San Juan Commission updates Senior Center policy and ballot machines at latest meeting

Members of the San Juan County commission approved updates to Senior Center policies, approved an upgrade to ballot machines, and approved letters of support for economic opportunities at their latest meeting.
Members of the commission approved an update to the senior center policy and procedure manual at the February 6 meeting.
The updates were implemented after discussions in a January work meeting and with review from the county attorney office. Among the updates included the addition of an activity committee to review submitted activities.
County Administrator Mack McDonald explained,
“This is a process that allows the nomination or proposal from the centers to suggest activities for that center. Each center will have an opportunity using this activity committee. This creates the formation of that subcommittee to review those suggestions from active participants in the senior center that can then be recommended to the aging advisory board.”
Among the requirements for activities to be considered include that the activity will need to be for the age group of 60 and older, and open to all seniors 60 and older in the county. There also cannot be a fee charged for a proposed activity or event, and movie names cannot be advertised nor fees collected for viewing movies.
Additional guidelines and requirements were also approved as part of the policy update.
The activity committee is a subcommittee of the aging advisory board and will take suggestions and schedule activities at county senior centers, with representation from the centers aging advisory board and a designee from the aging administration office.
Commissioner Sylvia Stubbs recommended that the senior centers make the information for activities available and easy to access.
“I’ve read this from cover to cover twice. I think it’s really good, it’s an update of the 2020 version, this is not something we just made up. So I like that it kind of shows its’ an upgrade and we had included some new things we discovered for us to clarify.”
Commissioner Jamie Harvey also commented in favor of the updated policy which he said will help organize the senior centers and its users.
“It allows them a pathway to ask for different activities that go in front of the aging committee for implementation. I think this benefits all seniors because now you have an organized and more structured way to get things done.”
Members of the commission unanimously approved the updates to the senior center policy and procedure manual.
Members of the county commission also approved the purchase of an upgraded ballot tabulating machine. A grant from the state will allow the county to turn in old ballot tabulating machines for an upgraded model at the cost of just $633 for the new machine about 10-percent of the machines cost, although installation costs are estimated at around $3,800.
County Clerk/Auditor Lyman Duncan explained the upgrade from the ES&S DS200 to the DS300 will increase efficiency of ballot tabulation.
“(It’s) kind of like sheets in a copier, we can put 40-50 ballots on this tray and it will feed one after another rather than (currently where) we’re allowed to feed one-at-a-time.”
Duncan explained while almost the entirety of the rest of the state has moved to DS450 and DS650 machines, some smaller counties have lagged behind, with the state providing the grant to help the county move forward.
Commissioner Stubbs asked for an explanation of how the machines work and if they are connected to the internet.
Lyman shared the machines are not connected to the internet. He added that one computer runs the camera system in the clerk’s office to observe county staff as they handle ballots.
“Any time that we touch a ballot or election information we have to be in one of those two rooms to do that so that we can be observed.”
Going into the small room requires staff to go two-by-two. Duncan added that the ES&S election systems will help the county create a flash drive, which can be plugged into the tabulating machine, once processing of a batch is complete that flash drive is plugged back into the election computer.
“We’ll match up physical ballots, ballots on the computer tabulating machine, and a third check will be individuals who checked in with their drivers license on election day or early voting. There’s a lot of security around it and we’re not connected to the internet on any of those systems, they're completely stand alone.”
Members of the commission unanimously approved the upgrade to the ballot tabulating machine.
At the meeting members of the commission also approved the receipt of a $51,000 grant from the state to go towards the county housing assessment which is currently underway, with the county paying the balance of $33,400.
County Economic Development Director Elaine Gizler reported that assessment is well underway, reporting good attendance at the public meetings held from La Sal to Monument Valley for the housing assessment.
Gizler also highlighted the county’s reception of a fellow, who will work for over two years on the implementation of the housing assessment for the area.
Gizler also presented the contract to purchase and install four new “Welcome to San Juan County” signs, which is also being covered by a grant from the state.
The commission also approved letters of support to the Department of Energy for an application by Seerstone Development to operate a graphite plant in Lisbon Valley.
The commission also approved a letter of support to make the county a Bioeconomy Development Opportunity (BDO) Zone as well as a letter of support for the Southeast Utah Association of Local Governments Aviation project with Utah State University in Price.
At the meeting members of the commission also approved a notice of award for the county safety building remodel project design and construction administration services to ajc Architects.
The staff report said that the company was the most responsive and responsible bid of the two received for the proposal.
Members of the commission unanimously approved the notice of award for the upgrade to the safety building.
At the meeting the commission also approved an electrical utility franchise and general utility easement for Rocky Mountain Power.
McDonald explained the 20-year agreement was last approved in 2024.
“It allows them to bury or install power lines within county easements throughout the county. Typically along our roads that we have, it gives them the liberty to install those.”
Members of the commission approved the agreement unanimously.
Members of the county commission also received annual training related to the open and public meetings act, Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA), and conflict of interest training.

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