La Verkin City Council Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 6:00 p.m.

Council Chambers, 111 S. Main, LaVerkin, Utah


Present:  Mayor Ken Hooten, Council Members:  Richard Hirschi, Steve Leavenworth, Chantelle Browning and Randy Reeve; Staff: Kyle Gubler, Kevin Bennett, Derek Imlay, Chief Ben Lee, Troylinn Benson and Christy Ballard; Public: Christy Webb, Judy Abraham, Sydnie Jensen, Ray Justice, Julie Crandall, David & Amber Crouse, Katie Bastian, Jerilyn Churchill and Mike Chandler. 


Councilmember Micah Gubler was excused. 


A.     Called to Order – Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance were given by Ben Lee at 6:00pm.


B.      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.       Minutes:  July 19, 2017 regular meeting

3.       Review Invoices and Checks:  $82,536.08

Motion was made by Councilman Richard Hirschi to approve the consent agenda as written, including the minutes of the July 19, 2017 regular meeting and checks and invoices in the amount of $82,536.08, second by Councilman Steve Leavenworth.  Roll Call Vote:  Reeve-yes, Leavenworth-yes, Hirschi-yes, Browning-yes.  Motion carried unanimously.


     C.  Committee Reports:  

1.      Planning Commission-Councilman Hirschi reported the planning commission did not have a meeting.  They should be reviewing a proposed vacation rental ordinance and possibly setting the public hearing for it at the next meeting.        

2.      Water Board- There has not been a meeting.        

3.      Sewer Board- Mike reported the District has been coordinating with public works department for the 400 North road project, the Sunset View subdivision and work in Confluence Park. 

They will be installing some metering and data collecting at the La Verkin pump station within the next month to get a baseline for the engineers and architects that will be working on the new treatment plant.  Once the treatment plant is in Confluence Park, the La Verkin pump station should no longer be necessary.  It will also extend the life of the lagoons by an additional 4-5 years at the current growth rate.  The time frame for the treatment plant is probably 2020.

The relationship with Colorado City has remained the same.  The District will help them if needed but they will continue running their own system. 

Mike had been contacted by both Leeds and Virgin who are interested in increasing their density.           

4.      Fire District-Councilman Hirschi reported the District will meet next week. 

Kyle stated Nichols Construction has been given notice to proceed on the remodel of the La Verkin fire station.   


      D.  Citizen Comment & Request for Future Agenda Items:

No comments were made. 


       E.  Public Hearing:

1.       Ordinances establishing, revising, and/or increasing the Salary Schedules for the City’s non-elective statutory officers and non-statutory officers and employees.

The public hearing opened at 6:13pm


Judith Abraham-Lives at 120 N 100 E.  She has lived in La Verkin approximately nine years and has volunteered as a secretary for the police department for two and a half years.  In that time, she has seen three great officers leave the department for better paying jobs. 

She can’t speak for the other departments but feels she can speak for the police department.  The officers put their lives on the line every day.  They have extensive education and always have continuing education.  The other city employees don’t do those things.  The Councilmembers probably wouldn’t stay at a job that had no ability to make more money.    

This change is not for everyone to get immediate raises.  It gives the department head the ability to grant a raise in pay for other reasons.  For example, her son lives in Groveland Florida.  A small farming community with 10,000 residents.  They have 24 patrol officers, 1 Chief and 1 assistant officer.  That does not include the clerical staff. 

La Verkin has 4-5,000 residents with only 2 officers and a Chief. 

All she hears is talk and doesn’t see any action. 

Vote for these ordinances, to give the City and police department a chance.


Dave Crouse-He is a resident of La Verkin City.  The topic of police wages always comes up.  He has a little experience with almost 18 years in law enforcement.  He is a former employee of the La Verkin Police Department.  Fifteen years ago, when he wanted to be a patrol officer, he began his career with the City.  He worked here for 3 years and enjoyed himself.  He worked some great cases and developed a great relationship with the citizens but had to leave La Verkin to go to a department where he had a better opportunity and could make a career.  He doesn’t look back at that as a bad thing but now as the administrator of another local department he looks at it and sees a common theme for all law enforcement. Two things, recruitment and retention.  How do you recruit quality employees and once you have them how do you retain them?  That is a challenge right now.  He has worked side by side over the years with officers from the La Verkin Police Department and you get what you pay for.  He has seen former officers, not under the current administration, arrested and charged with felony charges who did gross misconduct on duty and no action was taken.  If you are going to pay people what they deserve, the salaries they earn, you will retain quality employees.

The loyalty we grew up with no longer exists.  People don’t stay with an agency because that’s who gave them their break.  We are dealing with millennials and other personality types that no longer have that sense of loyalty.  What they look at is the bottom dollar.  He is dealing with employees leaving every week at his department.  They haven’t stopped hiring in years. 

Right now, La Verkin has a Department that has been great.  He no longer feels, as a citizen, that he must protect his neighbors.  He can rely on the police force to do so. 

The training that goes in to an officer is ongoing.  You can always go with the concept of starting with new officers and pay the bottom dollar but you are going to spend thousands of dollars in training to give them the skills necessary to properly do their job.  Then they become a candidate for another department, they are the qualified employee.  So, when you have a qualified employee, it is important you take the steps to ensure they remain employed with your City.


Mayor Hooten thanked everyone for their comments. 


The public hearing closed at 6:19pm


2.       A request for certain nonmonetary assistance for and/or the waiver of certain required fees to be paid by the La Verkin Community Theater, a 501(c)3 nonprofit entity, for FYE 2018 for limited use of the City’s gym, kitchen/concession, hallway, and restroom facilities located at 111 South Main Street.

The public hearing opened at 6:20pm


Christy Webb-She has run the La Verkin Community Theater for 15 years.  She thanked the City for the ability they have had to have their productions here.  They have touched a lot of people and have had a lot of people through their doors. 

She has seen little children from their plays grow up to be adult actors or accomplish things because of the help they received from participating in the productions.

Hopefully they have made an impact in La Verkin with their theater, it has been a great experience.  The Theater has grown and continues to grow.  They have several grants in the works and different things they are trying to get up and running to become a full-fledged theater in La Verkin. 

She knows some of the years have been rocky and there have been hurtles but there has also been great successes and community unity through the theater and Winterfest, etc. 

She expressed her gratitude for all the City has done for the theater.


Julie Crandall-She was a theater major and due to health issues had to drop out.  Later, she was active in community theater in Colorado.  When she moved here in November a friend suggested she join the La Verkin Community Theater, so she did.  She has a medical background that is insane and this has given her a purpose.  It has made a huge difference in her life.  She is now the vice president.  The City has been awesome to work with and she would appreciate any help the City could give the theater. 

The theater has made such a difference in her life, she would like to not only keep it going but build it.                            


Jerilyn Churchill-She commented on the impact the theater has made to the children of the community.  She has been acting with the La Verkin Community Theater for about 11 years and has really enjoyed it.  The best part has been seeing the kids grow up in the theater and move on to professional theater.  It is an opportunity for children to learn and grow in the theater.  To act for the first time when no one else may have given them a chance.  She thanked the Council for that. 


Katie Bastian-Her son has been in several productions and it has made a huge impact in his life.  The theater has changed his life.  It has given him a place to go and a reason for him to continue to pursue his passions.  She is grateful the City has given the community this platform.  


The public hearing closed at 6:25pm


F.  Business:

1.       Discussion and possible action to approve Ordinance No. 2017-08; An ordinance establishing, revising, and/or increasing the salary schedules for and relating to the City’s non-elective statutory officers.

Mayor Hooten explained this ordinance deals with the salary range for the city treasurer and the city recorder. 


Motion was made by Councilman Richard Hirschi to approve Ordinance No. 2017-08; An ordinance establishing, revising, and/or increasing the salary schedules for and relating to the City’s non-elective statutory officers, second by Councilman Steve Leavenworth.  Roll Call Vote:  Browning-yes, Hirschi-yes, Leavenworth-yes, Reeve-yes.    Motion carried unanimously. 


2.       Discussion and possible action to approve Ordinance No. 2017-09; An ordinance establishing, revising, and/or increasing the salary schedules for and relating to the City’s non-statutory officers and employees.

 Mayor Hooten explained this item was the topic for the work meeting held before this meeting and much of the discussion went on during that meeting. 


Councilman Reeve stated he feels the ordinance is needed.  It is not the City Council’s job to tell the directors what to pay their employees and how to run their departments.  As a Council, they are setting the range so the directors have the flexibility.  It doesn’t change the budget, it will still be tight and the same restraints are still there. 


Councilwoman Browning said she feels this was long overdue and is glad it is happening.  She would like to see a streamlined way of giving raises, whether it be number of years on the job or certifications, across all departments.

            Because most of the public comments were directed to the police department, she hopes we don’t put ourselves in the same position as before when we didn’t have a police department because it got too big too fast.  Hopefully this will give the City the flexibility to be competitive but also keep in mind La Verkin is unique in the fact there is not a lot of tax base money.                   


Motion was made by Councilman Steve Leavenworth to approve Ordinance No. 2017-09, An ordinance establishing, revising, and/or increasing the salary schedules for and relating to the City’s non-statutory officers and employees, second by Councilman Randy Reeve.  Roll Call Vote:  Reeve-yes, Leavenworth-yes, Hirschi-yes, Browning-yes.  Motion carried unanimously.    


Mayor Hooten explained the La Verkin Community Theater request will be decided at the next regular City Council meeting.  He is a strong supporter of community theater, it is a wonderful asset to the community.    


G.  Staff, Mayor & Council Reports: City Administrator, Public Safety, Director of Operations, Treasurer, Mayor and Council as follows:

City Administrator-Kyle reported the final water day of the year will be August 4th.

The Washington County Fair ribbon cutting ceremony will be August 9th

The 300 West Street Project is ahead of schedule.  It should be completed by August 18th

The Beautification Committee is interested in improving the “L”. 


Public Safety-Chief Lee thanked Lieutenant Crouse and the County for their assistance.  There have been several substantial cases recently they have assisted the Department with.

There have been 81 calls for service over the past 2 weeks.

Two of our part time officers were let go so we continue to hire for those part time positions.

Officer Hendry hit his 5-month mark and is doing very well.  He assisted the County in a call in Toquerville.  

There has been an increase of traffic accidents over the past few weeks.           


Director of Operations­-Derek reported the City is averaging two culinary water breaks a day. 

He clarified on comments made earlier in the meeting that the Water Department also requires constant training and certification.  If the Department does not meet certain State certification requirements the State will take over the water in La Verkin.  Also, there is a major health risk from the Chlorine used in managing a water system. 

Statistically more public works employees die than police department employees. 

The public works department works in trenches with high-pressured water lines and high-pressured gas lines so there is a risk involved. 

There is about $10,000 worth of asphalt patching so far from all the water breaks. 


Mayor Hooten mentioned he hoped comments made tonight did not reflect negatively on his operation.  He agrees with Derek; the public works department is out on very hot days working in a hole that has to be hotter than up top and that in and of itself is a dangerous situation.  He is also aware of the certifications required and recommended he talk with Mike Chandler with Ash Creek SSD about what his team did in that regard as far as incentives.

He agrees with Councilwoman Browning that the City does need to address, in the future, things like step and grades. 

He is on Derek’s side and appreciates the wonderful job his crew is doing.  Derek would be happy to take the Councilmembers around the community to show them the depth of Derek’s responsibility and the enormity of trying to keep up with it.             


Treasurer-Troylinn reported the audit is scheduled for September 2nd

Everyone in the administration goes through training each year and has certifications they are required to have. 


Mayor Hooten commented that the departments need to work together and not against each other.  He was able to attend training that explained the benefits, both personally and as a company, of learning to focus on outward thinking instead of inward thinking.  


Mayor Hooten-He appreciates the job that everyone at the City is doing.  He was involved in the hiring of Lisia, the utility billing clerk.  She is doing an outstanding job, the perception she leaves with the public is outstanding. 

Derek’s crew does a wonderful job also.

The City partnered with the LDS Church for the Pioneer Day/Founders Day Celebration.  It was very successful and a wonderful way to celebrate our history.  


Browning-The Salt Lake City area has reported that several pools tested positive for the West Nile Virus.  There have been no positive reports in Washington County.  The challenge here has been the heat and increased service calls to residential areas.


Hirschi-Nothing to report but appreciates the employees of the City.         


Leavenworth-He too appreciates the City employees and all the unsung things that each person does to help make

La Verkin a great place to be. 


Reeve-Nothing to report.


H.  Adjourn:

Motion was made by Councilman Randy Reeve to adjourn, second by Councilman Richard Hirschi.  Hirschi-yes, Browning-yes, Leavenworth-yes, Reeve-yes.  Motion carried at 6:52pm.



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

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