Following a 90-minute workshop on vehicular noise, the Moab City Council met for its regular meeting on Tuesday night. The group voted to award a contract to a local HVAC company to address severe deficits in the Moab Arts and Recreation Center building, rejected a proposed interlocal agreement between the City of Moab and Grand County, and passed a resolution continuing the local emergency proclamation due to the economic impact of COVID-19 on the city.
Moab City Public Works Director Levi Jones reported that two of the MARC’s five furnaces failed during the winter, while another is in poor condition. Many spaces in the MARC no longer have heat, including downstairs offices where space heaters have been used.
Jones also said that COVID-19 restrictions and a tight budget have been difficult to handle.
“That’s why we came up with this recommendation,” Jones said. “This will be the fix — we’re going to make sure it’s done right this time.”
The city council voted unanimously to award the MARC’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning bid to local Eco HVAC in the amount of $54,381.
Next, the council addressed an interlocal agreement between Moab City and Grand County for the joint planning and funding of a technical planning assistance program.
City Engineer Chuck Williams said that this technical planning assistant grant has been in the works for over a year. Under the deal’s terms, the city would contribute $15,000, the county $25,000 and a grant from the state would amount to $110,000.
Williams emphasized the difference between this planning assistance grant and the Utah Department of Transportation’s soon-to-be-completed regional study.
“The regional plan is UDOT’s plan. They maintain control of project management, the scope of work, and the consultants. This planning assistance grant will be our plan — the city’s and county’s plan,” he said.
Williams said the planning assistance grant could help the city work towards complete streets, interconnectivity between state, county and city roads, and other transportation improvements.
Williams also addressed the possibility of a Highway 191 bypass through Moab, a hotly debated topic for years.
“Nowhere in the draft scope of work where we say the word ‘bypass,’” he said. “It’s very clear to me that the council doesn’t want a bypass discussion anymore.”
Despite his assurances, Councilmember Rani Derasary made a motion to table consideration of the planning assistance grant, citing her belief in a historical lack of transparency on the issue.
“I would like to table this until I have something in writing that says that the city will not go forward with the bypass and neither will the county,” she said. “There is nowhere in this valley for a bypass…. It’s not viable and we are in a position where we could be focusing on things that are viable.”
Derasary’s motion failed.
Councilmember Karen Guzman-Newton made a motion to approve the interlocal agreement for the technical planning assistance program, which failed 2-3.
Finally, the city council voted to continue the local emergency proclamation in Moab regarding COVID-19 and its economic effects on businesses. City Manager Joel Linares issued a proclamation declaring a local state of emergency on Feb. 3, referencing the severe economic impact that closing and limited seating had on restaurants during the pandemic. The Feb. 3 declaration allowed restaurants to open seating in parking areas — called “parklets” — near their establishments, which was previously restricted under Moab City law. This extension of the emergency proclamation allows the continuation of these “parklets.” Councilmembers voted to extend the proclamation in a vote of 5-0.
The Moab City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. Meetings are streamed online at the Moab City Youtube channel. Schedules, agendas and opportunities for public comment can be found at www.moabcity.org