Washington City: ‘business friendly,’ nuclear power option, Southern Pkwy to Sand Hollow nears completion

WASHINGTON CITY – The Washington City Council convened for a regular meeting on Wednesday night.  The council approved the official results of last week’s municipal election and announced that Washington City has been recognized as a “Utah Governor’s Business Friendly Community.” The council also heard a report on the progress of several road projects, as well as a presentation on the promise of compact nuclear power generators.

Official election results

The official election results were submitted to the City Council for approval before being submitted to the Washington County Clerk’s office. City recorder Danice Bulloch said that, although the final vote tally had changed since the provisional results were announced on election night, the outcome of the election was the same.

“The final results hadn’t changed from what we reported that night,” Bulloch said, “but there were some spreads that changed a bit.”

When all the provisional and absentee ballots had been counted along with the regular ballots, Bulloch said, 2,796 votes were cast of 9,832 voters registered in Washington City on election day.

“As you can see, we only had 28-percent turnout,” Bulloch said. “Unfortunately, that wasn’t bad for a municipal election. It’s kind of sad that we can’t get more people out to vote.”

Governor’s recognition

Mayor Ken Neilson announced to the City Council that Washington City had been recognized as one of the “Utah Governor’s Business Friendly Communities,” an award granted to the city for meeting Gov. Gary Herbert’s challenge to municipalities to better accommodate the needs of the business community.

The governor’s recognition stems from a pilot project he announced in his State of the State address this year, inviting mayors of every town and city in the state to engage in regulatory reform at the local level. The project recommended five steps for business regulation review, specifically:

  1. Reach Out – Reach out to and survey local business leaders to learn what business regulations could be improved
  2. Review – Work as a city team to review all regulations to see if they unduly impact businesses
  3. Revise or Repeal – Collaborate with city council to revise or repeal any unnecessary ordinances, regulations, and procedures
  4. Report – Report the results of the business regulation review to the governor’s deputy chief of staff for community relations, Mike Mower, or project coordinator, Andrew Hill
  5. Receive recognition – Gov. Herbert would designate all Utah cities and towns that complete this review as a “Utah Governor’s Business Friendly Community”

Mayor Neilson said he found out about the honor last month at a dinner with Herbert.

“We were recognized on the 16th,” said Neilson. “I attended, Councilman (Jeff) Turek attended, and our city manager attended.

The recognition was the result of changes made to city ordinances to accommodate businesses in Washington City, City Manager Roger Carter said.

“We surveyed our business community,” Carter said, “and asked them what, if any, codes were onerous or difficult.” The only ordinances that business owners seemed concerned about were the sign ordinances, he said.

“So the mayor has appointed a committee consisting of elected officials, planning commissioners, and members of the business community to begin to review our sign ordinances,” Carter said. “So they’re in the process of that.”

Mayor Nielson said that he was happy that the city’s efforts to help businesses succeed were noticed by the governor. “It was a nice little recognition to have, and I thought I’d mention it.”

Nuclear energy

Carter also presented the mayor and council with a short video describing the efforts of an Oregon based company, NuScale Power, to build compact nuclear power generators in the Western United States.

NuScale Power has designed compact nuclear reactors, measuring only 65 feet tall and nine feet in diameter, which can produce over 40 megawatts of power. Herbert recently endorsed a bid by the company to receive federal funding for a project that could potentially allow small communities to generate their own nuclear power from compact reactors that NuScale proposes to build at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls.

While the potential for Washington City to take advantage of this sort of program is still on the distant horizon, Carter said, it is something that city officials are seriously considering.

“We are looking at 2024 or 2025 before we could hope to get a facility like this,” Carter said. “It’s something that we have an interest in, looking at the long range. This is a long-plan issue.”

City manager report

Carter presented the city manager report to the City Council, discussing the progress of various city projects.

The extension of Washington Fields Road from Stucki Farms to the Southern Parkway will be complete after this weekend, Carter said, opening to traffic on Monday.

Carter said that he expects a seperate project to extend the Southern Parkway from the airport to Sand Hollow will be finished by Dec. 1. The road – sometimes referred to as the airport corridor – will eventually stretch out to state Route 9 in Hurricane.

Washington City Council will not be meeting for a Nov. 27 session as it is the day before Thanksgiving. The next scheduled council session will be a workshop meeting on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m., followed by a regular meeting on Dec. 10 at 6 p.m.

St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report.

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