Headlines Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Menlove will not seek
Mike Nelson / Box Elder News Journal
Rep. Ronda Menlove of Garland speaks with Jonathan Ball, the legislature’s lead financial analyst, in this Feb. 13 photo taken on the House floor. Menlove announced this week that she will not seek another term in the Utah House of Representatives.
After her fifth term in the Utah House of Representatives, Rep. Ronda Menlove (R-Dist. 1) announced last week in an exclusive interview at Capitol Hill that she will not seek re-election this fall.
“I think I’ve been able to accomplish a lot in my time at the House and I haven’t ruled out another political run at some point in my life,” said Menlove during an exclusive interview at the Utah State Capitol last week. “It’s just time for me to focus on my family and work.”
Over the last ten years, Menlove has served on more than a dozen committees and has been involved in her fair share of legislation, a job which she has taken very seriously. Taking a truly grassroots approach to her politics, she acknowledged that many of her bills have began with the concerns of citizens and community leaders who identified the needs. Many of these citizens would then step up and play an active part in getting the work done.
“We live in a unique place in the world where people care about each other’s success and happiness,” she said.
Even with her departure from the legislature, Menlove said she enjoys policy and the legislative process too much to abandon it completely. She said she could see herself staying involved in one way or another, possibly by serving as a campaign coach.
“I would love to support any of my children who would like to run for political office,” said Menlove. “I could see myself as a great campaign coach.”
Expiring contract has BC exploring power plant options
By Nelson Phillips
An expired contract with Rocky Mountain Power and an expected rate increase has Brigham City talking about the possible benefits and feasibility of building their own power plant but despite other reports to the contrary, the idea is far from set in stone.
“Up to this point it’s only been a subject of discussion,” said Brigham City’s Power Director, David Burnett. “No plans have yet been made to build a new power plant.”
Burnett confirmed that he has been asked to gather information and lay some groundwork for the discussion to come, but stated that no action has been taken by his department, nor has any action been directed by the City Council, Mayor or City Administrator to begin the project.
“They jumped the gun a little bit on that story,” continued Burnett, referring to a Feb. 26 article in the Ogden Standard Examiner. “In the ‘State of the City’ address, Mayor Vincent proposed the idea of building a plant—a natural gas-fired plant—so that we could become more self-sufficient and not send all that money to Rocky Mountain Power, but the idea is still in the early stages.”
Burnett agrees with exploring the idea for the budgetary reasons alone. “Right now we’re paying $13 a kilowatt, and there are 1000 kilowatts in a megawatt. And we get up to 36 megawatts (peak usage during summer months).”
While Brigham City generates most of its own power through hydroelectric, when demand exceeds supply it is forced to purchase the extra power from Rocky Mountain Power, spending more than 5 million dollars last year alone. With their current contract with RMP expiring next year, and the probability of higher rates on the horizon, a new gas fired plant may well be the answer to controlling future costs.
“We’re looking at costs to capital, factoring in all the costs per megawatt to see if it makes sense to build,” he stated. Those costs to figure would include the actual building of the plant, purchasing the generators, running natural gas lines to the location, electrical interconnect costs and engineering costs. Some of those costs could be mitigated by city personnel actually doing some of the work. Other costs can’t be so easily determined.
“It’s difficult to anticipate what the cost of fuel is going to be, natural gas at the open market price,” explained Burnett. “We’ve got to analyze what we think the gas market is going to do, figure our costs to capital, and weigh that all against what kind of contracts we think we can get, and see if this makes sense.”
The Brigham City Council would need to approve any monies and plans for construction, and with no plans having yet been made, and nothing presented, the project itself is anything but certain.
BC modifies industrial waste policies
By Richard Carr
Change is coming to the way Brigham City handles pre-treated industrial waste heading into the city’s sewer system and looks to find the most efficient and economical way of dealing with sewage.
With the city’s Wastewater Treatment Division taking over complete management of the process—previously handled by the state—the need to change the city’s ordinance with respect to industrial pre-treatment of sewage was identified. Last month, a public hearing on the issue was held to address the proposed changes which would establish maximum levels of wastewater authorized industrial entities which use the system as well as impose fines for exceeding these values.
The ordinance, which was unanimously approved by the city council, increased the local limit for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) from 690 milligrams per liter to 1560 milligrams per liter and for ammonia from 72 milligrams per liter to 100 milligrams per liter. This change will also set the penalty for exceeding these values at $.40 per pound. These limits reflect the maximum levels allowed while actual limits will be set for entities on an individual basis based on type of business and the size of its operation.
Both BOD and ammonia are measures of soluble waste and the new local limits reflect values that are more compatible with industrial practices and will provide for efficient operation of the waste treatment plant. The new limits give the city more flexibility in working with potential businesses seeking to expand or locate operations in this area. Another factor in considering these new limits is the need to provide a balanced level of nutrients for the bacteria that break down the effluents in the waste stream. Both BOD and ammonia are “foods” that keep the bacteria used at the plant healthy and growing.
Brigham City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant handles an average of slightly more than 2 million gallons of waste water daily through an activated sludge treatment process system.
The activated sludge process uses microorganisms to feed on organic contaminants in waste water, producing a high-quality effluent. The basic principle behind all activated sludge processes is that as microorganisms grow, they form particles that clump together. These particles are allowed to settle to the bottom of the tank, leaving a relatively clear liquid free of organic material and suspended solids.
The Waste Treatment Plant for Brigham City has two aerated ditches with a capacity of 2,100,000 gallons each, two clarifiers with a capacity of 650,000 gallons each, one aerated digester with an approximate capacity of 486,450 gallons, and seventeen drying beds that are 6 inches deep for a total combined capacity of 937,603 gallons.
Local gov. entities delinquent in filing financial reports
The State of Utah is withholding more than $100,000 funds from two Box Elder County governmental entities for failure to comply with with budget and financial reporting rules through the Office of the Utah State Auditor.
The state is withholding $59,512 from the Box Elder County and Willard City Flood Control District and $45,191 from the Corinne Drainage District. Generally, the money being withheld from all entities is collected through property taxes. The two Box Elder entities are among nearly 1,000 government entities, including cities and towns, counties and special service districts, required to file annual budget and financial reports with the State Auditor, which allow citizens to see the intended and actual use of their tax funds within their local government.
According to the State Auditor, some entities are consistently late in their filings, and in some cases are behind by as many as 10 years, with many of them behind by 4-5 years. The Box Elder County and Willard City Flood Control District and the Corinne Drainage District have failed to file for the year 2012. Other Box Elder County entities having funds withheld are: the Box Elder County Service Area 2 ($13,216, delinquent from 2010-2012), the East Garland Cemetery Maintenance District ($4,915, delinquent from 2011-2012), and the Elwood Drainage District ($6,155, delinquent from 2010-2012). Once the entities file the delinquent reports, the money will be released.
As of Monday, March 3, it was unknown whether any of the Box Elder governmental entities had come into compliance. A complete list of local government entities which are delinquent in their filings as of Feb. 25, 2014 is available at www.auditor.utah.gov.
Prescribed burn at bird refuge
The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is planning a prescribed burn during the week of March 10 for Unit 9, which is located to the south and west of the auto tour route, about 15 miles west of Brigham City. The tour route will be closed during the burn to ensure public safety. Signs or staff will be located at the closed area to provide information.
Weather conditions that week will determine the exact day of the burn, which will help reduce the amount of dead cover from the invasive plant species known as Phragmites. According to officials at the refuge, Phragmites often displace more desirable plant species that provide food and cover to wild birds. The strategy to control the plant is to burn the dead cover, then follow up with grazing or herbicide application.
For more information or to check the status of the burn plan, (435) 723-5887.
Nominations for credit union’s community award now being accepted
Box Elder Credit Union is seeking nominations for their Community Caregiver Award and Tonya Gail, the program’s coordinator, is looking for individuals or organizations who make a positive difference in the community. The recipient of the Box Elder Credit Union Community Giver Award will receive $250 to use toward the charity or community service of their choice. Any person who lives in Box Elder County is eligible to receive the award.
The award is presented four times annually with the first award being presented in April. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and can be found online at www.boxeldercu.com. The application can be printed and mailed to Tony Gail – Community Giver Award, c/o Box Elder Credit Union, 1023 Medical Drive, Brigham City, Utah 84302.