The Utah County Council of Governments has denied a $16,000 payment request from a Salt Lake development and consulting firm on grounds that the firm was not authorized to perform work for COG.

The denial followed two appearances before the council by David G. Yurth, representing Ecometrix Corp. Yurth told COG the $16,000 represents 80 percent of the $20,000 worth of work the council authorized his firm to undertake in drafting, sponsoring and lobbying for SB77, the Utah Lake Authority Act of 1989.The bill met the same fate as Yurth's request. During their April meeting, COG members said they had supported Ecometrix's efforts, but they never had pledged money to fund those efforts. Yurth first met with COG in February to discuss plans to promote SB77.

Orem Mayor Blaine Willes, COG chairman, said council members told Yurth in February that they would look into the possibility of using profits from the sale of a county dredge to fund study and preparation of a lake authority.

However, he said, "That was not an official commitment to make payment but only (suggested) as one area to explore."

County attorneys later said that money from the dredge, provided a couple of years ago by the federal government, cannot be used to pay outside firms.

Shorthand minutes taken during the COG meeting support COG members. A tape recording of the February meeting, which Yurth said would clear up the confusion, did not turn out.

"We're supportive of the bill as presented, but that's where the support ends," American Fork Mayor Kent Evans said. "We have no means of paying, and there was no commitment made."

Yurth and Ecometrix President Jim Hansen still contend that they were authorized to go to work and that money from the dredge was to be used to fund the firm's efforts. In retrospect, Hansen said, Ecometrix should have obtained a signed contract and admits things got "murky."

He said the firm received what he felt was further assurance from County Engineer Clyde Naylor.