Moab community members and city council met on Tuesday, May 8, for a regularly scheduled council meeting to include a public hearing on the city’s tentative $12.6 million budget; the approval of alcohol licenses; and permission for the Humane Society to play amplified music at a dog fair.
Speaking at the public hearing were members from committees and departments who sent letters to council requesting funding in the proposed budget: Trail Mix, Seekhaven, Moab Multicultural Center, the Housing Authority of Southeastern Utah, the Moab Housing Task Force and the Grand County Community and Economic Development Department.
Council members Rani Derasary, Mike Duncan, Karen Guzman-Newton, Kalen Jones, Tawny Knuteson-Boyd, recorder and assistant city manager Rachel Stenta, mayor Emily Niehaus, city manager David Everitt and city attorney Chris Mackney were seated at the council’s table.
TRAILS AND RECREATION
Maddie Logowitz, trails coordinator for the Trail Mix Committee, spoke to council to request funding for the organization in the coming year.
Grand County Trail Mix is an advisory board with Grand County and the Bureau of Land Management, with members from hiking, biking, equestrian and other outdoor recreation activities, Logowitz said. The organization has helped build over 150 miles of mountain bike routes and maintains other routes around Moab.
“This is a national mountain bike destination, the trail network is a valuable asset that brings in over 200,000 people to BLM land, just to mountain bike, so that doesn’t include anyone else, national parks, nothing, just mountain bikers. The tax revenue on tourism the city gets is about $6 million, according to your budget,” she said.
Logowitz said requested funding will go toward the Trail Mix field crew that performs the on-the-ground work to build and maintain the trails to meet the demands of the increased visitation each year; unofficially, she said, there has been a 50 percent increase in BLM land use.
Trail Mix committee member Aaron Lindberg, an employee of Poison Spider Bicycles, also spoke to support the Trail Mix committee’s budget request.
“I started working [at Poison Spider Bicycles] in 2008 and the transformation of Moab and the biking infrastructure here has allowed me to … build a house and work full time,” he said. “That’s all because of Trail Mix’s work and I think it’s a very worthy organization.”
He thanked the council for their consideration, and said, “That’s a huge economic driver and I’m directly impacted by that.”
COMMUNITY SERVICE PROVIDERS
Seekhaven Family Crisis and Resource Center, 81 North 300 East, requested funding to increase the number of services provided.
Maddy Fisk, executive director of Seekhaven, said that in the year leading up to a victim’s death, 44 percent of abusers and one-third of victims had contact with law enforcement.
“Only four percent of victims had contact with a service provider in the year leading up to their death,” Fisk said. “That is a huge gap in connecting victims to services.”
Fisk said the Moab Multicultural Center, Moab City Police Department and the city are likely connections in the community helping victims contact service providers and she wants to expand available services.
Moab Valley Multicultural Center Executive Director Rhiana Medina asked council for funding to expand resources for people with multicultural and socioeconomic barriers who need help or don’t know how to access services.
Medina said the center works with law enforcement, the MARC, and other nonprofits and organizations to help people overcome barriers.
Housing Authority of Southeast Utah Executive Director Ben Riley told council that he sees a need to increase the housing money in the city’s budget plan.
“I saw in the pie chart that it was 12 percent of the priority. I feel like we have this discussion a lot; I think that 12 percent, based on the need in our community, can be bumped up quite a bit,” Riley said.
Zacharia Levine, speaking as the Grand County Community and Economic Development Director as well as the vice chair of the Moab Housing Task Force, encouraged the city to contribute more to economic development.
“I know that this problem is large and complex, and one of the great ways the city can play a role in tackling that problem is … to infuse cash into projects that lead to construction of affordable units,” Levine said.
LICENSES AND SPECIAL EVENTS
In agenda action items, council granted consent to Spoke Brewery Company, 5 North Main Street, for an alcohol manufacturing license and a package liquor agency license.
Mayor Niehaus asked if there would be a discussion.
“It’s my understanding that the change in the type of licensing might be because they can be bottling beers,” board member Rani Derasary said.
Board member Karen Guzman-Newton invited the two managing members of Spoke Brewery to speak next about their business plan to lease the space adjacent to the restaurant.
“The space, three-quarters of it, I think will be used for manufacturing, for brewing, but one-quarter will have a small bar and it will operate under the current restaurant business license that we have, and the packaging license is so we can sell bottled beer, store it,” Zach Bynum, manager, said.
Council approved the licenses, 5-0.
Moab Valley Humane Society asked for permission to host an amplified music event at Old City Park for the annual Dawg Days of Summer on June 2.
The Dawg Days of Summer is a fundraiser for the Humane Society, and is featuring a BBQ catered by Blu Pig, a live Folk and Americana music concert and a silent auction.
Council approved the amplified music request, 5-0.
This article has been updated to reflect that the funding requested by Trail Mix would go toward the Trail Mix field crew that performs the on-the-ground work, including trail-building and maintenance on the non-motorized trail network surrounding Moab. The Moab Sun News had previously reported on May 10 that during the Moab City Council meeting on May 8, the Trail Mix Committee requested funding for staffing the committee.
Trails, beer and dog fair among the issues pitched by local nonprofits and businesses
“This is a national mountain bike destination, the trail network is a valuable asset that brings in over 200,000 people to BLM land, just to mountain bike, so that doesn’t include anyone else, national parks, nothing, just mountain bikers. The tax revenue on tourism the city gets is about $6 million, according to your budget.” – Maddie Logowitz