At the Dec. 3 Grand County Council meeting, plans to move forward with a long-planned new Grand County Emergency Medical Services facility were discussed, following a brief meeting of the Municipal Building Authority.
Earlier in the year, the Grand County EMS Special Service District secured just under five million dollars from Utah’s Community Impact Board to build a new facility for its staff and equipment. The existing building, which also houses offices for other groups, will be demolished and a new building constructed on the site.
Immediately prior to the Dec. 3 Grand County Council meeting, officials with the Municipal Building Authority were taken aback by a need to re-approve the original proposal sent to the Community Impact Board.
EMS staff had made changes to the proposal after it had been approved for submission, including increasing the requested funds by more than a million dollars.
Elizabeth Tubbs, chair of the EMS Special Service District, explained the discrepancy.
“We were encouraged to apply for a larger amount,” by members of the Impact Board, which she noted that they were ultimately awarded.
“We weren’t aware that we needed to come back to this board and get another approval,” Tubbs said.
The lack of communication and perceived transparency clearly riled some council members.
“Even if it’s a great idea, It makes me uncomfortable to see such a big change without warning,” said Councilmember Mary McGann, who noted that she also had thought the plan was for a remodel, not a new build.
“To be fair, a new building was the hope all along,” said Tubbs. “It’s not like this came out of the blue. This is actually a cheaper proposition than remodeling, ultimately.”
Despite the favorable outcome, some hard feelings about the way the district had communicated with the council still remained.
“I do hope nothing like this happens again,” said McGann.
Other Departmental Offices To Be Moved
With plans for a new EMS facility moving forward, the council considered a related motion during its regular meeting.
The offices of the Sand Flats Recreation Area and the Grand County Active Transportation & Trails Division are currently housed within the soon-to-be-demolished EMS building.
The council considered a motion to relocate those offices to a county-owned property at 160 E 100 North. An existing structure on the lot would be razed and a modular office building placed on the site.
Clerk/Auditor Chris Baird noted that Sand Flats office has been “in limbo for years while we’ve talked about bigger and better plans,” but that some decision needed to be made at this time.
“While we don’t know what we’re doing, they have to make a decision right now. The senior center will be demolished in March and these departments have to go somewhere,” said Baird.
Andrea Brand, director of the Sand Flats Recreation Area, broke in to offer to present her proposal for the offices. As it happened, there was no need.
“I’m ready to vote,” said Councilmember Rory Paxman.
The motion passed unanimously.
“It’s been a long time coming and everyone has put a lot of work into it,” commented Chair Evan Clapper.
The council also approved an amended resolution for a countywide goal of 100% renewable energy, citing concerns about costs and duration.
The resolution is in response to the state Community Renewable Energy Act (HB 411). The statewide legislation passed in early 2019 is considered ground-breaking, as it represents a joint project between local communities and Rocky Mountain Power to create a system that meets clean energy targets.
The legislation includes a requirement that Utah municipalities opt-in to the program by adopting a local resolution by Dec. 31, 2019. That timeline was a sore spot with Councilmember Jaylyn Hawks, who expressed that she felt it placed undue pressure on municipalities.
Multiple councilmembers expressed a desire to be able to withdraw from the program at a future point, citing concerns about potential costs and duration.
“I don’t think we know enough at this stage to know if we’re in or out. This just makes it so we have a seat in the conversation,” said Zacharia Levine. An amendment reflecting the council’s desire for an opt-out clause was added, and the resolution passed unanimously.
Information on agendas, minutes and upcoming meetings of the Grand County Council can be found online at www.grandcountyutah.net/134/County-Council
Council meetings are also streamed live on at www.youtube.com/channel/UC7FCQMLwxezhIrVXvaSxFKg
County relocates other departments before demolition