Monticello City Council addresses Bears Ear issues
by Eric Niven
It has been almost a month since the last meeting of the Monticello City Council, but in that time several important and controversial topics have arisen. They were discussed at the January 10 meeting of the council.
Local business owner Tyler Hall appealed to the Council to consider a poll to determine how Monticello residents feel about the Bears Ears National Monument.
Hall said Senator Mike Lee stated that major support for the Monument came from outside San Juan County, and the residents of the county were ignored.
Hall contends that the elected officials taking a stand against the Monument have their hands tied because they have no statistical evidence of how residents of Monticello actually feel about the Monument.
Hall proposed that Monticello and other communities in San Juan County poll residents to “provide elected officials with the numbers to answer the question in Washington of what the true voice of San Juan County is.”
Councilman Blaine Nebeker said he believed the issue should be left up to the elected officials. Nebeker cited a proclamation of the Council which opposed the Monument.
Council members expressed a variety of opinions, but the conclusion was that due to cost, logistics, possible bias, and more, polling Monticello residents is not an option. Suggestions from the public included doing a Gallup poll or involving a university in creating a poll.
Another topic that energized the council was an unexpected $9,500 bill to replace the engine in a city vehicle.
City Manager Ty Bailey reports that although the vehicle was under warranty and the maintenance schedule was adhered to, specific information required for the warranty was incomplete, and the warranty was denied.
Council members asked why the paperwork is incomplete. Bailey confirmed that the scheduled maintenance was followed, but the records were incomplete and the City would have to budget for the loss. “This is a hard earned lesson,” said Councilman George Rice.
Bailey requested the Council explore the possibility of participating in a H-2B Petition for Seasonal Employees, which provides for non-citizen workers with work permits to come to Monticello for seasonal work.
“The issue is getting the golf course ready. Most of the work required for this takes place before and after school lets out,” said Bailey.
City Recorder Cindi Holyoak explained that the program is “like a federal government temp agency.” The Council approved exploring the option.
Other issues addressed at the meeting include revisiting the city priority list for Community Impact Board projects, ratifying an amendment to allow annual payments to the San Juan Water Conservancy District, praising the holiday decorations and thanking city employees who have been writing grants.