Two new ordinances passed

Friday, March 8, 2019

Alta City Council passed two ordinances Monday regarding the Firemen’s Association and stump removal, keeping its eye on a potential third regarding right-of-way parking.

Ordinance 19-01 will require the Firemen’s Association to be audited every year, something they have already been doing absent legal requirement.

That’s because the city is required to be audited annually for a USDA loan.

After the city’s kerfuffle with them, Gary Armstrong, the city’s attorney, recommended amending city code to formally reflect this requirement annually (instead of every four years as it was previously written.)

He also recommended getting a written agreement clarifying the rights and responsibilities of both the Alta Fire Department and the Alta Firemen’s Association in their relationships with the city.

Everyone is waiting on a rescheduled meeting with George Oster, something Fire Chief Kirk “Bubba” Reetz was hoping would be over by now to answer questions. The city’s previous meeting in February failed due to technical difficulties—Oster conducts all of his meetings via Skype. It has been rescheduled for March 27.

The ordinance will effectively change their association’s schedule from its current fiscal year arrangement to a calendar year arrangement.

Second and third readings were waived, passing it with unanimous approval.

Armstrong also recommended that the association provide the city clerk with their budget every January, showing monthly income and expense figures throughout the year. The Firemen’s Association’s ongoing conflict with the City of Alta remains at an impasse.

Tree stumps were on the chopping block with the second ordinance, changing responsibility for grinding down stumps left by city tree removal.

“What this is basically saying is that it’s no longer the citizen’s responsibility for stump removal on city right-of-way land in front of their house,” said Mayor Al Clark. “That’s all it’s doing. Taking responsibility away from the citizen and onto the city.”

The city will be responsible for the cost of removal if the city deems that the tree should be taken down. Homeowners wanting to take a tree down will be subject to the approval of Alta, at the homeowner’s expense.

The Streets Department already has a list of trees it wants to take down in the spring. City Council authorized approval of purchases for a stump grinder attachment to help with the task.

As for parking, Clark expressed interest in amending ordinances to allow people to park in their already small driveways.

“There have been issues around town where some people’s city right-of-ways shorten their parking near their garage,” said Clark.

Technically, you’re not supposed to park between the sidewalk and street, even if it’s in your own driveway. Complaints have surfaced during open forums at City Council in months past on the issue.

“We need to look at this so people aren’t being punished because there is a lack of parking in front of their house, especially in the winter time,” he said. “We’ve got to straighten this out, it’s just a mess.”

While Code Enforcement Officer Matt Hess researches the issue, along with Armstrong, they will look into the possibility of also requiring that deteriorating rock driveways (not gravel) be replaced.