Summit County could have a seat on the Central Wasatch Commission
June 26, 2018
Summit County may soon have representation on the board of the Central Wasatch Commission, joining Park City Mayor Andy Beerman and other elected leaders.
The Commission board is mostly made up of officials from the Wasatch Front, with Beerman serving as the lone Wasatch Back representative. Under a current agreement between the county and Park City, Beerman would serve a two-year term. The county would then nominate a representative after his term expires, with representation switching every two years.
But, when Alta requested its own appointment to the board, the county felt it deserved representation as well.
"It created this conversation around the board to come up with criteria on who can apply to become a member," said Janna Young, Summit County's deputy manager.
The board ultimately decided to open seats up to additional members and allow the Wasatch Back to have two officials at the table, with one serving as a representative of the entire Wasatch Back. Young said Park City is applying for its own seat, which would allow an official from the county to move into that role.
"It made sense to keep that seat, but let's give it to Summit County," she said. "We represent a larger geographical area and then Park City could apply for its own separate, individual seat."
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The Central Wasatch Commission board includes Beerman, as well as Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake County Councilor Jim Bradley, Sandy City Council member Chris McCandless, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelyvn Cullimore and Carlos Bracera, director of the Utah Department of Transportation.
Government representation on the board is critical because it means entities have a say in the implementation of the now-defunct Mountain Accord.
The accord was created in 2012 as a collaborative effort to create a cohesive plan for the central Wasatch Mountains to address growth and development issues related to the environment, transportation, the economy and recreation. Park City and Summit County were among the program's members, contributing $200,000 and $100,000, respectively, to stay involved.
Park City recently submitted its request for a seat, with the Commission board approving it last week, Young said. The Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Sandy City and Cottonwood Heights councils must ratify the request to make it official.
"We're in a holding pattern until all of that is official and figured out," Young said. "If the application is not approved, then we will just go back to the original agreement and in July of 2019 it will be Summit County's term."
Young said Park City effectively represents the county's interests, but added it would be beneficial to have both parties involved in the discussions.
"We are all focused on what is in our boundaries and we share a lot of the same interests," she said. "But, we also have a whole other part of the county that we are concerned about. We want to make sure those interests and viewpoints are represented as well."
Summit County Council members have previously suggested electing Councilor Chris Robinson as the county's representative. He served on the executive committee of the Mountain Accord before it was transformed into the Central Wasatch Commission.
County Council Chair Kim Carson said the county is committed to participating in the discussions. She added, "If we are going to be investing the time to maximize our representation, it would be great to have a seat."
"We are a separate entity from Park City with separate interests," she said. "We do align on a lot of things, but we also have some that may be independent of the other."
The four Wasatch Front councils won't likely make a decision until later in the summer.