La Verkin City Council Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 6:00 p.m.

Council Chambers, 111 S. Main, LaVerkin, Utah


Present:  Mayor Pro Tem Ken Hooten, Council Members:  Chantelle Browning, Micah Gubler and Randy Reeve; Staff: Derek Imlay, Kevin Bennett, Chief Ben Lee, and Christy Ballard; Public: John Valenti, Mike Chandler, Shay, Talon & Lexi Jolley, Ray Justice, Debbie, Jason & James Grygla, Natasha Meehleib, Karen, Kirstin & Becky Douglas, Tyson Layton, and Clair & Anna May Oliphant. 


Councilman Richard Hirschi and Troylinn Benson have been excused.  


A.       Called to Order – Invocation was given by Talon Jolley and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Tyson Layton at 6:00pm.  


Chief Lee introduced Mark Hendry.  He is the new full time police officer.  Mark had been working part time for

La Verkin Police Department. 

Chief Lee also introduced the new part time police officer, JJ Ray.


Kyle Gubler swore in Officer Mark Hendry.  


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten read Mayor Kerry T. Gubler’s letter of resignation, effective immediately.


Kyle Gubler explained the process of replacing a mayor.  The vacancy will be advertised beginning Monday, April 10, 2017 and the City Council will interview all candidates and fill the vacancy during the regular city council meeting on May 3, 2017.   Kyle will receive the declaration of candidacy forms through the end of business on Friday, April 21, 2017. 

Kyle then went over the procedure if a councilmember runs for the mayor position.  If a current councilmember is elected mayor, they will relinquish their position and will finish out the Mayor’s term (December 2017).  Once that term is over they do not resume their position on the council.  Someone will fill their vacancy for the remainder of 2017 and the election will have a two-year councilmember position added to the ballot.

The Mayor Pro Tem will be the acting Mayor until the May 3, 2017 meeting.     


B.        Presentation:

1.       HHS Swim Team donation-Jason Grygla

Jason Grygla is a member of the Parent and Citizen Committee appointed by Hurricane High School to find a way to bring the swim team back to the High School. They have been working with Hurricane and surrounding communities with students currently on the swim team trying to accomplish that. 

Kirstin Douglas is the swim team captain and read her request to the Councilmembers (see exhibit A).  The swim team has been combined with the Washington City swim team in practicing.  Hurricane has agreed to let them use the Hurricane pool and pay for 2/3 of the cost for pool covers needed to keep the pool warm enough for spring practice.  The swim team is asking for donations from the other communities to cover the remaining 1/3.  They would like La Verkin to pay $1,000. 


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten explained the Council was not able to take any action on this item but would consider it and get back with them.       

2.       St. George to Springdale Public Transit Feasibility Study

Myron Lee is the director of Dixie MPO, a transportation planning organization that incorporates the eight cities in the urbanized area around St. George. 

Kyle asked him to explain to the City Council the study overseen by the Transit Steering Committee for the feasibility of putting in a transit line connecting St. George to Springdale.  The study was completed over a 12-18-month period.  The transit line would service individuals working in Springdale as well as the tourists.

Visitors to Zion are already prepared to take a shuttle bus into the Park so this would simply serve to spread the parking lot over La Verkin, Hurricane, Washington, or St. George.  They could park and take a bus.  The consultant advised this was something very viable.  The set-up cost would be approximately one million dollars and would take one million dollars per year to keep it running.  The study conducted a ridership forecast which determined the idea would take a couple of years to catch on but once it did, the large busses would be filled multiple times a day with stops along the way. 

The question then became how to pay for it.  The Utah State Legislature passed a bill that allows the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) to bond for one billion dollars.  That money will be used to accelerate construction projects on their priority list and unmet needs list. 


Mr. Lee passed out the portion of the bill that states the clause which allows UDOT to use 100 million dollars of that money as “transportation improvements as prioritized by the Transportation Commission for projects that meet two criteria”.  The language was created with three congestion bottlenecks specifically in mind, according to upper management of UDOT, Zion National Park was one of those three. 

The Transit Steering Committee has recommended 6-7 million dollars for the transit line to get it started and operating for about 5 years with the hope it would be self-sustaining at that point.  UDOT has said they are considering everything and would like to see what the public thinks, particularly as represented by elected officials. 

The question was asked at the Transit Steering Committee meeting if the elected officials in the various jurisdictions from Springdale to St. George would support this kind of application for funding. 

            Mr. Lee reported Fred Davies with Suntran is very interested in the study and thinks the line could become sustainable after five years. 

After comparing this transit line to transit lines that offer similar services, it was determined that with a $20 fee each way to ride the bus for visitors and a $30 monthly pass for locals it would generate sufficient fares to use for the match required for various federal transit grants.

If the transit system does come to fruition, during the fourth year, the community leaders and planners would need to determine if additional money would be required and/or decide whether to continue the program.

            The Transit Steering Committee would like to know if the Councilmembers and their constituents would support an application like that and if so, would they be willing to make a public declaration to the Transportation Commission. 


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten mentioned the Director of Zion National Park spoke to the Council about the issue they have with the number of visitors they are getting and the different ways they are considering to handle the situation and hopes this Committee is working with him also. 

He feels the transit system would be a very viable way for people to get into the Park and is in favor of the program.   

However, before the Council could endorse the program, they would need to discuss it with the City Attorney.


Councilwoman Browning asked Mr. Lee about the cons of the program.


Mr. Lee replied the two main cons are money and public support.  A public transit system would not be viable without public support.  If you have the public support, generally the money will follow.


The Transportation Commission meets April 13 and 14 to consider the proposals they have received so Mr. Lee would like the letters of support by then. 


Councilman Gubler asked if property was going to be purchased for the expanded parking lots and if increasing the number of gates to Zion National Park was an option.  He also said there are a lot of people that live in the area that do work in Springdale.      


Mr. Lee explained that would need to be coordinated with each city along the line.  Where the stops would be, who would own, and who would maintain the parking lots.

The startup money would include purchasing the busses and some right of way purchases.

The money could be used to expand the entrance however, Zion National Park is already planning to do that.


Kyle mentioned the busses will go both ways so if someone needed to get to St. George they could use the transit system. 


Councilman Reeve commented he feels the fee for visitors is too high but the fee for locals is great. 


Mr. Lee said there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, this is the first step but the Committee is confident they would fill up 5-10 busses per day taking people to Zion.  One of the things they will do is coordinate bus schedules with work schedules for commuter trips.


Councilman Reeve stated he thinks a transit system could benefit the community but would like to read the study before making his final decision. 


Kevin pointed out the item is a presentation only and it appears Mr. Lee was looking for a decision.  The other issue Kevin pointed out was support means different things.  What kind of support was Mr. Lee looking for and lastly, it was a year ago the Council was asked to support a transportation tax which they did not want to sponsor because of the concern of increasing costs for people.  With nothing to review, he is not sure the Council should take any action on this item.


Mr. Lee stated the Transportation Commission will be meeting Thursday and Friday next week to consider the proposals given to them.  After the proposals have been considered there will be a 30-day public comment period.  If they continue to hear positive reviews, the Transit Steering Committee intends to put together a letter of support citing the Feasibility Study as their documentation of something that would be viable.  

At some point the Transportation Commission will be looking for a level of commitment from the elected officials so yes, at some point, he would like a letter from the City that says they think it is a good thing.


Kevin asked what level of support was Mr. Lee looking for.


Mr. Lee said he understands the City needs to do what the City needs to do but wanted the Councilmembers to understand without support for the application of the funding they will probably not get it.  The Commission does not want to approve something communities will fight against. 


Councilman Gubler clarified with Mr. Lee that the support was for acquiring the funding to start the project and after four-five years we would know if it was self-sustaining or how far short it was and determine if the project should continue.

He would support it.


Councilman Reeve stated he would support the idea.  He would support the application if there were no addenda added to it.  He is not in support of La Verkin needing to contribute cash or property.            


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten feels the fee structure should be looked at. 


Councilwoman Browning is in favor of the idea but hesitant financially.


Kevin suggested either putting this item on a future agenda for action or having a letter of support come from the Mayor and not the City Council. 


The Councilmembers agreed a letter from the Mayor was fine.    


3.       Playground equipment shade covering-Kyle Gubler

Kyle introduced the Cub Scout pack attending the meeting.  They have come up with some ideas for the playground equipment being too hot.  Kyle read their suggestions to the Councilmembers. 

Kyle had contacted the installation company and the poles installed will not be strong enough to attach a covering. 

Kyle passed out a copy of the different options and pricing given to him by the playground company.  The salesman explained most cities do not install the coverings because it doubles the cost.  School Districts are in a different situation because they send the children out to the equipment, cities provide them as an option. 

It is the Councilmembers decision but his opinion, as the City Administrator, is to look at the possibility of covering future equipment but not cover the existing equipment.   


C.     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:  March 1, 2017 regular meeting minutes

Motion was made by Councilman Micah Gubler to approve the consent agenda including the minutes of March 1, 2017 as written, second by Councilman Randy Reeve.  Roll Call Vote:  Browning-yes, Gubler-yes, Reeve -yes, Hooten-yes.  Motion carried unanimously.


D.      Committee Reports:  

1.      Planning Commission-There has not been a meeting.   

2.      Water Board- No meeting.    

3.      Sewer Board-Derek reported Ash Creek SSD has completed installation of the irrigation lines in Confluence Park.  They are also on schedule to redo a portion of the sewer line for both the 300 West Road Project and the 400 North Road Project.      

4.      Fire District-No one present to report.    


E.      Citizen Comment & Request for Future Agenda Items:

No comments were made.


F.      Business:

1.       Discussion and possible action to approve Resolution No. R-2017-07; A resolution indicating the City’s intent to consider adjustment of a portion of its common boundaries with Toquerville City, and authorizing a public hearing whereby the City Council will receive public input and comment regarding the same.

Kevin explained Toquerville City is handling the boundary adjustment.  They have already adopted the resolution.  A plat should have been prepared but it did not get done so the Bringhursts submitted a deed showing the .33 acres leaving La Verkin and moving into Toquerville.  This section of the property can only be serviced through Toquerville. 

This resolution states the intention of the City Council to adjust the boundary and to hold a public hearing at least 60 days from this date.  That date will be included in the resolution.        

Motion was made by Councilman Randy Reeve to approve Resolution No. 2017-07, a resolution indicating the City’s intent to consider adjustment of a portion of its common boundaries with Toquerville City, and authorizing a public hearing on June 7, 2017 whereby the City Council will receive public input and comment regarding the same, second by Councilman Micah Gubler.  Browning-yes, Hooten-yes, Gubler-yes, Reeve-yes.  Motion carries.   


2.       With regard to the 300 West Road Improvement Project, discussion and possible action to:   

a.       Authorize going out to bid on the Project

b.       Approve the proposed La Verkin City 300 West Road Improvement Construction Drawings

c.       Approve the language and content of the bid specifications and contract documents.

Motion was made by Councilman Micah Gubler to authorize, with regard to the 300 West Road Project, going out to bid, approve the La Verkin City 300 West Road Improvement Construction Drawings, and approve the language and content of the bid specifications and contract documents, second by Councilwoman Chantelle Browning.  Browning-yes, Hooten-yes, Gubler-yes, Reeve-yes.  Motion carried.


3.       Presentation and discussion on a La Verkin City Employee Wellness Incentive Program.

Kyle was tasked by some of the Councilmembers to present some ideas about employee wellness. 

Anytime Fitness is a local gym that agreed to offer the City a corporate rate for full time employees and their spouse. 

La Verkin City would pay the fee of $20 for the employee if they attended the gym a minimum of 12 times a month.  If they attend 6 times, the City would deduct $10 from their paycheck.  Payment for the spouse would come out of the employees check with no minimum visit requirement.  The employee could opt in or out of the program at the beginning of each month. 

If employees want to go to a different gym or exercise on their own for at least 30 minutes,12 times a month and could show proof, they would receive a $20 bonus.

The City Manager of Washington City said he would be willing to consider a reduced membership fee for the Washington City Rec Center.   

            This item was discussed at the last managers training he attended.  Cities are trying to do something to combat the rising cost of insurance.   


The Councilmembers were all in favor of this wellness program.        

G.     Mayor & Council Reports:

Mayor Pro Tem Hooten thanked Christy Ballard for the work she does for the City.


Browning-Employee wages was a topic she wanted on an agenda and it hasn’t been. 


Kyle explained he does have something ready but it has never been put on an agenda. 

Mayor Gubler had discussed a review committee with Councilmembers Gubler and Reeve.  Kyle would like to do that with any two Councilmembers. 

There are some concerns with how the report is structured but it is available for review if the Councilmembers are interested.


Councilwoman Browning expressed her frustration in how her agenda requests have been handled.      


Mayor Pro Tem Hooten mentioned employee wage is a topic of interest to people outside of the City Council as well. 

He also knows there was some frustration on how to compare positions. 


Gubler-Nothing to report but he was willing to review the employee wages.


Reeve-He was willing to review employee wages also. 


Kyle said the concern is with job description.  That is what needs to be reviewed. 

He passed out a tentative schedule for the budget.  The tentative budget should be ready by the next city council meeting.

La Verkin received 10 years with Tree City USA.


Councilwoman Browning asked the status of vacation rentals with the planning commission. 


Kevin reported the Commissioners had a public input meeting.  Out of the 16 people that attended 15 spoke in favor of vacation rentals and one gentleman had mixed feelings. 

The Commissioners are discussing possible percentage limits. 


H.  Adjourn:

Motion was made by Councilwoman Chantelle Browning to adjourn, second by Councilman Micah Gubler.  Browning-yes, Hooten-yes, Gubler-yes, Reeve-yes.  Motion carried unanimously at 7:33pm.



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

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