Castle Valley Comments
January 24, 2013
by Ron Drake
Jan 24, 2013 | 764 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
During their mon-thly meeting, the Castle Valley Town Council thanked Castle Valley Road Manager Greg Halliday for snow removal of the town’s roads during two holidays last month. Halliday plowed the roads Christmas Day and again on New Year’s Eve after storms deposited snow in the valley.

The town’s policy is to remove snow when there is an inch of snow or more on the roads. The road manager said they are waiting for a load of tar blocks and for better road conditions before beginning the process of tarring the cracks on Castle Valley Drive.

Planning and Land Use chairwoman Mary Beth Fitzburgh said there was a small turnout for a meeting devoted to the question of allowing an auto repair business in Castle Valley. There were three people opposed and about the same amount spoke in favor during the meeting. Fitzburgh was reappointed to the commission last month by the council and the members of that body selected her to continue as the chairwoman.

There were two candidates for the position of Castle Valley Water Rights Agent, which became vacant as a result of the resignation in November of Ron Mengel. Castle Valley Mayor Dave Erley interviewed both candidates, John Groo and Michael Peck and recommended that the council hire Groo for the position. During the mayor’s interview, he told Peck of his plans to hire Groo because of his experience with water issues to which Peck agreed and basically rescinded his application.

Mayor Erley said that Groo, who lives in Colorado, has an invaluable relationship with the state engineer’s office and he knows the town’s database since he was the one who designed it, which is another plus, Erley said. Groo indicated to Erley that he wanted to finish what he started 20 years ago when he was heavily involved with water rights as the town’s mayor and a councilman when he lived here. Erley added that when Groo left in the 1990s, the town lost a lot of knowledge. The council approved $17.50 per hour plus mileage as his compensation for the position.

The council voted to re-key the Town Hall building because the same locks are being used since “day one” and town officials have lost track of who has keys to the building. The council is also considering using Moab attorney Christina Sloan for some of their legal work instead of a Salt Lake City attorney. Salt Lake City attorney Jerry Kinghorn had a long history with the valley, going back over 30 years, before his death last year. Kinghorn recommended a partner in his firm, especially for water issues of the town, but the mayor thought it appropriate to get some of the legal work done locally.

It was mentioned during the meeting that an exit poll, which was taken locally during the national elections in November, showed that 84 percent of those voting favored the town council stating its position in opposition of “corporate personhood” and seeking to amend the town’s constitution. A central point of the debate in recent years has been what role corporate money plays and should play in democratic politics. This is part of a larger debate on campaign finance reform and the role that money may play in politics. Fifteen percent voted against the issue.

In a letter read to the council, former town councilman Jim Lindheim stated his opposition to the town getting involved in national issues, stating that it is hard enough for the council to deal with complicated issues of a small town like Castle Valley. He said that the voting had no advance notice, no pro and con debate ahead of time and no control of people wanting to vote twice. Proponents of the issue set up a table in the hallway leading to the voting area in the Town Hall last November and asked people to vote for or against the issue.

***

From the Castle Valley Comments column of 30 years ago this week was a report of the Castle Valley River Ranchos Property Owner’s Association. A letter was read by POA chairman Ken DeVore from attorney Jerry Kinghorn regarding an earlier statement about the water user’s claim. The letter officially verified what Kinghorn had verbally stated the previous month, that the water user’s claim was a valid document.

Don Tuft, the Castle Valley Road chairman 30 years ago, stated that one of the irrigation ditches that runs under Castle Valley Drive was beginning to collapse and needed to be replaced. Some discussion followed about who was responsible for the replacement, the POA or the irrigation company. The POA board felt that the POA should fix the problem and Roger Lowry of the irrigation company said that they could provide manpower to help with the project.

The column also reported that Doug and Ann LaMunyon returned after a three-week vacation, which took them to Colorado, Arizona and California. The Plastow family was also in California visiting Patt’s mother.

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