City Council Minutes

Thursday, October 25,2012



ST. GEORGE CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
WORK MEETING
OCTOBER 25, 2012, 4:00 P.M.
ADMINISTRATION CONFERENCE ROOM

PRESENT:
Mayor Daniel McArthur
Councilmember Gail Bunker
Councilmember Ben Nickle
Councilmember Gil Almquist
Councilmember Jon Pike (by teleconference)
City Manager Gary Esplin
City Attorney Shawn Guzman
City Recorder Gay Cragun

EXCUSED:
Councilmember Jimmie Hughes


DEDICATION:
An on-site dedication of the Crosby Family Confluence Park, Santa Clara River Trail connection, and Tonaquint Park improvements was held on site. Upon completion of the dedication, the meeting resumed at the City Office.

OPENING:
Mayor McArthur welcomed all in attendance. He then led the pledge of allegiance to the flag and offered the invocation.

REVIEW PROPOSED SMOKE SHOP ORDINANCE:
City Attorney Shawn Guzman and Assistant City Attorney Joseph Farnsworth distributed copies of a draft smoke show ordinance. Mr. Guzman explained that the temporary ordinance currently in place has not allowed any new outlets that sell tobacco since that time. A new state law requires cities to adopt ordinances dealing with retail tobacco specialty businesses. Most of the smoke shops do a lot of business in faux or synthetic drugs such as spice, which are illegal under the state code. The ordinance will not make it more difficult to obtain tobacco in the City, and the shops in business now legally would be able to remain in business.

Mayor McArthur inquired about revocation of a business license for sale of illegal substances.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman replied the City’s current ordinance requires that the City must wait for a conviction, and the City could only revoke the business license for six months after a conviction. The new ordinance will regulate where these businesses can locate, and will provide for a penalty to encourage them to follow the law.

Assistant City Attorney Joseph Farnsworth then presented a power point presentation covering the following topics with regard to the proposed smoke shop ordinance: New State Law - Utah Code 10-8-41.6, Draft City Ordinance, Requirements for a

Tobacco Sales Business License, Revocation of Tobacco Sales Business License, and Penalty.


St. George City Council Minutes
October 25, 2012
Page Two

DISCUSSION CONCERNING STRENGTHENING THE ORDINANCE FOR UNFINISHED RESIDENCES:
Councilmember Bunker commented that in order to build good neighborhoods, something is needed to strengthen the City’s current ordinance with regard to unfinished homes. Unfinished homes cause a blight on a neighborhood and lower property values of surrounding homes. She stated she has researched what other cities do, and some cities require that the exterior of a home be completed within one or two years.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised it was discussed at a previous meeting on this subject that a failed inspection would not count as an inspection. Previously the City has been using a standard contained in the IBC that any inspection within 180 days counts as progress on the home, whether the inspection passes or not. In that event, someone could go for years satisfying that criteria, yet make no progress on the home. He inquired if the City Council was comfortable with requiring an inspection to pass within 180 days. If it does not pass, the Building Official could have the authority to grant a variance.

Joe Harris advised that a home in his neighborhood is still unfinished after six years. He requested that the owner of the home be made to finish the exterior of the home and pick up the construction debris. The home is an eyesore.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised he has met with this homeowner, and there has been some progress. He advised he gave the homeowner until the end of October to complete the stucco on the outside of the home. When Joel Shaffer returns from out of town next week, he will follow up with the homeowner.

Mayor McArthur inquired what could be done to strengthen the ordinance.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman replied that a time frame could be put into the ordinance.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented that adopting an ordinance to deal with blight of a neighborhood is separate from any structural issue. He suggested adoption of an ordinance putting a drop dead date on construction unless there is a reasonable reason to ask for a variance. If construction is not done within two years, the homeowner would have to explain to the City Council why the home is not completed and the City Council could extend the date. He inquired of the City Council how they wanted staff to handle foreclosed homes, which is a separate issue.

Councilmember Almquist suggested that after a certain period of time, the initial building permit would expire, and the applicant would then have to apply for a new building permit and pay all costs again if they want an extension.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman commented that staff can address the timeframe for completion of a building, but will have to figure out how to address an abatement.

City Manager Gary Esplin commented the issue is what recourse the City has.

Councilmember Nickle commented he would like staff to present options for recourse.

St. George City Council Minutes
October 25, 2012
Page Three

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested placing a lien on the home.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised he did not think the City would have the right to do this.

Councilmember Bunker commented that the majority of people would react if they were fined.

City Manager Gary Esplin suggested that the building permit could be revoked, and a new building permit would have to be obtained all over again.

Councilmember Almquist suggested that the homeowner could be charged for any extensions.

Councilmember Pike suggested that the cost of getting it done be less than the penalty for dragging it on.

City Manager suggested that staff could look at the possibility of imposing a drop dead date yet allow for some flexibility, but the issue of abatements also needs to be looked at.

Councilmember Bunker suggested that the exteriors of new homes be required to be finished within 12-18 months, and then the homeowner can apply for an extension if need be. She suggested the first extension be free.

City Attorney Shawn Guzman advised that any extension should contain the requirement that all doors and windows be locked and secure.

PRESENTATION ON ENERGY SERVICES BILLING:
Finance Director Phil Peterson explained that the rate tariff needs to be modified and a determination made as to which users qualify for large or small commercial rates. If a commercial user reaches 10,000 kW or 50 mW one time during the year, they would qualify as a large commercial user. A review of other small users was made down to 8,000 kW and 50 mW, and it is recommended that the designation of large commercial user be at the 10,000 kW/50mW level. Adjustments will be made for those who meet the new large commercial user designation and the adjustments will be retroactive to the first bill received under the new rate structure.

Councilmember Almquist inquired why it is not recommended to raise everyone’s bill by 10%.

City Manager Gary Esplin replied the City’s philosophy is to let everyone share in the lowest power rate bracket, and raising everyone’s rates by 10% would not allow this.

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


St. George City Council Minutes
October 25, 2012
Page Four

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

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.

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

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

The vote was unanimous and the motion carried.



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Gay Cragun, City Recorder