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West Jordan pulls change of government question from ballot

First Published      Last Updated Mar 17 2017 12:25 pm


Cities » Council honors residents’ repeated requests for additional time to consider the proposal and plans to study options further.

West Jordan City residents again called for more time and more resident input on a proposal to put a question about changing the city's form of government before voters on the Nov. 7 ballot.

At the council's second public hearing on the proposal, city council members obliged — responding to public concerns by removing the measure from the ballot and creating a residents committee to examine the pros and cons of the different forms of government available to the city.

It's unclear whether the committee's recommendation and council action would come in time to put the issue on this year's ballot.



If the original ballot item had gone before voters, it would have asked whether the city should change from its current council-manager form of government to a seven-member council form of government with a strong mayor.

The council-mayor is one of five forms of government the city could adopt. However, the residents who spoke at the public hearing said they had received no option to express their opinions on which of the five forms of government they would prefer to see on the ballot.

"One thing that I think has been forgotten is that we as the citizens of West Jordan have elected you to represent us. And I feel like the word "us" has been left out of this decision," said Kathy Hilton, a West Jordan resident and former council member. "What happened to our voice in this discussion before it goes on the ballot?"

Councilman Zach Jacobs noted that the council had heard the same thing again and again from over a dozen residents at its first public hearing on Feb. 22 and its second last week.

"The overwhelming sentiment — far beyond everybody is [either] for or against changing any form of government — has been more time, more debate, more information [and] more discussion," Jacobs said. "I am not in favor or opposed to changing the form of government; I am very much in favor of hearing from the public more before we decide what goes on the ballot."

Councilman Chris McConnehey said the specific form of government option that was put on the ballot was chosen without discussion even among council members.

"I've suggested in the past that I think the process we've followed so far has been wrong; it's been flawed," he said.

McConnehey said the council should instead have determined citizen desire for a change in the form of government, held public meetings to hear from residents and educated them on their options and then proceeded to a ballot motion.

Instead, "it was a straight jump [to the ballot]," he said. "Everything else had been completely skipped."

The motion to remove the form of government question from the ballot passed with four in favor.

Councilman Dirk Burton opposed it, Mayor Kim Rolfe abstained and Councilman Jeff Haaga recused himself, declaring a conflict of interest.

 

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