SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Transit Authority trustees voted Wednesday to continue discussing commitments proposed in a "Taxpayers Bill of Rights," including ending transit-oriented development projects and releasing conflict of interest disclosures.
"A large portion of the taxpayers do not trust this agency. And there's enough that don't to deny the funding necessary to achieve the agency mission," the trustee behind the document, North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor, told the board.
Taylor blamed the controversy surrounding UTA for the defeat of the 2015 sales tax increase for transportation known as Proposition 1 in Salt Lake and Utah counties, and warned that the agency "will change ourselves or the Legislature will."
The agency was the subject of critical state legislative audits in recent years and earlier this year announced a nonprosecution agreement had been signed in the ongoing investigation of transit development projects.
Several trustees pushed back against Taylor's characterization.
Bret Millburn, a Davis County commissioner, said while the public's concerns about the agency should be talked about, it is time to "stop flogging ourselves about it. Stop this bickering and self-loathing and things of that nature."
Realtor Babs De Lay, the only vote against reviewing the document, said she disagrees with much of the document and wants to know if other transit agencies provided such commitments in a similar form.
"I can see tomorrow's headlines: UTA board fails to approve 'Taxpayer Bill of Rights,' rather than the reality," De Lay said, calling for time to "vet and research" the proposal.
Taylor said he worked on the document with Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City. Dabakis had been nominated by Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski to serve on the UTA board, but the council voted against the appointment.
The 10-1 vote at the end of nearly an hour of discussion means the document will be reviewed as trustees put together "strategic goals" going forward. Taylor, a self-described "watchdog," had tried to present it at a recent board retreat.