This week we’ll talk about:
- County facility improvements and the new Silver Summit County Campus
- An update on the OSAC Regional Advisory Groups
- The County’s Emergency Operations Plan
- The resignation of County Manager, Tom Fisher.
Silver Summit County Campus
First up, we want to take a couple minutes to talk about and give context to some county facility improvements that made headway at this week’s County Council meeting.
Back in 2017, the county commissioned a private firm to produce a capital facilities master plan. Based on that plan, the County identified several high priority facilities that are in need of improvements.
The identified projects were improvements to the Public Works Complex, Justice Center, Sheldon Richins Building, and the creation of a new County Facility (currently known as the Silver Summit County Campus). The County Council then authorized a $19M Bond to pay for these improvements in 2021.
Since the recommendation and original budget was developed, several things have happened…
- The Kimball Junction Area Plan was completed which has resulted in staff determining the envisioned improvements to the Richins Building should be delayed until more study has gone into how this facility should be utilized. Council agrees with the delay.
- A detailed programing exercise has been completed with the Departments who would utilize space in the new County facility which identified needs not contemplated in the initial study and which possibly underestimated some needs; and
- There has been unprecedented inflation in the construction market.
These factors caused some rethinking and further analysis of how this facility could/should be developed and funded.
Presently, the Public Works Facility Improvements are under way and are within the budgeted amount, which leaves $12.2M available from the bond proceeds for the remaining high priority projects.
However, due to the factors mentioned above, the budget originally proposed for the new County facility is roughly $15M short of what the updated cost-estimate is.
As a result, The County Manager directed staff to review other possible funding sources to bridge the gap. Matt Leavitt, Summit County’s Financial Officer, worked to identify several sources that could be used on this type of project. His proposal includes using federal America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and Transient Room Tax funds, as well as monies from the County’s General Fund, Municipal Services Fund, and Assessing and Collecting Fund.
Matt reported that due to unexpected growth in fund balances over the last few years, and the conservative spending by Departments, fund balances are above their maximums. He also shared that even after dedicating the one-time spending amounts recommended for the new County facility, the balances will remain above their minimums.
The Council gave staff direction to move forward with the proposed $27 million budget for the new County facility, stating the project is worthy of the use of these resources as it will house critical County functions that will benefit the community for years to come, such as Sheriff’s Administration, County Prosecutors, Department of Motor Vehicle, a meeting and event space, and a shell for a future childcare facility, which is critically needed to recruit and maintain County workers.
This budget also allows the County to adhere to the guidelines outlined in the County’s High Performance Building Standards ordinance.
The final form of the budget will be finalized through the County’s budget process which will conclude in December of this year.
Up next, we have an exciting open space update! The Council approved County Manager, Tom Fisher’s, recommendations for appointments to the Open Space Advisory Committee’s (OSAC) regional advisory groups.
As a reminder, the purpose of these groups is to involve the public in creating, prioritizing, adopting, and recommending Evaluation Standards to OSAC for open space acquisitions and conservation easements.
There are three groups representing each of the North, South, and Western Summit County communities. In total, there were 21 vacancies to fill.
You can find a complete list of those selected to serve on these regional committees at bit.ly/OSACregional.
A big congratulations to all 21 selections. Thank you in advance for your service and commitment to stewarding Summit County open space!
Emergency Operations Plan
Moving on, Kathryn McMullin, Summit County’s Emergency Manager, reviewed the county’s Emergency Operation Plan with the Council this week. Council approved the updated plan.
For some context, the purpose of this plan is to develop an efficient and comprehensive emergency management strategy. Basically, it’s a plan that helps the county mitigate disasters, improve response during an emergency, and establish an effective recovery plan.
Kathryn shared key changes that have been made to the plan. The two most significant included:
- Moving the location of the EOC, or Emergency Operations Center, from the Health Department to the Coalville Courthouse. The EOC will have mobile capabilities.
- Reassigning the Medical Reserve Corps to the Health Department, and adding the Summit County Wildland Fire Unit to the plan as a volunteer organization.
Moving forward, Kathryn plans to make the plan more succinct to only include actionable language and direction for when incidents occur. Ultimately, making the document even more efficient and effective in times of emergency.
County Manager Resignation
And, finally, County Manager, Tom Fisher, announced his resignation at Wednesday’s Council meeting.
Tom expressed to the Council how much he has enjoyed working with the Council and the staff of Summit County. He will be moving on to another opportunity outside Utah. His last day with the county will be July 31, 2022.
Council will start the process to fill the now vacant County Manager position immediately.
We want to take a moment to thank Tom for his 7.5 years of service to the county. We’re nothing but grateful for his strong leadership and steadfast belief in this organization and support of employees. Thank you, Tom, for your service and friendship, and best wishes on your next endeavor.