RD’s Moab City Council Meeting Preview 2021-050-11

[Editor’s note: Both Rani Derasary and Mike Duncan have graciously agreed to let MADAR reuse their regular email updates to constituents. Despite the overlap, we are running both versions of the MCC previews. Readers can choose to read both, either or neither of the previews.]

Our next City Council meeting is this coming Tuesday, May 11. A summary of what’s on the agenda follows, plus a few other items of potential interest.

Tuesday, May 11 City Council meeting – 7:00pm  – online only.

  • As a reminder of how/why we’re meeting electronically, the agenda notes “Consistent with provisions of the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act, Utah Code Ann. § 54-2-207(4), the Moab City Council Chair has issued written determinations supporting the decision to convene electronic meetings of the Council without a physical anchor location. Due to the health and safety risks related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and considering public health orders limiting in-person gatherings, the Moab City Council will continue to hold meetings by electronic means.”
  • The public is invited and encouraged to view the Council’s meetings live (or after the fact) on the City’s YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/MoabCityGovernment.
  • The 98-page packet for May 11 can be found here: https://moabcity.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_05112021-1039?packet=true
  • If you prefer the 3-page agenda only, with links to packet parts, that is here: https://moabcity.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_05112021-1039

Here is a breakdown of what’s on the May 11 agenda: Along with Citizens to Be Heard, the main portion of our meeting will open with 2 public hearings. The last time this occurred the Mayor opted to take both CTBH comments and Public Hearing comments at the same time, so I’m guessing that’s what we’ll do again starting at 7:00pm; please tune in then in case you’re interested in speaking on/listening to either.

Our two May 11 Public Hearing items are:

  • Public Hearing for the City of Moab’s Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget. As noted in the agenda summary on page 4 of our packet, staff will present an overview of the City’s tentative budget at the beginning of the public hearing. You can review that budget on pages 5-30, and this May 11 public hearing is your opportunity to let the Council and staff know any comments you have for us on it.
  • Public Hearing on Proposed Ordinance 2021-11: adopting the Pay Plan Schedule and Appointed/Exempt and Elected Salaries. Page 31 explains that each year compensation ranges for City staff, plus the salaries of appointed and elected officials are set via ordinance, after a related public hearing. You can find the associated ordinance on packet page 32, and then review the proposed pay plan on pages 33-34 (these pages are duplicated on pages 36-37 it appears) – which include a 1.8% Cost of Living Increase (COLA). On page 35 (duplicated on page 38), you’ll find the salaries for the Mayor and Council, and what Planning Commission members are paid for attending their meetings.(end of public hearing items)

COVID-19 Updates. There are no pages in our packet for this item, but often City staff, the Mayor and/or Southeast Utah Health Department (SEUHD) or Moab Regional Hospital (MRH) staff offer an update with the latest information on the pandemic, as well as an opportunity for Council to ask related questions. 

Continued discussion regarding Bird Scooter’s proposal to enter into a Temporary Operating Agreement with the City for a pilot program. This is on our agenda as a briefing and possible action, but in the agenda summary it’s only noted for continued discussion, so I’m going to guess the latter is what’s intended; I’ll inquire Tuesday to be certain. We had this item on the agenda for the first time April 27, during which:

  • staff explained why communities sometimes sign a temporary operating agreement with scooter companies versus writing a related ordinance;
  • Mike Butler of Bird Scooters made a brief presentation;
  • Council asked a few questions; and
  • the item was tabled. (You can listen to all that at the 2-hr, 43-minute mark – ie 2:43:00 – here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U55cyC11AJA&t=6197s).

In the packet for May 11, you can read in the agenda summary on pages 45-46 about:

  • The Utah Legislature’s 2019 Senate Bill 139 (SB139) that established scooter-related definitions, directed municipalities to regulate motor-assisted scooters like bicycles, and explained how scooter share programs like Bird’s fit in.
  • What policy questions this raises for the City Council.
  • A slide presentation from Bird is on pages 47-63, and the text of SB139 is on pages 64-98.
  • If helpful, I noted that SB139 mostly deals with definitions, so it’s not until you get to packet page 88 that you start reading about what the bill allows in the way of motor-assisted scooters and share programs specifically.

I know some of you have expressed excitement about dockless electric scooters like these, while others have reservations given problems they’ve created in other communities worldwide and wonder if the Council can “just say no” outright to dockless scooter companies who want to deploy their rentable scooters in Moab.

What I’ve gathered thus far, if I understand Utah law correctly, is that the City Council can have a say in which company (or companies) come to Moab, but we cannot say no to all of them in the long term.In addition, as these scooters are allowed anywhere a bike is, it is my understanding the State would say we must allow scooters on the Millcreek Parkway and paved path to Lions Park. I’ll confirm that for all of you on Tuesday, to make sure I haven’t misunderstood the law. 

Budget Workshop I presume this is added time in the agenda for Council and staff to discuss the tentative 2022 budget noted earlier in the agenda under the public hearing. 

Executive (Closed) Session While this part of the meeting will be closed to the public, I can tell you it will be a discussion of the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual or individuals.

That’s it for our May 11 City Council meeting, except that aside from what’s listed above, the meeting will contain standard items such as: reports from the Council, Mayor and City Manager; department reports – this time from the Police, Engineering, Public Works and Finance departments;  approval of minutes (for April 27 – covered on pages 39-44 of our packet); and payment of the bills.

Other items that may be of interest:

  • Correction: Masks are required in our schools until June 15. Apologies, but I had the wrong date on how long the mask mandate in Utah schools will continue when I wrote you May 5; I’m told the school mask mandate continues until June 15(not June 1)unless the school year ends earlier.
  • COVID-19 latest numbers locally. Per the SEUHD web site tonight (https://www.seuhealth.com/covid-19), Grand County has now had a total of 936 positive COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began (35 more than when I last sent you numbers/May 3), 138 of which are active. No one is currently hospitalized.The number of active cases per 100,000 people is 1431.5. This is about 11 times higher than our neighbors in Carbon County, and 18 times higher than Emery County; interestingly, if you look at SEUHD’s vaccine info page (https://www.seuhealth.com/covid-vaccine-dashboard), the current number of fully vaccinated eligible people in each of our counties is 49.59% for Grand, 38.92% for Carbon, and 38.58% for Emery.

Rani Derasary, Moab City Council Member