Speak up now on Prop. 9
County seeks comments on change of gov't.
by Doug McMurdo
The Times-Independent
Aug 23, 2018 | 1877 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Grand County Council is taking input on the Nov. 6 ballot initiative that will change the county’s form of government. In a statement released Tuesday, Aug. 21, the county formally invited voters to submit arguments for or against a ballot question that, if approved at the Nov. 6 general election, will lead to the creation of a committee that will study and possibly recommend a substantial change in the form of government.

Proposition 9 asks, “Shall a study committee be appointed to consider and possibly recommend a change in Grand County’s form of government?” Voters have from now until 5 p.m. Sept. 4 to submit arguments regarding the proposition, in accordance with state law.

Comments must be filed with the Grand County Clerk by the Sept. 4 deadline. They can be delivered to the clerk’s office at 125 E. Center Street or emailed to dcarroll@grandcountyutah.net.

The issue has been contentious in the county since March 15, when Gov. Gary Herbert signed a law requiring each of Utah’s 29 counties to use one of four authorized forms of government. Grand County uses a nonpartisan seven-person council and a council administrator. Despite voters approving this form of government for the past couple of decades, the county must either strengthen the executive role currently held by Ruth Dillon from an administrator to a county manager or county executive, or form a commission of three or more people.

Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald has said there is no choice other than to make a change, barring intervention from the Utah Supreme Court.

If voters approve the formation of a study committee, they will get another bite at the apple once the committee makes a recommendation. If they vote down that recommendation and no change is made by 2020, Grand County by default will fall under a three-person county commission.

The new law would make all county elections partisan, without term limits and without a mechanism to petition for recall of an elected official.

Full details of the comment process can be seen in the Legal Notices section of this paper, Page A4. Employment opportunities, applications for water rights and invitations to bid are also featured in this week’s legal notices.

Grand County is seeking a seasonal Sand Flats recreation technician and a full-time director of the Children’s Justice Center. The City of Moab is taking applications for a full-time finance director in the treasurer’s office.

The Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments is seeking bids from qualified plumbers, HVAC contractors and electricians on a weatherization matter. Grand County is soliciting bids for the Jackson Street debris basin project.

A dozen area residents have applied for permission to use groundwater for irrigation, stock, water protection or resort use. State Engineer Kent Jones explains there is a mechanism in place to protest any water rights application.

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