Monticello City Council talks water project request, Hideout, public noticing
by David Boyle
Members of the Monticello city council heard a proposal to pipe water to Monticello College, approved an update to public noticing, and received an update from the Hideout golf pro at their latest meeting.
At the May 23 meeting members of the Monticello city council heard a report from Hideout golf course general manager Jeff Simon.
Simon reported that the course is open for play, although the late winter weather delayed opening by 20 days. “Weather didn’t help us, we had a lot of stuff to fix and the weather didn’t help us.”
Simons reported the course has had some improvements in irrigation, including finishing a project that’s been out for two years. The course has several more irrigation projects that will take some time. Despite those challenges, Simons says the course is in a better state now than it was at this stage last year.He also shared he wasn’t a fan of the city reorganizing to have the golf course crew also take care of city parks as he says the course needs a lot of attention, especially at this time of year.
This year the course has raised rates. Simons reported he hasn’t heard any complaints from those purchasing single rounds of golf, but they have heard some irritation from season pass holders. The course has sold 90 season passes under their past two years of 120-130 passes as some golfers have said they’re holding off to see the condition of the course.
Simons also reported the course's new carts are anticipated to arrive closer to the end of the season. He thanked the many volunteers of the clean-up day and asked if the clubhouse could hang a banner to recognize the Monticello High girl's golf team 1A state championship. The course is ready to begin a busy season with eight days of tournaments this June.
Members of the Monticello city council passed a resolution to amend all public notice requirements for the City.
City code previously required a notice of time and place of public hearings be published in newspapers within the area for at least 14 days before the date of a hearing. The revision to city code by the council matches state code requirements.
Under the old code, the 14-day requirement began when the notice was published in the newspaper. With the updated code that 14 day period will begin when the notice is published online.
City manager Kaeden Kulow explained the change was to help keep the city on-time for required subdivision code changes by the state legislature.
“We are asking that we use this resolution to adjust that so that we still list it in the paper but the clock starts on the day it goes on the public noticing website.”
At the meeting members of the council also heard a presentation by Monticello College regarding an ordinance exemption request to pipe untreated water to their campus. In following discussion the council determined they needed more answers before such a project could move forward.
The off-grid Monticello College campus is located on 82 acres west of city limits and has been in full operation since 2016. Co-found and President of Monticello College Shannon Brooks addressed the council about the need for secondary water as Monticello College currently hauls secondary water purchased from the city, a practice that Brooks says is time intensive, costly, laborious, and unsustainable.
Monticello College proposed tying into the city secondary line about 900 feet above their property line right before it crosses from the south to the north side of north creek road.
Monticello College asked the city for an exemption to their ordinance that restricts the sale of water to non-city residents, so it could meter secondary water usage.
While the college currently uses 198,000 gallons of water per year they project at capacity to use 732,000 gallons of water per year which they reported is .004% of the city's annual use of 180 million gallons of water per year.
The project includes a six-phase plan to create the capacity to store 400,000 gallons of water on site; the report also estimated $800 of monthly water revenue for the city.
Brooks outlined three benefits to the city from Monticello College including the organization's goal to be the leading soil regenerative institution in southern Utah by 2028, incorporating new agriculture science to optimize the production of soils.
Brooks also shared that Monticello College is an economic base enterprise, with out-of-county money coming into the city including an estimated $15,000 in local revenue during conferences as the school plans to grow to host four to six annual events.
Brooks said that Monticello has its own residential college emphasizing the support of local revenue when it reaches its full capacity, with an emphasis on local food production and food security, and classes and workshops offered to the community.
Monticello city council member and city public works employee George Rice expressed concerns about the logistics of connecting Monticello College to the city's collection system. Rice noted the collection system already has issues keeping clear of debris and had concerns about how the city would be able to meter the line. Rice also shared concerns about the consistency of the ordinance, especially with word of increased development west of town.
“There’s not only (Monticello college), there’s recreational areas, housing developments that are planning and going in there. I’m not a big fan of changing an ordinance and all of a sudden opening up the floodgates to a bunch of proposals. Because then that puts us in a really tight spot.”
Council member Kim Henderson shared that the exemption may be able to work around that issue with Monticello College’s nonprofit status.
Council member Kevin Dunn shared that as a representative of the citizens of Monticello, he often hears from community members sharing concerns about water usage.
“This year’s an exception obviously (...) but in years when it’s dry, I’m sure if something was done like this there’d be a lot of concern in the community that the water was being used wisely and appropriately. I feel like I’d like to get more feedback from the community on how they feel about this situation.”
Council member Ron Skinner also shared he had been up to the campus recently and commended Brooks on their work, but still asked for more time to review the ordinance.
Brooks shared his thanks with the council and a commitment to do the process right.
“We certainly can go out and do extensive research and see what can be found out there. We’re going to use as much water as possible regardless. Whether we’re pulling out of the industrial park or it's coming down the pipe to us. It's a lot easier for me if it's coming down the pipe, it's a lot more secure for me if it's coming down the pipe.”
Brooks also shared an invite to the council to come see their work at Monticello College.
“We want to be a resource. We’re going to be a resource for the city, the city may not value what we’re doing but we hope that they do when they understand what we do, what's coming in terms of agricultural science, that we could have a facility up, we will have a facility up there that is cutting edge when it comes to agricultural science which I think is a big deal for this area.”
Brooks shared that they’ll work on the logistics for the proposed pipeline. He also shared their long-term commitment to the community. While no formal vote was taken council seemed amenable to hearing from Monticello College regarding the project in the future.
At their meeting members of the Monticello City council also approved a memorandum of understanding to aid a group of volunteers seeking to maintain area bike trails.
Local resident Matthew Cozart presented the item to the city, sharing that they’d like to reconstruct and reinforce trails to improve the city’s existing mountain bike trails. Cozart shared their request for the city to help promote a volunteer cleanup day and possibly provide tools and equipment for trail work. Cozart shared that while the group would first focus on the Millsite and Golf Course trails they’d like to eventually do work on trails maintained by the forest service on the Blue Mountains.
At the meeting members of the council also approved a letter of support to the San Juan County Economic Development Office for a grant from the Utah office of tourism. The grant will aid in rebranding efforts and publication materials as well as targeted advertising at areas that have seen a growth in visitation to the county. Areas mentioned included Germany internationally and Denver, Colorado domestically.
At the meeting Dunn shared that the city had received a certificate of appreciation from Region 8 of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association. The group held a rally in Monticello the weekend of May 19-20. Dunn shared in addition to the certificate the association was impressed with the community, restaurants, hotels and the Hideout Golf Course.