Say ‘No’ to coalition...
Aug 14, 2014 | 648 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Grand County Council is currently poised to contractually bind Grand County with six other eastern Utah counties, as part of a group dubbed the “Seven County Infrastructure Coalition.” The purpose of this coalition is to jointly develop large infrastructure projects, such as resource haul roads and oil and gas pipelines, both within and outside Grand County.

The coalition would act as an independent political subdivision separate from local government. Only if Grand County joins the coalition will the coalition gain additional authority within Grand County.

As the agreement is written, the coalition may propose a cross-jurisdictional project that affects Grand County. In this scenario, even if Grand County votes against the project as a coalition member, the coalition may still continue with the project. This is a serious flaw in the agreement and clearly against Grand County’s interests.

In a nutshell, the agreement would create a NEW governmental entity, NOT accountable to Grand County voters, that would have the power to build projects which would negatively affect Grand County.

There are two possible remedies to this problem. One is that Grand County not join the coalition and work with them on a project-by-project basis via interlocal agreements. The other is to request an amendment to the agreement that requires approval from every affected member county’s legislative body (regardless of whether the project is cross-jurisdictional or not). Both options would eliminate or limit the coalition’s ability to adversely affect Grand County.

If the other six counties decline to amend the agreement, that’s strong evidence that they place a high value on doing an end run around the Grand County Council. In this instance, Grand County would be foolish to join the coalition.

Grand County already has far too many independently operating entities. Control of this county is parted out in several directions. This has caused a lot conflict and confusion. Adding yet another independent political subdivision to the mix is not in the interests of Grand County citizens.

I respectfully request that the Grand County Council decline to join this coalition and instead make it clear that we will consider their projects on a case-by-case basis via interlocal agreements. This is the safest and easiest way to ensure that Grand County citizens maintain as much control over their own county as possible.

—Kevin Walker

Moab

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