County commission reviews Scofield land boundaries
The Carbon County Commission has been dealing with land plot boundaries around the Scofield Reservoir area for many years, according to statements made at the July 2 commission meeting, the issues still haven't been resolved.
"It seems to be a perennial problem," pointed out Commissioner Mike Milovich. "The problem lies in the subdivision on the east side of the lake. Owners claim they have title insurance, and then they find that the boundaries of their property are unclear or wrong."
On the day of the meeting, Commissioner Steve Burge had been at the site discussing the problem with several landowners. According to him most of the people there want to cooperate on some type of plan to clear up the problems. It was then that Dave Levanger, the counties planning and zoning director, reminded the commission that a plan had been put in place a couple of years ago.
"The commission approved a project to remedy these problems in September 2001," he related to the commission. "The decision was to get people in that area to work together to decide on their property lines and then the county would come up and shoot the lines and make the plots."
But Levanger also pointed out that some of the problems have been complicated by federal agencies that have been altering the base survey corners in the area.
"There is one fly in the ointment," he advised. "The Bureau of Land Management set a sixteenth corner for the Bureau of Reclamation and we can't finish any of the surveying or the plats until we receive more information on that. As soon as that arrives our department and the engineers office will work to get this done."
The BLM is the official surveyor for the United States government and conducts the land surveying for all other federal agencies.
The new sixteenth corner that was set is about 10 feet different from the one that has been traditionally used by surveyors in the area. That creates discrepancies in past and future surveys and that must be rectified in some way before new surveys can be done and plats drawn.
Further discussion at the meeting indicated that there seems to be some type of problem in getting the information from the reclamation agency however. Requests have gone out time and again for that federal agency to supply it and they have failed to reply.
"We may have to ask for help on this from our congressman," suggested Milovich. "It appears they may be holding back because they anticipate changes in the land available around Scofield Reservoir if the Gooseberry Narrows Project goes ahead."
Those changes in land could mean a decrease in the amount of water that Scofield can legally hold (due to the fact that a downstream reservoir must be able to absorb the water that could result from an upstream dam break) or an expansion of the flood plain around the lake to handle such an event. The expansion of the flood plain could eliminate many of the structures around the edge of the reservoir, particularly in the east end subdivision.
But, despite that missing information, the commissioners decided to allow the departments to begin the process using the existing sixteenth corner markers.
In another order of business the commission heard from Bob Greenburg, director of Southeast Mental Health about the 2004 mental health and substance abuse program and it's formal plan for 2004.
"Because of budget cuts the state has combined the substance abuse and the mental health divisions together," Greenburg told the governing body. "Unfortunately that is not all that has changed. They seem to be moving from a need basis in communities to a population basis for funding. Southeast Mental Health is losing $160,000 in funding, which is being phased in over four years, the first of which has already past. We froze two positions last year to make up for the losses so we could stay ahead of the curve."
Greenburg went on to say that the funding problems are in flux, largely because of agreement by the state on how to fund programs, particularly in the area of mental health.
Greenburg's organization is not actually a state agency, but a contractor that fulfills the mission of the state.
The mental health representative pointed out that since his organization covers four counties (Carbon, Emery, Grand and San Juan) shifts in resources in the area have helped compensate for some of the shortages so far, but that is only a short term solution.
"Our work has remained at relatively stable numbers, but the individual patients seem to need more services than ever before," he told the commission. "It's up about 30 percent over five years."