Hurricane City Council approves new power fees; leases, taxes discussed

Hurricane City Council, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 16, 2014 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

HURRICANE – The Hurricane City Council had a long docket of business on Thursday, ranging from an increase in power fees to zoning changes to leasing rooms at the Community Center.

Power fees

The council approved an increase in the city’s power turn-on fee, doubling it from $10 to $20, and the introduction of a meter seal tamper charge of $25. It also approved a cost of service and rate-designed study through Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, an organization formed to acquire natural gas as fuel for electric power generation, as well as approved joining UAMPS.

Hurricane City Power Director Dave Imlay said there is currently a lot of pressure on power rates. As an example, Imlay said the San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico is on the verge of shutting down because of its reliance on coal, which is high in pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency is cracking down on power plants to comply with its emission standards as well, he said.

Councilwoman Ethelyn Humphries, who ended up voting to approve the fee hikes, voiced her concern over them, saying she’d rather welcome new residents to Hurricane than hit them with a lot of fees.

Imlay pointed out on a spreadsheet he presented that Hurricane is still cheaper than numerous other municipalities in the state.

Leasing rooms

The agenda item which sparked the most discussion was one dealing with the approval of leasing of rooms in the community center to ARTS High School, a division of Emerson-Smith College, which would like to relocate to Hurricane, Mayor John Bramall said.

Recreation Director Bryce King said he would be fine with the organization leasing the theater in the Fine Arts Building, but would want to discuss more in detail agreeing to allow the leasing of rooms in the Community Center five days a week. Councilman Darin Larson suggested that perhaps the community center could be a temporary home before the school finds a permanent home.

Stephen Meyer, a citizen in attendance, said the school could rent the American Legion Hall while council members suggested other alternatives besides the Community Center but still allowing use of the fine arts building when needed. King favored such an idea. The issue was tabled for further discussion later on.

CARE Tax

The Community, Arts, Recreation and Entertainment Tax, or CARE Tax, is expected to come to a vote this fall, and Bramall said it will work. The CARE Tax being proposed is a .01 percent sales tax that would be allocated in part back to the point-of-sale municipality and in part apportioned otherwise within the county.  CARE Tax revenue to Hurricane for the funding of arts and parks and the like could potentially run between $220,000 and $280,000 annually, Bramall said. King said if it passes, it will help build more facilities and attract more people to Hurricane.

Other Business

The council approved amending a city ordinance, making an exception in its prohibition of alcohol in city parks for special events, but limiting the exception only to the Community Center campus. It also approved a zoning change for a 169-lot subdivision at approximately 2000 West from 100 North to 600 North from R-1-10 Single Family Residential 10,000 square-foot minimum to R-1-8 Single Family Residential 8,000 square-foot minimum. The subdivision is not changing its lots sizes, the owners just want to comply with the law, the owner’s agent, Craig Hopkinson, said.

The council also heard its annual audit report from Ken Hinton of Hinton-Burdick, who said the accuracy of the city’s financial statements are “clean” and that the city has good internal controls.

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Email: rwadsworth@stgnews.com

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

Hurricane City Council, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 16, 2014 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News
Hurricane City Council, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 16, 2014 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

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