Two months after voters narrowly rejected a new city in the combined Taylorsville-Bennion area, a group of Bennion residents has started its own incorporation drive.
But while supporters of the proposed city collect signatures, a separate group has asked Murray City to annex a section of Bennion along the city's western border that includes about 10,000 people.And even if proponents of the new city collect the 1,000 signatures needed for an election, Salt Lake County commissioners may not allow a vote so soon after the last attempt.
"It looks as if they are going to grab all the commercial area and little of the residential area (of the failed Taylorsville-Bennion city)," said Commissioner Dave Watson. "I think that would be improper."
But, Watson said, he would have to study the matter before making a final decision.
Commission Chairman Bart Barker, a resident of Bennion, said he does not know whether he would vote to allow the election.
State law prohibits areas from trying to incorporate more than once a year. Leaders of the Bennion drive, however, believe they could bring a vote because they represent an area with different boundaries than the proposed Taylorsville-Bennion city.
Officials at the county attorney's office said they have not rendered an opinion on whether a Bennion vote could be held so soon.
Attorney Denis Morrill, leader of the new incorporation drive, said residents of Bennion want to protect their identity, avoid annexations by nearby cities and elect their own municipal representatives. The area currently is governed by the County Commission, which is elected by voters countywide.
The proposed city has an estimated population of 15,000 to 20,000, Morrill said. It would be bordered by Murray on the east, West Jordan on the south, 40th West on the west and the north side of 54th South on the north.
Morrill said Bennion residents voted for incorporation in the election March 8, unlike residents of Taylorsville. Overall, voters defeated the Taylorsville-Bennion drive 3,304-2,820.
"I grew up in Bennion," Morrill said. "I love Bennion. We don't want it swallowed up by Murray, West Valley City or West Jordan. We like our own identity."
Leaders of the effort to make Bennion a part of Murray have sent a copy of their annexation petition to Mayor Lavar McMillan. The City Council has yet to act on the matter.
If the city did annex part of Bennion, a number of problems would have to be solved. Murray City operates its own power company, library system and school district. If annexed, the Bennion area may have to join those systems and drop out of tax districts it now supports.
"We think those problems can be worked out," McMillan said, adding the city has not taken a stand on the annexation.
"If those people would like to come to Murray and if we can overcome all the hurdles, it would be to their advantage," McMillan said. "It would also be good for Murray. We would be adding 10,000 people that we could serve with little extra personnel."