LOGAN – In the latest feud between city officials and local businessman R. Lowell Huber, the score is Huber $35,000 and Logan City $2,000.
The city scored a minor victory over Huber in mid-September when the Logan Municipal Court upheld $2,000 in fines for failure to properly maintain the former Municipool building at 125 East, 1000 North.
But that ruling was small consolation after Huber filed to join incumbent Mayor Holly Daines and businessman Dee Jones in the Logan mayoral race on June 4.
Huber’s protest candidacy turned that mayoral campaign into a three-way race and obliged the city to hold a primary election on Aug. 10.
Huber was eliminated in that balloting, garnering only 4 percent of 4,878 votes cast in the primary. But Daines has acknowledged that the city’s cost for holding that primary election was approximately $35,000.
That cost of the primary election that was forced by Huber’s candidacy was somewhat inflated by recent changes to state election laws requiring that balloting in Utah be conducted primarily by mail.
“The (cost of) the general election will likely be slightly less,” Daines explained, “as we ordered all of the envelopes for both elections at the same time. Also, returned postage expenses for the primary are typically higher, as the county removes all the undeliverable addresses before ballots are mailed for the general election.”
Logan City has budgeted $60,000 for both elections, according to the mayor.
Based on statements made in the municipal court session on Sept. 13, this most recent dispute between Huber and the city is likely not over.
The former Municipool building was originally a city-run public swimming pool.
Huber acquired the property in 2006 and ran a short-lived scuba-diving school there.
Recently, city officials alleged that the parking lot of the former Municipool has become a collection point for numerous inoperable and unregistered vehicles.
Huber had publicly characterized the city’s attempted enforcement action as illegal and stated that he believes the city has no right to issue clean-up orders affecting his private property.
In the Sept. 13 court session, city officials were successful in attempting to collect a total of $2,000 in fines dating back to March of this year.
After Municipal Judge Lee Edwards ruled against him, Huber threatened to appeal that decision to higher courts.
The current dispute is not the first time that Huber has crossed swords legally with the City of Logan.
Following a routine traffic stop on Dec. 11, 1988, Huber was arrested by Logan police officers on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. A local jury convicted him of that offense on Feb. 1, 1989, but rendered a not guilty verdict on an associated speeding charge.
Huber appealed that conviction to the Utah Court of Appeals on constitutional grounds, which were rejected by the appellate court on July 17, 1989.
That decision was subsequently reversed by appellate Judge Norman H. Jackson, who ruled that Logan’s ordinance which defined the utterance of verbal vulgarity as disorderly conduct was unconstitutionally broad on Jan. 17, 1990.