presented to Council in an upcoming meeting.

Art Museum
A new employee, Deborah Reeder, Art Museum Curator, is negotiating with clients to obtain art collections. Three collections have been pledged to the Art Museum.

Other Projects
There is a group of citizens who would like to help build 24 pickle ball courts to be used for national events. They would like them to be placed in the Tonaquint Park, but Mr. Perkins felt that the JC Snow Park would be a much better location and Council Members agreed. He indicated he would like to discuss this subject at a future meeting.

He also told Council Members that he would like them to consider the possibility of building a special needs park where families with special needs children could go to play and not feel out of place. He is trying to find a grant for this project. He felt this could be incorporated in an existing park.

Fire Department
Robert Stoker, Fire Chief, thanked all that participated in the dedication of Fire Station #8 in Sun River. He indicated that this station will reduce response time in the south valley. He expressed appreciation for the engineering and landscaping expertise donated by other departments to help them stay within budget.

He told Council Members that nine new full-time firefighters have been hired this year to staff the Bloomington and Sun River stations. Many of the Fire Department staff members are certified in EMT and Search and Rescue. These employees are able to teach classes in other smaller cities, most recently in Cedar City.

Chief Stoker discussed the new fireworks law which will allow multi-shot fireworks with larger circumferences. The law also increases the number of days in which fireworks can purchased from 3 days before and after the 4th and 24th of July celebrations to June 26 - July 26. The state has requested that fireworks-related fire statistics be kept for review next year.

He spoke of a pumper truck and extrication equipment that was being purchased to replace old and outdated equipment.

Following the Fire Department presentation, Mr. Esplin told Council Members that Shawn Guzman, Marc Mortensen and Phillip Soloman would present their department messages in the next work meeting on June 9.

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Hearing no further comments or questions, Mayor McArthur called for a motion to adjourn.

Motion: Council Member Bunker made a motion to adjourn the May 26, 2011 City Council Meeting at 8:25 p.m.
Second: Council Member Almquist seconded.
Vote: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Shakespeare - aye
Councilmember Nickle - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

Miriam Palma, Deputy City Recorder