January 17 editorial
The new Summit County Council came to a reasonable compromise on its salary package this week and now it is time to get to work in earnest. Though the base salary is higher than we recommended, the decision to forgo health-insurance coverage will provide a substantial saving for county taxpayers, many of whom are struggling to pay for their own health insurance premiums.
Like the new presidential administration, the County Council is looking at a perilous economy, serious environmental issues and profound questions about how to balance public and private property rights.
Council members demonstrated this week that they are eager to work together and understand the gravity of the responsibilities they face.
During their campaigns, the councilors promised to maintain a more open government and to put citizens’ welfare ahead of private interests.
The first test may be in how they communicate with the state legislature during its upcoming session.
The county has a lot at stake in what that body chooses to do during its 2009 General Session that runs Jan. 26 to March 12. Given the current economic picture, legislators, in an effort to cut the state’s budget, may try to shift costs to cities and counties. That could force cutbacks in services at the local level.
Because so many county residents live in unincorporated areas, especially in the Snyderville Basin, the county is the go-to agency for public safety, health, water, and roads and many other services typically provided by a municipality. During their tenure councilors must ensure that all of the county departments are working together to provide the best service possible for citizens across the county.
In addition to wishing our new president well this week, Summit County citizens should take a moment to consider how they can help inform and support the new council.
One way to do that is to volunteer to serve on advisory boards (health, recreation, library, open space, etc.) and another is to pay attention to the county’s weekly agendas.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
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Utah Open Lands, short approximately $1.1 million with just days left to finalize a Thaynes Canyon conservation agreement, has requested financial assistance from City Hall. The organization has asked to put additional monies toward the deal above the $3 million already pledged by Park City voters.