Price City Council Endorses LDS Temple Project Proposal
More than 40 years have passed since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' tabernacle in Price was torn down.
The lot the building stood on was later replaced by the Peace Garden.
Now, several citizens are advancing an effort to convince the church to build a temple in the Carbon County area.
In a letter sent to the first presidency of the LDS Church and submitted to the Price City Council for comment, proponents used two points to bolster the proposal of constructing a temple in the area.
First, proponents pointed out that the facility would draw people to the area and provide an economic stimulus for the county. In almost every location where an LDS temple has been constructed, economic development has taken place.
"A temple would also help improve the image and reputation of our community which would go a long way in attracting new business," stated the correspondence.
Second, proponents pointed to the safety concerns faced by local residents who regularly visit existing temples. Residents from Carbon and Emery counties must travel over major mountain passes which have proved deadly to a number of church members.
"Over the past 10 years, we are aware of at least five deaths that occurred as people from the area traveled to the Manti LDS Temple," stated the letter. "There have also been multiple accidents and injuries to people attending the temple."
In conclusion, the letter indicated that approximately 15,000 people in the Carbon and Emery County area are members of the LDS faith. And along the Interstate 70 corridor, including Grand Junction, Colo., 50,000 people could be served by the proposed temple.
"I would support any religion wanting to build a facility in our community," stated Price Councilman Joe Christman during the discussion on the matter. "But I worry that they may have the cart a little before the horse by bringing it to us before any kind of approval from the church. It also rubs me a little wrong that they should propose a church facility to make money for the community."
Price Councilwoman Jeanne McEvoy wondered if the group had a building site in mind.
The group has a tentative location, but has not revealed where the site is, noted Councilwoman Betty Wheeler.
"This has come up before," commented Councilman Richard Tatton. "I had a discussion with Brad King about this and the movement to put a temple here seems to be gaining momentum."
After discussing the matter, the council agreed to support the movement with a letter from the city.
In a second issue related to religious institutions, Price officials agreed to implement a new electric rate schedule for all the churches in the city.
"It's the responsibility of the council to not favor any one religious group over another," explained Mayor Joe Piccolo. "This would set a platform of equalization."
In the past, many religious institutions were not charged peak rates for electricity. Instead, the institutions were charged use rates, more like residential customers.
With the council's action, the city will change the rate structure and religious institutions may be charged increased electricity costs. Some council members were concerned that the change may place a burden on some churches, but the officials felt implementing an equitable rate was important.
The city also is trying to schedule increases to fit in with the churches' budgeting process to alleviate negative impacts.
In addition, requests for the city's assistance with upcoming events was a prominent feature at last Wednesday's council meeting.
The first request was submitted by the Carbon Rodeo Club.
"We have between 500 to 600 contestants come into town for this event," pointed out Dana Young. "It costs about $17,000 to put it on, much of which comes from entry fees and donations from local businesses. But any help you can give us is always appreciated."
Due to state law, the city cannot directly donate money to the rodeo club. But because the Price Desert Wave Pool is a money generating operation, the city can advertise with a banner at the rodeo.
Last year, Price spent $500 to post the advertisement. The city council agreed to spend $500 to advertise the pool again this year.
The second request involved an in-kind donation to help with the national motocross races slated at the county fairgrounds in the spring.
The county lacks the equipment to prepare and maintain the motocross track during the event.
"This is taking place at a county facility - but then, the county has helped us out a number of times when we needed help," stated Gary Sonntag, Price public works director.
Piccolo understood that the race officials were requesting a backhoe and operator for one day. But Tatton said he thought the request was larger.
"They need a water truck as well," said Tatton. "The equipment would be needed for a day before the races and all day on Saturday and Sunday as well. That could be time intensive."
The event is scheduled on a weekend and the city would have to pay an operator overtime, noted Sonntag. But the city "could adjust work schedules to accommodate that, though."
However, the council was concerned about the overall expenses and Price officials decided delay making the commitment until actual costs and detailed needs for the event could be ascertained.