Hurricane council pushes to make decisions on use of RAP tax funds; rec department thriving

Hurricane City Council, Hurricane, Utah | stock image, St. George News

HURRICANE – In a meeting with a varied agenda Thursday night, the Hurricane City Council resolved to make a decision on how to divide its RAP tax funds, something a few City Council candidates recommended. It also heard concerns from residents on several issues and a report from its recreation director on the state of its recreation department, among other items.

Hurricane City's award winning seed display, circa July-September 2015 | Photo courtesy of Matt Patterson, assistant Hurricane City recreation director, St. George News
Hurricane City’s award winning seed display, circa July-September 2015 | Photo courtesy of Matt Patterson, assistant Hurricane City recreation director, St. George News

Decisions on RAP Tax allocation

Lee Scott of Purgatory Clay Sports, which is part of the Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park, just west of the Washington County Regional Park and fairgrounds, came to the meeting seeking financial support from the city’s RAP tax funds to go towards purchasing four skeet throwing machines, which cost approximately $3,600 each.

City Manager Clark Fawcett asked if they had approached the county for some of its RAP tax funds while Bramall and Tervort said they’d like to support the organization in some way.

Councilwoman Pam Humphries said that before the city makes a decision on whether to support the skeet shooting organization, it needs to sit down and decide how the RAP tax funds will be divided because many organizations are coming or will come to ask for some of that money.

Fawcett agreed with Humphries, saying that if they keep giving it away to whoever asks for it, they won’t know where it all went.

Recreation Director Bryce King said the council should not put the RAP tax funds towards one thing but spread it around so it would have a further reach, even suggesting establishing some city grants using the money for which organizations can apply.

The council set a meeting for Oct. 14 to discuss how to spend the funds and told Scott to come back after that meeting.

Public Forum Concerns

Karl Rasmussen, of ProValue Engineering, a firm based in Hurricane, addressed the council during the public forum to voice his concerns about what he sees as flaws in the city’s process for selecting professional services for public works projects because he and another local firm, Pratt Engineering, have not been selected as of late.

“What can we do to help you guys out?” he asked. “How can we gain your confidence and do your work?”

In his presentation, he touted the benefits of the city when choosing local contractors, saying that more of the money stays within the community that way.

City Manager Clark Fawcett told Rasmussen the city must do an open process and open bids up to any company, regardless of location. Fawcett said the city received 11 bids on one of its last projects, but cannot just throw out nine of them in favor of local contractors, using an analogy to make his point.

“You can’t tell me you don’t shop at Costco and other places in St. George,” he said. “You can’t get everything local.”

Councilman Kevin Tervort said that if the Council chose all local contractors, he would be afraid of a discrimination lawsuit, but did acknowledge that sometimes it’s hard for the smaller, local contractors to compete.

City Engineer Arthur LeBaron said the city chooses contractors based on qualifications as well, not solely on price. The city and the Council must have flexibility to do what it feels is best, Fawcett said.

Debbie Proball, a resident of Sky Ridge, opened the public forum stating her concerns about a zone change on the property in back of her home for a future phase of Sky Ridge. The developer, Gemstone Properties, falsified information to get it approved, she said. Since the zoning change, she said she has been told a 15-foot easement in back of her house is not her property. She is also concerned about a future home being built closer than 40 feet from her back wall and is also weary of the dust being generated by the now-vacant property. Mayor John Bramall said he would ensure city staff follows up on her concerns and that some water would be put on the future subdivision phase to take care of “fugitive dust.”

Hurricane City's award winning seed display, circa July-September 2015 | Photo courtesy of Matt Patterson, assistant Hurricane City recreation director, St. George News
Hurricane City’s award winning seed display, circa July-September 2015 | Photo courtesy of Matt Patterson, assistant Hurricane City recreation director, St. George News

State of the recreation department

King presented to the council to update its members on the state of the city’s recreation department. In a nutshell, he and pool manager Katie DeMille said, the department is “bursting at the seams,” especially in terms of poolgoers and participants in its recreation programs, youth sports chief among them.

He and DeMille first showed statistics illustrating how attendance at the pool has increased from 12,499 visits in 2008 to 20,921 this season. This season marked the most family passes sold, 215, compared to 178 the summer before.

Next season, poolgoers will see numerous improvements, King said, including a new snack area, a shade canopy in the grass area, a resurfaced deck, an outdoor barbecue area, two family bathrooms, and a new private party area.

One of King’s greatest fears, he said, is having to limit people coming to the pool to avoid reaching past its capacity. In the presentation, King did hint at possible future construction of a larger aquatics center, to which Tervort joked that he’d like to approve now.

King said the city is using all that it can at the community center. It is also completing improvements to that structure, including refinishing the floors, a metal rod floor for tumbling, double doors in the Red Rock Room to better facilitate displays, wall mount air conditioning and heating units in some of the rooms and new floors, paint and desks for staff offices.

King said it’s been fun to see all the growth in the recreation programs, but scary at the same time. The department regularly receives compliments for being personable, he said.

Humphries said she has heard many people praise the department for its ease of registration and accommodating staff. She applauds, she said, Fawcett, City Recorder Kaden DeMille, Assistant Recreation Director Matt Patterson and Fine Arts Coordinator Debbie Garrett for their military-inspired seed display, which won the sweepstakes award at the Washington County Fair as well as the “Most Attractive” and “People’s Choice” awards at the Utah State Fair.

Second edition of Hurricane history book

Dr. Janice DeMille attended the meeting to ask the Council for its support of the second edition her book, “Portraits of the Hurricane, Utah Pioneers,” whose first edition was published in 1976.

Mayor John Bramall (center), Hurricane City Council members and Hurricane Valley Chamber of Commerce members pose with a $2,000 check for the Utah Food Bank, Hurricane City Council Chambers, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 1, 2015| Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News
Mayor John Bramall (center), Hurricane City Council members and Hurricane Valley Chamber of Commerce members pose with a $2,000 check for the Utah Food Bank, Hurricane City Council Chambers, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 1, 2015| Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

“We want the book to be in the hands of the current generation,” DeMille said.

Demille and her daughter-in-law, Vernie Lynn DeMille, came primarily seeking help finding original photos from Hurricane’s first half a century (approximately 1897-1945) that include its government officials, notable residents, veterans, scenes of daily life, architecture, school classes, church, civic and cultural organizations, the canal, ditch riders, et cetera.

“We need as many photos as possible,” Vernie Lynn DeMille said, explaining that it would be best if they receive them within the next two weeks.

Later on the DeMilles said they hope they can get some financial support from the city as well, saying they need 500 books pre-ordered to go to press. The city museum committed to purchasing 30 books and they said they received approximately 100 pre-orders during Peach Days. When printed, they said the books will cost approximately $35 each.

For more information, and to submit photos, the DeMilles said to visit hurricaneheritagebookproject.org or send photos by email to photos@hurricaneheritagebookproject.org.

Check from Chamber to Food Bank

Hurricane Valley Chamber of Commerce former President Greg Aldred along with members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors were at the meeting to present a check for $2,000 to the Utah Food Bank as part of the proceeds from its recent golf tournament. Aldred thanked the council for its continued support.

Other business

The council extended the Grandpa’s Pond construction agreement to March 31, 2016 because of paving concerns.


Read more: Agencies drain, treat Grandpa’s Pond for unwanted fish


The council also approved an ordinance vacating a portion of 1100 North and 170 West in Panorama View Subdivision and vacating all of the plat for Panorama View Subdivision Phase III. It approved a reimbursement agreement for construction of public road system improvements and city participation in the cost of drainage improvements on 2170 West and 600 North, granting Bill Zitting, the contractor, impact fee credits.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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