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Front Page » August 13, 2002 » Local News » Commission focuses on disaster preparedness
Published 4,806 days ago

Commission focuses on disaster preparedness

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Staff reporter

Two informational sessions highlighted the Carbon County Commission meeting on Aug. 7. Officials from state emergency services and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spent time telling the commissioners about plans and projects that will affect the local area.

"It doesn't matter what the disaster may be, natural or manmade, the state will respond with assets and people to help out," indicated Scott Behunin, a representative from the Utah Division of Emergency Services and Homeland Security.

The officials visited the area to discuss the planning needed to prepare for disasters. The efforts include a meeting with county personnel set Aug. 29 concerning hazardous material incidents.

"We just want you to know that there is a lot of money coming down from the state and the federal government to the counties to help develop plans for contingencies," said Behunin. "There will also be money for equipment to help out in situations. The more assets we have at the local level, the quicker and more efficiently we can control any situation."

The commissioners recently started to gather equipment and materials for handling similar emergency situations.

"We have been able to buy a trailer and have some equipment in it," pointed out Commissioner Mike MIlovich. "But we don't have much and would like to be able to get more. We have a HAZMAT truck on order, but also need other equipment."

One of the keys to responding properly is planning and having models in place.

"There will be many plans put in place from a statewide perspective," said Behunin.

In an unrelated agenda item, Derris Jones of DWR advised the commission that the division is working on establishing a 3,400 acre conservation area in Spring Canyon. Part of the area is private property and part is state land. Several other types of property are also involved in the project. The conservation area will be especially important to elk herds and hunters.

"There has been little hunting there before," noted Milovich. "Our biggest concern is that the county road stay open and not be shut down."

Commissioner Bill Krompel informed the DWR representatives that the county could not put up with more locked gates, like happened several years ago.

Jones said the division is working with the private property owners to establish the area by purchasing certain rights for use of the land.

"Often, these types of areas only allow for 10 percent of the hunting to be public," said Jones. "But in this case, we are working to make a full one third of the hunting in the area public."

In other action, the commissioners:

•Approved three more gas wells for Anadarko north east of Spring Glen.

•Approved a lease for Western Wireless Communication to have an extra rack on the county radio transmitter site.

•Reviewed the status of a repeater being placed in the Nine Mile Canyon area for county personnel to access for communications with dispatch and the base station in Price.

"I don't think that is going to happen," said Milovich. "Frank Brady has talked with the (United States) Bureau of Land Management people and they have told him it is highly unlikely that a transmitter site in the area will be approved by that agency."

The county has rectified the lack of communication from the area to an extent by purchasing a satellite phone. But radio communication would be less expensive. The officials decided to continue to pursue the matter with the BLM.

In addition, the commission dealt with problems involving Beaver Creek Road and questionable development in the area.

"We have been and are being bombarded by requests for building permits," said county building official Dave Levanger.

The building director explained that many cabins and sites have undergone developments without permits.

Carbon officials have denied permits because there the county has no legal access to the area. The majority of the road remains in private hands.

Emergency responders in Helper have a key to open the main gate across the roadway. But there are many other gates on the road.

"My biggest problem on this whole thing is that there is no landowners association to deal with," pointed out Levanger. "I just don't know who to communicate with on solving this problem."

After discussing the situation, the commission decided to write a letter informing all landowners that they need to resolve the problem by deeding access property to the county so a restricted right-of-way can be established.

"We need people to do this," said Milovich. "We have 20 different people who own the road now and that doesn't work."

In addition, the commission opened bids for a 10-wheel dump truck with bed and a bobtail dump truck.

Bids submitted on the 10-wheel vehicle included Kenworth Sales of Salt Lake, $106,076; Mountain West Truck Center, $95,913; Freightliner of Utah, $89,402.68 and Sterling Trucks, $90,254. Bids for the bobtail truck came from Mountain West , $56,693; Kenworth Sales, $61,662; Lake City International, $58,690; Freightliner, $46,330.95 and $62,199; and Sterling, $55,545.

The commissioners referred the matters to county road supervisor Ray Hanson for review and recommendations.

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