2020-09-01 Grand County Commission Meeting Preview

I hope you’ve all been able to have some fun this summer; it’s gone by fast and we embark on September tomorrow! The agenda packet for tomorrow’s County Commission Meeting (September 1, 2020) is quite lengthy (251 pages). We begin the meeting at 2pm by joining the Planning Commission for a workshop to discuss progress on the Small Area Plan for the lands surrounding Hwy 191 and 313. You can view the agenda and supporting documents here.

Instructions to give public comment via Zoom: Dial: (669) 900-6833    Meeting ID: 844 3698 9906 #     Password (if needed): 871662

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84436989906?pwd=NEZYUzJ2RWJqZXpHMHJUSEd6dG1MQT09

OR Watch on YouTube: search for Grand County Utah Government

Small Area Plan (SAP) Workshop – 2pm

Packet materials begin on page 4. During this meeting, we will continue the discussion on the Small Area Plan that is being developed for the lands surrounding the intersection of Highway 191 and SR313. See updates below for a link to a survey to offer your voice to the discussion.

Regular County Commission Meeting – 4:00pm

Citizens to be Heard. This takes place at the beginning of the meeting and again at approximately 6pm. Citizens may be heard on any topic whether or not it is on the Agenda. See gray highlighted instructions above to call and speak on an issue.

Item E, p.73: Separate presentations on ongoing financial needs and obligations for purposes of later determining funding and allocations of Mineral Lease and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT), and the Health Care Sales Tax for the following organizations:

  • Canyonlands Health Care Special Service District (page 74)
  • Emergency Medical Services Special Service District (page 91)
  • Grand County School District (page 115)
  • Recreation Special Service District (page 130)
  • Solid Waste Management #1 Special Service District (page 144)
  • Transportation Special Service District (page167)

Item H, p.198: Adopting resolution approving the Strawburb PUD Subdivision Final Plat located at 4057 S Chapman St (Mila Dunbar-Irwin, Planning and Zoning Administrator). The approval of this final plat is an administrative action and allows the developer to move on with implementing this project.

Item M, p.222: Discussion regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) “Adjacent Right-of-Way Holder Notification” for the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition (SCIC) proposal to pave 35 miles through the Book Cliffs to connect Seep Ridge Road in Uintah County with I-70 in Grand County (Commissioner Hawks). In its latest iteration, the ‘Book Cliffs Highway’ is being proposed by the SCIC as an Eastern Utah Connection Road. The name keeps changing but at the end of the day, it’s still a road that Grand County doesn’t want, being proposed by other counties, to be build entirely in Grand County. I’ll risk showing my cards here but it seems very intrusive and presumptuous in my opinion.

Other Updates and Looking Ahead

Grand County and South Eastern Utah Health Department’s Joint Face Covering Order for Grand County was voted on (5 in favor; Curtis and Rory opposed) at the last meeting and extended through the end of the year. 

Small Area Plan (Hwy 313/US 191). There is still time to give your input on this continuing discussion (see 2pm workshop above). The goal is to have the final proposal going to public hearing and being voted on by both the PC and the Commission by the beginning of December 2020. Public input is being requested. Here is the link:


COVID-19 Case Counts. 

  • According to the Southeast Utah Health District, Grand County has had 2 cases since the update of 16 days ago for a total of 54 (2 hospitalizations; 0 current) and 53 recovered, and 1 death. Take a moment to click on the above link; they have altered the format, it provides more information, and they’ve added a section for cases in the schools broken down by district. Currently Carbon is the only school district showing positive cases (2). 
  • Statewide (Utah Coronavirus Update), there are 52,107 cases (increase of 5,786); 3,093 hospitalizations (up 333); and 407 deaths (up 44) as of today, August 31, 2020. On a positive note, Utah’s 7 day rolling average of new cases per day has been below 400 for over two weeks and the 7-day rolling average of percent positive rate in relation to tests administered has been well below 10% for that same time period.

Please make sure your voter registration is up-to-date by clicking on this link: https://secure.utah.gov/voterreg/index.html

Election info. The County Clerk’s page has been updated with all sorts of helpful information regarding this year’s election including important dates and how to vote. According to the webpage, ballots will be mailed from the printer on October 13th. Check it out!

If you’ve made it this far, thank you! Please read further for this very important update:

Amendments to the plan of government. At the last council special meeting, the agenda items voted on and passed have the effect of bringing Grand County’s plan of government into compliance with State Statute by:

  • Removing partisan elections
  • Removing recall elections
  • Removing term limits
  • Clarifying that GC has always operated under the statutory definition of a commission

Simply put, Grand County government is now in compliance with state code. As such, we are no longer living with the threat of defaulting to a 3-person commission, which would have been the case in the event that the Form of Government study committee’s proposal to the voters fails in November elections. This is already in effect; it did not require voter approval.

There are 3 questions on the ballot which DO require voter approval. All are simple Yes/No questions. I’m not quoting the exact language, but here is the basic idea:

  • Shall we accept the study committee’s proposal for a 5-member Council/manager for Grand County’s form of Government? If a majority of voters vote “yes”, this will be GC’s form of government beginning in January of 2023.
  • Shall Grand County decrease the number of Commissioners to 5? Remember, GC is currently operating under 7 commissioners so a majority “yes” on this question will reduce the number of governing commissioners to 5.
  • Shall all Grand County Commissioners be elected At Large? A majority “yes” on the question would remove districts for the purposes of Commissioner elections and every voter would get to vote for every commissioner (similar to how Moab City Council elections are).

Now here’s why I voted the way I did in the last special meeting. I voted for the above amendments to make our GC government compliant with statute. I also voted to put the last two questions on the ballot. I did so for two reasons:

  1. Doing so takes the default of 3-person commission off the table; that’s a very good thing in my opinion. It’s simply too easy to experience abuse of power in that scenario.
  2. Doing so gives 5,500 additional voters a chance to weigh inand have a say in how they want things to run in GC. This is in addition to the roughly 300 citizens that the Form of Government Study Committee worked so diligently to engage. I was one of those 300, and I believe all GC voters should have the option to weigh in as well.

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

Jaylyn Hawks, Grand County Commission, District 3