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Carbon lawmakers fill seats on county boards

Sun Advocate community editor

In the last few months, a number of the boards and committees the county has set up to oversee various areas have had vacancies occur.

Last Wednesday, the Carbon County Commission attempted to fill the vacancies from the applications officials had received from local residents.

While the county advertised for citizens who wanted to serve in the openings, the competition was sparse and in one case there weren't enough applications to fill the open spots.

For example, the sheriff's merit board had one applicant for the three spots available. The commission appointed Laura Akers to the merit board and will look for citizens to fill the other two spots.

Despite the lack of large numbers of applicants, a couple boards had stiff competition associated with the appointments. The situation was particularly true when it came to filling an open spot on the Carbon Water Conservancy District board.

"In the process of making these decisions, there is a lot of pressure," said Commissioner Steve Burge. "Water is a volatile issue, something that needs to be dealt with."

Four people applied for two available spots on the conservancy board.

One position had been vacated by the death of Lyle Bryner and the other seat was open because the term of Jack Chiaretta had expired.

Applications had been received by the county from Chiaretta, Ted Helston and Rick Borrell.

There was also another application submitted, but it was rejected because the individual's residency did not fit the districts with open positions.

According to Burge, water conservancy board president Richard Lee had requested that Chiaretta be reappointed and the second seat be made an at large position, since the district it represents has less than 300 people in it. The other districts have thousands of residents.

But Commissioner Mike Milovich felt the county officials could not appoint a member at large because the districts were originally set up by a court in the early 1940s.

"I don't think we can make this an at large position," stated Milovich. "We need to petition the district court to change the way it is set up first."

Milovich made a motion to appoint Helston to the empty spot and to reappoint Chiaretta to the position he has occupied.

The commissioner added a caveat to the motion indicating that the county should submit a petition to the district court to consider redistricting the conservancy district's divisions.

"That means the open slot might have a short life if they go ahead and do that," said Milovich.

The discussion moved to the reasons to change the districting.

When the original map for districts was set up there were a lot of people living in coal towns in district one (which is the northern part of the county).

But during the years, the population has shifted and been redistributed.

As to the motion, Milovich and Krompel voted to appoint Helston and Chiaretta.

Burge voted for Helston, but dissented on Chiaretta.

"There is nothing personal here about Jack," explained Burge. "I just have looked at things and I want the way I voted to be understood. I just had to vote my conscience on this matter."

Burge said he thinks the water conservancy board should conduct meetings in a more convenient spot for the public to attend.

The commissioner also said there are many issues that need to be dealt with.

"The attorney in me thinks there are some things that need to be looked at more closely," stated Burge. "I think it's not healthy to ignore issues."

Milovich pointed out to Burge that he believed that the commission chair didn't have all the facts and needed more information about the conservancy situation.

The other board appointment in which there was competition for a position was the Carbon County Recreation and Transportation Special Service District.

"Pace Hansen recommended that the four open spots be filled by Tom Bruno, Dennis Christensen, Jerry Jensen and Sam Quigley," stated Burge. All those recommendations were reappointments. "However, we also have letters of application from Aaron Howell and Neil Breinholt for those positions."

Milovich made a motion to appoint Bruno, Jensen, Quigley and Breinholt and the commission voted to make it so.

The commission also appointed Kevin Axelgard, Chris Rigert and Kent Gilbert to the Carbon County Fairgrounds Board and Tony Basso, Rudy Metelko and Ted Helston to the Scofield Special Service District Board.

In other business the commission also began to discuss the situation with the new road loop that will be created by the trade of lands that took place between the county, Hunt Oil and the Division of Wildlife Resources toward the end of last year. The trade involved land so that the county can have a road through the Cold Springs area northeast of Sunnyside, which will give vehicles access to Nine Mile Canyon from that area. For years simple access around that loop has been blocked because of rough terrain in one canyon and private property in another. Now those who want will be able to leave Wellington, travel up Nine Mile Canyon, head up Cottonwood Canyon, travel down Cold

Springs into Sunnyside-East Carbon and then back to Wellington.

However there is concern by many about what kinds of vehicles will be allowed on that route. Some feel ATV's should be able to traverse the entire route while others feel that at least some parts of it should be left only to regular vehicles.

"Obviously Sunnyside and East Carbon are very interested in this issue because of the effect it could have on them economically," said Burge as the discussion began. "I guess part of the question is since it is a county road, do we allow ATV's on it?"

Burge pointed out that there are those that feel Nine Mile Canyon is a kind of sanctuary and that they aren't too interested in having those kinds of machines running up and down the canyon. It was also brought out that with the heavy industrial traffic that is in the canyon ATV's may not be to safe to run there either.

As to the question of whether all-terrain vehicles can be allowed on a county road, planning and zoning director Dave Levanger brought up a point about the use of county roads in such a way.

"We have allowed ATVs on some county roads where people want it and not on some others," he said. "An example of one where we allow them is on the road west of Scofield Reservoir. But the commission also made the decision not to allow them on the Spring Canyon Road. The commissioners are the ones who need to make a decision on this."

But Commissioner Bill Krompel pointed out that a number of the ranchers in Nine Mile Canyon already use ATVs in the canyon for their work and Levanger said that every time he goes up the canyon he passes at least a few of them himself.

"The fact is we can't make any decisions about this right now because we haven't examined it enough yet. But I felt it was time for us to start discussing the situation, because this spring when things open up it will become an issue," stated Burge.

The commission decided to study the issue more and then begin to move toward a policy on it.

The commission also opened proposals for architectural design for expansion of the county community center at the fairgrounds. Architects submitting proposals included Scott Evans and Associates, Gould-Evans Architecture, Edwards and Daniels Architects, Eaton Architecture, Salerno Architecture, Prescott-Muir Architecture and MHTN Architecture.

The county will form a committee to make a decision on which firm to select for the design of the addition to the facility.

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