County works on dust suppression plan for Nine Mile
The senior citizens center and the county's Nine Mile Canyon dust reduction effort were discussed at the Aug. 11 recreation and transportation special service district meeting.
Nine Mile has been the subject of controversy since the canyon is home to ancient rock art as well as natural resources that benefit the county through jobs, mineral lease money and tax revenues.
The county would like to see further gas and energy developments in the canyon, but conservation groups have pushed to stop development on the grounds that dust from the road is damaging the art.
As a result, the county has undertaken a project to limit the dust through improvements to the road.
With added culverts, more paved road sections and laying down a firm base, the county intends to not only stop the dust, but halt the arguments that the canyon should be closed to development.
However, the road project has proven to be a complicated undertaking since a mapping study of the area is not complete and time is becoming a factor because winter is on its way.
Opinions differed on how best to approach the issue. While it was made clear at the meeting that the road needs to be improved, it remained unclear about how it should be done with the current mapping situation.
Canyon mapping is expected to be complete next March. But Carbon Commissioner Bill Krompel is concerned about the timing.
"If we don't do anything this year, we'll have to start over," said Krompel, adding that putting down gravel before winter sets in could be too soon.
Commissioner Mike Milovich attended the meeting and indicated that he was against any work on the road until the mapping has reached maturity because he would like to see the job done properly.
"Give us a blueprint of the canyon so we don't need to constantly work in crisis mode," said Milovich. "It's foolish to spend this money right now before we know what's going on."
"We need something that will be permanent."
Currently according to Krompel 40 miles of the canyon have had dust suppression, but the full project will eventually be much more extensive.
Funding for the project is expected to come from community impact board money as well as possible earmarks from senator Orrin Hatch according to Milovich. However, because no consensus was reached as to how money should be spent, the project will have to go before the county commission for further specifications.
With designs and specifications nearing completion for the new senior citizens center, issues regarding the projects contractors came because while the county is required by law to take the lowest reasonable bidders the county would like to see money spent locally.
With the center being such a big project bid differences between concrete contracts has been about two percent, but this percentage equivocates to around $120,000.
So the district and the county has had some complications on who to choose because the commissioners present at the meeting indicated that in the past that costly problems have arisen from cheap out of the area contractors.
Milovich indicated that he wanted to make sure the job was done right because recent projects like the intake building and the county's search and rescue building have been troublesome.
"The last two buildings gave me a headache," said Milovich. "The roof on that intake building was inexcusable they've come back and fixed it, and it's still leaking."
Electronic problems were also presented by boardmember Neil Breinholt because most of the electronic equipment's specifications were done in 2006. And by 2009 standards, the specifications are significantly out of date.
New advancements in high definition technologies and cheaper overall prices, could potentially effect the quality of what is installed because with 2006 standards it is possible for a contractor to install cheap equipment that meets outdated standards.
"It's a big enough issue that we need to look into it," said Breinholt.
One solution would be to do a change order, which are common in construction contracts, but they can be expansive.
After some discussion it was eventually decided to review the budget and find things to trim and if the electronics are cheaper than expected that the difference should be given back to the county.
Finally the county is requesting that the search and rescue building parking lot be paved at a cost of $108,130 with CIB money.
However, as energy prices have dropped, the board will have to review its budget since revenues are lower and financing the project might prove difficult.
"Stay within budget, but I hope we can fund it with our other obligations," said Krompel.