County adopts 'message' resolution on local v. federal responsibilities
Counties have rights and obligations just like citizens do, and last Wednesday evening the Carbon County Commission asserted some of those rights by passing a resolution reminding the federal government that they should be included in any considerations when it comes to the law.
"This resolution doesn't purport to make new law, but the federal government should respect the law," said Carbon County assistant attorney Christian Bryner at the meeting.
The resolution spread out three basic areas as its target. First that criminal law enforcement in the county regardless of whether something happens on federal land or on state or private lands, is up to the Carbon County Sheriff's office. Second, that the public has the right to access all R.S. 2477 roads in the county and, third that the county has jurisdiction over planning and zoning within the county's confines and that the county supports efforts to have the federal government turn over lands to the state of Utah.
"The county intends to protect and litigate if needed the use of roads in the county," said Bryner. "This resolution helps everyone to understand the powers of the county and the state in regards to the federal government."
The resolution itself was broken down into six points..
Unless codified under exception in Utah law, federal land officials should not exercise law enforcement powers and is not recognized to do so. Any such action is considered a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the county.
Any official of any federal land management agency that intends to exercise law enforcement powers within the county must first declare their intentions to the Carbon County Sheriff's Department.
The public shall have unrestricted access to all roads that granted under R.S. 2477 or the Federal Land Protection Management Act.
That all right of ways and roads in Carbon County cannot have access revoked without complying with Utah State law.
Carbon County shall continue to enforce its access and travel rights and resist any federal efforts to interfere with or erode those rights.
Carbon County supports efforts by the state to convey federal lands to the state of Utah.
"The reasons behind this resolution are many," said Rex Sacco, the land planner for the county. "This resolution is to set things in the proper perspective between the county, the state and the federal government. It goes to the way power is spread out."
Sacco pointed out that sometimes that federal officers do things differently when it comes to law enforcement and that often the sheriff's office is not even notified when violations of law take place.
"All criminal laws shall be enforced only by the sheriff's department and not by federal officers," Sacco stated.
The resolution passed unanimously.
In another action the county turned down a bid for a case management software system for the county attorney's office because of the cost. The single bidder submitted a bid of $75,000, but in looking at it the commission, after conferring with the attorney's office decided it could be done less expensively.
"We need software badly, but we feel we can get what we need for an initial cost of $36,000 and then about $5,000 per year as it is used," said assistant county attorney Jeremy Humes.
The commission asked Humes to look into their ideas about a system and to negotiate for such a system.
The commission also accepted bids for carsonite sign posts from Rock Art Signage for the new trail system that is being built in the county, but turned down a third bid for other signs from the company because it was found that the work could be produced by the Carbon County Road Shop for less money.
There were three bidders for the all the work, but the bid for the carsonite signs from the local company that submitted paperwork did not include everything that was needed.
"Sign Edge was actually the low bidder on item two, but they missed a line item amount in the bid," Bryner told the commission. "It is an incomplete bid and based on your own policy you would be violating that policy by awarding it to that local business."