Bill would require elected city leaders to reside in their city

First Published      Last Updated Feb 16 2017 11:24 am

Believe it or not, Utah law now does not clearly require elected city officials to reside in their municipalities. The Utah House voted 71-1 to change that on Wednesday.

HB186 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Its sponsor, Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, said he discovered the problem because of an issue in his hometown.

"A member of the city council moved out of the city," he said. "But he bought a piece of property with the intention of moving back to the city. But he was gone. He didn't return, and didn't return. It went on for over a year."

The city found it could do nothing, nor could the county. He said the lieutenant governor's office said Utah law was so vague on the issue, it was powerless to do anything. So Perry is running his bill to clarify that residency is required.

It would allow an elected leader to reside outside the city for 60 days. Longer periods could be permitted only by a vote of the city council.

Perry noted that state legislators must live in their districts or resign, and said the same limitation is now being extended to local officials.