In 2010, the state's township law will sunset. In Salt Lake County, surveys are being conducted to determine the future preferences of residents who live in the county's six townships.
Results of these surveys a written one that satisfies the requirement of HB40 as well as a telephone survey essentially will be the only opportunity property owners in townships will have to "vote" on the matter. The deadline for responding is April 15.
There are a number of options on the table. Residents could elect to remain unincorporated. They could elect to annex to an adjacent city. They could ask that the area remain unincorporated but remain in a township. Or the area could chose to become its own city. Other scenarios are possible.
One thing is certain, residents of Millcreek Township are intensely interested in the future of their area. Some 600 of them packed the gymnasium of Skyline High School Tuesday night to learn more about the issue.
All involved appear to be committed to a process of self-determination. That is how it should be. The Legislature, when it resumes action on this matter, needs to respect the outcome of these surveys.
No question, the notion of a large swath of a county remaining unincorporated for such a long time is unusual for Utah. Yet, it would appear that this has happened because the 65,000 residents of the Millcreek area, as one example, are comfortable with having the Salt Lake County Council as their primary "municipal" government, particularly under the county council form of government. It also would appear they are reasonably happy with the services they receive from Salt Lake County. No, it's not how other counties in Utah may operate, but it seems to suit the people who live there. Presently, there are six townships in Salt Lake County: Copperton, Emigration Canyon, Kearns, Magna, Millcreek and White City.
It's early in this process. All who live in a township should investigate the possibilities. They should make a special effort to complete the survey that should be arriving in the mail within the next few days and participate in the telephone survey if they are called.
For more information about HB40, the township bill, affiliated issues and the survey go to www.slco.org and click on the HB40 icon.