The City of Monticello misuses road fund money to asphalt a private business’s parking lot

by Monte Wells

On November 8, 2016, during a City Council meeting Councilman George Rice asked Monticello’s City Manager Ty Bailey if the City was helping to pay for a new private parking lot?  The parking lot was located behind the Monticello Home & Auto Supply, Inc (NAPA Auto parts) and the Monticello Merc on Main Street.

Manager Bailey replied, “I’m not sure I will have to research that.”

The Petroglyph decided to look into the question that Councilman Rice asked.  The GRAMA request documents that I received from the City of Monticello revealed that Ty Bailey, on behalf of the City of Monticello, entered into a contract with both Monticello Home & Auto Supply, Inc (NAPA Auto parts) and the Monticello Merc on May 23, 2016, to re-asphalt their joint parking lot. There was no indication that this project was ever brought before the city council. It appears that it was put together by just a couple of city employees.

The contract was drawn up by Monticello City Attorney Walter Bird and sent to Nate Langston the Public Works Director according to email records. Mr. Langston worked with both businesses and LeGrand Johnson the contractor to put the project together. Then on May 23, 2016, City Manager Ty Bailey signed the finished contract along with both business representatives agreeing to the following terms.

  • Each party agreed to pay 1/3 of the $24,444.60 original bid by LeGrand Johnson
  • The City of Monticello agreed to pay for the total amount of the project when it was completed and let the businesses make payments to the city
  • Each business would have until June 30, 2017 to pay off their 1/3 of the project $8,148.20

When LeGrand Johnson finished the project they amended the original bid of $24,444.60 to $33,701.06 a $9,256.46 increase not covered in the contract.

The records indicate that the city was paying for the project out of the Highways and public improvements Highways 4415.481 Class C Road maintenance fund. This is money the city receives from the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). This money is restricted to specific uses as outlined in Utah State Code.
“The Class B & C road system with a funding program was established by the Utah Legislature in 1937 as a means of providing assistance to counties and incorporated municipalities for the improvement of roads and streets throughout the state.” http://www.udot.utah.gov/main/f?p=100:pg:0::::V,T:,134
According to Ty Bailey the city budget was approved on June 14, 2016, and once it was approved this authorized him to spend the money without any further approval from the city council. So he approved the new asphalt project on his own.
The interesting thing is the contract was signed in May 2016 a month before the budget was approved in June.
Using Class C road money for this project is a violation of the Utah Department of Transportation Class B & C road fund laws and regulations. The use of these funds are outlined in Utah Code 72–2–108, 72–6–109(1)©(i), 41–6a-302 as well as other Utah Codes listed in the Regulations Governing Class B & Class C Road Funds on the UDOT website. 
“This is a restricted account to be used for the construction and maintenance of county roads and municipal streets that have been documented as eligible for funding according to regulations governing this fund. Only eligible centerline mileage (Utah Code 72–2–108) is used to determine funding credit that is the mileage basis for the amount of funds each local authority will receive.” (http://www.udot.utah.gov/main/uconowner.gf?n=200310271140132)
Class C road funds are nothing new to the city of Monticello they receive road funds yearly most of the time. So one would assume that between the City Manager, Public Works Director, and the city attorney someone should have known that they were violating state regulations by using this money to asphalt a private parking lot.
Maybe the secrecy of the project from the city council and the public was because they were aware that they were violating state code. This would explain the deception by Ty Bailey when he told Councilman Rice, “I’m not sure I will have to research that” instead of answering the question in an open public meeting.
It’s obvious from the GRAMA documents that Bailey was fully aware of the details of the project at the time Councilman Rice questioned him about it. If this deception wasn’t intentional then why didn’t Bailey just tell the council about the contract and the project?
The secrecy and misuse of Class C road funds will more than likely bring on an audit from the Utah Department of Transportation that oversees this programs. At some point, the issue of the city spending tax money on a non-city property should be addressed as well.

GRAMA Request Doc – City of Monticello asphalt parking lot by The Petroglyph on Scribd.

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