02.26.19 Council Minutes

At the City Council
In and For Said City
February 26, 2019
Minutes of the Richfield City Council meeting held on Tuesday, February 26, 2019
at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Richfield City office building located at 75 East Center, Richfield, Utah. Mayor David C. Ogden presiding.
1. OPENING REMARKS by Michele Jolley.
2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE by Councilmember Arrington.
3. ROLL CALL Present: Mayor David Ogden, Kevin Arrington, Richard Barnett, Kathy Christensen, Connie Nielson, Matt Creamer, Mike Langston, Michele Jolley. Excused: Bryan Burrows.
4. MINUTES APPROVED. The Council reviewed the minutes of the meeting held February 12, 2019. Motion: Approve the minutes of the meeting held February 12, 2019, Action: Approved, Moved by Kathy Christensen, Seconded by Kevin Arrington. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yea = 4). Yea: Kevin Arrington, Richard Barnett, Kathy Christensen, Connie Nielson. Excused: Bryan Burrows.
5. LIBRARY REPORT. Librarian Michelle Olsen and members of the Library Board were present to make a report their annual report required each year to the City Council. Ms. Olsen noted that for the past two years that she has been there, the Library has been under budget and they are on line to do the same this year. They have doing a project that allows books to be seen on line. They have offered no fines trying to get some books back. They are going to continue this until the end of March. She would like to get a lot of the overdue items back because she would rather buy new items than replacement items for things that are lost. Councilmember Arrington asked if this had worked. Ms. Olsen stated that it had not worked as well as she had hoped, but usually things take a little time to get some momentum. This last week she has had a lot of lost items returned.
Beehive books are popular books and Ms. Olsen gave some examples of the books included on this list and if you go to the library the books have a beehive sticker on the spine.
They are also partnering with the recreation department with the summer in the park program which goes along with the summer reading program. This summer the theme is going to be a space theme. Training conference of Association of Rural and Small Libraries is going to be held in Vermont this year. She thanked the Council for providing the funding for this training to be attended.
They have a vending machine at the library and for every 100 minutes that a child reads, they are able to get a prize from the vending machine. Councilmember Nielson asked how many employees Ms. Olsen has at the Library. She indicated that she has 6 part-time employees. Councilmember Christensen said that Ms. Olsen does a really good job and we have a super Library Board.
Ms. Olsen reported that the Library just received a donation from State Bank and we are in line to get another grant from the State Library this year which usually amounts to almost $6,000. Mr. Creamer asked how the Library is as far as computers and terminals and modernizing and if there are other things we need to do. Ms. Olsen stated that we have 11 computers right now. She just moved some computers downstairs to accommodate more kids, but she is going to get new computers to replace the ones that were moved downstairs. She is going to continue to replace the computers to keep them as up to date as she can.
Mr. Langston asked if there are things coming up for maintenance that the Council needs to be aware of as far as the building goes. The roof does need to be oiled. Mayor Ogden stated that we do need to look at this because it is better to take care of something as opposed to losing it and have to replace it. There is some separation between the building and the stairs that we need to have an engineer look at. Ms. Olsen will get someone to look at these two items.
6. FORESTRY, FIRE AND STATE LANDS DISCUSSED. Justin Short and Matt Christensen discussed forestry, fire and State Lands. Justin Short is the Central Area Forester for State of Utah. Mr. Christensen used to be the fire warden and would work with the State to get funding for fire mitigation for private land. Mr. Short felt like the best thing he could do would have a question and answer forum. Mr. Creamer and Councilmember Christensen visited with Mr. Christensen a few weeks ago about Russian olive trees at the golf course. Mr. Christensen thought that Mr. Short might be able to help the City come up with a replacement the plan for those trees.
Mr. Short did say that Russian olives are a class 4 weed and they do need to be eradicated, but having said that we also need to find replacement trees for those trees at the golf course. Mr. Short explained that the Russian olives at the golf course have been GPSed using the technology used for the urban tree inventory which gives us a really good baseline.
Councilmember Nielson asked Mr. Short what he would suggest the City do. She noted that they are vital to one of the holes at the golf course. If they were all torn out at once, it would be 20 years before we had anything that was very attractive.
Mr. Short stated that it important to look for and apply for the Tree City USA grants. We were not a Tree City last year, but he thinks it is really important to do that plan for trees where those Russian olives need to be taken out. Mr. Christensen stated that the City could start by taking out and replacing every fourth one. Mr. Christensen said that there is a law and the land owners are starting to take them out so government should start taking them out too. He noted that the City does not want to get to the point where the law is enforced so that the City has to take them out all at once. Mr. Creamer stated that the next application period for a Tree City grants is August. Councilmember Christensen would like to see us do one a year.
Mr. Short stated that it does not have to be expensive. Last year, he gave the City 25 or 30 trees and they cost him about $.60 a tree. Councilmember Christensen thought that we would need to have bigger trees to plant at the golf course. Mr. Short said that sometimes the $.60 trees are far better quality than the $200 or $300 trees.
Councilmember Nielson expressed her concern about the City putting so much money into the golf course to maintain it and keep it at the highest level possible and the potential of destroying that to replace these trees. If we do replace the trees, there is also concern about putting in a tiny tree so that we could maintain the appearance of the golf course. Mr. Short stated that there are definitely great alternatives. Mr. Creamer asked if Mr. Short had looked at the soils at the golf course. He has heard that the soil is somewhat unusual and limits are choices of trees that will grow there. Mr. Short has heard that the soils are very alkaline, but there are definitely trees choices for this. Mr. Creamer asked if there are some fairly fast growing trees that would work and Mr. Short stated that there were, but that there were some trade-offs.
Mr. Christensen stated that there is a pretty extensive history of Russian olive trees. Mr. Short stated that they were planted commonly in Utah following the turn of the century in the 40’s and 50’s. Mr. Christensen stated that when he was a kid, he does not remember seeing Russian olive trees down around Heppler’s Pond. When you bore or cut into them and see how old they are, there is really not any in this valley that are over 60 years which scares him a little; especially when you look at how much the Russian olives have taken over.
Mr. Short thinks that the most important thing to do is to get trees growing: to get going with replacement trees. Then we can find other ways to remove the Russian olives. Maybe they bring a crew down and have a cut day or use it for an Arbor Day and have people come out and cut them. If we apply for a grant, we would not get the funding until the following until next fiscal year.
7. ORDINANCE 2019-1 ADOPTED. The Council considered Ordinance 2019-1 amending the City’s OHV ordinance. A public hearing was held, but no public comments were received. Motion: Adopt Ordinance 2019-1 amending the City’s OHV ordinance, Action: Approved, Moved by Kevin Arrington, Seconded by Kathy Christensen. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yea = 4). Yea: Kevin Arrington, Richard Barnett, Kathy Christensen, Connie Nielson. Excused: Bryan Burrows.
8. PRIOR YEAR COSTS FOR VISITOR’S CENTER REVIEWED – FUNDING FOR 2019 APPROVED. Mayor Ogden stated that 8 or 9 people have already committed to help at the visitor’s center again this year. Councilmember Nielson wanted to know if there were a total number of visitors that came last year. Elaine Street noted that there were almost 2,100 that signed in. The visitor’s center did not open until after the 4th of July and was opened well into September. The Council allocated $30,000 last year, $10,000 of which came from the State Legislature.
Councilmember Barnett stated that most of the $30,000 was used to relocate and upgrade the visitor’s center. Mayor Ogden stated that it would really be helpful this year if they could have a display case for map and pamphlets.
Mr. Langston stated that there was about $3,000 in sales for items and the inventory is not part of the $30,000, so we probably spent another $5,000 on things to sell.
Councilmember Burrows mentioned to Councilmember Nielson that the power bill has not been separated out. However, Mayor Ogden does not feel that the power usage was significant. Mr. Langston would estimate it to be around $100 a month for Centra Com internet, $100 a month for gas and we are trying to figure out how much the power is. With all of these together, Mr. Langston would be surprised if it was more than $600. On top of that, we would need some office supplies; there are credit card fees and things like that.
Elaine Street talked about the displays that are needed and once we have them, they will need to be stock, but that is going to be the bigger expense this year. People come in and they want postcards, but we don’t have a way to display them. This will not be an expense that we would have next year and she has looked around to left over ones. Intermountain Farmer’s is going to give us something that we can put t-shirts on. Councilmember Nielson suggested that she go to Sevier School and Office and see if they have an old card rack. There are still a few things that we need to get like magnets. People love magnets and they want to have Christmas ornaments. There is a place in Panguitch that does mugs.
Mrs. Street has a pipe dream and she knows it can turn Richfield around. She believes that we need to capitalize on the Frisbee. Richfield is the birthplace of the Frisbee, but we do not have a decent Frisbee golf course. You do not play Frisbee on a park. You play it out in cliffs and everything else. She told the Council if they get a chance they need to go to Enoch and about 3 miles outside of Enoch to the west, they have 2 professional 18-hole golf courses. One is BLM and they go the BLM to help. The other one was done by Enoch City and Cedar City. Everywhere you go; people know what a Frisbee is. She is coming up with a logo for that and one for Richfield, heart of Utah’s trail country with a hiker, a biker and an ATV. This is kind of what they are shooting for to put on magnets and some things like that.
Mayor Ogden stated that they have been using an inexpensive, tear-off map of Richfield City, but it does not show places to eat, places to stay, etc. The Chamber of Commerce is going to help us with this and the County we think is going to kick in some money for this. It will be the beginning of them helping us which would be a great thing.
Councilmember Arrington felt that the visitor’s center is making a difference. There was a bump in transient room tax last year, and he felt that it was partly because of the visitor’s center. Councilmember Arrington stated that if the State’s projections are correct, then those 2,100 people will about $25,000 in our community. So he thinks there is value there, but he would like to see a list of what is needed and what it is going to cost. He is pretty sure that the Travel Council sees the value in this and he would like to take some of this information to the Travel Council and see if they would be willing to recommend some funding for the visitors center this year.
Mr. Creamer said that with the street improvement project this year, we are going to use some of the roto mill on the parking lot at the visitor’s center to help improve that.
Councilmember Barnett liked Councilmember Arrington’s idea to take a list of needs to the Travel Council and see what they would be willing to fund.
Mr. Langston thinks that we need to have a separate budget for the visitor’s center and he thinks it would take about $3,500 for utilities and $2,000 for other operating expenses. He thought the Travel Council would help us get the displays and help stock them. Councilmember Arrington will take it to the Travel Council because they see the value in a visitor’s center.
Mr. Langston stated that we really need to Council’s approval to run the visitors center for April, May and June. The money has been coming from the recreation fund and he would propose that the money would come from the general fund. Mr. Creamer stated that we will be getting the $10,000 from the Legislature in the next couple of weeks that will help with the funding until the end of June. Motion: Authorize the City to open and run the visitor’s center for April, May and June, Action: Approved, Moved by Richard Barnett, Seconded by Connie Nielson. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yea = 4). Yea: Kevin Arrington, Richard Barnett, Kathy Christensen, Connie Nielson. Excused: Bryan Burrows.
9. OTHER BUSINESS. Councilmember Barnett stated that the sales tax bill is expected this week. A couple of things that are going on, is that the legislature passed out of committee a bill that would let the legislature mandate whether we ban plastic sacks in our City. We should be against that bill because it takes control away from local communities. There is a push to reinstitute Tier I retirement for police and fireman and make the cities pay for it out of our budget. Councilmember Barnett is not saying that they do not deserve it, but if the State passes SB 129 it would be an unfunded mandate on the City and we would be forced to increase funding from our budget. The State is considering a one-time 5 million dollar payment and then the rest would be left to the cities.
Mr. Creamer discussed the proposed sales tax bill. They are looking at taxing services and reducing the sales tax rate. They are doing what they can to hold the cities harmless and provide growth in that. The only exemption there will probably be is for medical services.
Mr. Creamer reported that the City is hold a dog licensing and rabies clinic this Saturday from 10:00 to 12:00 p.m.
Mayor Ogden, Mr. Langston and Mr. Creamer met with representatives from Olympus to bid on the City’s liability insurance. We have been with the Trust for 6 years, so they are putting together an RFP. We have been very satisfied with the Trust. We have not had a rate increase for 6 years and the rate we got from them saved us $80,000 the first year.
Councilmember Arrington reported that we have one more State Tournament to be hosted here and that is the 1A State Tournament that starts tomorrow.
10. MEETING ADJOURNED. At 8:51 p.m., Motion: Adjourn, Action: Approved, Moved by Kathy Christensen, Seconded by Connie Nielson. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yea = 4). Yea: Kevin Arrington, Richard Barnett, Kathy Christensen, Connie Nielson. Excused: Bryan Burrows.
PASSED and APPROVED this 12 day of March, 2019.