Brush, weeds, trails, and soccer, The Sentinel Newspaper

by Hilarie Orman, Thu April 7, 2011

Woodland Hills City Council Meeting, April 6, 2011

The city of Woodland Hills has to bring the chippers to the woodpile, and residents will be able to leave their deadwood and brush to the roadside for high-speed chipping on May 16. Craig Northup of the local fire department has organized the service. The chipping equipment will be able to handle large diameter limbs quickly, and Northup said that they are hoping to get lots of cut brush, "the more the better." Residents will get the benefit of the wood chips along the street edge, or the city will be happy to accept the chips for use in city landscaping projects.

That's not all, though. With the help of county crews, the fire department will work to clear brush from emergency exit routes through the city. More help will come from the local power company, SESD, though their efforts to clear vegetation from the easements near power lines through the city.

Northup emphasized that Utah agencies, such as the Department of Natural Resources, have grant money available to cities that need to improve fire safety, and he would like to help the city get grants for more brush clearance and education.

The city council got a lesson on invasive plant species from Aaron Eagar of the Utah County Department of Agriculture. The city has attempted to mitigate the growth of "hoary cress" (also known as "whitetop") for several years. This year the county will have herbicides and crews available to help the city during the crucial 3-week period in which the plant is vulnerable to treatment. Jerry Johnson of the city council took the lead devising a spraying plan and getting opt-in from property owners.

Eagar told the council that starting a formal "Weed Mitigation" plan could open more opportunities for grant money and county help.

The city recently hosted a fund-raising athletic event, the Yeti races, resulting in nearly $1000 for the fire department. Dennis Terry of Woodland Hills initiated the event last year, and this year he noted that the mountain trail above the city, which is part of the race, needs maintenance. Johnson said he had contacted a couple of potential Eagle Scouts about doing the work, but there was no interest. He acknowledged that the city needs to have a stated plan for how it wants to use and maintain the trail.

Johnson also told the council that the soccer league needs to compensate the position of league director at the level of $1000 year. All other aspects of the league are supported by fees and donations; having seen firsthand the amount of work involved in directing the league, he feels that the city should pay the director. Other council members questioned the fee level as compared to other cities, and Johnson said he would return with definitive information.

The city finance director, Chris Helvey, said that he and Mayor Steve Lauritzen were preparing the budget for the next fiscal year, and it would be very similar to the current year's budget. Councilman Bob Fisher asked when the council would consider major changes and their fiscal impact. Subsequent discussion was inconclusive.

All material copyright The Sentinel Newspaper, 2011