North Fork Special Service District

Monthly Board Meeting

January 9, 2020 at 7:00 pm

North Fork Fire Station

Board members present:

Dr. Steven Minton-Chair, Stewart Olsen-Vice Chair, Bryan Ackerman, Keith Payne, Duaine Dorton, Gary Liddiard and Thomas Merrill.

 Staff members present:

Stephen Miche-Public Works Director, Emily Johnson-District Clerk, Aubree Durrant-Public Works, Ryan Taylor-TO Engineering, David Marsella-Fire Chief, Joseph Martin-Controller. 

 Public Present:



January 2020 Monthly Meeting of the Board was brought to order by Dr. Stephen Minton-Chair at 7:00 p.m.

Public Comments

– None

Informational Items

#1 Board Yearly Mandatory Instructional Training

– LeGrand Bitter of the Association of Special Service Districts presented.  His purpose tonight is to give brief refresher course to the Board regarding their Oath of Office and to aid in yearly training, a more in-depth training will occur closer to April of this year.  LeGrand discussed how the Special Services in Utah was formed, their purpose and resources.  A handout of “Pocket Guide for Board Member” was distributed to the Board and LeGrand offered a brief overview of the guidebook.  LeGrand discussed compensation rules regarding State Ethics Laws.  He discussed private vs. public office business laws.  Discussions of procurement and no cash gifts ensued.  LeGrand discussed conflict of interest, laws and State statutes.  LeGrand emphasized oath, obligations, representing the interest of the community in whole and fiduciary responsibility.  The subject of disclosing conflicts of interest ensued.  Announcing any possible conflict of interest should be announced in board meetings and recorded in the meeting minutes.  Disclosing conflicts and examples of conflicts were discussed in some detail.

Closed vs. open meetings were discussed.  Having a quorum present, work groups and posting these meetings to the public were discussed at some length.  Using the verbiage of closed session not closed executive session or meeting was encouraged.  Closed meeting minutes are to be recorded but are protected private records and GRAMA requests of recorded closed meetings were discussed.  LeGrand Bitter left the meeting directly after his presentation.

#2 Financial Report

– Due to end of year reporting and auditing as well as time spent on the water rate study, there will not be a financial report this evening.

 #3 Fire/EMS Reports

– Fire Chief David Marsella presented.  He reported there were 27 calls in December.  Dr. Minton stated an evaluation needs to take place to review the ambulance services, costs and if it’s serving the District’s best interest.  Emily Johnson-District Clerk stated she and Chief Marsella will be sitting down with the new ambulance billing company (Gold Cross) to discuss the prior year’s billings.   Chief Marsella stated the prior billing company’s data (Iris) was not clear, now that we have been with Gold Cross for a year, we can get a clearer projection of the data.

During last week’s snowstorm, a vehicle was damaged at Sundance Resort.  A liability claim was filed with the Trust (insurance claim). The vehicle was unoccupied and parked, no injuries.  The fire department’s social media has reached 1,000 followers.  We received wildland grant refunds for personal protective equipment.  There were 27 calls in December, we averaged 22 calls a month last year.  There have been 25 calls this month of January (we are on day 9 of the month).  There have been 5 cars in the river, the canyon was closed multiple times and a trooper was hit.  We have been posting notices on social media asking people to slow down.  Enforcement of 4-wheel drive and chains was discussed, Chief Marsella said people will be fined if they are not in compliance by the County Sheriff and they are in an accident or pulled over.

An email will be sent out soon in order to get a community fire committee together.

A full-time fire fighter/engine boss position has been advertised.  After reviewing the applications, a qualified individual has been selected and will be filling the position soon.

Chief Marsella reported January 22nd and 23rd as he will be attending the Fire Chief’s Association Conference.

#4 District Clerk Information

– Emily Johnson-District clerk presented.  A handout was given to the Board to provide them a visual of the website and social media.  Emily stated that utilizing social media and keeping it current with District announcements and information was important to the Board. She wanted to get some input from the Board as to how they felt about the content and visual aspects.  Duaine Dorton-Board inquired about the 3 current seats that are up for reappointment, Dr. Minton gave a brief overview of the process and the involvement of the County Commissioner and any recommendations that may be considered by the Board.  Emily stated that she has spoken with the Commissioner and that he expressed the importance of the community being represented equally including all the HOA’s.  Dr. Minton expressed the importance of all the Board members representing the North Fork District and all of its entities equally.

Emily has been working with Joseph Martin-Controller to complete quarterly and yearly reports.  Those will be submitted to the State and Federal Governments before the due date of January 31, 2020.  W2’s have been completed and will be mailed out soon to employees.  1099’s have also been completed for 2019 tax year.  Emily stated she is working with Joseph Martin to prepare for the 2019 Financial Audit, they hope to have that done by March of 2020.

#5 Water Adjudication Update

– Stephen Miche presented.  He offered thanks to all involved working on this project.  Stephen stated we have 3 Water Rights that we are claiming

  • E3881 – 126 ac-ft; District bought these as part of the Hamblin rights
  • A41681 – 46.32 ac-ft; this was for the point of diversion for the well
  • E2189 – 155 ac-ft; according to the memo attached to this exchange, Lee believes that this exchange was reduced to 155 ac-ft to create the above A41681. We plan to file it with this understanding and work with Lee to prove this if the State Engineers Office questions this further

If all 3 exchanges are accepted as is, that will give us 327.32 ac-ft.  If E2189 is NOT accepted as we interpret, that leaves the District 172.32 ac-ft in its name. This would be bad because we are already using 97% of these shares, leaving us little to no “paper water” to meet obligations we have committed to properties that have NOT been built on.  Lee Kapaloski, Stewart Olsen and Stephen plan to meet tomorrow to review water deeds found in his office on January 10th, 2020.

In our research, we have found a couple water rights that have expired and some that had never been transferred to the District when residential projects were developed. This will increase the number of water rights the District has available once we contact the owners of those rights and secure them. Stephen stated he knows of 15 ac-ft for sure that need to be collected with a potential 62ac-ft. There is still a lot of research that will need to go into this, Lee Kapaloski has contacted the water right owners to ensure that they are securing the appropriate rights in anticipation of the District collecting them later. In any case, this does NOT affect the adjudication process for the District.

We have water shares in a couple different water companies that we still need to research, but since these are shares, not rights, those water companies will claim those rights with the State, and NOT the District.

To make claim on the District water rights, Stephen asked to get a signature on the attached applications, to be turned into the State Engineers Office.  Dr. Minton expressed the urgency of getting every acre foot before the State accepts the amount.  Stewart Olsen stated the water with Big Pine rights were never deeded to the District although there were contracts.  These need to be deeded properly.  Stephen explained he has been going through notes from the past and is finding rights have been contracted to the District however he has not been able to rule out if they were exchanged or not.  Duaine brought up an inquiry he had received from Sundance’s water lawyers about Lee reaching out to them about some water rights. Stephen clarified this request from Lee being that there appears to be some water rights related to the Ridge Lots that were never deeded from Sundance to the district. Stephen indicated the transferring of those rights could be handled later; the important thing right now was to ensure that those rights (whether under the name of Sundance or the NFSSD) were secured during this adjudication process.  Stephen explained that we are trying to avoid double filing or missing out any water rights.  It was approved that Stewart Olsen can sign on behalf of the board applications for exchanges and appropriately filed in the District’s name during the Provo Canyon adjudication process.

 #6 Water/Wastewater Report

– Aubree Durrant-Public Works presented.  Two documents named “Monthly Water Use” and “Water Department Information for January” were handed out.  Duaine Dorton inquired about the Stewart Spring Redevelopment.  Aubree recounted the progress on the Spring in the past months.  Duaine inquired about the Moratorium, Stephen Miche-Public Works stated he will know more this February, due to the peak season and having a full year of data collected.  Ryan Taylor-TO Engineers stated the moratorium should be revisited around March of 2020.

Duaine Dorton inquired if there were any updates on the EQ System for the wastewater.  Stephen stated we did get approval from the State of Utah on the design, but they noted they were concerned about the size/capacity (it was small).  Ryan Taylor-TO Engineering stated he has been seeking construction bids and they are awaiting County approval as well.  Ryan will meet with Justin at the Sundance Resort to go over bid numbers.

Stephen Miche stated he will be sending out a mailer on the new water rate structure to inform the residents of the changes.  Dr. Minton asked that they look at it for approval prior to distribution, Stephen stated he will have that out next week.

Stephen stated he did year end reviews on his long-term employees; the newer staff will be conducted later in the month.  Stephen stated that the Board requested to be notified when raises were to be issued to his staff and raises will be appropriate this year.  He is creating a job description for the new public works position that he hopes to have posted in the following weeks.  He intends to include a requirement for an EMT certification, in the hope of having cross trained employees for our small staffed organization.  Dr. Minton emphasized the importance of not making multiple salaries or holding multiple positions at the District.  Stephen stated that was not an issue.  Duaine Dorton asked if the Board could view the proposed wage increases intended for the public works staff, Stephen stated he would get them that information.

Aubree Durrant discussed Hazmat issues have been resolved with containment for chemicals in the plant.

Action Items

Approval of December 5, 2019 Board Meeting Minutes

– Stewart Olsen moved to approve the December 5, 2019 meeting minutes, Keith Payne seconded the motion, all voted aye except Duaine Dorton who abstained.  Motion passed.

Personal Protective Equipment (Haz-Mat)

– Chief Marsella presented.  He gave a brief description of the levels of Hazmat and that we are at an “operation level” which our turnouts meet that operational standard for gear.  Chief referred to the Spring of 2019 when he mentioned in Board meeting that some of our water rescue and structural protective gear needed to be replaced or repaired.  He was hoping to do that through some grants, but grants have not approved as of yet.  Chief Marsella explained that we have funds that were set aside due to incident involving Savage Trucking.  Those funds are only to be used regarding Hazmat matters.  There is $48,000 in this account.  His suggestion is that we purchase some gear that would be used for Hazmat incidents which would fit our “operational level” of firefighting.  Many of the Hazmat incidents have been in the lake or river so swift water gear would also be purchased under the operational level.  These funds can be used for Hazmat training but that is being covered through the FEMA grant and fire school.  All Hazmat responses we have had over the past year Chief Marsella was able to back bill and be refunded for by the State such as the Deer Creek incident last Spring.  He would like to use approximately half of the Hazmat funds for personal protective equipment including approximately 10 structural suites, helmets, 7 water suites, boots, etc.  This is a safety issue for staff as our current gear’s life expectancy is outdated, much of it was inherited from the Unified Fire and we don’t know the history of the gear.

Thomas Merrill motioned to allow Chief David Marsella to transfer $23,000 from the PTIF Hazmat capital fund to purchase Hazmat Personal Protective gear or to mend current gear, Duaine Dorton seconded.  All aye, motion passed.

 Wildland Engine

– Chief Marsella presented.  He has been evaluating engine 213 (the engine at UDOT) and discussed its deployment for wildland fires to California and Nevada last summer.  The current engine being used for deployment was built in 1999 (it’s 21 years old) and has 22,000 miles, 1550 hours which is the equivalent of 93,000 miles.  It also has front end issues which Chief is not aware of the origin of since the issue precede his employment, a significant oil leak and other costly issues from breaking down.  The standard replacement for engines is 400 hours per the BLM and USFS.  The engine did break down during deployment to California.  In order to be available to go out on future fires, Chief Marsella is looking into a new engine.  He submitted information on a Type III Engine which takes 12 to 18 months to build.  The cost is $340,000 to 365,000.  His objective is to obtain a smaller and lighter fleet, with the wildland program we need something reliable in order to raise revenue by going out on fires instead of raising rates for our customers.  Discussion of the built-in antifreeze system and investing in an engine to bring us up to code ensued.  Chief Marsella is asking for input and consideration over the next month on the purchase of a new engine.  The Board inquired about getting an assessment on the current 213 engine to have repairs made.  Chief Marsella will investigate getting an assessment.  Motion tabled until next month.


Thomas Merrill of the Board asked if meetings could start earlier in the evenings, Stephen Miche-Public Works asked the Board if there is something more staff can do to prepare for the Board.  Dr. Minton stated that once the Board Members are assigned to their intermediate projects, we can revisit scheduled meeting times and materials the Board would like to view prior to the meetings in order to be more efficient and prepared.

At 9:16 p.m. Thomas Merrill motioned to adjourn the January 2020 monthly meeting of the Board, Keith Payne seconded, ally aye.