Where can Sanpete County get thousands of cubic yards of topsoil and the money to pay for it?

That question has the County Commission and Joe Blain, the county's economic development director, searching for answers.When the county's new sanitary landfill went into operation, eight cities - Fountain Green, Wales, Moroni, Manti, Ephraim, Fairview, Spring City and Gunnison - were required not only to close their town dumps but also to restore the sites to something closely resembling their original state.

That meant some leveling, hauling away debris, applying around two feet of topsoil to the areas and planting native vegetation.

The county received a $75,000 grant toward the job - figured at 85 percent of the cost - with the cities to make up the difference in cash and services, like providing the topsoil.

When bids came in for the job, the lowest one was under $75,000 - much to the pleasure of commissioners and Blain, who supervises the project. Apparently, the cities wouldn't have to provide either funds from already tight budgets or services, such as scrounging up topsoil from a yet-undetermined source.

But it turned out that the bidders - including the low one - hadn't included the provision for topsoil in their offers. Apply it - yes; but haul it, for long distances in some cases - no.

The commissioners had hoped to have the project completed by late spring. Instead, they've instructed Blain to look for more money, preferably grant money.