Richmond councilman resigns at year’s first meeting

RICHMOND—Councilman Keith Ward resigned from the Richmond City Council Tuesday night, ending the first 2010 council meeting full of hope for a successful year on a sad note. Ward read his official letter of resignation aloud, sticking only to those words as he became emotional, and said how honored he felt to have served his city for so many years with the great people he did. He cited his family, career, and the recent death of his brother, leaving him a ranch to take care of, as his reasons for leaving. “It continues to be a blessing to live here,” Ward said. Mayor Michael Hall and all of the other council members were clearly affected upon receiving the news.The meeting started off much happier, with multiple positive reports in reviewing 2009. Fire Chief Lyle Bair started with an optimistic outlook for 2010. The department received 14 sets of coats, pants, and helmets for the firefighters last year and they’re waiting on promised grant money for more supplies. Bair explained the fire department’s goals for the year, including increased certification and some remodeling at the station.A representative from the city’s mosquito abatement program also stopped in for a few minutes for a report. Spraying was extremely successful last year, as no mosquito-caused disease was reported. “I have all kinds of people thinking that’s the best program going,” the mayor said. “We’re thrilled.”The council also passed unanimously an ordinance modifying one part of a subdivision regulation in the city code. The mayor explained in plain words that previous subdivision regulations included terms of payback for property owners who build adjacent to the city and have to pay to have utilities extended from the city to their home. The previous regulation provided for a partial payback to the homeowner from the city if the property surrounding theirs was developed within five years. The modification now provides for a 10-year window.The greatest amount of discussion in the meeting concerned the Cache Valley Transit District. Larry Dunkley, the trustee representing Richmond City to the CVTD, was reappointed to a second two-year term. The council talked about the importance of the bus system, including the fact that 1.8 million trips were made in 2009.Dunkley said he rides the bus every day. He spoke with the council about problems including crowded buses and the behavior of teenagers riding to school. Councilman Brad Jensen said he had heard people joke that “ridership would be increased if they didn’t have to deal with students.”Dunkley presented the CVTD’s mission statement, stressing their commitment to excellent service and what a good example the management is of that. Council members emphasized the benefits of the bus system to Richmond’s air quality, among other things, and the need to increase ridership. The CVTD has purchased two hybrid diesel buses and four 40-foot buses that will be online by December.Other discussions included the Youth Council’s plans for 2010, security and plans for the famous Black and White Days festivities in May, and the possibility of a temporary ice rink next year.

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