County commission OKs credit card fees; awards Hildale flood control bid

In this October 2015 file photo, heavy rains triggered more flooding in Hildale just a month after a flash flood in the same area killed 12 people and swept away one young boy who has not been found, Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, Oct. 17, 2015 | Photo by Cami Cox Jim, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Washington County Commission set a fee schedule for credit cards, approved a bid for flood repair work in Hildale and appointed two members to the Habitat Conservation Advisory Committee at a regular meeting Tuesday.

St. George City Councilwoman Bette Arial was appointed to the Habitat Conservation Advisory Committee, which oversees the Habitat Conservation Plan and the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. Arial replaces St. George City Support Services Director Marc Mortensen in the “Citizen at Large” position on the committee.

“When they wrote the HCP and came up with the ACAC membership, they wanted to make sure the different interests were represented,” Deputy Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke said.

The Citizen at Large seat on the committee was designated to represent the largest participating municipality, Clarke said, which is St. George.

Ivins Mayor Chris Hart was reappointed to the advisory committee representing development on the committee. The new terms of both Hart and Arial expire Feb. 28, 2020.

In other business, the commission passed a resolution allowing each county department to set its own fees for customers who pay with a credit card.

“The question that comes up is, ‘Can they charge a fee if allowing someone to use a credit card on a sizable payment costs the county money?'” Clarke said.

“I think it’s so important to have this convenience for our citizens,” Commissioner Victor Iverson said. When purchases are made by credit card at a business, there is a cost involved that is usually borne by the company.

“Unfortunately we can’t offset that cost at the cost of other taxpayers,” Iverson said.

Each county department will now be able to decide whether to accept credit cards as payment. Some departments have been doing so for quite some time. However, to charge a fee requires the OK of the county commission.

Flood control

The commission also awarded a bid for construction of flood control measures in Hildale which will be funded primarily by the Emergency Watershed Protection program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The city of Hildale will also furnish funds or in-kind contributions.

“We will be out there working on a storm water diversion structure to transfer all that storm water that’s always run over Utah Avenue in several areas and down through the streets and in people’s back yards and houses,” Washington County Public Works Director Ron Whitehead said at a Feb. 7 commission meeting, when the work was approved.

The project is being sponsored and managed by Washington County; a bid in the amount of $366,630 was awarded to Feller Enterprises LLC for the work.

“I think it’s great that we’re making progress on this terrible flood that happened a year and a half ago, ” Commissioner Dean Cox said.

Thirteen people died in a Sept. 14, 2015, flood event that also caused extensive damage to roads, bridges and a municipal water pipeline in both Hildale and Colorado City, Arizona.

Read more: New dike, basin to benefit Hildale floodwater control

Read more: 18 found dead in 2 days in Washington County flash floods, 2 missing

The current project is one of several repair and prevention projects undertaken since the fatal flooding in Hildale. Roughly $81 million has been spent in the county on flood control and flood damage repair since the floods in 2005, county public works director Ron Whitehead said.

Ed. note Feb. 22, 8:10 a.m.: Correction made to terms of Hart and Arial, which expire in 2020, not 2017.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • utahdiablo February 21, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    You do know that most everyone uses a credit card to pay their monthly bills such as to their electric? so you want us to step in the way back machine to start writing checks again huh? You got it, your so damn backwards, but at least your trying to rip us off of more money, I have to give you that, your really crooked..

    • Bender February 22, 2017 at 11:36 am

      When the county accepts a credit card payment of $100 from you, utahdiablo, it actually only gets about $97 after the credit card processor takes its fee. Is it fair to the rest of the taxpayers, who don’t use credit cards, to subsidize your use of credit card payments? It sounds like the county is only worried about those who make “sizable” payments by credit card. An example scenario might be a real estate developer making property tax payments with a credit card. The county loses 3% of payments which could be 100s of thousands. Meanwhile the real estate developer is collecting airline point or cash-back benefits from his credit card issuer. This is a more than fair move by county.

  • Bender February 22, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Cox, Renstrom and Iverson, please keep in mind that it’s probably hypocritical to accept NRCS funding and at the same time feed red meat to your far right constituency with mindless fed bashing.

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