Beautiful splotchy lawns in Blanding

by Kara Laws . “A beautiful lawn is a brown, splotchy lawn,” Mayor Joe B Lyman told the Blanding City Council on July 10, “Brown and splotchy is the new green.”
Storms in recent days are the first consistent source of rain almost all year. The Council spent most of their meeting discussing what could be done. Currently, the city is pumping from wells to supply the water that is needed and to prevent water usage from completely draining the reservoirs.
Starvation Reservoir is sitting at less than half of what it held at this time last year. Dry Wash has been drained to its minimum level, and the Third Reservoir only holds 30 acre feet more that the city can pull from. The Fourth Reservoir remains the most significant source of water, but also sits approximately 800 acre feet lower than in previous years.
The council all agreed that with the Fourth of July over, the city will begin to dramatically decrease it’s own water usage, starting with embracing the brown and splotchy lawn.
Parks and Recreation Director David Palmer reports that while the lawns in the parks are still decent, he is monitoring water use. Palmer is not aiming for perfect grass, just barely passable grass.
He assured council that he is doing what he can to keep the recreation department “conscientious of the water situation.”
The Council expressed the desire for all residents to join in cutting back on water usage wherever they can.
In other news, the Council discussed the proposed rate increases on the San Juan County Landfill.
Mayor Lyman drafted a letter to the San Juan County Commission about the 47 percent rate increase that is proposed by the landfill district. Mayor Lyman said Blanding City residents will carry the burden of this increase, writing, “this large increase is just too much to bear for our residents.”
City Manager Jeremy Redd said the reason for the increase is because the landfill is short on project funding by $400,000 this year and is estimated to be short $2.5 million in the next 10 years.
The Council generally agreed that a miscalculation on the county’s part should not be the burden of Blanding City residents. Redd suggested that landfill rates should have been 20 percent higher over the last 20 years, rather than 47 percent higher suddenly. Redd said that while he understands the debacle that the county finds itself in, he too sees issues for Blanding City residents.
A major concern is the increase to dumping rates at the Transfer Station. Mayor Lyman speculated that the increase may result in its closure. He also expressed concern that forcing the Transfer Station to close would increase illegal dumping around the city.
The increase will result in a minimum $2 monthly rate increase to residents, as well as any other rate increases needed to keep the Transfer Station open.
“You can’t go back and plan better,” Redd said, but expressed his agreement that the proposal is not the best solution.
In other news, Councilman Robert Turk expressed appreciation to those who helped with the Fourth of July activities. He said he found good people and let them do their work. “It was a tremendous team effort.”
The Council said the parade and fireworks were exceptional this year. Turk also specifically mentioned the American flag that Kelly Pugh painted across the grass at Centennial Park, the large turnout of floats in the parade, and his joy that Kay and Ila Johnson were able to open the parade, despite health issues.
The Fourth of July continues to grow each year. The Council briefly mentioned that something will need to be done about parking and admitted that they need to manage their float candy a little better.

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