• BEST IN STATE—Senior Courtney Schoen Lewis was named Best PR Student in Utah. Story

Smithfield FD explains emergency response effort to city council

February 11th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

SMITHFIELD–Fire Chief Jay Downs outlined how his department’s emergency management division will coordinate emergency response efforts, Wednesday at City Council meeting.

“This is a new program; we’ve only been doing it about a year. We are still looking to improve and grow and we are always looking for volunteers,” Downs said. “We know that every family, church, or stake may have their own plan of emergency preparedness. We need to ensure that all of those plans are cohesive, that everyone is able to communicate and coordinate their efforts and resources.”

Downs explained how Cache County EMS (CCEMS) works as a combination department with Smithfield Fire Department. CCEMS pays 70 percent of the fire department’s wages, provides ambulance services to the entire county and is staffed 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. “If it wasn’t for CCEMS, our department wouldn’t be what it is today,” Downs said.

Downs thanked Capt. Mike Weibel for his ability to secure funds for the fire department through grants. “Over the last eight years, Mike has gotten about $500,000 through fire department-related grants. He’s been a great grant writer and has essentially saved the city that money.”

Mayor Simmons commended the fire department for their ability to fund themselves and gain access to other resources. “It is a noble profession and we are grateful for our fire department. We appreciate your service and it adds to the quality of life in Smithfield,” he said.

Downs said the fire department will have a section in the monthly Smithfield newsletter from now on as a way to keep citizens informed.

Emergency manager Gary Stevens also invited citizens to the fire department on the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. “We have a Smithfield Citizen Course available for any individuals, groups or organizations that are interested in emergency preparedness,” Stevens said. “We even have some local and amateur radio station personnel that come to help coordinate communication efforts. It’s open to anyone interested.’

Downs added that the emergency management division will be working with the city to ensure the Smithfield pre-disaster mitigation plan will meet the standards required by the federal government and is cohesive with other plans.

The council voted unanimously to adopt the 2009 Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan as required by the Federal Disaster Mitigation and Cost Reduction Act of 2000. At council meeting on Jan 27, City Manager Jim Gass said the deadline to submit the completed plan, in order to be eligible for FEMA funds, is May 13.

The council also voted unanimously to approve the final plan for Stone Haven Planned Unit Development Phase I.

Councilwoman Kris Monson expressed concern about the proposed locations of private and public roads. “I strongly encourage you to do a little shifting to make room for public roads. For the good of the people living there, I really encourage that. Private roads can be a headache.”

Ryan Rogers, agent for North Ridge Development, acknowledged her concerns and explained the revision of those plans at this stage would be costly. “There will be five or six other phases and we can definitely look into it.”

Rogers assured the council that he and Gass have met extensively about the subject and will continue to explore alterations for the next phases.

Councilwoman Barbara Kent thanked Rogers for his patience. “He has really put off his project at the consideration of the city and we appreciate it.”

“I hope the city will be proud of Stone Haven. We’re working hard on it,” Rogers said.

Sandy Cook of Bountiful Baskets asked the council about securing a location to run a produce co-op. “Bountiful Baskets is an all volunteer, non-profit organization that provides good quality produce at a low-cost. There is one operating successfully in Hyde Park, but they don’t have enough produce to accommodate the area. We just need a space,” Cook said.

Cook asked the council for a fee waiver on a space.

“My only concern is that would set a precedent and then everyone would want a free space. It does cost the city to loan that space out and maintain it,” Monson said.

Cook agreed to check with the rules of Bountiful Baskets to see if an entrance fee could be charged for rental space.

Monson suggested a charge of $1, adding “I’m a big supporter of the farmer’s market, we have a garden—I know what you’re doing is good. People would be willing to pay a small entrance fee to get a large amount of good produce. I know I would.”

Cook will get more information about a possible location and regulations as they relate to her co-op and report back to council.

The council voted unanimously to approve the prevailing fee schedule for 2010.

The council also unanimously voted to set a date for a public hearing on an amendment to Title 2. The council decided on March 16 at 3:30 p.m at the Smithfield Senior Citizen Center.

Monson said the council chose the Senior Citizen Center to be able to accommodate more citizens. “We want to ensure that the public has access to the ordinance and has plenty of time to read it before we hold the public hearing,” said Monson.

City recorder Dean Clegg offered to make hard copies of the ordinance available at the city office and will eventually post them on the city Web site, http://www.smithfieldcity.org.

“The amendment to Title 2 finalizes the form of government we have. It details the responsibilities of the mayor, council and city officials as an established form of government. It’s important for our citizens to have clarification about that. We are a six-member council government, not a strong mayor form of government,” Mayor Simmons said.

“A lot of young people don’t realize what it takes to run a city. Everyone doesn’t get to see what goes on behind the scenes. There are a lot of people working to make sure things go smoothly.”


Tags: , ,

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.