Residents speak up against BC budget transfers
June 13, 2018 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
A proposal in Brigham City’s 2018-19 tentative budget to transfer 15 percent of the city’s utility fund revenue into the general fund was the subject of some criticism at Thursday’s city council meeting, as a small group of citizens spoke out in opposition to the idea.
The tentative budget includes a provision to transfer $3,871,241 from the city’s utility fund into the general fund, as well as $32,756 from the storm drain fund to the general fund. It also includes an additional $50,000 transfer from the utility fund to the emergency disaster capital project fund.
Julianne Larsen of Brigham City worried that transfers make the budget less understandable for common people, obscuring the true costs of running the city.
“You talk about taking money out of our utility fee, and transferring it into the general fee, and using it for whatever we need it for,” said Larsen. “It puts that money back into a fishbowl, stirs it up, and we then spend it. It’s not very transparent or accountable.” Larsen also wondered why city utility bills were “so high” when Brigham City could afford to take nearly $4 million in utility revenue and transfer it somewhere else.
Brigham City’s municipal power system is owned and operated by the city. Comparisons ran last year by the News Journal showed power rates charged by the city were slightly lower than those charged outside the city by Rocky Mountain Power. City officials have expressed that providing electrical service at a competitive rate, while being able to use some of the revenue generated to fund other city service without raising taxes was good for both the city and residents.
As the transfer is part of the budgeting process, no vote was taken, and no council members spoke to the issue.
A final budget for the city is expected to be passed at the June 21 meeting.
BC council hears case for library tax increase, delays action due to $495k surplus
June 13, 2018 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
The Brigham City Council on Thursday heard a presentation asking for an increase in the city’s library tax levy, but took no action on the issue, effectively pushing consideration of the proposal to 2019 or later.
During a budget work session held prior to the regular council meeting, Brigham City Library Director Sue Hill told the council that the last increase the library had seen to its mill levy was 17 years ago, under former Mayor David Kano.
“We told the council at that time that we could last at least five years, and it’s now 17 years,” said Hill, explaining that the increase was needed to fund rising personnel and media costs. “The library board has been trying for several years—you know that—to do a mill levy increase.”
According to Hill, the library had been running under budget for several years, and surplus revenue had been saved for future use, but over the last three years, the library has been drawing on those reserves. The library has been seeing steady increases in circulation, jumping from 82,000 in fiscal year 2011-2012 to 322,000 in year 2016-2017, due largely to increased use of electronic media.
“I’ve been careful with our money,” continued Hill, saying that the deficits started at around $6,000 three years ago, and have grown to approximately $15,000 in the current year, even after a $15,000 private donation. She explained that next year’s shortfall is estimated to be approximately $90,000. Currently the library has reserves in its unappropriated fund balance of $495,000, and a current year budget of $657,317.
With the recommendation of the library board, Hill was seeking an increase in the mill levy of .000105, which amounts to approximately $1 per month per household in Brigham City.
After some further discussion, the council decided to have staff study the matter to determine what the library will need to fund services moving forward, the results of which would be considered in next year’s budget process.
Brigham City mobile home fire claims two lives
May 30, 2018 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
A mobile home fire last week that claimed the life of an 83-year-old Brigham City man, also resulted in the death of his son six days later.
Kenneth Beach died in the blaze that began the morning of Tuesday, May 22, but his son, 50-year-old Michael Beach, though severely burned, hung on for nearly a week before succumbing to his injuries. He passed away on May 28 at University Hospital in Salt Lake City.
“His liver and kidneys had shut down and he was suffering,” wrote a family member on social media. “It brings us comfort to know he is with my Grandpa now, and no longer in pain.”
A resident in the neighborhood called in to report the fire at approximately 8:44 a.m, at 1060 South Main, unit 63.
“There’s massive smoke,” said the neighbor who called in the fire, a woman living two doors down from the Beach home. When asked if there was anyone inside the home, the woman responded that there was, at about the same time that Michael Beach exited the trailer.
“I need help,” the caller said, explaining that Michael Beach was on fire. The woman followed instructions from dispatch and used a garden hose to douse Beach and put out the flames.
One of the first officers to arrive at the scene, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Nelson, was able to speak with Beach before he was taken away by ambulance.
“He was in pretty bad shape, but said that there had been another smaller fire there a few days prior, caused by a combination of oxygen use and smoking cigarettes,” said Nelson. “He said he thought that may have been the cause for this fire.”
Beach was taken by paramedics to Brigham City Community Hospital, where he was then life-flighted to the burn unit at University Hospital, suffering second-degree burns to 35-40 percent of his body.
The remains of Kenneth Beach were found inside the home after firefighters had put out the flames.
Perry City seeks input on general plan update
One of the remaining opportunities to influence how Perry City grows and develops over the next decade will be afforded to residents on Thursday night, as the city hosts an open house meeting to gather input for an update to its general plan.
A city’s general plan is the legally required blueprint from which the city bases land use, planning, and zoning decisions for future growth. Typically it will list both short- and longer-term goals, which are then used to help guide decisions by planning commissions and city councils.
Willard contemplates water sale ordinance
An ordinance amendment that would allow Willard City to sell culinary water to neighborhoods outside of city limits, while also establishing Willard City water needs as a priority, was discussed at Thursday’s city council meeting.
As written, the proposal would restrict the city’s ability to provide water to homes and businesses outside of city limits unless a surplus exists, and places the infrastructure costs of supplying that water on those purchasing it.
Church building to claim orchard land on 3000 South in Perry
Perry City’s orchard land continues to shrink, as a plan to put a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ meetinghouse on the south side of 3000 South at approximately 880 West was approved by the Perry City Council on Thursday.
The project, set to be built due west of the existing Rocky Mountain Power Whiterocks substation, encompasses 183,003 square feet of the orchard land formerly owned by the Nielson family, and will front approximately 394 feet along 3000 South. It will accommodate over 250 vehicles in its parking lot.
According to project planners, existing residents living along the north side of 3000 South will have their individual rural mailboxes removed from the south side of the road, and will be made to use a community cluster mailbox.
BC man arrested for attempted murder in drive-by shooting
A payroll dispute escalated into a drive-by shooting on May 7, with bullets nearly striking a Brigham City business supervisor, and his alleged assailant being arrested.
Ivan Calderon Vazquez, 35, is currently in the Box Elder County Jail, facing one charge of second-degree felony attempted murder, one charge of second-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, and four charges of third-degree felony discharge of a firearm.
According to a probable cause statement file by the Brigham City Police Department, Vazquez got into an argument with his supervisor over wages at a shop located on 400 North Main Street in Brigham City. The intended victim in the case stated to police that Vazquez left the shop, but returned with his wife in a black Ford Mustang a short while later, and began yelling to be paid.
The DS450 ballot counter can process 90 ballots per minute.
May 16, 2018 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
This year’s June 26 primary election will be the first time an election is mostly conducted through voting by mail in Box Elder County, and County Clerk Marla Young says her office is ready.
The county recently obtained several machines that both count and flag the mailed ballots, as well as those that allow voting in-person at two polling locations in Tremonton and Brigham City, including machines that help those with visual impairments to cast ballots.
Registered voters should begin receiving their ballots in the mail on about June 6. Young said if people don’t receive their ballot, please call the County Clerk’s office at (435) 734-3393, or drop in and speak with an employee.
More information on elections can be found at the County Clerk’s elections website, www.boxeldercounty.org/elections.htm. MORE....
Romney primary opponent courts Box Elder voters
May 16, 2018 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Mike Kennedy, the Utah County state representative who bested Mitt Romney at the state Republican convention last month, appeared at a campaign event in front of Box Elder County voters on Thursday night.
Kennedy, who is a practicing medical family doctor and also holds a law degree from Brigham Young University, spoke to approximately 40 interested people assembled at the Brigham City Senior Center, telling them he’s the candidate that can best represent Utahns in the United States Senate. MORE....
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