Some residents of Bennion - determined to incorporate the county community one way or another - refuse to take a ballot box "no" for an answer and have scheduled another special election on the issue in May.
Such repeated elections, the second in barely a year, and the third since 1982, are a drain on residents and the county alike. The citizens shouldn't have to vote again and again on the same subject or one much like it.An election was held in March last year, seeking to incorporate the Taylorsville-Bennion area, but went down to defeat. Since a majority of the votes rejecting the idea came from the Taylorsville district, backers have redrawn the proposed city map to include Bennion only.
The proposed city of 20,000 would be only half size of the Taylorsville-Bennion plan for a city. Boundaries would be 5400 South on the north, West Jordan on the south, Murray on the east, and 4000 West on the west.
By scheduling the vote in May, backers will avoid by just a few weeks a law limiting incorporation elections to no more than one a year in the same geographic area. Salt Lake County officials thought about contesting the petition because of the repeated elections, but eventually decided against what would likely have turned into a court battle.
Arguments for incorporating Bennion are the same as for the larger area last year - a defense against annexation by neighboring cities, a desire for government closer to home, community identity, and the belief that it will lower taxes.
Residents who oppose the idea say they are satisfied with county services and claim a new city would be more expensive to operate, not less.
The major fear of opponents is apathy. They think the repeated balloting will result in fewer people turning out to vote once again on an incorporation question and zealous backers will carry the day, simply by wearing away the patience of the majority who may be less committed to the issue. They have a vaild point.
There are larger questions involved in incorporation attempts. The repeated creation of small cities in the county erodes the unincorporated county's tax base, makes the delivery of services more difficult, and complicates county government.
A way needs to be found to improve efficiency by combining services throughout the county, not fragmenting them by a sort of home-grown Balkanization. Part of the reforms should be to fix boundaries, to provide better neighborhood representation, and to eliminate the self-defense attitude that drives so many incorporation attempts.
Creating a new Bennion City would only make all of these long-range goals harder to achieve.