Together We Will Build a Better Future
Our current county form of government is no longer adequate to meet the needs of a rapidly growing area. Utah County is the second largest county in the state and studies indicate Utah County will grow to 1.6 million residents over the next 40 years. The optional plan on the ballot this November offers a separation of powers for checks and balances in government, regional representation, and greater accountability.
We need a system that provides checks and balances, separation of powers, and better
Why do we need to change our form of government?
Our current form of government consists of three commissioners that hold both executive and legislative powers and who are elected at-large, meaning they don’t represent specific areas of the county. While this may work in more rural areas, Utah County is growing rapidly and would be better served by a government that includes a separation of powers for better checks and balances and through regional representation. Utah County consists of both rural and urban areas. The challenges faced in different parts of the county are not the same. For example, the issues faced by Lehi with the growth of the technology sector are different than those of Genola, which has a population of just over 1,300. Having a form of government with regional representation means that the perspectives of those throughout the county will be considered as decisions are being made to address the challenges and opportunities we face.
We need a system that provides checks and balances, separation of powers, and better representation. The proposed executive-council (sometimes referred to as mayor council) form of government is similar to the way our cities, state, and nation are already structured.
Why is this on the ballot this year?
In 2019, the Utah County Commissioners voted to create an independent committee to make a recommendation on the best form of government for our county. Known as the Good Governance Advisory Board (GGAB), this committee consisted of business and education leaders, elected officials, and involved citizens from throughout Utah County. After a series of public meetings, the committee unanimously recommended that the county move to an executive-council form of government with a full-time mayor and a part-time county council with regional representation. From their final report:
“[I]t was evident to the Advisory Board that regardless of the current form’s effectiveness and efficiencies, a three-member commission that melds the executive branch with the legislative branch of government for a county with the size, scope, and nature as Utah County is no longer sufficient or acceptable. The organizational demands on the county have grown in complexity with its increased diverse populations and demands on county services — a trajectory that will not slow for decades. The cry for functional accountability of our county officials and how services are managed, improved transparency of officials’ dealings and decision-making processes, and a need for balanced representation among the rural and urban populations were received loud and clear by the Advisory Board.”
Will this cost more than our current form of government?
No, the optional plan on the ballot is not more expensive than our current form of government. When deciding to put this on the ballot in 2020, the county commissioners approved a plan for the change, which includes a cost analysis showing the recommended staffing plan and salaries for the new form of government. Based on their recommendations, the new form of government will not require any sort of tax increase. This is because the salary and benefits for the full time mayor would be about the same as what a commissioner currently makes, but the salary of part-time council members would be considerably less.
Will this grow government?
No, this is not an expansion of government, simply a change in the form of government. Moving to an executive-council form of government separates the legislative and executive branches, creating needed checks and balances between the two. It does not add new departments or new levels of bureaucracy. This change provides necessary checks and balances and provides regional representation with the legislative branch.
Together We Will Build a Better Future