Commission seeks unified way to promote county
by Rhett Sifford
The new advertising campaign for San Juan County, featuring the tagline “Make it Monumental,” was the focus of public comment at the September 4 meeting of the San Juan County Commission.
Bill Haven, president of the Blanding Area Travel Council, said it’s the best marketing plan the travel council has seen and it would be a poor decision to abandon it because of controversy surrounding the new slogan.
Haven explained that there are numerous national parks and monuments in the San Juan County area, and the tagline was not solely inspired by Bears Ears National Monument.
Haven said some Blanding businesses are teetering on the edge of success and the revamped county marketing campaign is important to them.
The commission expressed an understanding of the raw emotions many San Juan County residents still feel over Bears Ears. They said their desire is to promote the county in a way that everyone can support.
Commissioner Phil Lyman suggested some solutions to help move the marketing campaign forward, including a simple change of the slogan.
Commissioner Rebecca Benally said local monuments have been promoted in the past. She said it’s important for the county to help local “mom and pop” businesses thrive.
Both the commission and Haven agreed that the county needs to give people a reason to visit for more than just one day.
In other business, the commission approved a fee increase at the San Juan County Landfill to take effect November 1. The increase was proposed in July and was discussed in a public hearing.
Commissioners said a lack of small increases over several years made the substantial one-time increase necessary in order to keep the landfill within legal operational standards.
Landfill Manager Randy Rarick said the fee increase this year should prevent similar increases for several years.
San Juan County Planner Nick Sandberg reported that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking nominations for a 15-member Bears Ears Monument Advisory Committee (MAC).
Sandberg said the deadline for nominations is October 1. The BLM public comment period for the Bears Ears Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Monument Management Plans ends November 15, so it is not clear if the MAC will be involved in the planning process.
The commission said the MAC should include as many San Juan County residents as possible.
The commission plans to endorse several residents.
Nominees must reside in Utah and will be reviewed on their training, education, and knowledge of the Bears Ears area.
Nominations should be emailed or postmarked by October 1 to Lisa Bryant, Bureau of Land Management, Canyon Country District, 82 East Dogwood, Moab, UT 84532. For more information, contact Lisa Bryant at email@example.com or 435-259-2187.
San Juan Stampede Pro Rodeo chairman Karah Nay reported that in its second year, the rodeo made $18,400 in sponsorships, $12,855 in ticket sales, and $5,466 in in-kind contributions. The county contributed $35,000 to cover expenses.
Nay is stepping down from the Utah State University Extension Office, but will continue to organize the rodeo.
In other business, the commission drafted a letter to the BLM requesting consultation party status for the December 2018 Oil and Gas Lease Sale.
In other county news, Landmark Design will host Spanish Valley Area Plan public scoping meetings on Wednesday, September 20. The meetings will be in the Grand Water and Sewer Service Agency meeting room (3025 East Spanish Trail Road) at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The meetings are part of an effort by Landmark Design to develop a vision for the future of the San Juan County portion of Spanish Valley. For more information, contact Mark Vlasic at 801-474-3300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anita Gates is a new Witness and Victim Coordinator at the Children’s Justice Center, Mandy Johnson is a Senior Center Aide, and Ginnie Brooks is working at the Monticello branch library.