March 15, 2006
Seven Summit County residents spent an entire year, meeting at least twice a month, to study and debate our current form of county government and possible alternative forms. After much study and debate, that study group recommended a change in the form of government to a five-member council with a professional full-time county manager. That group’s report and recommendation can be found on the county’s Web site at http://www.co.summit.ut.us/commission/governance.
As a 20-year resident of the Snyderville Basin, and speaking for myself and not the group as a whole, I want to encourage every resident to study that report and recommendation and attend the upcoming County Commission hearings (March 15 at 5 p.m. at the County Commission Chambers in Coalville and March 22 at 6 p.m. at the Richins Building at Kimball Junction) to express support for a change in county government as recommended by the study group. To get the question of change on the ballot this November, the County Commission must decide to do so. By state law, changing forms of government is cumbersome; this may be our only opportunity to do it for many years to come. Support those on the commission who see a need for change; tell those who don’t they are wrong.
No one can dispute that Summit County has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, and that it will continue to change. Right now, the county’s largest population base lives in the Snyderville Basin, not in a city but in an unincorporated portion of the county, a city without its own government, run by three commissioners who sit in Coalville, only one of whom even lives in the Basin. While the present commissioners are all highly dedicated public servants, they are stretched thin and often have their own constituents and agenda. Moreover, the number of lawsuits against the county evidences things done wrong, or the need for a stronger defense of things done. Either way, a form of government meant to serve a sparsely populated, rural county doesn’t work for Summit County anymore. The reasons for change are fully discussed in the report; this letter can’t state them all.
Your future and your property values hang in the balance. Please read the study group’s report and recommendation and show up for these hearings to express yourself. This may be your only opportunity.