Grand County Commission Meeting Report 2020-10-20

The agenda and information packet can be viewed here.

Covid19 update from SEUHD (Brady) and Moab Regional Hospital (Jen Sadoff). The Grand County demographics of testing positive is moving from older to younger people. Younger folks don’t need as much care, but their infections can lead to asymptomatic transmission to more vulnerable and older folks. Hospital stats usually follow positive test rate trends, lagging ~2 weeks. MRH has capacity to ventilate three patients, and would consider delaying all but emergency surgery if need be. Both MRH and SEUHD are receiving rapid response tests, and neither force anyone to be tested. The County Attorney noted that the Sheriff’s office is not responsible for enforcing mask requirement, but residents can contact county attorney’s office and SEUHD to make a complaint; both are trying to track repeat offenders including businesses, gov’t offices, etc.

Commissioners, elected officials and agency reports:

  • Jaylyn reported that the SE Utah Housing Authority will start construction at Arroyo Crossing January 2021
  • Mary reported that 1) US Rep. John Curtis had attended a roundtable discussion in Moab and discussed climate change (he acknowledges it’s caused by humans) and public lands; 2) the GC Solid Waste Special Service Dist. is working hard to ensure that waste generated in GC stays in GC rather than shipped out of state to a private landfill; 3) the homeless task force is trying to come up with options for homeless housing this winter; 4) there was a zoom meeting with the Gov’s office and others regarding the proposed Book Cliffs Hwy.
  • Quinn Hall, Clerk, reported that: 1) ballots are coming in; 2) voters can vote on a voting machine near Clerk’s office, but must present mail-in ballot to the Clerk so ballot can be destroyed before using the voting machine; 3) there’s a ballot drop box in courthouse hallway by clerk’s office doorway and there will be a drop box outside the courthouse on MON-TU Nov. 2-3; 4) ballots must be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 2 to be counted; and 5) ballots are not counted till after polls close Tuesday, Nov. 3.
  • DOE UMTRA project manager Russell McCallister reported that 11 million tons of uranium mill tailings have been moved to Crescent Junction, 5 million tons to go. If continue moving 1 million tons/year, the project will be done in 5 years.

Resolution to formally initiate proceedings to amend the Land Use Code to integrate recommendations from the Hwy 313/191 Small Area Planning process (Christina Sloan, County Attorney). This resolution enacts a 6-month moratorium, in compliance with state statutes for land use planning, and puts developers on notice that the Land Use Code is in the process of being amended; it further provides that new development applications will not be accepted/reviewed during this period. The County Attorney noted that the GCC does not have to use the entire 6-month period, as the planning commission and county attorney’s office is moving forward with due diligence and if the process can be finalized prior to the end of the 6-month moratorium, the moratorium will be lifted at that time. Approved 5-0 (Wells and Paxman absent).

Discussion on special events and COVID-19 event stipulation compliance. Under the governor’s new order, large group size is limited to 10 people; after Oct. 29, it will move to 25 (barring any changes). GC has good protocols for large events at the OSTA, but there’s a 600-person event coming up, that is NOT at OSTA, and GC doesn’t have protocols in place for such an event, and GC doesn’t have enforcement staff to deal with such a large event – so what should the county do?

  • Chris Baird, the Commission Administrator, noted that some big events are multi-day events, spread out across the county – so what kind of staffing would we need for that type of event? Staffing at all locations of all events? County could consider requiring event sponsors to hire enforcement officers, since the county has zero capacity to send staff to any large events for enforcement.
  • Evan suggested that maybe GC consider identifying one county employee (from Travel Council, Sheriff’s office, other?) to address this issue. And also suggested that fees should increase with the size of the event/# of attendees – as a way to include monitoring expenses in the permit fee. Even though our current permit fee structure is not structured like that, the covid19 situation might be our new normal and we need to figure out how to address enforcement at large events sooner rather than later.
  • The Administrator and County Attorney suggested that if the covid19 enforcement staff were in the Travel Council we could possibly use TRT funds to pay for the enforcement staff position.

The next GCC meeting will be Wednesday, Nov. 4 (not Tuesday, Nov. 3) due to the elections.