Grand County voters sent a loud "keep out" message to the commercial hazardous waste incinerator industry by passing a referendum disallowing a special zone for the incinerators.
Only one voting precinct, Elgin, cast more votes against the referendum than for it. Elgin is just outside Green River, Emery County, where residents have said they'd like to have a Denver developer's hazardous waste incinerator if Grand County voted against allowing it at the proposed Cisco site.The referendum question was whether to rescind a County Commission decision earlier this year that allowed development of commercial non-accessory hazardous waste incinerators in a new heavy industrial zone.
Opponents fought the issue immediately after a developer proposed a complex of incinerators at Cisco, in northeast Grand County.
County Commission Chairman Jimmie Walker, who called his openness to allowing incinerators the main factor in his loss to Merv Lawton, said the election proved to him there is a problem in Grand County - an environmental movement.
"There's an element in society around here that doesn't want anything to happen," he said.
Incinerator opponents eagerly tallied votes as they came in, and they ran outside the courthouse yelling and hollering when it was evident the referendum would pass.
Jayne Dillon of Castle Valley, a member of the Grand County chapter of Colorado-Utah Alliance for a Safe Environment, said: "It's been a long year. I'm really proud of Grand County. We tried to do our homework, and it's real obvious they did their homework on the issues. And it reinforces why we choose to live here."
An incinerator proponent, Rocky Erb of Moab, a small-business owner, worried about the message the incinerator's defeat will send out.
"I hope that doesn't go out to the world: `Grand County, Big No to Industry.' "
Cache County voters don't want to "go UTA" if it's going to cost them an extra quarter-cent in sales tax.
They rejected a referendum to join the Utah Transit Authority bus system by a vote of 15,319 to 11,038.
The extra quarter-cent sales tax would have provided two bus routes in Logan, one from Lewiston on the north to Hyrum on the south and Wellsville on the west, express routes from Logan to Provo and to Salt Lake City International Airport and a worker route to the Morton Thiokol plant.
Opponents questioned whether the buses would be used and complained that a chunk of the county would get no service. They also predicted the system would be controlled from outside the county with little local input and contended that government should not compete with private enterprise.
The UTA measure was opposed by county members of the Utah Taxpayers Association, and its failure was the only good news that tax limitation backers got Tuesday night. It was received enthusiastically by the crowd gathered at the Salt Lake Marriott Hotel to support unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Merrill Cook.
Summit annexation denied
Randy and Debbi Fields and their neighbors in the Bench Creek area six miles southeast of Kamas will have to remain in Wasatch County a while longer.
A referendum to annex their neighborhood into Summit County won approval, 4,011 to 1,392, from Summit residents, who would have gained tax base from the change. But it was nixed 2,849 to 734 by Wasatch County voters, who would have lost the same tax base. Both counties had to approve the referendum for it to pass.
Bench Creek is divided from the Summit town of Woodland by the Provo River, and the 15 or so owners of Bench Creek homes and summer cabins have been receiving some services from Summit County under a contract with Wasatch County.
But residents had complained about a lack of other services, including law enforcement and garbage collection. Some resorted to sneaking their garbage across the river so they wouldn't have to pay extra for Summit garbage drivers to come by their homes.
San Juan OKs health tax
San Juan County voters have decided to set aside part of their property taxes for health services. With 19 of 20 precincts reporting, they voted 60.84 percent to 39.15 percent in favor of a referendum to fund a health services district that will subsidize the San Juan County Hospital in Monticello, a clinic in Blanding and ambulance services.
The health tax won't raise the overall tax bill for county residents, because the county is already at its tax levy limit. County commissioners will have to cut other parts of the budget to make up the difference.
The voters approved the health tax at a rate not to exceed .0006, which is expected to raise about $400,000 per year.