The Grand County Change in Form of Government Study Committee has approved its proposal as to what Grand County’s new form of government should be.
The proposal will now go to the Grand County Council, the Grand County clerk/auditor and then to the Grand County attorney for review.
The proposal comes after many hours of public outreach since March of this year— including a survey, four open houses and a booth at the community’s July 4 celebration—as well as numerous public meetings during which the contents of the proposal were discussed.
If this proposal—titled “Optional Plan for Grand County Government”—is approved by the county attorney in the very near future, it will be placed on the general election ballot for voters to approve or reject by a simple majority during the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.
However, timelines are very tight. The study committee has held marathon meetings as any delay—even an unavoidable one— in approving the proposal could mean the deadline for getting on this year’s ballot will be missed.
If voters approve the proposed form of government in 2019, the new form will (per the Optional Plan) go into effect on the first Monday of 2021.
If the proposed form of government is not approved by voters, it will automatically default to a 3-person county commission, as outlined by Utah State law.
The Optional Plan recommends a five-member council composed of three seats elected at-large and two district seats.
District One contains the relatively urban area within Moab, while District Two encompasses the more rural areas. Both districts contain approximately equal populations; in the future, districts may need to be retooled as census data is updated.
The council is recommended to serve four-year terms, with at-large seats elected during Presidential election years and district seats during gubernatorial election years.
The first elections under the new form of government would take place in November 2020 for all of the seats. The district seats elected at this time would only be for two years; they would be four-year terms going forward.
Council members will be considered part time and receive compensation of $24,000 per council member per year, except for the council chair who will receive $27,000. Council members will not be eligible for benefits through the county. Any salary adjustment other than cost of living must be made by majority vote and not go into effect until the next term.
The new council will typically hold at least two public meetings a month, as does the current council.
This report was compiled using documents available on the Grand County website and a fact check with study committee member Bob Greenberg.