I have watched with interest the editorials and comments in the Deseret News regarding the government in Salt Lake County and the most recent comments about the makeup of the governing body for the county. As pointed out in the editorial in the Sept. 19 issue of the paper, there was a study made 12 years ago titled, "Salt Lake County Government for the Next century," which recommends the precise style of a government now being studied. I was a part of that task force and can assure you that considerable study, thought and discussion went into this to determine if a more effective form of government could be found.
It should be noted that the task force also strongly recommended that both the county and the various city governments be included and formed into one governing body to accomplish a more efficient system, a less costly system for the residents, as well as a less confusing system to those who need to use the services. Separate fire departments, separate police departments and many others cause much confusion for the people; calling the wrong fire department results in damaging delays, as with calling the wrong police department. These are only two of the problems with which the residents are confronted. The expense of this confusion is costly to the taxpayer.I recognize that this consolidation is not popular with many government officials, but much improvement would be accomplished over the divisiveness of our present system. This is not a new thought. There are a number of other areas in the country that have done this. We (the task force) inquired of them and found their responses most favorable.
I suggest that the report of 12 years ago again be looked at. I'm sure it is not perfect, but is a large step in the right direction and would correct much of the confusion and mounting costs as the Salt Lake Valley continues to expand and grow.
In reading Jay Evensen's comments on government in S.L. County, I couldn't agree more with his conclusions. It has been my observation that government, be it federal, state or local, rarely makes substantial change short of a real or perceived crisis. Good examples of this were the Depression of the '30s and World War II. While these were major incidents, there are many smaller conditions that stimulate actions by people on government.
I believe we are at that point of crisis now. We are seeing a substatial rise in taxes, which the residents are feeling. Attempts to avoid this in various communities have caused considerable shifting of that burden to others.
It is time to take another look at the report of 12 years ago.