Zilles on opera, subdivisions, and workweeks

The New Year brings a new chair to the Cache County Council, six-year member Gordon Zilles succeeding Craig Peterson. Zilles is a CollegeWard dairy farmer. “When you’re the chair of the County Council your are directly involved in the discussion at all times, introducing individuals, controlling where the meeting goes. I told Craig now I have no time for doodling.” Zilles was appointed to fill out the final two years of Paul Cook’s term and after that ran for the seat and was elected to a four-year term. That term expires this year and he said he is planning on running for a second term. He was asked about the long-standing practice of council members accepting free tickets from the Utah Festival Opera Company (UFOC). “It appears it is illegal,” he said. “When I first joined the council I asked one of the long serving council members if accepting the free tickets was okay and was assured it was. Now we’ve learned council members taking two tickets means it’s over a $50 allowable cap and I’ve made the statement if it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Since we have no intent to break the law it will probably be a practice we will have to quit.” That practice came to light recently, months after the UFOC approached the council for additional help in remaining solvent. “This past year the opera came to us asking for $400,000 which was way out of reason regarding what we had the ability to do. There was a lot of controversy, a lot of dialogue back and forth, and we did give them an additional $150,000, which helped them through this year, and they’ve made great strides in their budget. We look forward to another season.” Zilles said restaurant tax collections are earmarked for recreation, arts and related activities. “The Utah Festival Opera is one of the organizations that come to the council every year asking for our support and I’m sure they’ll receive some more money this year.” Another recent council agenda item has been the county subdivision ordinance. “That ordinance has been passed,” Zilles said, “it’s something we’ve worked on steadily for four or five years. The interesting thing about this ordinance: there is quite a bit of opposition from the people already living there. They want you to legislate their open space while, at the same time, they forget they were permitted to build where they now live. Once they build there, they want you to shut the doors. Zilles said there should be a way for anyone desiring to build a subdivision. “However, the subdivision ordinance should be such that you have to build the roads, do the water and the fire protection and make sure it’s safe as far as the septic tank goes. You should have to do all the things a sub divider would be required to do in Logan City, so that there would not be an advantage out in the county to put together a cheaper subdivision.” Zilles said he does not support the four-day work week, that the expense of a countywide library system makes it impractical, and he said either much needed updates must be made to the current senior citizen center or a new building should be built.

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