City considers 5 county hazmat co-op, Thunderbird Gardens trail system, Broadband franchise

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CEDAR CITY — At its Wednesday work meeting, the Cedar City Council considered a five-county regional hazardous materials interlocal agreement, a proposition for new bike trails within a city recreational area and a resolution for cable franchise agreement.

Hazmat agreement

In 2003, a hazmat interlocal agreement with Washington, Iron, Kane, Beaver and Garfield counties was made, Cedar City Fire Marshal Mike Phillips said.

This agreement was created as a way to encourage the counties to reach out for help from neighboring counties when dealing with hazardous chemical-related disasters.

This year, the county agencies decided to revise the agreement for aid in all hazards; these hazards might include confined space trench rescue and flood water assistance.  Phillips presented the agreement to the council for approval and signature.

Department of Homeland Security will fund grants for the necessary equipment and suits for the Cedar City Fire Department, Phillips said.

Any money left over from federal aid to a county disaster is put into the fire agency budget, he said.

Washington County might be the county that receives the most benefits of the agreement, City Attorney Paul Bittmenn said, noting the recent floods in Washington.

“It’s a good way to help during natural disasters and commit resources to different communities,” City Attorney Paul Bittmenn said. “Something like this can give us reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency with all those costs.”

New trails

The trails committee has approved an evaluation of the Thunderbird Gardens, a recreational area at the south end of the Cedar Ridge Golf Course. Accordingly, Bureau of Land Management Recreational Planner Dave Jacobsen brought a request to the council for an agreement allowing the BLM to create an approximate 30-mile trail system, which would accommodate runners, cyclists, horseback riders and pet owners, with some improvement and policing participation from the city.

The BLM and Cedar City Corporation already have a recreation/public purpose lease for the Thunderbird Gardens, Jacobsen said. In 1960, city leaders and the BLM leased the 390 acres as a picnic area, shooting range, archery range and pavilion area.

“The original lease for the Thunderbird Gardens for recreational use includes, but is not limited to, golf course use, driving range, horseback riding, a picnic area, an outdoor amphitheater, playgrounds and plays,” he said.

According to BLM reported information, Jacobsen said, approximately 661 vehicles go to the Thunderbird Gardens every month with Friday and Saturday nights seeing the highest amount of use.

To us, the BLM, that tells us that’s a party spot,” he said.

With the idea that the area is a popular place and it gets used by a lot of people, Jacobsen said the BLM is working on a trail for mountain bikes, motorized vehicles, recreational vehicles, and the like on the east side of Cedar City and Thunderbird Gardens is the key hub for those 30 miles of trails.

Creating a trailhead along with the recreational trail would allow people to  park vehicles, hop on their bike, put on their running shoes, walk their dog or get on a horse and just go, he said. The International Mountain Biking Association is working with the BLM to design the trail, which should be finished and ready for finalizing in couple weeks.

The BLM is willing to do the work of keeping the trails clean, Jacobsen said, but requested that the city agree to help put signs up and help prevent people from shooting in areas not designated for shooting.

City Councilman Fred Rowley said: “The problem is Thunderbird Gardens has been such a traditional shooting spot I think it will be a serious habit to break and get the people out at the shooting range.”

Another question the council had was whether or not the property was within city limits, noting that it could not pass an agreement for areas outside Cedar City. City Engineer Kit Warhem presented a map and it was determined the area proposed for improvement is within city limits.

The proposal is expected to proceed to vote by the City Council at a forthcoming regular meeting.

Broadband franchise agreement

A resolution to approve an agreement between TDS Baja Broadband LLC and Bresnan Communications that will last until 2025 was introduced by Bittmenn for the council’s consideration.

The agreement, which turns the ownership of Bresnan over to TDS Baja Broadband, provides a way for the city to give a nonexclusive right to telecommunications, he said.

Named as the seventh largest telephone company in the nation, TDS General Manager Bill Shaw, who presented to the council, said the company provides fiber optics and broadband for residents and businesses.

“We are a well-known, financially-established long-term provider,” Shaw said. We’ve been wanting to connect with either Charter, Bresnan and Optimun for some time.”

The company would provide synergies and bring a 10 gigabyte network into the community as well as enhance the existing networks, Shaw said.

•••

All items discussed and evaluated at Wednesday’s work meeting are slated to be voted on at the City Council’s regular action meeting on Aug. 27.

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1 Comment

  • Brian August 21, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I’d like to see Baja Broadband change their policies to be more reasonable / consumer friendly. We wanted to use their internet for our church, but they wanted to charge us the commercial rate rather than residential. The building sits empty all week and has very limited use even on Sundays. It would use way less than residential, and volunteers would maintain it, but their corporate policy required it to be a commercial account (twice the price for half the speed). And if you want a static IP for a residential account, too bad. Standard practice in the industry is $3 for a static IP, even for residential accounts. Not Baja, they require you to get a (wait for it…) commercial account. My Mom moved to a new address that already had Baja through their HOA, so I moved her stuff over and everything worked fine (internet, TV, VoIP). She called to see if she needed to update anything in her account, and they said a technician would need to come out. As soon as she hung up everything stopped working until 3 days later when the technician could come out. He pretended to do something, made a call to the main office, everything magically started working again, and they charged her for the “service call”. Totally dishonest.

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