Editor’s note: The following guest opinion entails the Stansbury Park Incorporation issue that will appear on the Nov. 8 General Election ballot.
Much has been made about the importance of local control for Stansbury Park. A starting point for this conversation may well be what the city as proposed by the incorporators would not control.
The city would have no control over: parks, greenbelts, water, fire department, schools, golf course, storm drains, cemetery, Benson Gristmill, swimming pool, Stansbury Lake, Mill Pond, EMTs, Picnic Pavilions, athletic fields, playgrounds, the reading library, mosquito control, entry signs and fountains, the observatory complex, etc.
All of those services are presently provided by existing boards, most of which are comprised of Stansbury Park residents.
On the other hand, the city would have to assume control of roads and public safety. The roads are currently owned by Tooele County and maintained at a high level. Police service is presently provided by the county sheriff’s department. The department maintains a manned substation right here in Stansbury Park that provides 24/7 police protection to residents and property owners.
It seems a stretch that a fledgling city could duplicate those services based on the equivalent amount presently collected by the Municipal Type Services Tax.
Why should we incur costs for services that we are presently receiving and the county is obligated to provide?
With most of the “beneficial services” — schools, parks, fire department, water & sewer, etc. — off the table, it appears that the only things left for the proposed city to control are the problems areas that put pressure on resources and budgets of all cities.
It is nice to think a city could give us better control over growth and development and our quality of life. This would require the city to maintain a planning and zoning function. However, this is already provided by the county to a high degree of satisfaction. Moreover, the county bears the financial risk of lawsuits brought by disgruntled developers and others whose proposed land uses are inconsistent with county zoning regulations and local covenants, conditions and restrictions.
Last month the Tooele Transcript Bulletin reported that Tooele City had taken out an $11.35 million bond to fund the settlement of a high profile lawsuit against the city. We have watched with interest and concern as our municipal neighbor to the south has drained its coffers in an unsuccessful effort to defend itself against the breach of contract claims of a developer. This spectacle is a stark reminder that with “local control” comes “local liability.”
Stansbury Park, without “local control,” is already served by a water district that gives us the best tasting water in Utah and second best in the United States. We currently enjoy a fire department that is manned 24/7, unlike the volunteer fire departments in Grantsville and Tooele. Our annual community celebration — Stansbury Days — is provided to us at a cost one sixth of what Grantsville budgets for its 4th of July events.
We are policed by a sheriff who does not impose traffic violation quotas for revenue. Beautiful entryways have been created. The Stansbury Lake waterfront and gazebo are two of several new improvements. A cemetery was created. Two new elementary schools will open in the near future. A high school bearing the name of our community is making us known around the state. Stansbury Park has been the recipient of over $200,000 in county recreation grants in the last five years. The extension of Village Boulevard was recently completed.
Stansbury Park is certainly not a ship without a rudder. Much has been accomplished by volunteers as well as elected boards. There is no reason to believe this cannot continue into the future.
Elliot Morris is a Stansbury resident.