Cedar City Council considers assisting with small business grant program, discusses coming year’s budget

Weston Adams addresses the Cedar City Council, June 3, 2020 | Photo by Kelsey Cooke, St George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY —During a work meeting on Wednesday, Cedar City Council members discussed the possibility of working with the Cedar City Chamber of Commerce on a small business grant program, as well as whether or not to adopt the 2020-2021 fiscal year budget.

The city’s involvement in the grant program would include providing the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce Foundation $25,000 to distribute to small businesses in Cedar City in the form of 25 $1,000 grants.

The Cedar City Chamber of Commerce would facilitate the grant application process and make recommendations to the Salt Lake Chamber based on requirements and guidelines from Cedar City.

Councilman Tyler Melling said the city’s requirements for providing the funds include that funds go directly to businesses, businesses must be within Cedar City municipal boundaries to qualify, that qualification is unaffected by chamber membership, that any funds not distributed by Dec 31 be returned to the city and that the Chamber of Commerce provides the city a report of how the funds affected the businesses that received the grants.

Councilman Scott Phillips said he feels the city should support businesses, but appreciates the Chamber of Commerce facilitating the application process instead of the city.

From left to right, officers Austin Mikkelson, Dustin Orton and Travis Carter were sworn in to the Cedar City Police Department during the June 3 City Council meeting | Photo by Kelsey Cooke, St George News / Cedar City News

“One of the reasons I like this approach is that we provide guidelines to them based on this contribution,” Phillips said. “We should be here to support commerce and the businesses in the community, but I don’t want us to be in the position of saying ‘you qualify, and you don’t qualify.’”

Councilman Craig Isom said he also likes the direction of the program.

“We can rely on the Chamber to have their pulse on the business community, to know the pulse of the business community and be able to make judgments about who it best benefits,” Isom said.

Community member Tom Jett expressed concern about informing businesses that are not members of the Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards said the city would use every available avenue of communication – including emails, her newsletter and social media – to let the community know about the program.

‘It should be on a ballot’

Finance Director Jason Norris presented the 2020-2021 budget. Although he said the project should be done, Phillips began a discussion of removing the recreation center addition to the Aquatic Center from the budget and postponing it.

“If it’s a good project now, I think it would be a good project a year from now,” Phillips said. “It would give us more time to see where we’re at and to fully analyze where we sit.”

Isom said he would prefer to leave it in the budget.

“I just don’t want to step on the break when if we just proceed with caution, we could proceed with this if all the indicators are there,” Isom said. “I would be very much against removing this from the budget.”

Councilman Ron Adams said he agreed with Isom.

“We don’t have to spend it, but I think it needs to be in there so we can move forward and get the information, as we’ve talked about,” Adams said. “I don’t see any harm with it being in there.”

Melling said keeping the project in the budget may contribute to mixed messages sent from the council.

“We’re proceeding with caution but the budget and the directions don’t really look like we’re proceeding with caution,” Melling said. “It would be a prudent gesture at this point to proceed with all the data gathering, but to not be pursuing that funding, not to put it in the budget and then if, at a later date, once we do have all the information, once we have proceeded with caution, then if it truly a great thing…then we can amend the budget if we need to.”

Dan Kidder approached the council and said the issue should be put on a ballot, and leaving it in the budget tells the community that it is happening regardless of what community members want.”

“As a member of the community – we are getting mixed messages,” Kidder said. “By keeping it on the budget, it says to us ‘a decision has been made, and we’re just figuring out what it’s going to look like.’”

Laura Henderson said keeping the project on the budget is “a slap in the face” and it should be taken off the budget.

If the businesses are falling and the economy is struggling here in Cedar, that shouldn’t even be a talking point – it should be pulled, it should be on a ballot,” Henderson said. “The people should have a say in how their tax money is being spent.”

The council will vote on the grant program and the budget during the June 10 meeting.

‘The actions of those few do not represent us’

Several officers from the Cedar City Police Department stand with Chief Darin Adams as he addresses the Cedar City Council regarding a protest, June 3, 2020 | Photo by Kelsey Cooke, St George News / Cedar City News

Cedar City Police Chief Darin Adams addressed the council in regard to the protest that took place Sunday and the circumstances developing across the nation as a result of George Floyd’s death.

Adams said he is troubled and infuriated by what is going on nationwide.

“In every city, in every state, and in every country across the world, law enforcement, fire, EMS and public safety professionals have one unified goal in mind, and that is to protect their fellow neighbors, friends and citizens,” he said. “Like any profession, there are bad actors and there are those, particularly in law enforcement, who should have never been given a badge. However, that is a small minority.”

Adams said he condemns the behavior of the officers responsible for Floyd’s death.

“The actions of those few do not represent us, nor the vast majority of all agencies across the world,” he said. “The tactics used on Mr. Floyd were inappropriate, not supported by any training anywhere, and quite frankly were criminal.”

Adams said he and other officers were honored to be part of the protest in Cedar City, which was respectful and brave, and he appreciates the residents that participated.

Adams made a commitment to the residents of Cedar City to serve the community and hold people accountable for their actions.

As your chief of police, I commit to you, on behalf of the officers of the Cedar City Police Department that we will always commit to treat our fellow citizens, of all racial and ethnic backgrounds with fairness, equality, and respect, and we will consistently evaluate our training and practices with the commitment to always strive to do better, improve where we can, and listen to our community. Similarly, we likewise commit to hold offenders accountable and will have no tolerance for those, who choose to break the law, violate the rights of peaceful and honest citizens, and threaten our way, and quality of life through criminal acts, violence, and terrorism.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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