GARFIELD COUNTY – At the June 13 Garfield County Commission meeting, Commissioner David Tebbs reported on the Stage 1 fire restrictions announced June 1 across all Color-Country, including Iron, Washington, Kane, and most of Garfield counties, which specifies that there are to be no open fires, fireworks, or spark producers of any type allowed throughout the region. All the agencies are in full fire suppression mode. Tebbs said four or five spot fires have already been started along Hwy 12, including one outside Tropic, likely sparked by a dragging chain.
Commissioner Jerry Taylor announced availability of insurance for EMTs and their families, provided they meet state criteria that includes participation in at least 20 percent of the emergency runs in their area and their licensure as EMTs. He also announced the Congressional Staff Briefing, August 14-16, and an upcoming hospital fundraiser seeking donated items for their auction.
Commissioner Leland Pollock noted his intent to meet immediately with whomever fills the vacancy for Director of the Division of Natural Resources, saying he wants to ensure continuity of project funding. He thanked two individuals—Dean Gledhill and Arlen Sawyer—for coming out of retirement to continue grading work for the county, although, he also urged patience given that most roads can’t be successfully graded in these dry conditions. Finally, Pollock repeated his desire for National Association of Counties to approve a resolution supporting the creation of landing zones for lifeflights and ATV emergency access on public lands.
Public Works, Dave Dodds is getting bids on projects (Mossy Cave parking, Red Canyon).
Planning, Kaden Figgins reported no departmental business. Commissioner Pollock asked him to look into recreational trailers and their septic situation in the area of the Hercules Subdivision.
The Commission approved a business license for Cassidy’s River Retreat. They also approved up to $9K to bring in SCBA testers on fire department air tanks.
Chris Wehrli, Forest Service, gave the Commission a heads’ up on the grazing situation on forest allotments. He said drought conditions mean that “when forage is gone, it’s gone and animals will need to be moved.” He said the agency is willing to work on solutions, such as individuals hauling their own water to allotments, but in general “it won’t be a good year.”
Heath Hansen, from Sen. Lee’s staff, reported on a two-year reauthorization of the Downwinders compensation. The program was set to expire in July, and this reauthorization provides a window to negotiate a longer extension.
Lastly, Joby Venuti presented a request for commission support of a land exchange involving Sandy Ranch private land and BLM land. Although Venuti provided maps and an overview of the proposal, the Commissioners wanted to review it in more detail, including a breakdown on the parcels being traded.
The Commission moved into closed session to discuss personnel and litigation.
The Garfield County Commission meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month starting at 10 a.m. All meetings are held in the County Courthouse in Panguitch. There is no set up for electronic participation.