Blanding City Council cancels elections, hears from fine arts council

by David Boyle
News Director
Members of the Blanding City Council canceled the city elections and heard a presentation from Kigalia Fine Arts at their latest meeting.
At their October 24 meeting, members of the Blanding city council voted to cancel city elections. While the city originally had five candidates for three seats, the withdrawal of candidacy by two candidates means just three candidates will be vying for the three seats.
Candidate Kendall Laws withdrew his candidacy in September. The other candidate who withdrew from the race was Trenton Herring. Herring was recently appointed as the Blanding City Manager by Mayor Logan Monson, members of the city council approved that appointment by vote pending final approval of a contract.
As a result, incumbents Christopher Ewald and Kellen Nielson will retain their seats on the council. Incumbent Len Gasser did not file to seek re-election, his seat will be filled by candidate Charlie Taylor starting in January 2024.
Members of the council also heard from Ellen Horiuchi Williams of the Kigalia Fine Arts Council. Williams highlighted the work of the nonprofit to bring quality artistic programming to Blanding. Noting that bringing acts to San Juan County is not free as the council pays appearance fees, advertising, and royalty fees for their programming. Williams shared that the volunteer effort is done in hopes of enhancing the community.
“We want a town that is vibrant, livable, and where the quality of life is excellent. Kigalia’s mission is to add to all of this. We have a Season that we worked hard at all year, we have seven events and we charge $80 for a family. Sounds big, divide seven into $80 you get a little over $11 per family, not individual, per family. We are trying very hard to present something to the community.”
Williams asked that the city include promotion of free Kigalia Fine Arts that run alongside city events, such as the Independence Day celebration, Fall Festival, and other city-promoted events. 
Williams also shared that as their organization pursues grant funding opportunities they are often asked about where else they are looking for money. Members of the city council thanked Williams for her work and encouraged the Kigalia Fine Arts Council to return to the city council in February when the city begins its budgeting process.
At the meeting members of the Blanding City Council also approved the 400-page multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan. The plan was developed by the county and sets out to identify the county’s hazards as well as solutions to reduce threats to life and property.
The plan was adopted by the county commission at its previous meeting and is being adopted by city and town councils across the county.

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