School board, district chastised about closure of special education preschool
June 19, 2019 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
Parents of special needs preschoolers took to the Box Elder School District Board of Education’s meeting Wednesday to voice concern and complaints about the closing of the Early Learning Center (ELC) in Corinne.
Parents expressed frustration at the district’s decision to mainstream their children with students in other elementary schools where they won’t have quick access to bathrooms or therapy equipment like they did at the ELC.
The parents and grandparents of preschooler Ledger Bingham all spoke to the board in opposition of the boy’s required attendance at Fielding Elementary in a classroom they said is inferior to what the ELC provided.
“You’re taking away what’s essential to his education,” said mother Kayla Bingham about Ledger who sat in a wheelchair during the meeting. “If his wheelchair gets broken it will cost a pretty penny to replace.
With the closure of the ELC, special needs preschoolers will attend one of four elementary schools based on proximity to their homes: Fielding, Discovery, Willard or McKinley in Tremonton.
Only parents of kids attending Fielding, which had already been operating as a satellite location of the ELC, spoke at the board meeting.
Superintendent Steve Carlsen told those in attendance that room arrangement at schools “is not the responsibility of the board. But next week, we’ll call you and do our best to address all your concerns. We want to address the needs of our young and most vulnerable students.”
He also suggested there was “some misinformation out there we’ll be investigating and getting to the bottom of.”
Carlsen was referring to accusations by Bountiful resident Melanie Berthold in last week’s Box Elder News Journal that the district was giving these students “the boot” to do better on an annual audit, and of wasting taxpayer money that had gone into equipment and upgrades at the ELC.
Teachers see pay boost in new budget
June 19, 2019 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
The Box Elder Board of Education approved Wednesday a nearly $99 million budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, 86% of which will go to employee compensation.
Included in the budget is an 8.7% increase in salary and benefits for teachers and a 7% increase for classified employees.
“I remember the days of only two and three percent raises so I’m so happy we could give them seven and eight percent,” said board President Karen Cronin. “As a board, we value our education staff so much and want to give them as much money as we can.”
The board made it happen by ratifying recent agreements between the school district and the Box Elder Education Association and Box Elder Education Support Professionals, which represent both groups of employees.
Under the BEEA agreement, teachers will receive a 3.55 cost-of-living increase, lane changes and step increments of 2% covered by the district and have their length of contract reduced from 188 to 186 days.
The district also agreed to cover the 7.5 percent insurance premium increase and give a $300 HSA or 401K contribution to insurance-eligible employees.
District Business Administrator Rod Cook told the board at the meeting that only 26.97% of the $99 million budget amount comes from local residential, agricultural and commercial property taxes. The state contributes nearly 68% and the federal government contributes only 5.05%.
“When I started 37 years ago, half of the state budget went to education,” Cook said. “It’s kind of interesting we’re not putting as much into education as we did in the past.”
Cook pointed out that after including all the fixed expenditures in the budget, there is only $33,000 left to make any changes that may come up, which is “Not a lot of wiggle room,” he said.
Ryan D. Smith
Bear River City
Brian James Anderson
Jared Nyman Holmgren
Melanie Gonzales Self
John R. Seamons
Mark D. Mackley
Residents speak for and against BC’s proposed recreation building
June 12, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
As the Brigham City Council continues to refine the city’s 2019-2020 fiscal year budget, citizens at Thursday’s council meeting spoke in both opposition and support for funding a new recreation center, as called for in the Mayor’s budget.
Mayor Tyler Vincent’s budget, as given to the council on May 2, calls for $5 million in bonding to build the new center, at a cost of approximately $465,000 a year for 15 years. The budget proposal also calls for a property tax increase of approximately 10% to help pay the bond, as well as make up for revenues lost to inflation.
“I was really surprised to see that you were still considering a rec building that you want to build for our community,” said Louise Cefalo during the open public comment period. “It was voted down by our community, so I thought it was over.” Cefalo went on to say that many people in Brigham City were being taxed to the limit, with a “much much lower” median income in the city as opposed to the state and the country. She also said that people didn’t realize that not only were they going to pay for the building, but that the city would charge additional fees to use the facility.
During his official comments, Mayor Vincent also spoke on the issue.
“When we talk about activities for our youth, people may not think that it’s our responsibility,” he said. “It takes not just a parent or a mother to raise a child, but it takes a community. We’re invested in Brigham City, not in only our own families, but in other families as well.”
The council has until June 20 to submit a tentative budget. Because the city is seeking a tax increase it will have until mid-August, after a public hearing, to officially approve the budget.
“The problem goes back to needs and wants, If we need to increase our taxes, let’s make sure it’s for something that needs to be paid for with our tax money.”
“The voters voted down the recreation center, and now you’re going to ignore the voters and you’re going to go ahead and build one anyway,”
“Our sophomore basketball team has to go to three different gyms during the course of a season, because there is just not enough gym space.”
“We do not have enough gym facilities for all of our basketball teams and volleyball teams. We have a need for a rec center.”
Snow water equivalent
(percent of normal)
June 5, 2019 • Nelson Phillips & Sean Hales • Staff Writers Significant mountain snowpack and warmer temperatures in the forecast for early June have experts issuing warnings about swift currents and possible flooding from northern Utah’s rivers.
According to the National Weather Service, as of June 4 the remaining snowpack levels in the mountains that feed the Bear River were at 358% of normal for this time of year. The mountains that feed the Weber River have even more snow, coming in at 768% of normal. Further south, the Provo and Jordan River Basin is at 423%, and the Upper Sevier River Basin snowpack is at an astonishing 3,575% of normal.
Hydrologist Brian McInerney with the NWS in Salt Lake City explained that the high remaining snowpack levels are the result of an unusually wet and cold May.
“The snowpack that should have melted in the second half of May was instead stored, and we added to it,” he said. “Now we’re moving into the hotter part of the season, the sun’s angle is higher in the sky, and we’ve got all of this extra snow. What that’s going to do is fuel the rivers at very high levels, dangerous levels.”
McInerney said with the current forecast he expects some minor “nuisance flooding” coming from northern Utah rivers. He warned that if temperatures continue to rise in the second week of June, some area rivers could rise above flood stage.
Flooding wasn’t his only concern, however, as his thoughts turned to safety.
“Be cognizant of how high these rivers are going to get in the first part of June,” he said. “Keep your kids away, and use incredibly prudent judgment. The water is so cold that it will take your breath away. It’s moving so fast and so swift that if you fall in, or your pet jumps in, you’ll get swept away quite quickly.”
The latest forecast has high temperatures predicted to be in the high 70s and low 80s for the remainder of the week, cooling over the weekend, and again warming up on Monday.
This year’s month of May was the second-wettest May recorded in the last six years in Brigham City, and is something of a mixed bag, especially for agricultural operations.
According to information from the Brigham City Waste Water plant, which maintains the city’s weather records, between 2014 and 2019, May 2015 was the wettest with a whopping 6.77 inches. This year, Brigham City received 3.45 inches, which is half an inch more than 2016. In the three-month period from March to May, 2019 was the wettest, with a total of 9.54 inches. A close second, 2015 had 9.06 inches in the same period.
Northrup Grumman conducts first OmegA rocket test in Promontory
June 5, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
Northrup Grumman performed what it deemed a successful test firing of the first-stage motor of the new OmegA rocket system on Thursday in Promontory, but the test wasn’t flawless.
At approximately 119 seconds into the 122 second burn, debris that appeared to have come from the rocket motor’s nozzle cone could be seen as it was ejected into the air.
“What we observed today was a successful test,” said Kent Rominger, OmegA vice president at Northrop Grumman. “It appears everything worked very, very well on this test. At the very end when the engine was tailing off, we observed the aft exit cone, maybe a portion of it, doing something a little strange that we need to go further look into.”
Rominger added that it was too soon to tell what had happened with the nozzle. “This is why you test,” he said. “We’ll go dig into this data.”
Last October the U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $792 million contract to complete detailed design and verification of OmegA, which will be used to carry intermediate to heavy military and commercial payloads into orbit. The project was begun by Orbital ATK nearly three years ago, and was continued by Northrup Grumman after it acquired Orbital ATK last year. The test keeps the project on track for a planned test launch in 2021 ahead of missions to deploy “critical payloads” into space beginning in 2022.
A static test of OmegA’s second stage is scheduled for this fall, again in Promontory.
Courtesy Northrup Grumman
Suspect in fatal shooting on I-84 caught in Idaho
A freeway shooting on Wednesday night on I-84 near Snowville has left one man dead, a passenger injured, and the alleged shooter in an Idaho jail after a two-day manhunt.
According to Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Lee Perry, at approximately 8:02 p.m. on May 22 a call was received by Box Elder dispatch from a passenger in a Range Rover saying that the driver had been shot.
“A passing EMT was able to clarify that the driver of the Range Rover was beyond help and was deceased,” said Perry. “The witness/victim described the suspect vehicle as a silver Volkswagen Jetta with out of state plates.”
The deceased driver of the Range Rover has been identified as 50-year-old Dennis Gwyther of Salt Lake City. Gwyther’s passenger, who has not been identified, suffered a gunshot wound to the arm, and was treated at Tremonton’s Bear River Valley Hospital and released.
The case is still under investigation, and no motive has yet been proposed for the shootings. The Utah State Bureau of Investigation has taken the lead role in the investigation.
A celebration of life’ for Dennis Gwyther is being held on May 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Pierpont Place (163 West Pierpont Ave.) in Salt Lake City.
BC man takes plea deal in apparent drug distribution case
A Brigham City man who faced charges in 2017 for car theft and failure to stop for police, has pleaded guilty to several new drug charges, including hiding drugs and paraphernalia in a secret compartment in his car.
Nicholas Adam Ferland, 32, was taken into custody by officers from the Box Elder County Narcotics Strike Force last December after he was observed “doing a hand-to-hand transaction of drugs.”
According to a probable cause statement, after the drug transaction was observed, officers pulled Ferland over for a traffic violation, and his car was searched.
“An officer discovered a secret compartment in the fuse box of the vehicle that contained a digital scale and baggies,” read the statement. In other various locations in the vehicle, police found burnt marijuana, loaded syringes of heroin, a key chain container of marijuana, four used syringes, a ledger with names and dollar amounts, and a glass pipe. In the trunk, officers located multiple syringes and more baggies.
The statement noted that Ferland “has at least three prior possession convictions.”
Ferland was charged with second-degree felony possession with intent to distribute, third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance, class A misdemeanor control of a vehicle with a compartment for contraband, and class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
County approves five-year extension
of Pointe Perry CDA
May 22, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
A request from Perry City to extend by five years a tax increment agreement with the county on a commercial subdivision was approved by the Box Elder County Commission at its Thursday meeting.
In the mid-2000s, Perry City took out bonds to finance infrastructure upgrades in the Pointe Perry commercial subdivision, located west of I-15 near 1100 South, with hopes of recouping that investment through higher property taxes and a special assessment which property owners were supposed to pay.
The 2007 recession hit the development hard, and multiple property owners defaulted on their obligations. The city picked up the properties through foreclosure sale, and continued to make the bond payments, approximately $120,000 per year, with city funds.
Designated as a community development area (CDA), the Pointe Perry project sought agreements with both Box Elder County and the Box Elder School District to allow the city to collect tax increment, which is the difference between the original taxable value of the land and the taxable value after development. That agreement is set to expire in 2020, with very little tax increment collected due to a lack of development. Extending the agreements for an additional five years would allow the city to move forward with development, and possibly recoup a portion of the money it has paid out.
Currently there are approximately 63 acres left in Pointe Perry, and with the stronger economy commercial interest in the land has been building.
School board grapples with extension request for Brigham City EDA
May 22, 2019 • Nancy Browne • Staff Writer
The Box Elder School District Board of Education grappled Thursday with whether to extend by five years tax increment funding for an economic development area in northwest Brigham City instead of using the money to educate Box Elder children.
After lengthy discussion, the school board decided to take action on the matter at its June 12, board meeting.
The Northwest Economic Development Area (EDA), which includes Nucor as its only business participant, asked the school board to approve an additional five years of tax increment funding to the current 15-year project that still has five years to go. The EDA was created in 2010.
The EDA would use the additional funding to assist with developing vacant and underutilized land in the area, which would otherwise likely remain as is. An EDA uses a funding model known as tax increment to help promote business development by providing infrastructure or other services within the project area.
As a taxing entity, BESD agreed in 2010 to pass through any property taxes that result from increased property values as result of development to the administrator of the EDA, in this case, Brigham City.
Without the EDA’s participation, Nucor Building Systems would have located its plant in Kingman, Arizona, according to Paul Larsen, Brigham City community and economic development director, taking its jobs with it.
District Business Administrator Rod Cook said he “struggles with them [the EDA] asking for five more years,” and getting that tax money which could be going to schools.
Brigham City asks Box Elder school board for 5-year extension of economic development area
May 15, 2019 • Sean Hales • Managing Editor
The price of participation in a Brigham City economic development area might get a little steeper than originally planned if a sought-after extension to the life of the project gets approved.
Brigham City Economic Development Director Paul Larsen appeared before the Box Elder School District Board of Education last Wednesday to request an additional five years of tax increment funding for the Northwest Economic Development Area, which includes Nucor Building Systems, GEM, and Francis Trucking. Nucor is the only business participant in the development area. Larsen spoke at the meeting about a planned expansion of Nucor, but provided no details due to time constraints at the meeting.
An Economic Development Area uses a funding model known as tax increment to help promote business development through providing infrastructure or other services within the project area. With tax increment, taxing entities that benefit from property taxes within the project area agree pass through any property taxes that result from increases in the value of the property to the administrator of the EDA, in this case, Brigham City. That increment—the amount of property tax over what the taxing entity made in the established baseline—is used to pay for the improvements.
At the time the development area was created in 2010, the city asked for a project life of 20 years, but taxing entities only approved 15 years. The Taxing Entity Committee—an eight-member committee that includes two representatives from the school district, two from the city, two from the county, one from the State school board, and one representing all other taxing entities‑ indicated that if an extension was needed, it could be considered.
Perry City Council finds middle ground in disputed rezone request
May 15, 2019 • Nelson Phillips • Staff Writer
The Perry City Council took the middle ground between a property owner who wants to raise livestock, and neighbors who don’t want to smell pigs and goats next to their homes.
Brett and Cheryn Parker appeared before the city council to request a zone change that they felt would allow for goats and pigs to be raised on their 1.7-acre property located at 2850 South Highway 89. Currently zoned as NC2 (neighborhood commercial), the Parkers were seeking to have their property re-zoned as either R1A (rural residential) or AL (agricultural limited).
“We have two pigs and a couple of goats that we own,” said Brett. “We’re currently losing our lease on the property where they’re at now, and so we’re looking to relocate them on our property.”
Neighbors around the property in question stood to object to the plans during the open public comment period, however.
“I was raised on a farm with pigs, and they stink,” said Betty McMurtree. “They attract flies, and rats, they eat what the pigs like.” McMurtree suggested that the Parkers buy some rural property away from residential neighborhoods for their livestock.
In the end a compromise was struck, with the council approving an R1A zone only in the westernmost single acre of the property, which would allow for two total animals in that space.
“It’s better than nothing,” said Cheryn following the vote.
Brigham City reminds residents about ‘summer’ ordinances
With the return of warmer weather and outdoor activities, Brigham City Code Services is reminding residents of a few ordinances to be aware of.
Lawn and weeds
Weeds grow fast and are not only unsightly, but can create a fire hazard. Property owners bear the responsibility to maintain property, including the regular removal of overgrown vegetation and nuisance or hazardous vegetation (Brigham
City Code Section 13.01.230).
Sidewalks and parkstrips
All public sidewalks and areas between sidewalks and the edge of roadways are reserved for use by the city access to underground utilities and for access by pedestrians. Sidewalks and park strips are to be maintained by abutting property owners. These areas should be kept clear of obstructions, including motor vehicles, trailers, outdoor storage, and nuisance vegetation (Brigham City Code Sections 15.02.180 and 24.01.150).
Yard sales and signs
Temporary advertisements including yard sale signs are not allowed on public property (between the curb and sidewalk) including trees lining Main Street, power poles, utility boxes, light poles, or street sign posts. Posting signs in these areas could damage underground utilities, distract drivers and cause significant costs of time and money in cleanup (Brigham City Code Section: 16.02.010).
For more information about these or other city ordinances, contact Brigham City Code Services at 435-734-6619, or visit Brigham City Hall located at 20 North Main.
Mantua moves to municipal-style election for 2019
A missed deadline has forced Mantua to move away from its long-standing convention election system and adopt a municipal-style election.
According to Town Clerk Jan Palmer, the town did not file its notice of running a convention-style election with the state Lt. Governor’s office in time, which resulted in Mantua defaulting to a municipal-style election per state rules.
In a convention-style election, a convention is held where candidates are selected to serve by delegates of their respective parties. Mayor Michael Johnson said the convention system had been abused in the past, with some delegates acting unethically—and perhaps illegally—in order to secure a seat on the town’s governing body.
A municipal system is used widely throughout the state, and uses a primary election to narrow a field of candidates, if necessary, and a general election in November. Palmer noted that a municipal election has the potential to be more expensive if a primary is required, but Mantua rarely has enough candidates to force a primary. In a municipal election, a primary is required if there are more than double the number of candidates for available seats.
Since Mantua’s ordinances indicate that the town will conduct a convention-style election, the council was required to pass an ordinance that voided the town’s convention-style system, and adopt a municipal election with a primary, if needed.
Box Elder News Journal
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Brigham City, UT 84302
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