Blanding City Council prioritizes capital projects to promote growth

The Blanding City Council spent much time at their November 26 meeting discussing capital projects and a development participation program, both of which are designed to encourage growth and development in the city.

Councilmembers returned to a previous council discussion to prioritize capital projects in the city.

Items on the list currently include water and sewer projects, street improvement projects, and recreation upgrades or replacements. 

Councilmembers spent some time discussing a 2021 project for baseball field lighting and shade structures. The project is estimated to cost approximately $355,000. 

Councilmembers discussed the benefit of shade structures, but questioned how valuable lighting for the baseball fields would be.

With lots of light in the summers, councilmembers wondered how much use the lights would get. 

Councilmembers also expressed interest in improving facilities around Recapture Reservoir, although it was noted that the city doesn’t own property around the reservior.  

Blanding City has set aside $100,000 for use in a new development participation program.

The agreement allows for reimbursement for 50 percent of new infrastructure costs up to $7,500 per developed parcel for a major or minor subdivision developing in Blanding. 

City Manager Jeremy Redd said, “The programs have been beneficial to the people who have been developing. It’s very expensive to do a major subdivision. It’s a little bit of a kickstart to get things developing in Blanding.” 

The other program that would stay is the sidewalk participation program, where the city pays for the concrete if the resident pays for a contractor.

The sidewalk participation program was retained so Blanding City could encourage residents to install as much sidewalk as they could. 

In other city business, a public hearing on water conservation was held for an ordinance which prohibits watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. 

New verbiage was added to allow for exceptions for new lawns, short cycles for testing irrigation systems, and other situations as permitted by the city.

No public comment was given at the hearing. 

During open forum, the council heard from Pat Smith and Nicole Perkins, the Library Director and Assistant Library Director for San Juan County.

Smith and Perkins described the extensive services provided by the library and the reasons for the proposed tax increase. Each gave information for the council to consider. 

Craig Stanley, a volunteer Blanding firefighter, was recognized for 32 years of service. He is retiring this year. 

The council adopted a cash handling policy created by Finance Director Kim Palmer.

The policy will standardize cash handling practices for the city facilities that handle cash to protect both employees and the city. The cash handling policy was recommended during the recent audit. 

Palmer also shared the financial status report with councilmembers.

The city’s portion of sales tax is up 11 percent over last year and other revenues and expenditures are in line with where they should be. 

City Engineer Terry Ekker gave a status report on ongoing projects. The storm drain project is past 50 percent on design and should go to bid early next year. 

The water supply forecasting and water rate study, the transportation master plan, and fuse coordination study are all moving forward as well. 

The council approved a temporary, conditional use of a mobile home placement contingent on receiving the required documentation.

The temporary use is for two years and residents wishing to place a mobile home must meet city code that it be for the care of the aged or handicapped. 

The council awarded a contract for city landscaping to Walker Enterprises.

Walker Enterprises is buying the equipment from the previous landscaper and is the low bid at $4,145 for landscaping services. 

The council heard an update on developments with stop lights.

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) hired a consulting firm to study safety in Blanding, including the main intersection and the elementary school crossing.

San Juan Record

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