Remain an unincorporated township or become a city?
To help Millcreek residents answer that question on the Nov. 6 ballot, Salt Lake County has retained an outside consultant to create a website and produce mailers that will provide information and perspectives about the incorporation proposal.
And to ensure those materials are factual and balanced, the county has brought in an incorporation supporter (Jeff Silvestrini of the Future of Millcreek Association) and an opponent (Tom Love of Protect and Preserve Our Millcreek Township) to aid the consultant, Redirect Digital and Direct Marketing, in assembling the information.
Their work is coming to fruition. The website http://www.millcreekballot.com is scheduled to debut the week after Labor Day.
As designed by Redirect founder James Roberts and his colleague, Erin Cannon, the website's homepage will inform visitors that there are "Important Ballot Issues for the Future of Millcreek." One click later, visitors can read Love's 500-word treatise on why the east-central Salt Lake Valley community's 63,500 residents would be better off with the status quo and Silvestrini's similarly sized essay describing why the area would be better off becoming the county's 15th city.
"There will be a link to the [county's incorporation] feasibility study so people can look at it themselves," said Roberts, a former state Democratic Party chairman (1989-93) who established Redirect in 2002 and has worked on numerous political campaigns and ballot initiatives including the Tracy Aviary bond issue.
The website also will provide pro and con information on the forms of government residents may choose, if incorporation passes, plus the advantages and disadvantages of electing council members at-large or from districts.
Other subsections will display the initiative language that will appear on the ballot, a description of the election process, a "frequently asked questions" page and a gallery of news stories about the issue.
"We're not trying to present a position," Roberts said, "but to give both sides as much transparency and equity as possible."
Once the website is running, Roberts' team will turn to producing and sending two mailers to every household in the township, informing people about the impending election and the website. More detailed brochures then will be mailed out in three phases: Around Oct. 8 to people signed up to vote by mail, Oct. 22 to early voters and a week later to people likely to vote Nov. 6 at polling places.
The County Council allocated $100,000 for public education, said Kimi Barnett, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon's intergovernmental director. Most of that money will go to printing and distributing the mailers and brochure. Redirect's contract is for up to $25,000, she added.
Salt Lake County's largest township, stretching from the Jordan River to the Wasatch Mountains, Millcreek has about:
• 63,533 residents
• 27,000 households
• 42 square miles of land
• Taxable value of $4 billion, 34 percent of unincorporated county
Source • Feasibility Study for the Millcreek Township Incorporation (2011)