ENOCH — The first week of 2016 brought some changes to Enoch City with the swearing-in of three new council members and a new mayor Wednesday night at the start of its City Council meeting.
David Harris, Dave Owens and Shawn Stoor were all sworn in as council members along with Geoffrey Chesnut who took his place as the new mayor.
Developing engagement and communication with the community is important for Chesnut, who told Cedar City News after the meeting that he feels residents are disconnected from City Hall and their elected leaders.
“My main goals as mayor are to try and help engage the community more,” Chesnut said. “Communication is going to be a big thing, just trying to engage people so they feel like they have more ownership in what’s going on.”
Following the meeting, Owens told Cedar City News he felt residents voted the way they did because they want to feel a sense of community and camaraderie again after years of controversy over a proposed tax increase that largely drove a wedge between public officials and community members.
“I think this new council will definitely be able to at least take steps forward to gain that goal,” Owens said.
Councilmen Harris and Stoor were not available after the meeting for comment.
Enoch City’s new elected leaders followed up the swearing in by holding their first council meeting.
Public comment period
During the public comment period the council listened to one resident whose home had suffered more than $55,000 in damages by flooding that occurred after her neighbor, Troy Denman, busted a city water pipe while landscaping his property.
The city’s insurance company has said it will not pay for the damages. Denman maintains the insurance company’s refusal to pay comes from receiving “false information” from city staff.
“I believe the insurance company you have has been given false information and that you have an opportunity to correct that,” Denman told the council.
Chesnut told Denman he also has an opportunity to provide that information to his own insurance company.
Denman, who asserts that the public works director was not clear on where the pipe was located, resulting in his breaking it, wants the city to pay for the damages out of the general fund or have its insurance company pay for it.
Enoch City City Manager Rob Dotson however, said the public works director went to Denman’s property several times and told him where the pipe was located.
“He told him to take a shovel and dig down so he could find out how deep the pipe was buried before he did anything on his property,” he said. “It’s not the responsibility of the city to dig down and find that pipe, it’s the property owner’s. It’s the city’s responsibility to tell a property owner where the pipe is located.”
Instead of using a shovel though, Dotson said, Denman used a backhoe.
Agenda items Wednesday included approval of a conditional use permit for an auto sales business in a residential area. Resident Rick Edmunds asked the city for the permit in order to allow him to store one or two vehicles on his property that he would be selling off-site.
The council received some written letters concerning Edmunds but none of them were in reference to his request, Owens said. The council approved the permit on the condition that if the vehicles become an issue in the future, they can revoke it at any time.
The council also had a lengthy discussion on the meeting procedure policy where Dotson explained to the new council and others the protocol and laws of having open and closed meetings. The council then approved the meeting schedule for 2016.
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