The Carbon County Recreation and Transportation Special Service District conducted a public hearing on July 20 to discuss the $2.9 million budget for 2006.
Projects to upgrade Carbon County's public facilities such as improvements to the senior citizens center, fairgrounds, along with construction on the new shooting range in Hiawatha and Helper pool were also discussed at the Thursday meeting.
Requests for funding from the Carbon County Search and Rescue resulted in the Special Service District allocating funds totaling $700,000 to immediately improve water, sewage and rodent control to the existing ambulance garage and the future construction of a new building south of the old garage which will be used for storage. The new building will offer office space and a venue to house emergency vehicles.
Immediate action to improve the existing garage was agreed upon because of the valuable square footage it represents and also because of the difficulty of replacing such a structure. Plans on how to fund the request by Search and Rescue were also discussed.
It was decided that the county commission should send an application to the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board for full funding of the Search and Rescue project. The CIB is a program of the Utah Division of Housing and Community Development. It assists state and local agencies and entities that are impacted by mineral resource development on federal land through grants and low-interest loans for the planning, construction and maintenance of public facilities. The funds also help community agencies provide public services.
Until recently, Carbon County has been among the lowest recipients of CIB funds. Neil Breinholt suggested that having a loan on record will beef up the county status with the CIB. The reasoning is that if the board decides to purchase the legal municipal bonds and evaluates Carbon County's capacity to pay the loan, additional funding may be available through other resources such as grants.
If Carbon County has a secure loan with the CIB, grants may be provided depending on certain criteria. Many grants are only available when the other financing mechanisms cannot be utilized and where no reasonable method of repayment can be identified, or in emergency situations regarding public health and/or safety.
Sam Quigley explained that with this strong leveraging position, this could free up additional money for the county to improve public facilities and services to improve the quality of life for residents. This is a priority since there are five venues currently under construction. County Commissioner Mike Milovich expressed the necessity and importance of having the new venues completed before the planning of any new public facility or services.
In an unrelated matter, Bill Krompel offered a proposal on road improvements through Nine Mile Canyon which would total $1,012,800. This would directly effect the Bill Barrett Corporation, an oil/gas exploration and production company. This amount reflects the engineering, design and historical survey involved with the much needed improvements such as realignments to bad curves and widening shoulders to the Nine Mile road. Krompel explained that the undertaking will show the cooperation of Carbon County with the Bill Barrett Corporation on the importance of improving this service road.