96 South Main Street, PO Box 77, Nephi, Utah 84648 - Voice: 435 623-0525 - FAX: 435 623-4735
On our front page this week
April 7, 2021
By Myrna Trauntvein
Abby Ivory, local business owner, wanted the county commission to change hours for the county recorder’s office to better accommodate those residents of the county who are buying homes and opening businesses.
However, commissioners and elected officials at the county building did not think that it was possible nor wise to make that change at present.
“We will have to have more money in the budget before we can make changes in the recorder’s office,” said Richard Hansen, commission chairman.
While he was conflicted and knew that the change would come, it was not the right time. Any change would need to wait for more funding.
Clinton Painter, commissioner, made the motion to leave the hours as they are currently and Marvin Kenison, commissioner, made the second and all voted in favor.
Ivory, who lives in Fountain Green, is a broker/loan officer and business owner at Town and Country Home Mortgage, Inc. in Nephi, and has been in the business 18 years. She is also the current president of the Nephi Chamber of Commerce.
She suggested that the hours, which are currently from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, be changed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and that Friday be added from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“It would not increase the hours for county employees, it would just be a change in the hours,” said Ivory, “so there would not be an increase in utility costs.”
She said that the Juab County Recorder’s office was the only office in the state that is not open on Fridays and that the idea to change the hours has a lot of support via petition, email and the Facebook group, Juab Community Support.
“The closure is negatively affecting appraisers, land surveyors, title companies, real estate agents, mortgage companies, builders, banks, credit unions and regular citizens,” said Ivory.
She said she had clients who had to go into motels rather than move into homes because they could not complete paperwork because of the closure. Others paid a higher interest rate because they could not finish the work on Friday.
“There is no way that I want to have one employee here in this building on Friday,” said Painter. “I worried when I found out that the attorney’s office was not open on Friday and the Department of Motor Vehicles was open.”
“We are here,” said Ryan Peters, county attorney, “we are just not open.”
Painter said that we lived in a crazy world and, while there was security, it would not be wise to have one person in one office.
He said that they had found the original press release when county offices were closed on Fridays 12 years ago. The reasons were not just to comply with the state request to close offices. The elected officials of the various offices also felt that they were serving the residents better by being open later in the day and earlier in the morning. Those were the hours when many people were getting passports--early, before work, or late, after work.
“We are not a high wage-paying county,” said Painter. “I don’t like to take away benefits.”
At a job he had once had in Utah County, vacation days were cut by the employer. Morale had hit rock bottom and he did not want to do that. Now, when employees were hired they were told the pay is not high but you get Fridays off.
Ivory said that officials were elected to serve the public. The recorder’s employees could still swap out days and work only four days a week.
“Where does it stop?” asked Painter. “It is a slippery slope. You start with the recorder’s office, next it will be the assessor, then planning, and you are back to a full week for all offices.”
Ivory said that in therapy they tell you not to forecast impending doom. A decision could be made on what was happening not on what might happen.
“I am conflicted,” said Hansen. “The extended hours of the four days allow employees to get a lot done, people come in during those hours, it is important to people.”
Ivory said she had looked up the campaigns of the three commissioners and all had stated that they were pro-business. The way that mortgage companies and banks worked was that they had to, by federal law, wait three days. If they applied on Monday, the three day period would take them to Thursday and they would need to record on Friday. She said not being able to do that was costing her clients thousands of dollars.
“I disagree,” said Colby Park, county planning director.
He said it was up to the agent, and he was one, to plan ahead. He would get paperwork in on Thursday. He found it not to be a disadvantage because everyone knew that Juab County Recorder’s Office was closed on Friday.
“I think it works to our advantage,” said Park.
“It totally falls on the loan officer,” said Zack Buck, Juab County Assessor, and a certified residential appraiser. “After 17 years, why now?”
Why in the 17 years before, he asked, had Ivory not said anything to the commission. Was it because she didn’t want to make waves for the previous recorder?
It had just been time, said Ivory. She had put up with it for all that time.
“What Zack and Colby are saying is what people are saying to me,” said Kenison.
He had had phone calls and people had also contacted him personally and they did not favor the change.
The recorder’s office was already short-staffed, said Hansen. The office needed more employees but the county did not have the money to hire more people.
Buck said the he was also short-staffed. He had talked to John Crippen, county administrator, about the cost of hiring an employee.
“He said that it would be $79,000 a year,” said Buck, “to hire one employee.”
The county wouldn’t be saving money because they would have to have a Truth in Taxation hearing and taxes would need to be raised because there wasn’t money in the budget to cover the expense.
“We want to thank you for opening a great dialogue,” said Painter.