01.24.23 Council Minutes


At the City Council
In and For Said City
January 24, 2023

Minutes of the Richfield City Council meeting held on Tuesday, January 24, 2023,
at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Richfield City office building located at 75 East Center, Richfield, Utah. Mayor Bryan L. Burrows presiding.

  14. OPENING REMARKS were offered by Councilmember Gleave.
  15. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE was led by Councilmember Thompson.
  16. ROLL CALL. Present: Mayor Burrows, Brayden Gardner, Todd Gleave, Kip Hansen, Elaine Street, Tanner Thompson, Michele Jolley, Tyson Hansen.
  17. MINUTES APPROVED. The Council reviewed the minutes of the meeting held on December 13, 2022. Motion: Approve the minutes of the meeting held on December 13, 2022, Action: Approved, Moved by Kip Hansen, Seconded by Elaine Street. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yes = 5). Yes: Brayden Gardner, Elaine Street, Kip Hansen, Tanner Thompson, Todd Gleave.
  18. CENTRA COM FIBER OPTICS DISCUSSED. Marnee Winn of Centra Com WAS PRESENT in place of Faylyn Catmull to discuss fiber optic connections in Richfield. She explained that she came tonight to announce the fiber to the home. Centra Com is a Utah-based company. They believe in small-town values and that every small town should have the same opportunity for service that the larger cities do. They have their fiber lines and will be able to provide those services to Richfield in the next few weeks. As soon as they are finished with the installation, they can begin installations. Then they are going to move to the surrounding cities. Mayor Burrows asked what the cost of something like this would be. Ms. Winn stated that the fiber to the home has 3 different packages starting at $59.95, $69.95, and $89.95.

Ms. Winn stated that all of the information is on their website, centracom.com/Richfield-fiber. You can sign up for updates to know when it is available. Councilmember Gleave asked if the cable is going away. Ms. Winn does not think so. Nephi is mostly fiber now, but they do still have some cable customers. She noted that the price of the fiber is less than the cable.

  1. NEW HORIZONS UPCOMING EVENT WAS DISCUSSED. Sherrie Thompson was present to discuss New Horizons. She is the prevention coordinator and mostly works with the youth. February is teen dating violence awareness month. Last year, New Horizons held an activity in the City Park and they would like to be able to do that again. The date they chose is February 24 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The event is called “Chalk About It.” They will have the Miss Richfield royalty there helping with that. They would like to make this happen every year and would like the support of the City.

Councilmember Gleave asked what they do with the chalk. Ms. Thompson stated that they will be drawing on the sidewalks, writing quotes, and messages of hope, and sharing their stories.

Councilmember Street indicated that she would be there and wanted to be sure that they do not draw on the stage and the sidewalk around the stage. Ms. Thompson asked the Council if any of them could come down that day, noting that would be great.

  1. RESOLUTION 2023-1 ACCEPTING THE ANNEXATION PETITION FILED BY SITLA ADOPTED. The Council reviewed a resolution for a proposed annexation of property located between 500 South and 800 South 100 East and 300 East. Trevor Gadd from Jones and DeMille was present along with Alexa Wilson from SITLA to discuss the annexation. The majority of the property is owned by SITLA. Mr. Gadd noted that there are 2 parcels owned by Dave Nielson and Blaine Poulson that are not. Because of the law, these parcels have to be included in the annexation.

Alexa Wilson, the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) explained that they manage 3 million acres around the State mostly for the benefit of the public school system. She is a Project Manager with the Planning and Development Group of that agency. This is part of the planning and the development will hopefully follow. Annexation is their first step. They have not decided what they are going to do with the land. They would request that this be zoned high-density, multi-family residential (RM-24). Ms. Wilson explained that they would prefer this zoning over the RM-11 zone, which has all of the same requirements, but RM-24 requires that they have 25% open space.

Councilmember Thompson asked if they would sell the land to a developer. Ms. Wilson stated that eventually all of the lands in their development program end up with a developer. The uncertainty is at what point are they going to give the land to the developer. They could sell it exactly the way it is right now, or they could draw up some plans, put in some basic infrastructure, and sell pads, but that is usually as far as they go. All of the money that they make off that property goes to the public school system because each parcel has its beneficiary.

Councilmember Gardner asked if they are currently working with a developer and Ms. Wilson said they were not. That is the next step. They need to have an internal discussion to see if they are just going to sell it to someone to develop or if they want to first put in some basic road and utility infrastructure. That would chop the parcel up into smaller pieces and that makes it easier for smaller, local developers to take it on. Councilmember Gardner asked if this would go through the auction process. Ms. Wilson stated that they usually do not work with the auction process. Their agency uses that for raw lands further out from urban centers and the planning and development group that she works for usually publishes an RFP (request for proposals for developments) and sees what people want to pay for it that way. That process allows them to take into account more than just numbers. If you are in an auction and you offer a dollar more then you are going to get it no matter if you have the resources to develop it off that you know nothing about development. It is a more open process where more factors like financial capability and experience can be considered.

Motion: Adopt Resolution 2023-1 accepting the Annexation Petition filed by SITLA, Action: Adopted, Moved by Kip Hansen, Seconded by Brayden Gardner. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yes = 5). Yes: Brayden Gardner, Elaine Street, Kip Hansen, Tanner Thompson, Todd Gleave.

  1. DAVID NIELSON AND BLAINE POULSON REQUEST. David Nielson stated that he has about 12 years on the Central Valley Town Council so he understands the process and he understands that there is not a lot they can do about it if the City wants to annex this. Mr. Nielson stated that he and Mr. Poulson are going to continue to utilize their property the way it has always been utilized. They have to be able to water their ground and work that ground and have the access they need to do what they need to do. Anyone who develops the property needs to know upfront that there are water and ditches that have to be maintained and they need to be allowed to maintain them. He knows that they cannot stop the annexation, but they do need to be assured that they can continue to do what they are doing. At some point, there will be water run to that property and they feel like if the City is going to go ahead and annex their property, then the very least the City could do is run them a couple of water hookups that they could utilize to water livestock. That is the minimum they would expect.

Blaine Poulson stated that they used to have a water right or a drain right that is registered with the State and when the spring ditch was piped and Main Street was extended their water diminished. They feel like they deserve to be compensated to get them some water there with a water hookup. I believed that it could be done not at the City’s expense, but at the developers’ expense as part of putting in the pipeline they could run them a connection. They are concerned about their main ditch coming in and it will probably have to be piped eventually. There will have to be some drainage considered with some accommodations for the wastewater. Mr. Poulson stated that they would like to have a water tap for their trouble.

Mayor Burrows stated that this is all done by State law and if they can work something out with the developer to do that. Mayor Burrows stated that the City could recommend a water connection for both Mr. Poulson and Mr. Nielson, but the City has a long-standing policy that we do not give water or sewer connections or impact fees.

Ms. Wilson stated that they always develop land around other properties, so they always have their engineer design the drainage, water, and size of the pipes so that the infrastructure can accommodate the adjacent land. She is sure that the City is going to require them to comply with the ordinances for development.

Councilmember Hansen noted that the City has tried to be forward-thinking on development and what he is hearing is that when that develops, Mr. Nielson and Mr. Poulson would like consideration of a couple of stock watering connections. Obviously, the City cannot bind anyone to make that happen, but he does not see anywhere that the City would be an obstruction to that. He also stated that one plus is that it is a lot easier to negotiate a water connection when you are inside the City limits.

Mr. Nielson stated that the water connection is quite important, but upfront they want to be sure that they will be able to irrigate that ground and be able to get in with tractors and equipment to clean the ditches. He stated that he is sure that the City has to require that and he is told that the use should be grandfathered in.

It was noted that Mr. Nielson and Mr. Poulson should have the right to request a zone for their property and that it would not have to be zoned the same as the SITLA land. The City’s RR-1 zone would allow for animals. Mayor Burrows is not sure that the RM-24 would work out there anyway. The Planning Commission has discussed this and there can only be a certain percentage in certain parts of town and there is already a lot out there.

  1. WOLVERINE FUELS DISCUSSED. Jake Smith and John Byars discussed the current status of the coal mine and where they anticipate they will be going in the future. Wolverine Fuels is the current owner of the mine. Mr. Smith stated that energy needs are going to continue to grow and there are a lot of rumors that go around so they want to let the Council know where they are. stated that they can prove the amount of coal that will take them out for at least 15 years and there are more areas that they still need to look at that will extend the life of the mine.

Mr. Byars explained that one of their biggest challenges is that they were very limited in what they could ship last year.

The current political climate was discussed. Mr. Smith stated that they recently had to refinance the mine a couple of years ago and no one would fund it, but their current funding is through their parent company and it is a stable funding source for them. They are producing right now all that they can produce.

Councilmember Thompson asked how the City Council could be helpful to them. Mr. Byars stated that one of their concerns is the affordability of housing for their employees. He just asked that the City look at not just high-density housing, but other affordable options for housing.

Mayor Burrows asked if they ever see the location of the portal into the mine changing. Mr. Smith stated that it would be too expensive to change the location of the portal.

  1. CAPITAL PROJECTS LIST FOR 2023 DISCUSSED. The Council reviewed last year’s capital projects list and discussed changes they thought should be made for this year. The Council felt that the purchase of underground water rights is important and should be included on the short-term list. Other items discussed for this list were street improvements, bike/walking path, swimming pool, Senior Citizen’s building, and rehabilitation of the flood detention basins because these are potential projects that we would apply for funding in 2023.

Items for the medium-term list were improvements to Centennial Park, improvements to the library, storm drainage improvements, front-end loader, cemetery land, and park improvements.

Michelle Olsen stated that we just reached our minimum capacity in our area for the residents. The State Library has a requirement of a minimum number of books and resources for the community and we have reached the acceptable level. That means that if we get new growth, which we are growing, we are going to have to come up with some other options, locations, etc. She indicated that they are currently doing some strategic planning and that should be in place by the end of June. They will be making a presentation to the Council and discussing the data collected and their suggestions.

Councilmember Street felt that the bulb-outs ought to be taken out. She thought the one by the Huish Theater needs to go.

Councilmember Thompson asked if there was any truth to the rumors that Snow College is going to eliminate access to the ballfields. Mayor Burrows has some ideas and plans that he has pushed around, but we are out a ways on that so he does not think that it should be on the short-term list.

Items for the long-term list were the replacement of the water lateral extensions, the community center (Elks Lodge), gym space, a ballfield complex, and repairs to the downtown bulb-outs.

Councilmember Hansen stated that we never meet without talking about affordable housing. It is easy for us to say that we are not big enough to have a Richfield Housing Authority, but by partnering with Six County, with what we have seen already these Six County of homes that we have had, what a blessing that has been to a handful of people that have been able to benefit from that. Is there something that we could do to leverage some things that we have with other entities, like Six County, and get more of that type of housing? The gentlemen from the mine just said tonight that the biggest thing we could do is to try and find a way for their people to afford to have a house. He does not know how we approach that. If we could find some way to remedy that, that would be our legacy. It is not going to fix itself and he does not know what the answers are, but he thought that we are going to have to start looking outside the box and at things that we would never consider as a municipality in the past. That is the limiting factor on virtually all of our economic growth and the well-being of our populous.

Councilmember Thompson wondered if there were any experts that we could bring in that could help us.

Councilmember Hansen suggested that maybe we have the opportunity to maybe do something that no one has done before. We cannot be the developer but for example the SITLA property. Could we talk about this with them and see if there is some novel new thing they could think to do? Maybe the City ought to be more involved with these types of sweat equity, Six County kinds of homes. What limits them? Finding suitable building lots to build them on. That is the first and most limiting factor. If we could help with that in any manner, he felt that this would make a great impact.

The City turned its housing authority over to Six County. Councilmember Hansen wondered if we need to look at this again or if we needed to find a way to be more involved with Six County partnering with these types of things. Our people need to be able to afford to have a house.

Mayor Burrows does not disagree with what Councilmember Hansen is saying, but he does not know how we do this and what our role as a City would be.

Councilmember Gardner stated that he likes what Alexa from SITLA said that they would divide it up to make it more feasible for someone. He does not know if it would be legal, but maybe the City buys 100 acres and sells it in 10-acre chunks that someone could buy and put in the majority of infrastructure. That is the problem in Richfield is that the value is not there or the return is not there.

  1. FINANCIAL STATEMENT DISCUSSED. Mr. Hansen discussed the financial statement. He stated that as of November our major revenue sources were up. The transient room tax was up 28% year over year. He did not know why. Some thought that it could have been because of the mountain bikers.

Water sales were up 6% and sewer funds were up and our $1 per month increase just went into effect on January 1. We have a pretty decent surplus because we have spent less than what we have brought in. We made 2 payments on our street improvement bond. We are trying to get this paid off so that we can do another street project. We still owe about $1 million.

We did have some repairs to our vactor truck that were not funded, but we needed to fix it.

All in all, it is positive. He did not have any concerns for the Council to be aware of.

  1. OTHER BUSINESS. Mr. Hansen stated that he was asked by a business on Main Street and he wanted to know if the City would sell him the little piece of property on Main Street that we were planning for a mini park. The business owner wants to expand his business. He asked if this was something we should pursue. We will get some bids and see what we can do. Kylee Boyter stated that there had been some discussion about pulling a food truck in there. Councilmember Gleave stated that that was one of the ideas. Councilmember Street just does not think that is conducive to eating there.

We received a grant to do a flood mitigation plan and we put it out for an RFP. They were due yesterday and we only received one from Jones & DeMille. It was left off the agenda, but we will move forward with them and have the Council approve a contract at the next meeting.

Mayor Burrows shared a thought about Colonel Davey Crockett from 1867. He felt that it was a good reminder as to who we represent and where the money comes from. He knows that sometimes we get caught up in the moment and we just need to remember who we represent.

  1. MEETING ADJOURNED. At 9:08 p.m., Motion: Adjourn, Action: Adjourned, Moved by Todd Gleave, Seconded by Brayden Gardner. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yes = 5). Yes: Brayden Gardner, Elaine Street, Kip Hansen, Tanner Thompson, Todd Gleave.

PASSED and APPROVED this 14th day of February 2023.