City Council Work Meeting

Wednesday, August 29,2012



ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
WORK MEETING
AUGUST 29, 2012, 5:00 P.M.
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

PRESENT:
Mayor Daniel McArthur
Councilmember Gil Almquist
Councilmember Jon Pike
Councilmember Jimmie Hughes
Councilmember Gail Bunker
City Recorder Gay Cragun

EXCUSED:
Councilmember Ben Nickle


COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC:

Nihla Judd inquired if the City is aware of Agenda 21 and knows what its objectives are. She questioned why the City would adopt a UN program to service St. George.

Mayor McArthur replied that the City does not the support the agenda.

Councilmember Pike commented it sounded like a conservation or green energy grant.

Nihla Judd advised that St. George shows up on the list of those who are participating in Agenda 21, which has to do with sustainable development in all facets of everyones lives. Its objective is to obtain all open spaces and force residents out of suburbs and into cities and to control the population. It is certainly unconstitutional and has nothing to do with the liberties and freedoms set up by our founding fathers. She stated she wanted to know if the Citys name was on the list by accident. She commented she wanted the Citys name off the list and that it is embarrassing to be tied to a socialist program funded and organized by people of the UN.

Mayor McArthur replied that he and the City Council all feel the same way, and if the City is involved in some way, it is not known to them.

Councilmember Almquist commented that many organizations couch their true intent. He stated to his knowledge the City has not signed any document nor received any financial resources as a result of signing up.

Mayor McArthur commented that the goals of Agenda 21 are completely contrary to the way the City Council thinks, and if there was a commitment by the City, it is not the intention of the City Council to be affiliated with it.

Nihla Judd advised that Salt Lake City, Summit, Park City and St. George City are on the list, along with 800 other locations who have signed up.

*****



St. George City Council Minutes
August 29, 2012
Page Two

Rebecca Monson commented that if any Agenda 21 funding was given to St. George, it should be reimbursed to that organization so that there is no longer any connection whatsoever. There is a reference on the web that St. George received an award from them of some sort for a project in St. George.

Mayor McArthur replied that staff will get to the bottom of the issue. He commented it could be for the SunSmart program, but this was funded entirely by the City and Dixie REA.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that this issue came up a year or two ago. The City made an application through another organization, and the City has not been directly involved with Agenda 21. The City has not signed any document. The only grants received for energy efficiency have been from the Department of Energy and Bureau of Reclamation. No money has been received from outside groups that he is aware of, nor has the City approved any document that has any association with this group.

Energy Services Director Phil Solomon advised that two to three years ago, the City, through another organization, was asked to join ICLEI because they had a way of keeping track of CO2 discharges. But the City no longer pays any dues and does not participate with them. Staff will write a letter asking them to take the City off the list. There are annual membership dues, and the City has not paid any dues for the past two years.

Rebecca Monson advised the site says the City has been a member since 2009.

Energy Services Director Phil Solomon replied that the City paid for a membership that first year, but has not renewed its membership.

Mayor McArthur advised that staff will write a letter requesting to be removed from the list.

Steve Fairhurst asked if a time could be set when they will hear back on this as they want complete closure.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that he will send a letter to Nihla Judd.

Councilmember Hughes commented that it is clear the City Council did not realize this. He advised that a similar issue came up for discussion at the MPO Board meeting, and no one there felt that people should be forced into situations such as mandated by the ICLEI. This is not the Citys mindset and frankly, he is surprised the City was a member of such an organization. Everyone now has the message and staff will get it changed quickly.

*****

Patricia Kent commented there are subversive organizations out there whose agenda is not at the forefront. Any time there is an organization willing to give the City money, it needs to be looked at in depth. She stated she did not think 90% of the Citys population would approve of membership in the ICLEI. She stated she did not


St. George City Council Minutes
August 29, 2012
Page Three

want to see the City take the attitude that it would pass it now and then find out what is in it later on. She stated she would appreciate the City looking deeper into
organizations that help fund projects in the community, and she would be happy to help do this.

*****

Connie Stewart inquired if the new electric smart meters come through this program.

Energy Services Director Phil Solomon replied that they do not.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained the City has no program funded by this group. The City paid for the study on C02 gas, and did not receive any grant money. It paid for one year of membership so the City could get on the study to defend its utilities if the legislation passed. The City does not support them. Further, whether the City is on the list or not, it is not involved with them.

Connie Stewart inquired where the smart meters came from.

Energy Services Director Phil Solomon replied the meters are Itron meters, funded from the Departments budget, strictly from revenues generated through payment of electricity bills for those who live on this side of the river.

Connie Stewart inquired where the suggestion for smart meters came from, and why did the City change meters.

Energy Services Director Phil Solomon replied the meters are an automatic read meter. They are read with radio waves. The decision to purchase them came after an analysis evaluating various different meters. The City chose Itron meters because they can read both water and power at the same time. Purchase of the meters cut the Citys cost by $800,000 because of the meters efficiency.

Connie Stewart commented she was unhappy to see those new meters.

*****

Sam Hill commented that from what he has heard, the smart meters would allow the City to control the meter and could limit their supply of electricity.

Energy Services Director Phil Solomon replied that in order to shut off the meter from a remote location, different equipment has be to installed on the meter. By signing up for electric service, the customer gives the City permission to install the meter and read it. All the meter is reading is electric consumption. At one time Rocky Mountain Power had a meter where it could control the air conditioners on a residence, but could not do so until the resident gave permission. There is no way for the City to do this on its meters because a relay would have to be installed in the meters. If Mr. Hill feels this is taking away some of his freedom, the City could cut the electricity to his home.



St. George City Council Minutes
August 29, 2012
Page Four

Councilmember Almquist commented that the meters are only there to accurately assess electrical use. The City Council has only the best interests of the community in mind and Mr. Hills suggestion that the City would allow anything such as he suggests to happen is ridiculous and offensive. Nothing like that has ever happened in St. George.

*****

Rick Portillo advised he lives near the roundabout by Little Valley Elementary School and he is very worried for the safety of children who walk through the roundabout to access the school. The traffic there is dangerous. He requested the posting of a crossing guard in this location.

Mayor McArthur advised he will have Deputy Chief Farnsworth take note of the address, look into the situation and see what needs to be done.

Councilmember Almquist commented this location might be a good place for traffic calming measures, such as a raised platform on the east and west sides of the roundabout.

Mayor McArthur commented the Citys goal is make sure all kids are safe.

*****

David Haskell inquired if the smart meters have any capacity or potential besides reading water and electrical usage.

Energy Services Director Phil Solomon replied that the meters the City have now have a module that only has the capability to send radio signals to a base giving the reading of that meter. There is nothing other than that. They are not smart meters. They are electronic read meters so City employees do not have to go into peoples yards to read meters.

Councilmember Almquist commented that this saves taxpayer dollars.

Councilmember Hughes commented that if residents dont pay their bills, of course their meters will be turned off. If his phone bill is not paid, the phone company turns off his phone remotely. He stated he could not see what the concern is.

Energy Services Director Phil Solomon commented that in order to remotely turn off the meters, the City would have to buy new meter bases.

Councilmember Almquist commented that he would not vote for it in any event. He commented that the City of St. George is one of the most generous in allowing people all sorts of leeway to make good on their bills. The City also gives veterans a benefit every month.

Councilmember Bunker commented that the City and Power Department bend over backwards for its citizens.


St. George City Council Minutes
August 29, 2012
Page Five

*****

Judy Bozeman urged the City Council to adopt an ordinance similar to Washington Countys as far as making businesses use e-verify. She inquired why St. George has not done this. She commented that she sees fewer Hispanics in Sun River, thus fewer illegals.

Mayor McArthur replied the City is trying to put on its website a list of those businesses which use e-verify. The State already requires those businesses with more than 15 employees to use e-verify. The City is working with legislators on penalties for those who dont, but there was no willingness last year to do this in the legislature.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman replied that just because someone is Hispanic does not mean they are here illegally. The City has been working closely with the State and Governor, who supports some kind of penalty for non-compliance. The law is difficult to enforce because there is no penalty.

Councilmember Pike commented that the City cannot count on the federal government at this time, and the next best is the State. The City could cram something through, but if surrounding cities do not do the same, the business will just move to the neighboring city. The City standing alone is not as good as if it stood with the State. The City has called on legislators to push hard this year to try and get it done.

*****

Rebecca Monson commented she did not want anyone in this community to be berated for asking questions. Cell phone technology can tell the police exactly where someone is.

Mayor McArthur replied that all the City is doing is making sure it delivers the best service at the best rate.

The meeting then adjourned.



_______________________________
Gay Cragun, City Recorder