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County Watch

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compiled by Patrick Parkinson

Responding to complaints from residents in the Snyderville Basin that construction crews were working too late at night, Summit County commissioners tightened their rules that regulate noise in the county.

Though crews could once work until 11 p.m., they must now cease operations each day by 9 p.m. On weekdays, construction cannot begin before 7 a.m., but a Silver Summit man says the laws still aren’t strict enough.

"I would like to further suggest that it be amended to 7 p.m.," Snyderville resident Cris Hague said. "You might even consider making it 8 a.m. instead of 7 a.m."

With homes under construction in many West Side neighborhoods, Hague claims residents are often annoyed by noise caused by heavy equipment.

"Especially trucks that have to have that backup warning device that penetrating sound travels for half a mile," Hague said. "While people are eating breakfast and getting ready for the day why should they be subjected to a lot of these noises?"

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Summit County Engineer Derrick Radke hopes the new rules deter construction workers from beginning work too early.

"We’ve made some changes to that language to make it a little more restrictive and also more clear as to what will be allowed," he said.

But construction companies shouldn’t have to work later than 7 p.m., Hague objected.

"Most normal contractors are finished with their business for the day by 5 or 6 p.m.," he said, adding that the county’s noise ordinance is "too permissive." "This is a very important thing as Summit County continues to grow."

Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer says 9 p.m. is a fair quitting time but prohibiting work from beginning until 8 a.m. would likely incite furor among contractors.

"I think if you change it to eight you’ll probably have this room full of contractors," Richer told Hague before voting recently to amend the noise ordinance. "A lot of them would like to start even a whole lot earlier than seven in the morning."

Summit County Sheriff’s Office deputies often respond to noise complaints. Volumes can’t exceed certain decibel levels, but without equipping officers with sound meters, "meaningful enforcement" is not possible, Hague said.

"Most of these violations are going to be taking place after hours or in the early hours," he said, adding, "absent the sheriff’s department having those meters, you’ve provided the public here with a right without a remedy."

According to County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme, deputies would be "hard pressed" to enforce an 8 a.m. start time.

"We have to be realistic in what we pass as law," Woolstenhulme said.

Richer agreed, adding, "I think you’re going to run into some tremendous enforcement problems."

With the changes, Summit County’s noise ordinance now closely resembles rules in Park City, Richer said.

"We didn’t get a flood of complaints," said Richer. "I heard from a person or two."

The noise ordinance does not apply to the county’s snowplow operators while they are working during the winter.

Restaurant Tax grants available

The deadline for non-profit organizations in Summit County to submit applications for Restaurant Tax funding is March 31.

Since the early 1990s, one percent of the sales tax collected on prepared food in Summit County has been granted to organizations that contribute to tourism in the area. More than 300 programs have benefited from more than $9 million generated in the county, a press release from the Summit County Restaurant Tax committee states.

According to the press release, cultural programs have received about 26 percent of the funding, roughly 24 percent of the proceeds have gone to recreation and trails improvements and half of the money has funded tourism promotion.

Applications are available at http://www.summitcounty.org. The paperwork can also be picked up at the County Courthouse in Coalville, Kamas County Services Building and Sheldon Richins Building in Snyderville.

For more information, contact Summit County Commission Administrator Anita Lewis at 615-3220.

Sewer district recognized with bookkeeping prize

Debra Jensen-Sparks, finance manager for the Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District, has again been recognized for high achievement in financial reporting.

"This certainly reflects on the district," Reclamation District General Manager Mike Luers said. "We work for the public and it’s extremely important that we do everything we can to make sure the funds we collect from our customers are accurately accounted for."

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States recently recognized Jensen-Sparks for her work compiling the district’s 2004 annual report, Luers added.

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