As national politics take center stage with the general election upon us, East Carbon and Sunnyside city officials are focusing on municipal issues which could affect eastern Carbon County for decades to come.
According to the joint work group's meetings agenda, city officials will be focusing on a current CIB funding application for improvements to the area's water system as well as East Carbon City's current cemetery project. However, with Sunnyside Co-Generation's tax relief application hanging over Sunnyside City, town officials could once again broach the topic of joining the cities.
"It's not brain surgery," said East Carbon Council member David Maggio. "Our numbers are diminishing and we need to gather our resources."
According to Maggio, a possible future merger has more to do with adequate public funding for both cities than Sunnyside's possible financial ruin.
"Separately, we do not have enough population to support the amount of services our residents require. If trends remain the same, Sunnyside will be down to 100 residents in five years. The bottom line is that everyone from the CIB to the Carbon Commission has told us to either get together or quit asking for duplicate funding."
To underscore Maggio's point, the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board (CIB) had asked East Carbon to provide a letter from Sunnside city stipulating that they supported East Carbon's cemetery project and that they would not seek funding for a cemetery expansion of their own. Sunnyside officials did provide the letter. Since that time, however, rumors have surfaced which concern the East Carbon council.
"We just want to take the opportunity to discuss the matter with Sunnside's officials," said Maggio. "That way the facts are on the record and everything can get straightened out."
In addition to the cemetery project, the work session will also provide the opportunity for joint approval of an additional East Carbon City CIB application. According to prior comments from the council, East Carbon officials have been working on obtaining additional water from the Grassy Trail Reservoir for several years. To do this, the city plans to create a new pipeline which could increase the reservoir's output by 300,000 gallons per day.
"When we let that water come down the canyon, we lose it," explained Maggio. "Everything that isn't falling into the mine's old works is simply drying up. The bottom line, a large amount of water is simply going away."
According to city officials, the project would pipe water into a current diversion in the reservoir's flow. That pipe would then run the length of the canyon directly into the city's collection tanks.
East Carbon officials had tried to move the project forward earlier in the year. However, a lack of communication with their sister city led Sunnyside to draft the CIB a letter which explained that Sunnyside officials were hard pressed to endorse a project which had never been discussed with them.
While the project's engineer did make a presentation to the Sunnyside council concerning the water project, a discussion between the cities never took place, prompting Sunnyside officials to pen the letter. That letter effectively put the funding request on hold. The joint planning session is hoping to foster communication and once again get the request moving forward.
"I believe the whole thing has been blown out of proportion a little," said Maggio. "It is my hope that when we come together that we can work all these issues out. Realistically, all any of us want is what is best for the city, what is best for our residents."
The joint public work session will begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 22 at East Carbon City Hall.