Local government officials will meet this week to modify proposed legislation that would create a Utah Lake Advisory Council, something officials have wanted for more than three years.
Last week the Utah County Council of Governments discussed the proposed legislation to determine if members should seek support from local legislators. The proposed legislation is an amendment to a bill passed several years ago that created the Great Salt Lake Advisory Council.The amendment would create a technical team to help protect and develop the lake's resources. The advisory council would assist government officials and property owners with management of the lake and its surrounding properties.
The advisory council would work to ensure that public access to the lake is preserved for recreational uses while protecting the lake's wetlands. The advisory council would also help resolve disputes that may result in developing the lake. The amendment would provide the advisory council with $65,000 in funds, with more funding possibly coming from the federal government.
Similar legislation failed to get through the past two legislative sessions because state and county officials could not agree on the bill's wording. Local officials want a Utah Lake Advisory Council, but again are having difficulty with the proposed amendment's wording. Officials say the amendment as written gives too much power to state officials and not enough power to local officials.
"We would like to see something come out of this, but we don't want it to be detrimental to the people who live in this county with interests in the lake," County Commissioner Malcolm Beck said. "We do want some kind of legislation so we can do some of the things we've been trying to do. So we have to work with the state because it owns the bed of the lake." Most Council of Governments members are concerned about the county having adequate representation on the advisory council.