ECC agenda sidetracked, citizens wait for decisions
Budget and property issues were the main topics of discussion for the East Carbon City council on Tuesday night.
Councilor Andy Urbanik said that the city recently sold two vehicles through a surplus website where cities can advertise and sell vehicles and equipment. The city sold a Hummer, formerly used as a police vehicle, for $11,900 and a Ford Explorer for $7,700.
Urbanik said the city should use the money from the sales and put it towards acquiring at least two vehicles for the city maintenance department. The need for vehicles in the maintenance department is high at the moment because some of the trucks used by workers are starting to show their age and may not be in working condition for much longer. Urbanik suggested the city use the surplus website again to find vehicles they can purchase at a lower cost compared to buying newer vehicles. The city currently has a Dodge Durango that still has value and could be sold on the website as well, Urbanik said.
Concerned about the possible impact on the budget, Mayor Orlando LaFontaine said the city is currently having problems with its budget and adding to it with the purchase of more vehicles would cause more problems. LaFontaine cited an example from two years ago of an audit that said the city was in debt by an amount of $500,000. Councilor Cheryl McFarland said that the budget is not an indication of just one budget year
"We spent more than we took in," said Urbanik.
If nothing is done and no vehicles are purchased, maintenance workers may be walking around the city or having to use golf carts, according to Urbanik.
East Carbon City maintenance worker Darwin Christensen said that the maintenance department needs the two vehicles.
"Some of the vehicles are on their last legs and will need to be replaced very soon," said Christensen.
With the budget in the position that it has been over the past few years, LaFontaine questioned why there was never a meeting held to discuss issues about the budget.
"Why didn't we have one meeting?" said LaFontaine. "To have no meetings, I'm a little confused."
Urbanik said one of the reasons no budget meeting has been held is because he and other councilors don't know when the mayor is going to be in town or not.
"There needs to be more communication about this," said Urbanik. "We definitely need to have a budget meeting."
LaFontaine said he can be contacted any time on his cell phone or call City Recorder Liz Marquez for more information.
In order for the city to go through the surplus process such as selling a vehicle, the vehicle would first need to be considered surplus property and then the council would need to discuss if it is in the best interests of the city to sell the property, according to Jeremy Humes, East Carbon City attorney.
The council said that they will be holding a budget meeting next Tuesday to go over the budget and discuss any issues.
Another issue the council discussed included the purchasing of property by residents and how property can be considered surplus.
The agenda listed seven different items that included the purchasing and surplus property. Many people listed on the agenda said they have been trying to solve their situations with the city for long periods of time.
During the discussion, LaFontaine questioned if the process was driving away businesses and people from moving into East Carbon.
"We seem to shoot them down (small businesses)," said LaFontaine, citing a recent example with the Elite Club.
Joyce Caviness, who works on the planning and zoning committee, said the need for small businesses in East Carbon is very important. She said that East Carbon is relatively cheap to buy land compared to other places with people paying no more than $1,000 per acre.
"We need small businesses here," said Caviness. "The country was built on small business."
Some people listed on the agenda have been going back and forth between the city council and the planning and zoning committee. Previously they have been told to go to planning and zoning but were then directed to go in front of the city council to discuss their requests for purchasing property. One problem the council said needs to be addressed is where people can get their applications for purchasing property. Caviness said the planning and zoning committee doesn't have any applications for people to fill out. Some council members seemed to be frustrated by the process and its problems.
"This is a joke," Councilor James Wayman said of the problems between planning and zoning and the city council.
Some people in the audience said that the city is not following Humes' recommendations and may also not be following the city rules and laws correctly.
The council said that a public hearing will take place within 14 days to discuss the purchase of property and declaring surplus property.
Councilor Darrell Valdez will continue to be the Mayor pro tem for the East Carbon City council. LaFontaine nominated Councilor David Avery to the position but Urbanik suggested leaving Valdez in that post. The council unanimously passed the motion keeping Valdez as the mayor pro tem.