Citizens sought to study unincorporated area issues
The call is out for a dozen residents to spend the next six months on an advisory committee developing ideas for governing Salt Lake County's unincorporated areas and financing the delivery of services.
Applications to serve on the volunteer board were posted Tuesday on a new county webpage addressing the "Community Preservation Project," Mayor Ben McAdams' attempt to end decades of annexation and incorporation fights in the growing Salt Lake Valley.
"We're going to look for the most diverse group possible," McAdams told the County Council, which will confirm the mayor's appointments.
Creating a citizens advisory committee was part of legislation (SB216) that McAdams drafted, then significantly revised during the last lawmaking session, that freezes the boundaries of unincorporated-area townships until November 2015.
At that time, McAdams expects the 150,000-plus residents of that widespread and non-contiguous area to vote on some sort of future governance system.
The exact nature of that system, based around the prospect of forming a "municipal-services district" for the area, will be influenced by the advisory committee's deliberations and whatever additional legislation is needed next year to put a substantive proposal on the ballot.
A committee report is expected by Oct. 1.
"The best solutions will come from the residents," McAdams said, pledging to fill his projected 12-member committee with supporters and opponents of Millcreek incorporation, representatives of community councils, business people and "lay people not coming at it from either side."
If there are more applicants than committee spots, he promised to find other ways for interested people to "harness that talent and passion."
A major goal is to establish a regional district that would provide key public-works services for residents of the currently unincorporated area. The plan must be flexible enough for the district to continue to deliver those services to those areas even if some, such as Millcreek, opt to become a city, McAdams added.
He originally suggested making a single city out of all of the unincorporated townships from Emigration Canyon to Copperton, with Kearns, White City, Magna and Millcreek in between.
"Some people liked it immensely. There were others who hated it immensely," McAdams said of his initial offering. "After I cleared the rotten tomatoes off my suit, I came back with a scaled-back proposal to create a municipal-services district."
His revised approach previously won support from the main combatants at this point, fans and foes of the proposed Millcreek City. On Tuesday, it earned the praise of County Council members.
"What the mayor did on the hill was masterful," said Council Chairman Michael Jensen. "He [took] a lot of arrows for us."
Added Richard Snelgrove: "Thanks for your leadership and vision. We're headed in the right direction."
Additional information about the Community Preservation Project and applications to serve on an advisory committee that will help shape its future are available at http://www.slco.org/mayor/html/CommunityPreservation.html.