Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Voting signs Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, in the Millcreek township. Voters in Millcreek township gave birth to Millcreek City Tuesday but five others communities chose townships as their municipal government.

SALT LAKE CITY — Millcreek Township became Millcreek City on Tuesday, while voters in five other unincorporated communities in Salt Lake County chose metro townships as their municipal government, according to unofficial results.

Millcreek City includes the Canyon Rim, East Millcreek, Millcreek and Olympus Cove neighborhoods. The area is home to nearly 62,500 people and will become the 10th largest city in the state.

Hugh Matheson of Millcreek Neighbors for Representative Government said the group was excited the majority of voters chose to become a city.

"Now we look forward to pulling together with our neighbors to encourage capable, community-minded people to run for office next year to get Millcreek City off to a great start in 2017. We are optimistic that our new city council will have productive conversations with the new municipal services district and other potential service providers to determine the most cost-effective mix of services for Millcreek," Matheson said.

Millcreek voters also voted against joining the new Municipal Services District, which was a departure from five other unincorporated communities — Kearns, Magna, White City, Emigration Canyon and Copperton — which all voted to be part of the district. The district will provide public works services, such as road maintenance, streetlights, storm drains, snow removal and animal services.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams described Tuesday's vote as "democracy at its finest."

McAdams noted residents of the unincorporated county helped draft the legislation that set up Tuesday's vote.

Earlier this year, Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, and Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, successfully carried SB199 through the Utah Legislature, which called for elections to determine whether townships would become cities or retain township status, and allow people in unincorporated "islands" to decide whether to annex into an adjacent city.

SB199 also called on residents of unincorporated Salt Lake County to decide whether to join a service district for municipal services.

The legislation was largely the creation of the county's Community Preservation Committee. The volunteer effort brought together representatives across Salt Lake County, some of whom had battled over previous efforts to form cities, proposed annexations and other challenges resulting from the area's unincorporated status.

In November 2012, voters rejected a ballot question to incorporate four communities into Millcreek City.

Many of the same people who backed incorporation regrouped around the ballot questions created under SB199. According to recent state campaign contribution reports, supporters of the Millcreek City option raised nearly seven times more money than a group seeking to retain the township.

Voters in more than three dozen unincorporated "islands" were asked whether they wanted to annex into a nearby city or remain in unincorporated Salt Lake County. An unincorporated island is an area completely surrounded by one or more cities.

Early vote totals suggested the majority of the unincorporated islands were trending toward maintaining their unincorporated status instead of annexing to Sandy or, in one case, South Jordan. In early voting, one island appeared to prefer becoming part of Cottonwood Heights.

None of the changes approved by voters Tuesday will be realized overnight.

The Municipal Services District is scheduled to launch Jan. 1, 2016. Before that can happen, attorneys and administrators need to complete necessary legal work and other administrative functions.

In its inaugural year, the district will be administered by McAdams and the Salt Lake County Council.

Once metro townships hold local government elections in November 2016, local representatives will fill seats on the service district's governing board beginning in January 2017.

Metro townships will have five districts. Elected council members will select a chairman to represent their township on the Municipal Services District board.

Candidates for a township or city council seat must file for office by March 2016. Millcreek City will have four council districts, with a mayor elected at large.

Because this year’s election was conducted mostly by mail, votes were not reported by precinct. Election results could change when they are finalized by canvassers on Nov. 17.

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com