The annual budget review for the Wasatch Front Regional Council raised the question of whether Davis County is adequately represented on the multicounty planning agency.
Members of the Davis Council of Governments Wednesday reviewed the agency's budget and then, noting the county's growing population, decided to push for more representation on the agency.The regional council represents Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Tooele and Morgan counties in planning and transportation issues. The agency annually decides how millions of dollars in federal and state highway construction grants will be spent.
Representation on the 16-member body is based roughly on population, with Salt Lake County's seven members dominating. Weber County follows with four voting members, then Davis with three and Morgan and Tooele with one each.
But Davis has surpassed Weber in population by about 30,000, Syracuse Mayor DeLore Thurgood pointed out, and should push for an additional member, perhaps removing one of Weber County's representatives.
A larger population and greater representation on the regional council board also means a bigger budget contribution. Salt Lake contributes $9,500 to the agency, with Weber next at $5,300 and Davis at $4,000. Tooele kicks in $1,347 and Morgan contributes $796, according to the regional council's budget submitted and approved Wednesday.
Davis Council of Governments members decided it is worth the extra $1,000 annually and the anticipated political battle that will result from asking for a realignment in membership.
The payoff, they agreed, could be more votes and more sway in how highway and other grants are distributed.
Sunset Mayor Norman Sant warned the Davis Council of Government members they are poking at a hornet's nest.
A decade ago, Sant said, Salt Lake completely dominated the regional council board numerically. It had a majority of the members and could outvote the remaining four counties, even if they voted unanimously against Salt Lake.
"Getting that changed was a bloodbath," Sant warned.
After agreeing to challenge the regional council board's membership, the Davis council went on to approve the agency's budget request, totaling $1.11 million for the coming fiscal year.