Summit County’s 2020 work plan includes familiar goals like transit and housing but also a cap-and-trade program and a scenic byway
The Summit County Council’s strategic priorities
1. Transportation and Congestion
The county will plan for and make improvements to our transportation and transit systems to reduce traffic congestion and to enhance multimodal mobility for residents, employees, and visitors.
2. Workforce Housing
The county will facilitate efforts to significantly decrease the deficit in workforce/affordable housing in order to have more community members who work and live in our County.
3. Environmental Stewardship
Through environmental stewardship and leadership, the county will implement plans and policies to protect and conserve our climate, water, land and air quality for the present and future.
4. Refine County General Plans and Development Codes
The county will review and refine the General Plans and Development Codes focusing on improving and connecting the region’s physical, natural, and economic environments and communities.
5. Mental Health/Substance Abuse Issues
The county, in collaboration with the Board of Health and the Summit County Mental Wellness Alliance, will promote community awareness of mental wellness and substance abuse issues, and increased access to effective treatment and prevention services and programs within Summit County.
Summit County staff laid out their resolutions for the new year at a County Council meeting last month, with the different departments spelling out their top priorities for 2020.
The aim of the 2020 work plan is to have clear, well-defined and achievable goals that hew to the council’s strategic priorities and help avoid employee burnout by focusing staff on specific projects rather than on an ever-increasing to-do list.
Some projects were no surprise, like preparatory work for a bus rapid transit system, transportation planning work for the S.R. 224 corridor, a focus on affordable housing including exploring the creation of a housing authority, solid waste management and how to use county-owned land.
But some projects were slightly less expected, especially those ranked lower in priority, like the Health Department proposal for a cap-and-trade program for solid-fuel burning appliances like wood heaters in homes, an employee education/behavior change plan from the sustainability department and a proposal for a Summit Heritage Scenic Byway.
Roughly half of the projects were tied to one of the council’s five strategic priorities, a key provision in the agreement between the council and county manager that structures how projects will be accomplished in 2020.
Council Chair Roger Armstrong explained that the idea behind the work plan was to include the projects that would “move the needle the most” on the council’s strategic priorities and prevent focus from going toward “100 small things.”
Still, County Manager Tom Fisher said 2020 would be a busy year.
“There’s going to be a lot of work next year (that will) take a lot of council involvement,” Fisher told the council last month. “(We) talked about how busy you were with council meetings — I’m not predicting right now that’s going to slow down a lot.”
The community development department indicated its highest priorities are shepherding the Cedar Crest overlay committee to a recommendation this spring, updating the Snyderville Basin Development Code and determining how the Gillmor parcel would be used and embarking on a process to subdivide it.
Fisher wrote in an accompanying memo that staff needed more direction from the County Council about how to develop the Gillmor and Cline Dahle parcels. Ideas for potential uses have included a site for a senior citizen facility, affordable or workforce housing, a transit center or a park-and-ride.
The economic development department wrote that it would pursue an East Side economic development strategy, including a demographic assessment, infrastructure inventory and incentives analysis. It would also explore establishing a regional housing authority, which would have the power to bond for, construct and operate housing projects.
Another area staff requested further council guidance is how to revise the county’s transit agreement with Park City and what the county’s desired new model would look like. The transportation planning department wrote that its priorities are determining transit program governance, working with the Utah Department of Transportation on an S.R. 224 corridor plan and conducting environmental assessments for bus rapid transit.
County officials also said they would study the merits of bringing waste management in-house, which would likely require buying trash trucks and hiring dozens of staff. It might also lead to creative regional solutions like a waste-to-energy facility on county land.
The Health Department will continue to prioritize supporting the new network model for behavioral health care, while the environmental health division will focus on air and water quality efforts like new source protection rules around wells and a potential East Side waste water special service district.
Depending on the outcome of pending state legislation, the department could also see funding next year for a mobile crisis outreach team, which would likely require partial matching funds.
The team provides fast, face-to-face interventions with people suffering a mental health crisis, according to its website.
The way the Health Department is funded could change, too. Officials indicated they would study increasing a dedicated health mill levy rather than continuing to rely on the county’s general fund. Other priorities include increasing access to programs for the Latino community and crafting a mental wellness strategic plan.
County leaders also listed priorities surrounding senior citizen services, including helping to relocate the Park City facility and broadening participation.
The heritage and arts department indicated it would begin to inventory and digitize the county’s vast archival collection and develop plans for its history program.
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