La Verkin City Council Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 6:00 p.m.

Council Chambers, 111 S. Main, LaVerkin, Utah


Present:  Mayor Pro Tem Richard Hirschi; Council-Members:  Ray Justice, Ken Hooten, Randy Reeve, and Chantelle Browning; Staff: Kyle Gubler, Derek Imlay, Troylinn Benson, Chief Ben Lee, and Christy Ballard; Public: Chief Tom Kuhlmann, John Valenti, Judy Abraham, Karl Benson, Rick Neilson and Jake Bulkley. 

Mayor Kerry Gubler and Kevin Bennett have been excused.


A.       Called to Order – Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance was given by Chantelle Browning at 6:00pm.    


B.     Recognition:

Rich Murset will be recognized at the next City Council meeting. 


C.     Presentation:

            Rick Neilson represents the Days of ’47 Dixie Celebration Committee.  The Governor wanted to make the celebration a statewide celebration, so last year was the inaugural celebration in Washington City.  This year the celebration has been extended from one day to the entire week of July 24th to try and include all of Southern Utah.  Mr. Neilson is going to each city in the County and asking if they would like to host an event for the celebration.  There is still time if La Verkin would like to host a game or booth this year or to consider either a cash or an in kind donation for next year’s Osmond Family, 3 day event.  Mr. Neilson passed out a spreadsheet of items/services needed and the cost.

If La Verkin would like to participate this year, his contact information is on the paper, if not, the Committee will be getting back with the City at the first of next year to see what has been decided.

The July 24th festivities will be held in Washington City.  He understands each city has their own Pioneer Day Celebration and they would like to invite them to participate in the Days of ‘47 Dixie.

The goal is to make this event a no cost, self-funded event. 


D.     Public Hearing:

1.      CDBG Grant Second Public Hearing

The public hearing was opened at 6:15pm.


Councilman Randy Reeve reported this hearing was called to allow all citizens to provide input concerning the project that was awarded under the 2015 Community Development Block Grant Program.  The City has amended its capital investment plan and decided to apply for funds on behalf of the

La Verkin City Fire House addition located at 305 North Main Street.  The project manager is Chief Tom Kuhlmann from the Hurricane Valley Fire District.  The application was successful in the regional rating and ranking process for the addition to the La Verkin Fire Station in the amount of $300,000.  The project will include the addition of one apparatus bay, office space and crew quarters for the La Verkin Fire Station. 

If anyone has questions, comments or suggestions during the hearing please identify yourselves by name, before speaking.  The clerk will include your names in the minutes and we would like to specifically respond to your questions and suggestions during the hearing. 

Are there any questions or suggestions?


Judith Abraham­-Congratulated the City for getting money that can be used while not costing the taxpayers anything.  She would like to see more of this. 


No further comments were made.

The public hearing was closed at 6:18pm.


E.     Consent Agenda:  (Items on the consent agenda may not require discussion.  These items will be a single motion unless removed at the request of the Mayor or City Council.)

1.      Declarations of conflict of interest

2.       Agenda

3.      Minutes: April 15, 2015 regular meeting minutes 

4.      Review Invoices and Checks:  $91,270.44

Motion was made by Councilman Ray Justice to approve the consent agenda as written including the April 15, 2015 regular meeting minutes and the checks and invoices in the amount of $91,270.44 second by Councilman Ken Hooten.  Roll Call Vote:  Reeve-yes, Hooten-yes, Justice-yes, Browning-yes. Motion carried unanimously. 


F.       Committee Reports:  

1.      Planning Commission-Councilman Hirschi reported the next meeting is next week. 

2.      Community Garden-There is a sign now.  It is a City project so anyone who would like to help will be able to have some vegetables. 

3.       Water Board- Has not met.

4.      Sewer Board-Councilman Hirschi reported the Superintendent is retiring, interviews have been completed and his replacement should be announced within the next two weeks.       

5.      Fire District-Nothing to report.


G.      Citizen Comment & Request for Future Agenda Items:

Mayor Pro Tem Councilman Richard Hirschi explained that the tentative budget is the first item of business and is for Council discussion.  If the public would like to comment on that, this would be the time. 


Karl Benson-The Council was given petitions concerning law enforcement at the last meeting, he would like to speak to that.  It is his personal opinion that the two primary functions of the municipality are public safety and maintaining the infrastructure.  He is not a fan of taxes; he spent 20 years in tax practice trying to get people to reduce taxes as much as he could. 

About a month ago, we heard another citizen say with the houses he is building he can’t get out of them what he is putting into them because of the reputation of La Verkin.  Mr. Benson’s house is in the same situation.  Part of that reputation is due to this area being a haven for criminals because of our lack of law enforcement.  There is also a considerable amount of blight throughout the City that needs to be corrected.  After looking at the budget, he noticed these are the items being cut and that concerns him.  What he is saying is, by holding a tight line on tax increases and tax income essentially, you’re taking money out of the pockets of the citizens of La Verkin in the form of decreased property value and decrease in the value of the community.  He would like the Councilmembers to seriously consider the petitions that they were given. 

Last fall the Planning and Zoning turned down a proposal to develop Donkey Hollow.  The primary reason was the plan had too much high density residential and that would help lower the property values in La Verkin and maintain the reputation we already have.  What the City Council is doing appears to be contrary to the direction the Planning and Zoning is trying to take of trying to increase the property values and making La Verkin a more desirable place to live.  

As you discuss the budget proposal for next year, please seriously consider the maintenance of the existing facilities and increasing the budget for law enforcement so this can be a better place to live.  He likes it here and would like to make it so other people would like to live here also.                          


H.    Business:

1.      2015-2016 FY Tentative Budget.

Kyle passed out an up to date tentative budget, the only thing different from the copy in the packet is the actuals.  There are page numbers missing, he left out the blank pages and the pages that have a zero budget balance.

Kyle went through the tentative budget. 

On page one the Transient Room Tax of $7,500 is a guess since this is the first time La Verkin has had a hotel.  The taxes are paid quarterly so next month should give us a better estimation. 

The RAP Tax is a guess as well. 

The Class C Roads Fund is the fund that will be affected by the gas tax increase.  The increase goes into effect on January 1, 2016.  The City may see one payment of that, this line does not include that. 

The Appropriation of Fund Balance is the “rainy day” fund.  This money has to be between 5%- 25% of our revenue.  Kyle was instructed by the Mayor and Council to show a continual decline in this line item.

Last year it was cut in half, this year was not as much but it has been proposed to use $50,000 of this fund for roads.  We could spend upwards of $180,000 this year in this fund but the instruction was to trend downwards and the auditor and accountant both agreed. 

The expenditures include a 2% COLA which he was instructed to do by Mayor and Council, this is the higher end of what was recommended and can be lowered.

All of the departments have been asked to be cautious with the money to help ensure the Appropriation of Fund balance declines. 

Elections have gone up this year because this year we have elections.

A main change in the Public Safety budget this year is; in the past Inspections has fallen under Public Safety but Public Works has always maintained it, so Inspections was removed from Public Safety’s budget, which makes it look like the police budget was decreased by the $89,000, which it hasn’t been.

The Street Improvements has been increased to $50,000 and that money is from the Appropriation of Fund balance.

Several bonds were paid off this year and two were refinanced.  The refinance alone has saved the City $20,000 this year. 

Line 4540.610 is Miscellaneous Expense and covers all of the events except Founders Day so more money (about $5,000) needs to be added to that line for Founders Day.  Kyle thinks he has found a way to cover that plus an additional $5,000 for somewhere else, perhaps Streets.


Councilman Ray Justice left at 6:47pm.


Line 4620.610 is an economic development payment to Site Select that recruits businesses to Washington County.   All of the cities participate and it has gone up from last year.  Kyle will be bringing a letter from Site Select concerning the increase to the next meeting.  The Council can opt out of their services but Kyle does not recommend doing that.  Businesses in St. George still benefit the citizens of La Verkin.


Councilman Hooten stated there are other dynamics involved in bringing business and industry to our community than just the economic development. Those dynamics are things the Council needs to consider if we want to attract more business and industry here.


Kyle mentioned a company interested in relocating to La Verkin has contacted the City, he will keep the Council updated.


Kyle continued going through the budget.

The Capital Improvements Fund will be the fund that handles the CDBG money. 

The Water Fund has a change under revenue.  State law requires the City bill themselves the same price as they charge the citizens for water used.  We will have more income next year but it is us paying ourselves. 

There is a transfer to the General Fund from the Water Fund.  It is the water’s portion of the Silver Acres bond.

The Sewer and Garbage Funds are pass-through accounts with small administrative fees.

The Irrigation Fund and the Drain Fund are the two funds the auditor strongly suggested a rate increase. 

This is something that will go to the Water Board and then come to the City Council. 

Derek is currently conducting a water audit on the secondary water and has found $2,000 of uncollected fees for water usage.


The drainage portion of the State Street project is approximately $11,000 and due July 15, 2015.  It can come either out of the budget being discussed or out of the current budget if available when we do the budget amendment. 


There was a discussion on the status of the drainage project.  There has been an issue come up and staff will be meeting with UDOT to deal with it. 


Councilman Reeve would like money added to the salary & wages for overtime for the crew that set up and take down Winterfest and Founders Day.  Flexing all the time is too hard.


Councilwoman Browning feels the Street Improvement budget needs to be at least double what is listed.  The only place she can see it come from is the Appropriation of Fund Balance.  She doesn’t like taking it from there but feels the farther behind we let the roads get is just money wasted. 


Kyle mentioned that would be a one-time only use.  Next year the money could not come from the Appropriation of Fund Balance. 


Councilman Hooten agreed with Councilwoman Browning and pointed out the condition of 300 West.  Fixing the road was on the priority list perhaps that is something that needs to be discussed.   


Kyle reported the Street Improvements is for maintenance only.  The project on 300 West would be a reconstruction project and would require the City to either save the money or get a bond.            


Motion was made by Councilman Ken Hooten to accept the 2015-2016 FY Tentative Budget and set the public hearing for June 3, 2015, second by Councilwoman Chantelle Browning.  Reeve-yes, Hooten-yes, Browning-yes.  Motion carried.


Kyle asked the Councilmembers if they all agreed with Councilwoman Browning in increasing the Street Improvement line with additional money from the Appropriation of Fund Balance and stated money cannot be taken from this line every year. 


The Councilmembers would like Kyle to have a new tentative budget with the suggested changes for the next meeting.   


2.      Discussion and possible action to ratify the Master Lease Agreement with Hinckley’s Inc. for the purchase of a police vehicle.

The vehicle that was approved earlier has been purchased and the agreement needs to be ratified.     


Motion was made by Councilman Ken Hooten to ratify the Master Lease Agreement with Hinckley’s Inc. for the purchase of the police vehicle, second by Councilwoman Chantelle Browning.   Reeve-yes, Hooten-yes, Browning-yes.  Motion carried.




I.       Staff, Mayor & Council Reports:

City Administrator- Kyle Gubler

Kyle emailed his report to the Councilmembers. 

Founders Day was a positive event for La Verkin City.  Mr. Murset did a great job heading the Committee.  He thanked the men who took pictures of the events, Dereks crew for all of their work and the Councilmembers, particularly Councilman Reeve, for heading up the breakfast and lunch.

Fourth Grade Foresters planted the tree.

This Friday the 5th graders will white wash the “L”.

Kyle attended the CDBG grant workshop for the upcoming firehouse project.  There is a lot of work involved with receiving the money.

Kyle will be meeting with an individual that claims he can help the City purchase the streetlights from RMP eliminating that monthly fee.

The budget amendment to fine tune the current budget will be presented at one of the meetings in June.        


Councilman Hooten suggested recognizing Davis Farmers Market for their contribution to Founders Day.


Public Safety- Chief Ben Lee

Thanked the Councilmembers for the new vehicle.

The Department has put together their mission statement.  Chief read that statement.

Animal Control sent a dog to Best Friends to get spade and while there, they realized she had a dislocated hip.  The vet noted that the dog was in pain and could not be adopted without first having a $600 surgery.

Because Animals Matter (BAM) has a fund used for sheltered animals to make them adoptable.  They fronted the money for the animal to have the surgery and she is in the process of being adopted out.  He wanted to thank BAM for their help.   

Toquerville would like to proceed with an annual $500 per month animal control contract.  That should be coming to the Council in the near future.

The department now offers vacation check.  If a citizen will be away for a period, they can request the police department do extra patrols.

Ross Fackler is the new Ordinance Officer.  He has made contact with several people to clean up their yards and has been having good success. 

The City Prosecutor, Marshall McConkie, is not going to renew his contract with the City at the end of June.  He did provide us with a name of someone who assists him.  Jim Weeks is a prosecutor for the Washington County Attorney’s office.  Chief has spoken with him and he is very interested in becoming our prosecutor.

March Stats-160 calls for service. April-181 calls for service.  This month there have been 15 traffic accidents, five of those were accident/injuries.  Most of them were related to the State Road construction.


Councilman Hooten asked how much workload the prosecutor for La Verkin has and wondered if Kevin would be able to take it on.


Chief did not have the exact number but didn’t think Kevin would have the time to do and mentioned it is a different type of law work.


There was a discussion on re-routing traffic if there is an accident on State Street.


Director of Operations-Derek Imlay

Derek meets with Interstate Rock and the other parties involved in the State Street Project every Tuesday.    The project is not on schedule.  They are hoping to start paving Tuesday of next week.  They will wait until school is out to work on Center Street.  All of the ramps are being torn out and replaced.

The street light issue is brought up every week, they have assured Derek they have gone out multiple times to adjust the light at Center Street but the situation hasn’t changed so he will continue to bring it up.  The accident situation of having nowhere to pull off has been discussed and they said they would get something figured out. 

When the project gets to the east side, traffic will be re-routed down 200 North because they are    completely re-doing 500 North.

The crew has been burning tumbleweeds on the Interstate Rock property behind Zion View Estates.  Technically this was the States issue because it’s their drainage ditch the tumbleweeds are in but we took care of it.

A couple weeks ago, some kids pulled out the wires connecting to a camera we have at the park    restrooms.  They also broke the sink in the boy’s bathroom and flooded the supply room with all of the paper products.  Altogether, it was over $1,000 worth of damage.  Thanks to Troylinn and Officer Bulkley, two sets of kids were identified.  One group admitted to pulling the wires out but no one has admitted to breaking the sink.  The parents of the children have been supportive of the police. 

The cameras have been updated so hopefully this will not happen again.


Councilman Hirschi asked about the status of Sunset View Estates. 


Derek explained the project has changed contractors.  The City is worried there may be issues with the new contractor so his information has been sent to DOPL (Division of Occupational Licensing) and we are just waiting on their verification that everything is in order.  The project is on hold until then. 


Councilman Hooten explained the sidewalk along the south side of Center Street was blocked while they were tearing out the sidewalk.  The crossing guards had no forewarning so the kids had to walk where there was no sidewalk.  He wondered if Derek could bring up the fact that IRP is not cooperating with the City.     


Treasurer-Troylinn Benson

Jennifer is graduating with her associates on Friday.

The budget meeting is the first Wednesday of the month at 10am.           


Browning-Mosquito Abatement meeting is tomorrow, she will report on that during the next meeting.      


Hirschi-Nothing further to report. 


Hooten- Asked the people present to talk to their neighbors and friends and remind them to be cautious of the children walking to and from school.  It is very frustrating for drivers at the intersection but the children need to be safe.       


Reeve-Thanked everyone that helped with Founders Day.  Will report on Solid Waste next meeting.                    

J.    Adjourn:

Motion was made by Councilman Ken Hooten to adjourn, second by Councilwoman Chantelle Browning.  Browning-yes, Hirschi-yes, Hooten-yes, Reeve-yes.  Motion carried unanimously at 7:43pm.


            Minutes were taken on behalf of the City Recorder by Christy Ballard.

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