Friday, May 29, 2020


Moab, UT

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    Duncan defends city’s budgeting

    Featured Stories

    Arches, Canyonlands to reopen May 29

    Arches and Canyonlands national parks will partially reopen to the public at the end of the month, according to a spokesperson for the parks, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities.

    County to diversify post-virus

    The impacts of the pandemic have renewed local leaders’ focus on a topic many have worried over for years but must now confront in much starker terms: Economic diversification.

    The party is over at Imagination Station art supply store

    Cindy Sue Hunter serves a customer at her art supply store, Imagination Station, which has been reconfigured to allow shoppers to do what Hunter calls “door shopping."
    Doug McMurdo
    Doug McMurdo
    Editor Doug McMurdo reports on news out of the Moab City Center, tourism, courts, change of government and more.


    J. Wright [Letter to the Editor, Oct. 31, Government sets bad example] makes several assertions that Moab city government “[doesn’t] have to follow the laws of economics.” It’s a common sentiment but one that doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

    I’m almost two years now into my first term on city council and I can’t count the number of meetings and hours council members and the mayor have spent in budget meetings with city staff. I can tell you our city manager is very zealous and cognizant of budget constraints. Further, we’re delighted to have an experienced and competent finance director who helps us publicly present budgets, sort trade-offs and anticipate risks to both revenue loss and expense growth.

    We raised city employee salaries because too often we couldn’t attract anybody to apply for open positions. For what we paid, nobody could afford to move here. Even now, some positions remain open for just that reason, so we’re not paying too much; we’re not unfairly competing with the private sector.

    We managed to raise salaries only because increasing sales tax revenues permitted us to do so while continuing to meet other needs. But that happy circumstance may not exist should the state change sales tax rules or more commonly the business cycle cause variations in visitation. If so, just like businesses, we’ll have to make difficult choices about what has to go.

    I frequent local businesses that I’ve observed steadily raise their prices and I presume, their wages over the years. Sometimes I know the owners, but either way you can bet I’m not going to tell them how to run their businesses, even if twice a month they can come to Moab City Council meetings and tell me how to run mine.

    That’s the fun part of being on city council. Thanks to J. Wright for writing. The opinions expressed are mine as a citizen, not as member of the city council.

    – Mike Duncan

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