End Run around voters and taxpayers?
Jul 24, 2014 | 1075 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Grand County Council is considering becoming a member of a new board with some scary powers. The proposed “Seven County Infrastructure Coalition” will be comprised of one council member or commissioner from Grand, San Juan, Emery, Uintah, Duchesne, Carbon, and Daggett counties.

Together they will design, build and own projects for these and other counties.

In part, the proposed coalition agreement states: “For Projects crossing county boundaries, or enterprises operating in multiple counties, or Projects and enterprises outside Member county boundaries, the Governing Board of the Coalition shall have authority to approve the acquisition, development, construction, ownership or control of such Projects by a majority vote of a simple majority of Board members.”

Hmm. So if the board decides to put a power plant in Spanish Valley, or make all of Grand County into a state park, a vote of four elected officials from OTHER counties can do it? Even over the vote of our one elected official? And if we the citizens don’t like it we can ...? Do WHAT?

Here’s another concerning phrase: “Funding may include fees and contributions from other agencies, including Federal agencies, State agencies, local governments, grants from private individuals or organizations, developers, and businesses.”

Sounds good, this board can be bought by oil/gas/potash, or the Sierra Club, and guess what: “Financial records of the Coalition shall be open to inspection at all reasonable times by Members’ representatives and shall be public records if so required by Utah State law.”

And if NOT required by Utah law? We can be bought and not even know who purchased us — neat.

Here’s more good news: “Members of the Governing Board may receive compensation for their service and have their expenses paid by the Coalition.”

Great. Our one elected board member can double-dip and be just like the state School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration — the more he/she brings in big projects, the more pay is involved. This sounds like a real winner for the citizens — no more meetings to attend because the decisions will be completely out of our hands!

I have no problem with a Seven County Infrastructure Advisory Board. Open to the public, full of ideas to help diversify our economy, and full of sunshine. An advisory board could bring proposals to the elected officials’ individual counties, get public input, take their combined power to the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board and to the “Wasatch Front and the Potomac.” They could not override our power as voters and citizens.

If the above proposal concerns you, stay tuned. It may be your last chance to comment for a very long time.

The full text of the proposed coalition can be found at www.grandcountyutah.net/councilagenda.htm, in the minutes for July 1, 2014.

—Audrey Graham,

Grand County Council Member, 2004-2012

Moab

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