Wasatch County Councilor Talks Second Amendment, Groundwater and More
Wasatch County Councilor Mark Nelson gave an update to KPCW on county business including more than $3 million the county will receive in American Rescue Plan funds, second amendment sanctuary status and the recent results of the groundwater quality report from the health department.
Last week, the council received confirmation that the legislature will distribute $3.3 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds. Nelson said they hadn't made decisions on how to use the money.
"It comes with some restrictions, but it's pretty broad,” he said. “And so there are a lot of things that it could go towards. We just haven't specified any of that yet. My understanding is that there is another round of that that will come next year."
Nelson was one of two councilors to vote against an ordinance declaring Wasatch a second amendment sanctuary county. He is a second amendment supporter but felt the ordinance doesn't change the county or law enforcement functions.
"You're well aware, and everyone is at this current climate, we're in a polarization of the political parties and cancel culture and, and a lot of negative attitudes and things that go with that,” he said. “And I was concerned that this ordinance would foster some of that, and I think it did. The ordinance really doesn't do anything. The reason I said that it doesn't do anything is, that's already the case in Wasatch County. We already don't enforce federal laws when for state and local laws."
The council formed a committee to write the ordinance. It included the three council members, three citizens supporting the ordinance, the county attorney and Sheriff Jared Rigby. Nelson said it caused frustration between the county, the citizens and the legal department to come up with the appropriate language for the ordinance.
The Health Department has concluded a groundwater study which shows the Heber Aquifer water quality remains high. It was the first report on Heber's drinking water in more than two decades. Nelson said several factors determine when they need to re-evaluate groundwater.
"I think it depends on the weather somewhat, and especially I think it depends on the how fast they planned growth in the County and especially in, in some areas like Round Valley how fast that build-out starts to happen and I think that will help determine how closely we need to monitor that or at what frequency,” he said. “But I would think that it's more like five years, not 20."
Water scientists presenting the report to the council said the current drought conditions won't immediately affect the aquifer or groundwater but would be a concern over time.
The US Treasury Department has allocated $350 billion to state, local, territorial and tribal governments to use for COVID-19 emergency response.