Headlines Wednesday, July 1, 2015
BC mayor seeks to change city hiring rules
By Nelson Phillips
Brigham City Mayor Tyler Vincent is looking to change the way some city employees are hired and fired, but in what many would consider a twist the mayor isn’t looking for more power over personnel decisions—he’s looking for less.
“There are certain positions in the city that really have no reason to be appointed,” Vincent told The News Journal. “If you look at state law statutes, the only people that are really required by law to be appointed are the city recorder and city treasurer.”
Under Brigham City Code, the mayor has the responsibility of appointing the city administrator, attorney, recorder, treasurer, community development director, economic development director, emergency services director, finance director, human resources coordinator, police chief, and the public power and public works directors, with the advice and consent of the city council. Appointed positions serve at the pleasure of the mayor and council, and can be terminated with or without cause. Vincent is asking the council to change the city administrative code, dropping many positions that are now appointed by him, and making them regular at-will employees, subject to city employment policies like any other position.
Municipalities enact fire restrictions
Recent hot, dry weather that is forecasted to continue into the foreseeable future has resulted in local municipalities issuing fire restrictions a bit earlier this year.
There is an abundance of underbrush growth resulting from the record setting May rains.
“There’s some really tall dry grass out there,” said Willard Mayor Ken Braegger at a recent council meeting.
Willard Fire Chief Van Mund concurred, stating that the ordinance is needed, especially on the east side, to prevent fires from escaping from Willard into public lands.
“The canal road (on the eastern edge of Willard) is pretty much our city limit, and once a fire jumps the canal road onto Forest Service land, we’re responsible for it. Well, ultimately the person that started it is responsible, but we’re responsible to contain it,” said Mund.
The fire restrictions for Brigham City and Willard, are similar, and in many cases largely identical to one another, and cover the urban/wildland interface within the borders of each municipality. The interface is that area where structures and improved property intermingle with natural environments such as mountains, grass- or brush-covered lands, forests or land being used for agricultural purposes.
Brigham City, Perry set to host primary election
by Sean Hales
It’s something of a feast or famine for Box Elder municipalities following the closing of the Declaration of Candidacy period for the 2015 election season.
Three municipalities have numerous candidates that will force a primary election in August to determine who will end up on the general election ballot in November. Seven candidates have filed for the three available council seats in Brigham City, and nine will contest the three available seats in Perry City.
Box Elder County Clerk Marla Young said Brigham City and Perry normally have significant interest from residents seeking election to the city council.
In Brigham City, the seats occupied by Ruth Jensen, Alden Farr and Mark Thompson are up for grabs. Each of the incumbents are seeking reelection. They will be joined on the ballot by Becky Maddox, Lee Johnson, Nini Anderson and Stephen Child.
Maddox and Johnson are no strangers to the city council chambers, where they regularly attend meetings and participate in the public comment portion of the proceedings. Johnson has gained particular notoriety by calling councilmembers “comrades,” as a term of derision in reference to what he says are the city’s Socialist practices.
In Perry, none of the outgoing members—Todd Christensen, Jana Nelson and Peter Gerlach—are seeking reelection. Former mayor Jerry Nelson is running for a seat, as is Toby Wright, who was a candidate in the 2013 municipal election. None of the other seven candidates ran for election in 2013 (see a complete list on page 2).
Young said there is a trend in some of the smaller communities toward struggling to field enough candidates to fill the available seats.
Following the closure of the candidate filing period on June 8, Corinne City had just one candidate vying for one of the three available seats, and Bear River City had two residents file to run.
State law allows towns and cities to cancel elections if doing so would not affect the outcome, and such might be the case for at least four Box Elder municipalities including Corinne, Plymouth, Deweyville and Willard. Willard has exactly enough candidates to fill available seats.
Honeyville’s election will be decided in the general election in November since with just six candidates, there is no need to hold a primary.
Mantua and Garland run elections through a convention system, which will occur in August, the same month as the primary election.
Rules of the road
Brigham City Officer Nate Small gives guidance to young Kason Hess, 2, at Saturday’s Road Respect Rally. The bike safety rodeo, one of the many free family activities held in conjunction with the event, taught proper manuevering for child bikers, prior to a community bike ride throughout Brigham City on the designated bike route. Two supported 68- and 43-mile bike rides were also held in conjunction with the event.
75 free helmets were distributed to the children in attendance. The helmets were sponsored by the Brigham City Community Hospital, Box Elder County Commissioners and Road Respect.
Hay fire at Hardy farms causes more than $140k in damages
by Loni Newby
Wet hay is being cited as the cause of a fire at Hardy Farms last week that consumed approximately 325 tons of hay and caused an estimated $140,000-$150,000 in damage.
According to Box Elder County Fire Marshal Corey Barton, the hay was inside a shed at Hardy Farms when it spontaneously combusted, igniting a blaze that took 35 firemen approximately nine hours to contain.
The hay shed fire that began late Friday morning, June 19, required the resources of several area firefighting units, including: Honeyville, Garland, Corinne, Brigham City, Willard and Box Elder County fire crews.
Due to the high temperatures of the day, paired with the intense heat of the flames firefighters were limited to 20 minute stints actively fighting the fire with mandatory rehab time to ensure their safety. Two firefighters were treated on scene due to heat related injuries.
The cost of the lost hay was approximately $60,000, in addition vehicles including a loader and a semi truck with flatbed trailer were destroyed, and the structure was a total loss.
County approves incentive to entice Procter & Gamble expansion
by Nelson Phillips
On Wednesday the Box Elder County Commission approved a Redevelopment Agency plan for economic development tax incentives to entice Proctor & Gamble (P&G) into an expansion, and also discussed possible actions on property and sales taxes.
The P&G plan, designated as the Maple Project Area, would take up to $49,000,000 in property tax increment from the area to aid P&G in the upgrading of infrastructure to support a new facility on their property west of Corinne. Tax increment is the difference in tax revenue from year to year on property that has increased in value due to development. It does not raise property tax rates, and taxing entities still receive the same amount of tax revenue each year as they did from the base year before the property was developed.
“The proposed project is for a new production facility that would happen on site, and it would require that they put in about $400,000,000 of their own investment to get that going,” said Kelly Pfost, Senior Analyst at Lewis & Young, the county’s financial advice firm. Pfost told commissioners that she expects the development, if it were to go ahead, would produce between 100-200 additional jobs for county residents. “These are good jobs, paying 120 percent of average for the county,” she added.