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Wellington fills council vacancy with familiar face

Sun Advocate reporter

The Wellington City Council had a city council vacancy to fill after councilwoman Paula Noyes resigned her position during a December city council meeting.

Several applicants applied for the open position but Noyes came back to the city after her resignation and asked to be reinstated for the remainder of her term. With that request council agreed to let her finish out her term.

In the situation concerning another vacancy that needed to be filled in Wellington the fire department now has a replacement for the fire chief position after Sam Espinoza stepped down the end of last year. The common consensus among the department was that Jonathan "Johnny" Powell should take the reigns.

The council talked over the idea of Powell becoming chief and after some discussion approved him for the position with the stipulation that he get some extended training.

Delynn Fielding, Director of Carbon County Economic Development, came before the council to address recycling issues and the enterprise zone renewal from the Business Expansion and Retention project report.

BEAR comes before each municipality every five years for renewal. Existing zones that are designated for commercial and industrial use also have recycling and enterprise designations.

These zones make it possible for businesses to receive state tax credits if they comply with various guidelines. A $750 state tax credit is available for each full-time job created that is not under the designation of construction, retail or public utilities. New plant and equipment related to mining receive 10 percent of the first $250,000 spent in new equipment and five percent for the next $1,000,000. These tax credits can be carried up to three years.

Rehabilitating a building comes with a credit of 25 percent of the first $200,000 spent on a building that has been vacant for at least two years. These credits can also be carried forward for three years. Equipment purchased for recycling purposes offers a five percent credit with no amount limit. Recycling equipment deals with the saving of recyclable material and/or the use of such material. A total of 40 percent of tax liability can be offset by this. These tax breaks are hoped to be an incentive to draw businesses to Wellington.

"The economy is difficult, but there are businesses that are expanding," said Fielding. "Some have even achieved record sales in what they've done."

The BEAR program has joined forces with Four Corners Behavioral Health regarding the issue of drug use in the workplace. Last year, BEAR worked with the extraction industry to educate employers and employees alike on the dangers of drug use. Last year, the most commonly-abused drug was methamphetamine, but Fielding noted that, this year, the numbers aren't so one-sided. One change to the program this year is that there is no longer a restriction to work exclusively with the extraction industry.

Fielding also talked about a Brownsfields grant through the EPA that has already been applied for. Such a grant would cover, "a piece of ground that may or may not have pollution but it is perceived to have pollution," said Fielding. "With the owner's permission to study the area, this will be done on voluntary basis. Then (they will) also be able to give a well-educated cost of clean-up if it happens to be dirty."

In another matter of business the council heard that the state reclamation project focusing on the Knight-Ideal coal load-out facility on east side of town has named Chris Rohre as the project manager. Wellington would like to turn the property into a park, if and when the property is reclaimed. Arch Coal is interested in the project because of their historic ties to the area. They are offering heavy equipment and operator use time.

"Sounds to me like we are going to get a real nice set-up down there," Said Mayor Ben Blackburn.

Wellington is also working with the county to develop a new emergency response plan. The county wants every city and county to have a coordinated plan so that all municipalities are on the same page as far as how to handle emergency situations. They will also be discussing what each city's responsibilities would be in an emergency.

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