More procedural steps toward changing Tooele County’s form of government are back in the news and readers who have been following the change or taken part in the process won’t want to miss out.
As reported in last Thursday’s edition, Tooele County commissioners Shawn Milne, Kendall Thomas and Tom Tripp are reviewing six Tooele County maps that each show proposed boundaries for five County Council districts.
Those districts are the result of Proposition #6 that was approved by voters last November to replace the current 3-member County Commission with a part-time, 5-member County Council and a hired full-time executive manager.
But before that change can occur in January 2021, the current County Commission must establish boundaries for five County Council districts by next month. After the districts are set, candidates can then file next March and run for County Council in the November 2020 election.
Voters within each district will elect one candidate from the district to serve on the County Council. However, since Thomas and Tripp were elected last November to serve 4-year terms, only three County Council members will be elected in November 2020. Thomas and Tripp will serve out their terms on the County Council through 2022. Milne’s current 4-year term ends in December 2020. All three are eligible to run for County Council after serving their terms.
With March only four months away, establishing the five County Council district boundaries is the top priority now — and to set them in a way that hopefully achieves parity on the council and between the districts.
According to Tooele County Clerk Marilyn Gillette, the five districts must be contiguous across the county’s 6,900 square miles, and cannot vary more than 10% in population, but preferably not more than 5%. Tripp said some of the proposed boundaries were generated by the County Commission and some from citizen suggestions.
All six maps can be viewed at www.co.tooele.ut.us/clerk/council-district-maps.htm.
A public comment period on the proposed maps began last Tuesday. Tripp said the commission is currently favoring two of the six maps. Those two maps were published on page A9 in last Thursday’s edition. He also said a decision will be reached Nov. 5 on which boundaries to use.
With the open public comment period and Nov. 5 less than a month away, citizens are encouraged to review the maps and give input to the County Commission. Because the new County Council will have broad powers, it is vital the five districts are created as equally as possible.
Furthermore, the entire change of government process came about because of grass roots activism by citizens. Such citizen enthusiasm and involvement should also play a role in establishing the County Council districts.
Tripp said citizen input on district boundaries is welcome by mail, phone or electronically. For citizens who want to use the U.S. Postal Service, mail comments to: Tooele County Commission, 47 S. Main St., Tooele, Utah 84074. To call the County Commission office, dial 435-843- 3150. For email, send comments to all three commissioners at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.