Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams announced a plan today that he hopes will calm the bickering in the county’s unincorporated areas over boundaries and governance. The plan includes statewide legislation sponsored by Democratic Senator Karen Mayne.
Residents in unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County, like Millcreek Township, have for years quarreled over whether to break away from county authority and incorporate in order to gain control of local zoning, ordinances and services. But Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says this new legislation would give residents a third option.
“We can come to the table and find a solution that takes the good and leaves the bad behind,” McAdams says.
The bill would freeze the boundaries in unincorporated areas to form municipal service areas, where residents could elect governing bodies to regulate zoning and ordinances.
“It wouldn’t require five new police chiefs and five new city halls and five new canine units,” McAdams says. “We’d continue to have shared services, shared high quality services amongst these communities, but they would essentially become the governing board for how they want those services to be delivered.”
Senator Karen Mayne says her goal with this legislation is to make sure townships stay whole, their borders are protected and they have the ability to self-govern. Mayne says she has support for the bill, even though it will likely have no implications outside Salt Lake County.
“I think the Senator’s and the representatives, they want resolve,” Mayne says. “We have to start somewhere and I think the day is now.”
Residents who attended the announcement at the Salt Lake County building on Wednesday had mixed reviews. Long-time Millcreek incorporation supporter, Jeff Silvestrini told KUER he’s fine with the proposal, but still favors incorporation.