SPRINGDALE — The Springdale Town Council had money matters on its mind during the group’s monthly meeting on June 9, finalizing its 2021-22 fiscal-year budget while setting in motion consideration to put council members and appointees on the town payroll.
The council also embraced a master plan to deal with the town’s waste and storm drainage water as well as approving an inclusive music festival planned for September.
The budget approval was mainly a formality after months of hearings, and other than one comment from a resident concerning a possible “rainy day fund,” it was a quick, 5-0 approval that took minutes.
But after the meeting, Springdale Mayor Stan Smith said looks could be deceiving, as the June 9 approval took place after a months-long process.
“Way back months ago, as we go through the budget, our departments had to go through the budget and massage it and say, ‘OK, this is what we think we need to have.’ And then we sit in there and that budget meeting is probably about three and a half, four hours,” Smith said. “And then they bring it back to us and we look at it and say, ‘OK, one more time. And then they come back and then finally arrives tonight.”
The budget is balanced between $5,292,587 in revenue and expenditures, a 14% increase from the 2020-21 fiscal year. The biggest increases went to the parks department (43% increase) with historic preservation seeing the only drop in budget (down 8%). It also includes $65,000 toward police vehicle purchase and equipment as well as an additional $50,000 going toward a community development vehicle.
Late in the meeting, the council discussed something normally unpopular among constituents: Increasing their pay. Though in this case, the council would increase the pay of its members and those of appointed positions like the Planning Commision from the present pay of zero dollars.
At this point, only Smith as mayor is paid, while the rest of the council and other appointed leaders of the town work on a volunteer basis. According to openthebooks.com, Smith was paid a salary of $4,917.12 in 2020 and the year before, or just over $400 per month.
“This is not something we’ve taken lightly,” council member Lisa Zumpft said during the meeting, to which fellow member Suzanne Elger replied, “We’re kind of the only one that doesn’t.”
According to openthebooks.com, the nearby towns and cities of Brian Head, Toquerville, Kanarraville, LaVerkin and Hurricane all pay their council members.
The council ended up voting unanimously 5-0 to have staff review possible monetary compensation and hold a public hearing on the matter on June 23.
Looking at water drainage
While the drought and how much water is around has been a hot topic in Southern Utah of late, the council looked to the future of how Springwater takes care of the water it is actually trying to get out of the way –- unanimously approving wastewater and stormwater master plans.
While not binding, the plans recommend improvements. However, Blaine Worrell of St. George-based Sunrise Engineering, which created the plans, told the council the town’s pipes are in good shape.
“They’re in pretty good shape and will be able to remain the same for several years,” Worrell said, “A lot of the pipes in the ground are old and been there since the 70s but have a lifespan of 40 to 100 years.”
Areas of concern were the phosphorus levels going into the Virgin River that Worrell said could go out of compliance with state regulations in five years.
Inclusive music festival gets go-ahead to rock in November
The council gave its blessing in a unanimous vote to provide a beer and alcohol permit for the Redrox Music Festival, to be held November 5 and 6 at the ballfield at Springdale Town Park.
The festival, in its 13th year, is coming to Springdale for the first time after previously being hosted in Salt Lake City and Torrey, Utah. It features independent female, transgender and gender-fluid artists and draws worldwide attendees.
The festival was to have made its Springdale debut last year before being postponed a year because of the pandemic.
The festival recently received a grant aimed at increasing LGBTQ visibility in the state.
Zumpft, a local arts council member known for her enthusiasm about music, was eager to hear the performers.
“I happen to be a musician myself, so I really love music,” Zumpft told St. George News, who nevertheless said the music is fine as long as they know there is a point when to turn it down. “ For those of us who live here, the sound bounces off this canyon. So we need to balance that out. I mean, I like music, but I also go to bed at 10 o’clock at night.”
Hearing the concerns, the festival’s co-director Liz Pitts told the council via the Zoom app that the festival will adhere with the town’s noise ordinance, shutting down at 8 p.m., with a last call for alcohol sales at 7:30 p.m. each night.
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