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Summit Council Member Armstrong Looks Back On His Year, Forward To Next

Summit County Council Member Roger Armstrong has concluded a year of presiding over the Council as Chairman.   He surveyed their accomplishments for 2019 and the issues to come.

Armstrong said that the past year has been busy and productive.         

“We closed the deal on the Gillmor property.  That was a four-year process, four-plus years resolving things with the EPA, with the landowners.   And we think that’s a good get.  In terms of growth mitigation, recreation opportunities, we think we did pretty well there.  We bought the Amenti parcel, also open space and a big wildlife corridor over by Treasure.  An opportunity for Basin Rec to have some more fields, right adjacent to where the school district is, and where they’re looking to expand a bit.  The fields that are around that Trailside area are getting really crowded, there’s high demand there.  So I think that was a good get, furtherance of our transportation initiatives.   Our renewable-energy initiatives with Rocky Mountain Power and Park City and some of our other partners.  I think we had a pretty good year.”

          In the coming year, the County Council will have to decide if they want to extend a trash-hauling contract starting in 2022, or if the county will take on the job itself.

Armstrong said he will have to look at the numbers about the idea.         

“Two single biggest concerns:  capital outlay for equipment, buying garbage trucks and everything else that you need to make that kind of an operation work.  And the second is just the labor.   Again, I think labor for trash collection is notoriously difficult to acquire and keep.   And I’m just not sure that we can do that.”

He said they have a capable Landfill Superintendent, Tim Loveday, looking into the issue.      

“He’s spent the last several months touring various facilities around our region in Utah seeing how others do it.  And they’ll come to us with some kind of a proposal.   And I assume it will be menu items.   If you decide to do this, this is what it’ll cost, this is what the personnel looks like, and this is how we’ll have to finance it.  And if you do it a different way, then—I don’t know that anybody in any jurisdiction is ever entirely in love with their garbage collection.  I think there are difficulties with it.   There are parts about what Republic Services does for us that have been very good, and there are parts that I think have been more challenging.”

Another idea to discuss next year is a possible levy for health services.    Armstrong said it’s too early to say much about that.         

“We’ve been remarkably fortunate in that our Health Department is incredibly good at grants.  You’ve seen that.   As I mentioned before this $3 million worth of grants, $2.9 million in the budget this year is an example of them being able to find financing outside of the taxpayers pockets to help fund programs.   That said, our Health Department is not fully activated on all or its initiatives where it would like to be.  And I think that  as part of that discussion, Rich Bullough has looked at that and said “We would like to go further with some of our initiatives.  If we do that, it’s going to require more capital to do it.”

Summit County Council Member Roger Armstrong.    He said that it’s likely the Council Chairman next year will be Doug Clyde, since he was the Vice-Chair in 2019.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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