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Millcreek voters to decide whether township will become city

Published: Saturday, Oct. 13 2012 4:19 p.m. MDT

County mayoral candidates Democrat Ben McAdams and Republican Mark Crockett have each pledged in public to help Millcreek City with start-up costs if the question passes, Silvestrini said.

But Dudley says it doesn't matter what the mayor says because the County Council holds the purse.

The Salt Lake County Council has a precedent of providing start-up grants to other new cities from its municipal fund. A loan is another possibility, Silvestrini said.

"You can borrow money and still have a good bottom line. It would be a one-time thing," he said. Finding resources to start the city is "not an insurmountable thing by any means."

Dudley, however, says he doesn't want to start a city by going into debt.

"On day one, we start in the hole," he said.

Silvestrini said he's more concerned about Millcreek being able to control its future and taxes, which are higher in Millcreek than other parts of the county. The community deserves representation that has a vested interest in Millcreek, he said.

"I think we're missing out on a lot of grants and other opportunities because we don't have a seat at the table," Silvestrini said.

He's convinced that the incorporation effort is "now or never." 

The process of placing the issue on the ballot was lengthy and required the efforts of many volunteers. If the question fails, it may be a long time before anyone musters the enthusiasm to make another attempt.

That suits Dudley fine, because he believes the township is well served by Salt Lake County and he fears locally elected officials will want to start the city's own police department such as Cottonwood Heights has done.

Silvestrini said this is another scare tactic because many people in Millcreek are pleased with the service they receive from the Unified Police Department and the Unified Fire Authority.

However, if it could be demonstrated that public safety services could be offered another way that is equally effective and less costly, a city council would owe it to its residents to weigh its options, he said.

The bottom line, Dudley said, is that "he cannot guarantee us any future city council will keep us in the UPD."

If voters approve, Millcreek City would gain three neighborhood parks, responsibility for most roads, with the exceptions of 3300 South and 4500 South, which are state roads, and have the ability to levy a utility franchise fee, which state statute does not allow the county to do.

It could also levy sales tax, but sales tax is subject to the state formula of distribution that splits it according to point of sale and population.

Special districts that provide law enforcement, fire protection, sewer service, water and mosquito abatement would continue to operate unless the elected city council decides differently.

Voters also will be asked to decide whether they want to be represented by council district.

They also will select a form of government among the following:

Five-member council form of government

The five-member council form of government consists of a single branch of government. In this form of government, the mayor is a regular and voting member of the council, as well as the council chairman. The mayor serves as the chief executive officer handling the daily business of the municipality. The powers of the municipal government are vested in the five-member council. (Alta has this form of government.)

Six-member council form of government

The six-member council form of government consists of a single branch of government. In this form of government, the mayor is a non-voting member of the council, except in the limited circumstances and as a tiebreaker. The mayor serves as the chief executive officer handling the daily business of the municipality. The powers of the municipal government are vested in the six-member council. (Draper has this form of government.)

Five-member council-mayor form of government

The five-member council-mayor form of government consists of two separate, independent and equal branches of government. The mayor is the chief executive of the municipality with veto power, and the five council members serve as the legislative body for the government. (Murray has this form of government.)

Seven-member council-mayor form of government

The seven-member council-mayor form of government consists of two separate, independent and equal branches of government. The mayor is the chief executive of the municipality with veto power, and seven council members serve as the legislative body for the government. (Salt Lake City operates under this form of government.)

Voters also will be asked to decide whether they want to be represented by council district.

For more information Salt Lake County, in cooperation with proponents and opponents, has developed the website www.millcreekballot.com.

There are also websites for supporters of incorporation, City of Millcreek UT and those opposed, www.notocityofmillcreek.org.

E-mail: marjorie@desnews.com

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