City Council Minutes

Thursday, January 12,2012



ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
REGULAR MEETING
JANUARY 12, 2012, 4:00 P.M.
ADMINISTRATION CONFERENCE ROOM

PRESENT:
Mayor Daniel McArthur
Councilmember Jon Pike
Councilmember Gil Almquist
Councilmember Gail Bunker
Councilmember Jimmie Hughes
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
City Recorder Gay Cragun

EXCUSED:
Councilmember Ben Nickle

OPENING:
Mayor McAthur called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. He then reviewed the upcoming Heritage Days activities, and led the pledge of allegiance to the flag. The invocation was offered by Pastor Jimi Kestin.

Councilmember Pike introduced Ellen Schunk, the Southern Utah Director of Senator Mike Lees office. Ms. Schunk read and then presented Mayor McArthur with a framed copy of a Congressional Record congratulating the City on its Sesquicentennial.

AWARD OF BID:
Consider award of bid for the Virgin River trail flood repair projects.

City Manager Gary Esplin explained that it is critical to get in and out of the river in a timely manner due to endangered species. There are seven sites included in this bid award, all going to one contractor. Four bids were received, with the lowest being from Progressive (PCI) in the amount of $821,283, including $80,252 for a section of Palomar West which was damaged by spring runoff which was not covered by FEMA.
MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Almquist to award the bid to PCI in the amount of $821,283.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Pike.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Hughes - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

AWARD OF BID:
Consider award of bid for flood repair projects including the irrigation line at the Dixie Center crossing and sewer line bank protection repair near Bloomington Hills.


St. George City Council Minutes
January 12, 2012
Page Two

Budget and Financial Planning Manager Deanna Brklacich explained this protection repair project is on the south side of the river where there is a sewer line. The sewer line was not damaged in the flood, but the rip rap protecting it was. This bid will include this repair as well as the irrigation line at the Dixie Center crossing. Four bids were received, with the low bid being submitted by PCI in the amount of $568,858. The rip rap will be replaced with gabians. The Citys portion of the cost will be $206,330 and FEMA will pay $362,528. This includes a betterment to increase the rip rap.

MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Bunker to award the bid to PCI in the amount of $568,858.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Hughes.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Hughes - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the Sun River project is not going to happen during this window as there are significant challenges. FEMA will have to come back and look at it as there is more damage than was anticipated. The flood repair project by the Tonaquint Cemetery is under design.

Ms. Brklacich advised that the erosion repair project by the Millcreek generating facility might go beyond the window, and bids will be opened today for the rip rap repair by the Springs and Brown Commercial Center.

Public Works Director Larry Bulloch advised that FEMA funds have been obtained for all bridges.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that two mitigation projects have been approved by the State - one at Sunbrook and one at the Millcreek generating facility, but there has been no word yet from FEMA on these two projects.

PRESENTATION FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT:
Craig Hammer reported that the School District has purchased property off 2450 and 3000 East, an elementary school is needed between Riverside Elementary and Little Valley Elementary, and another new school is needed in Hurricane. They are still looking for property in the Tonaquint area, as well as for property for an intermediate school site in St. George proper. Dixie Middle School will be remodeled, and he presented an aerial map and site map of the proposed improvements and proposed roads in the area for traffic movement. The project will be completed in the fall of 2014. The School District has over 26,000 students in 40 schools.

DISCUSSION WITH THE ST. GEORGE LIONS CLUB CONCERNING THE SUNBOWL:
Washington County Commissioners Denny Drake, Alan Gardner and Jim Eardley were present for this discussion.

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January 12, 2012
Page Three

Bill Hickman, representing the Lions Club, explained the purpose of the meeting is to discuss where the City is going to go with the Sunbowl. Last year was the 75th year of the rodeo, and most of them have been held in the Sunbowl. He stated the Lions Club feels it is time to re-look at the issue and get some idea from the City as to what its intentions are and if there are ideas for better utilization of the facility. The Lions Club would like to present some concepts to improve the facility.

Steve Sevy, President of the Lions Club, explained the Lions have a lot of history in the Sunbowl. It needs upgrading and the Lions Club is willing to participate as much as it can, as the rodeo is the primary source of revenue for the club and all revenue generated is given back to the community in the form of eyeglasses, scholarships, etc.

Darren Kaufman, Chairman of the 2012 rodeo, stated he would like to see major improvements made to the Sunbowl.

Wayne Hoppel, Rodeo Chairman for the last two years, presented conceptual drawings. They would like to put some effort into the facility to make it nice. He advised they would like to improve the seating, remodel the bathrooms and have new concession booths. They do not want to change the feel of the Sunbowl. The Sunbowl means a lot to the community.

Bill Hickman advised the Lions Club will work with the City to design the Sunbowl in a way so that it can be used for many purposes.

Mayor McArthur commented there was greater potential for the property other than for use as the Sunbowl, and if it is modified, it will no longer be historic. He suggested the rodeo be moved to the fairgrounds where it fits and makes sense.

Commissioner Eardley commented the arena at the fairgrounds is an ideal size for the rodeo.

Bill Hickman commented that the Sunbowl can be used for events other than the rodeo. He said the St. George Lions have no interest in holding the Dixie Roundup in Hurricane. There is no interest in enlarging the club to include Hurricane and Washington.

Dean Jones commented that the Lions Club is a great club and there is a lot of participation. Something about the Sunbowl makes the Club work, and if something different is done with the Sunbowl, he sees the end of the Lions Club.

Councilmember Hughes inquired about the economic impact of the rodeo.

Greg Mathis replied they have 5,500-6,000 people per night, and it is a social event that cannot be duplicated at the fairgrounds.

Mayor McArthur commented holding the rodeo at the fairgrounds would allow the event to grow as there is more capacity, as well as more parking.



St. George City Council Minutes
January 12, 2012
Page Four

Greg Mathis commented that rodeo participation is declining across the west, and if the rodeo is moved to Hurricane, the event will lose a bigger majority of people who arent there just to see the rodeo.

Councilmember Hughes commented that the City is currently celebrating Heritage Days, and the Sunbowl and the Roundup are a big part of St. Georges heritage. He felt other events could be held at the Sunbowl. The City is spending money on the community theater to help them out. Outdoor plays could be held at the Sunbowl as well as other things that fit into the neighborhood. He suggested the economic impact of the Roundup be looked at. The Roundup is a social event, it brings the community together and this issue should be looked at seriously.

Mayor McArthur again commented that if the Sunbowl is changed, it will no longer be historic. Parking there has never been adequate.

Councilmember Pike commented the concern is duplication and expense.

Councilmember Bunker commented that even with the proposed changes, they are a band-aid solution and will not improve the property. The Sunbowl is an eyesore in the center of the community. The property should be looked at for what is best for the good of the community, not just for the rodeo. She said millions of dollars would be needed to resurrect the facility.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented it all boils down to economic development. More locals than out-of-towners attend the rodeo, and while the rodeo is a social event, the property could be used more successfully for something else. His biggest concern is that he cannot see other uses work long term. The Mayor and City Council need to decide where it is going to allocate its resources. The cost of fixing the Sunbowl will be great. He stated he hated to see the Lions Club deteriorate as it has been an integral part of the community, but the City would have to cut something else out of its budget in order to put funds into the Sunbowl.

Bill Hickman commented that if the City decides not to pursue repair of the Sunbowl, the Lions Dixie Roundup will be no more.

Councilmember Pike commented that in 1996 the City did a bond election which passed solidly. He wondered if the City should do another bond election for this project. He stated he did not see how the City could justify spending millions on a three day event when there is another suitable venue, and he did not think the Sunbowl was well-suited for concerts or theater events due to complaints from neighbors.

Councilmember Hughes commented that a cost was needed and the Lions Club has a lot of resources. He stated he was curious to see what the public thinks.

An unidentified man inquired what direction the City would be heading if the property were not used for the Sunbowl.

Mayor McArthur replied that enlarging Worthen park would benefit all the citizens all year long.

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January 12, 2012
Page Five

City Manager Gary Esplin replied that the City has no plans for the property and the Mayor was simply giving his opinion.

An unidentified man commented that the City owes it to the community to ask. The Lions Club can solicit funds and provide labor and equipment. The Lions Club is willing to come up with a lot of funds and keep the costs down. There are a lot of events that can be held in the Sunbowl.

Commissioner Eardley commented that as far as the County is concerned, they are here to be supportive of any decision made. However, the Purgatory fairgrounds has a wonderful rodeo facility just ten minutes away, and he could not imagine a bond election being successful when there is superior venue ten minutes away. The rodeo facility can seat 4,500 but can easily be expanded. It is available to the Lions Club and they will be happy to work with them and add seating if necessary. The fairground has lots of parking and is centrally located in the County. This would be an opportunity to grow and expand the Roundup.

Commissioner Drake commented that the Lions Club has been an integral part of St. George and was a moving force in the development of the Sunbowl. He stated he would love to see the Roundup continue at the Sunbowl and tradition has a lot to do with what Southern Utah is all about. However, the County is willing to offer its facility, which is a great facility and can be an advantage.

Mayor McArthur suggested a survey be included in utility bills to determine the level of support for the Sunbowl.

Commissioner Gardner commented he would like to do whatever is necessary to see the Roundup continue, whether at the Sunbowl or at the fairgrounds.

Councilmember Almquist advised there has been no decision on use of the Sunbowl property, but the City Council has talked about the use of the entire area. He stated he would hate to see the rodeo go away, and is on board to find out what the community will support. He inquired if a rodeo will be held there this year and if ADA requirements can be met because it is a historic site.

Councilmember Pike commented if the Sunbowl is remodeled, ADA requirements will have to be met.

City Manager Gary Esplin advised that the ultimate cost and improvements would have to be ascertained.

Councilmember Pike commented that the City Council would like to see what people want and they will need to know what they would be trading for the Sunbowl. There are other groups that want the City to build a performing arts center. The City cannot afford to do everything.

Greg Mathis commented that the rodeo is a tradition and has a social aspect. If it is moved to the fairgrounds, there would be no walkway across the top. The way the venue is set up is unique to the Sunbowl.


St. George City Council Minutes
January 12, 2012
Page Six

Dean Jones commented that the Roundup is a social event. If the rodeo is moved to the fairground, people will not go.

Steve Sevy commented that a PRV event was held at the fairgrounds last spring and was a miserable failure. There was no interest from the spectators like there is at the Sunbowl.

Councilmember Pike suggested the issue be further studied and true costs ascertained, along with how the facility can be used.

Mayor McArthur suggested that other uses for the property also be explored.

Commissioner Eardly advised that the fair continues to grow in attendance each year, and the high school rodeo is jammed.

Dean Jones replied that most of the people at the high school rodeo are from out of town, and moving the Roundup to Hurricane would not affect those attending it from out of town.

Bill Hickman commented that the Roundup is a St. George activity and has been for 75 years. He stated he hoped the City Council could make a decision without taking a survey of the City. This decision should be made based on the information they have and what is in the best interests of the City. He stated that continuing the rodeo in St. George is in the best interests of the City.

ADJOURN TO CLOSED SESSION:
MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Almquist to adjourn to a closed session to discuss possible litigation.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Bunker.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a roll call vote, as follows:

Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Pike - aye
Councilmember Hughes - aye

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

Councilmember Pike was excused from the meeting during closed session.

RECONVENE AND ADJOURN:
MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Almquist to reconvene and adjourn.
SECOND: The motion was seconded by Councilmember Bunker.
VOTE: Mayor McArthur called for a vote, as follows:

Councilmember Bunker - aye
Councilmember Almquist - aye
Councilmember Hughes - aye


St. George City Council Minutes
January 12, 2012
Page Seven


The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.



__________________________________
Gay Cragun, City Recorder