County commission proposes $29 million budget, passes home business ordinance

ST. GEORGE – The Washington County Commission took a look at the preliminary $29 million 2015 budget Tuesday, and passed an ordinance clarifying rules for home-based businesses during a regular commission meeting.

The county general fund is projected to be just over $1 million higher than last year – $29,189,965 compared to the 2014 budget of $28,157,842. The proposed county road fund is $2,067,800, compared to $1,956,500 last year.

The new county budget includes no property tax increases, County Clerk/Auditor Kim Hafen said. “We made small changes in the assessment and collection,” he said. “When people look at their tax notices, they will see minor changes, but the net effect is zero,” he said.

“It more appropriately puts the rates where the money actually goes.”

After several years of flat wages, county employees will receive pay increases of about 3 percent on average in 2015, Hafen said. In public safety, three new employees will be added in 2015, paid for by a reduction in reserve hours within the department.

The proposed county recreation budget is somewhat higher than last year, due to $200,000 in planned improvements to the Confluence Park in the Toquerville/Hurricane area.

The Washington County 2015 budget is available for public review and comment, and will be finalized at the Dec. 16 commission meeting.

Home business ordinance

The county commission also amended the home occupation zoning ordinance to increase the types of businesses that can be run out of a home, and to clarify the rules governing those businesses. The new ordinance allows home business owners to use garages, yards or detached buildings as needed; employ people who do not live at the residence; and have clients visit the home business.

Other changes redefined “major” and “minor” home occupations, and added specific examples of minor home occupations.

In the new ordinance, a minor home occupation must be secondary to use as a residence, and must not change the essential residential character or appearance of the property. A major home occupation is now defined to be of “medium impact” to the neighborhood, and allows one to three employees in addition to family members. There is one exception – there is no limit on the number of employees permitted for day cares and preschools.

The ordinance specifically excludes “youth enterprises” as home occupations. Youth enterprises are those run by residents under the age of 18, and are exempted from the home occupation zoning requirements.

Land parcel near Leeds undergoing archeological assessment. | Map courtesy Washington County Commission, St. George News
Land parcel near Leeds undergoing archeological assessment. | Map courtesy Washington County Commission, St. George News

Cultural resource

The county also approved a contract with the public archeology office at Brigham Young University for a cultural resource inventory of a tract of land between Leeds and Toquerville. The land is a potential exchange property for the Habitat Conservation Plan.

Other  business

  • The commission approved a contract with Trinity Services Group to provide software, training and support services for inmate trust accounting at the county jail. The Purgatory Correctional Facility houses up to 500 inmates at a time and holds inmate funds in trust, and special software is needed to track transactions.
  • Final vote counts for the 2014 Washington County Election were presented by clerk/auditor Kim Hafen.
  • Dan McGuire was appointed to the Washington County Library Board, with a term to expire on July 1, 2016. McGuire replaces Louise Excel, who resigned her term.
  • The commission approved a quitclaim deed for the transfer of 4.58 acres of land from the county to St. George City for the Ledges Parkway.
  • The county approved a cooperative law enforcement agreement between the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Forest Service which allows the sheriff’s office to provide assistance to the Forest Service during busy holiday weekends, in return for compensation.
  • The commission approved a contract with the Utah Indigent Defense Funds Board for legal defense in the Brandon Perry Smith case.


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  • Notagain November 18, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I like what I’m reading on this one so far.

  • George Welling November 19, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Gentlemen of the Korean War Veterans.
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    Korean Associations are closing down in December, I am unable to purchase a new ribbon for my Peace Medal, is it possible to purchase one from you.
    My Address is.
    PO8 9ND
    Tel: 02392595274.
    After being releaced from hospital in Kure Japan I spent some time in Ebisu R and R centre closeto Tokyo, I made friends with a Canadian man named RUSSELL Wigle.
    I often wonder what hwppened to him

  • Koolaid November 19, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Does this mean people have the same privilege as Almquist in running a business out of a area zoned as residential?

    • Zonkerb November 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Sure as long as your name is Almquist

  • tc rider November 19, 2014 at 11:21 am

    thiis means that anyone can start a preschool or daycare business any where they want without limitations on the number of employees or size of business, and anyone can run any business with the exception of limitations of number of employees and impact on astetics of neighborhood, except for any property that pays home association fees unless any specified home association votes to approve such a business, thats what I got out of this article.

  • dancing infidel November 20, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Yeah….I’ma gonna open me up a cat house out in the valley.

  • M and M cookies December 3, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Does a home business include Spanish serving food from their garage and driveway with tables set up, like a rstuarant ..??? Does the public health Heck the kitchen??? I have seen St. Around town selling Mexican food from their homes and on Craigslist. Do they pay taxes, and are they here legally??

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