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Newton moves first meeting of new year to second Thursday

December 7th, 2013 Posted in Opinion

By Tavin Stucki

NEWTON — The City Council has moved its regular January meeting from the first Thursday to the second, in order to comply with Utah state laws dealing with the timing of swearing in newly elected council members.

Council members Kathryn Rigby and Matt Hansen will be sworn in at 7 p.m. Jan. 9 in the town hall. Rigby and Hansen were at the recent council meeting and received training about Utah open meetings policies.

By way of town business, Councilman Greg Jorgensen presented the quarterly report for the fire department, which included a number of recent drills the volunteer fire crew participated in. Jorgensen said one drill had a scenario in which a room was filled with smoke and fire fighters had to navigate to find and extinguish a fire. Another was designed to reach temperatures of more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. “This is showing you the signs and things to look for,” Jorgensen said, “when you see them, it’s time to get out of there.”

Other drills were designed to train firefighters how to work with tender — large trucks capable of transporting water to rural fire locations.

“It was kind of an eye opener how fast you can diminish your resources if you don’t have more coming,” Jorgensen said. He said the town has received a new tender, which is being stored on his property while mechanical maintenance can be performed to make the truck ready for use.

The council also discussed the purchase and building of a new building or buildings to replace the existing town hall, library and fire station structures. Mayor Clair Christiansen said no definite plans have been set regarding purchases — or even the number of new buildings, if any — the town will make.

The council also discussed the possibility of purchasing a new water meter method. Under the current system, all Newton water meters must be read manually. Councilman Matt Phillips presented a plan that would cut down time spent reading the meters — a sensor would be able to read every meter from 1,000 yards away, possibly with greater accuracy than is currently made available by the current meters. Another more expensive variation of the plan included placing an antenna atop the town hall building that would be able to read each water meter in the town automatically without the need for an employee to drive around the streets.

Kelli Myers, the town employee responsible for water billing, said the ease of reading meters faster isn’t necessarily the main motivation for a new system.

“(I thought when I first heard about it,) I don’t think this is a $60,000 problem,” she said. Myers added that all the added data regarding water usage in the town would be extremely beneficial when being audited by the state or applying for grants.

No decisions were made regarding the water metering system.


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