If you’re one of the local citizens who voted 65 percent in favor of Proposition #14 in last November’s general election, you won’t want to miss a public meeting set for this week.
As reported on page A2 in today’s edition, the Tooele County Government Study Committee will hold its first “Community Input Meeting” at 7 p.m. Thursday at Grantsville City Hall.
Established by Proposition #14, the 11-member committee of local citizens has met almost weekly since Feb. 8 to fulfill an important and difficult task: To study and determine whether or not the county’s current three-member commission form of government should be retained or changed.
Although all of the committee’s meetings are open to the public in an earnest effort for transparency, Wednesday’s Community Input Meeting is the first in which the committee will focus on sharing its work with citizens, and to hear what citizens have to say.
Additional input meetings will be held across the county before the committee has to present its research and conclusion to the Tooele County Commission on or before Feb. 8, 2018. But Wednesday’s first meeting could be considered as seminal because what committee members share — and what citizens say — may influence or inspire the committee’s work for the remainder of the study.
According to Kent Sagers, leader of the study committee’s community review subcommittee, the meeting will include a work-in-progress presentation, plus a discussion on the different forms of county government the Utah Legislature allows.
Sagers also said the study committee will ask attendees at Wednesday’s meeting if changes are needed in county government, and if they voted for the study last November, why do they want it done?
If the study committee determines that a different form of county government would better serve citizens, its proposal will have to be passed by local voters. The other forms of county government authorized by the Legislature include: an expanded county commission with five to seven commissioners retaining both legislative and executive powers, or a county council with legislative authority and an appointed county manager or elected mayor with executive authority.
When the study committee began its work last February, its members spent several meetings determining what needs to be evaluated and how data will be collected and presented with collaborative, and if available, corroborative information. Because its findings may lead to a change in county government that could last for years, the committee understands its work demands objective, professional diligence.
The committee also understands that transparency and citizen input are vital to the discovery process and essential to complete and present a study that can withstand scrutiny and time. If citizens don’t show up for Community Input Meetings, the committee won’t hear wanted and valuable feedback that will help it proceed and finish its work.
After last November’s election, Erik Gumbrecht, a study committee member and one of the sponsors who gathered petition signatures to get Proposition #14 on the ballot, said, “One thing has been absolutely clear during this entire process: The citizens want a sense of ownership of their government.”
Citizens can realize that ownership and participate in the study committee’s work by attending Wednesday night at Grantsville City Hall.