08-04-2020 Grand County Council Preview

The County Council meeting begins at 2:30pm this Tuesday August 4th. We begin with a workshop on possible Grand County Department restructuring (packet materials begin on page 3) and then go into our Regular Session at 4pm. The link for the 96 page packet with supporting documents can be found HERE .

County Council Workshop: August 4, 2020 at 2pm

Remember you may live-stream the meeting on YouTube by going to YouTube and searching for “GRAND COUNTY UTAH GOVERNMENT” or by clicking HERE .

Or you may join the Zoom Meeting (and give public comment) either by dialing in or clicking on the Zoom link below:

Dial: (669) 900 – 6833    Meeting ID:  847 2716 7143 #    Password (if needed): 547255

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84727167143?pwd=ekFsODJOVWRNcEJlaHlDSUR4SnY0Zz09

Please note that when joining the meeting, you will be placed in a waiting room and will be added to the meeting by the moderator. 

County Council Meeting: August 4, 2020 at 4pm

Item B (no pages in the packet for this item): Presentation on COVID-19 update from Moab Regional Hospital (Jen Sadoff, Moab Regional Hospital CEO and Dr. Dylan Cole).

Item C (no pages in the packet for this item): Presentation on Broadband infrastructure and Emery Telecom’s application to provide phone services in Grand County (Jared Anderson, Emery Telecom Chief Operating Officer).

Item D, p,15: Approving letter of support for Moab Regional Hospital’s (MRH) expansion project (Jen Sadoff, Moab Regional Hospital CEO). This letter supports MRH’ US Department of Agriculture loan program request to expand health care services in the Moab area.

Item E (no pages for this one either): Approving extension of the declaration of local emergency to September 1, 2020 (Chris Baird, Council Administrator).

Item G, p.21: Approving amended job description for the “Travel Council Director” position to include economic development duties, re-title Economic Development Director, and reclassify the pay Grade from 14 to 16 (Chris Baird, Council Administrator). If approved, the above is self-explanatory; Travel Council Director will be called Economic Development Director and it will include a pay grade reclassification.

Item L, p.59: Adopting a proposed resolution approving the Phase 1 Final Plat for the Peak View Subdivision, a high-density housing overlay, located at 3640 South Spanish Valley Drive (Mila Dunbar-Irwin, Planning and Zoning Administrator). You may recall that this is the third time this project has been considered by the Council. If approved (finally!) this project will provide 16 units of housing in this first phase, 13 of which will be deed restricted for the local workforce.

Other Updates and Looking Ahead

Input needed on Small Area Plan. This is a continuing discussion item with the goal of final proposal going to public hearing and being voted on by both the PC and the Council by the beginning of December 2020. Initial public input is being requested. Here is the link: https://surveymonkey.com/r/SAP313

November Election. With all of the media attention to “possible voter fraud with mail-in balloting” I think it’s timely to add a little perspective from our county clerk, Quinn Hall:

We know exactly how many ballots get mailed out. We count the ballots that come back. If we mail out 6500 ballots and get 6502 back – we’re stopping everything to try and figure out where the 2 extra ballots came from (not to mention questioning the 100%+ response rate). If we were, for example, to get 6700 ballots back, we’d stop everything and contact the state – we’d know immediately there was serious fraud going on.

On top of simple ballot counts, staff (generally Jana) verifies every single ballot signature to ensure they match the signature on file with the state. If signatures don’t match or if an envelope is unsigned we contact the voter to let them know there’s a problem.  

As with anything with human interaction/involvement I suppose there is some room for error – but it’s well mitigated at the Grand County level. In larger counties the challenges are different and greater than what we face here but the chance for widespread voter fraud in Grand County is very low.

And a bit more information:

  • Ballot Drop Box. Again from Quinn: “There will be some sort of dropbox. We’d like to have one outside in front of the courthouse (staffed, obviously) again in November. If that happens it will only be for election day and not before. We’ll have one outside our office door in the days before the election. We’re discussing having a drop-slot installed in the wall so it seems more secure, although the cameras in the lobby for the jail are a pretty good deterrent to any mischief.”
  • Register Early! From Quinn: “Please be registered early … for the general election. There were no same-day registrations and no provisional ballots available in the June Primary – and while some might not see that as ideal – it made our election day workload more manageable. Those same regulations are a very real possibility for the November election, and that makes early registration (online preferably) that much more important.

“To Mask or not to Mask.” For those of you who may have questions regarding Dr. Ray Andrew’s letter to the editor in the July 31, 2020 edition of the Times Independent, here is an easily digestible, brief article with an opposing viewpoint: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/27/health/coronavirus-mask-protection.html

I also feel it is only fair to point out that the article that Dr. Andrew was referring to (Masks Don’t Work by Denis G Rancourt), upon which he bases his information was not a peer reviewed scientific journal article; it was originally published on ResearchGate, a social networking site for the scientific community (roughly the equivalent of LinkedIn). ResearchGate later took the article off of its site. Also, in the spirit of giving a fuller spectrum on information to the community, here’s a link to an article, “A Complete Debunking of Denis Rancourt’s Mask Don’t Work.” It is rather lengthy but for those who are interested in the accuracy (or not) of Mr. Rancourt’s claims (and hence Dr. Andrew’s) it is definitely worth a read. I normally try not to offer too much of a bias in these updates but in this case, the information being put out to the community in the letter to the editor is too problematic for me to not take a stand. Masks DO work; and absent herd immunity and a vaccine, it’s the only tool we’ve got.

COVID-19 Case Counts. According to the Southeast Utah Health District, Grand County has 7 cases since the update of a week ago for a total of 44 (2 hospitalizations; 1 current) and 37 recovered. Statewide (Utah Coronavirus Update), there are 37,623 cases (up 3,552 since last update of 8 days ago); 2,430 hospitalizations (up 217); and 311 deaths (up 37) as of today, August 2, 2020. On a positive note, Utah’s 7 day rolling average of new cases per day is finally below 500; this hasn’t been the case since over a month ago on June 23rd.

  • Yellow Phase. No changes – all remains the same across the state. I won’t bog you down with the details until/unless something changes.

That’s all I have for now. Thanks so much for your comments and input!