The Grand County Council is elected to handle county business in such a way that county constituents’ interests are represented, whatever they may be. This means that if constituents don’t support something, the council shouldn’t do it —at least not until the constituents’ concerns are addressed, questions answered, changes made, etc.
After reading the proposed agreement (I’m not a lawyer so my interpretation is likely imperfect), some news articles, opinions, and discussing with others, it appears that there are A LOT of Grand County constituents who are uncomfortable with this agreement and feel that nowhere near enough public discussion has taken place to address their concerns. And I agree with them.
I suggest this decision be delayed until public meetings can be scheduled so county residents can have their say. I have no problem with counties cooperating on things of mutual interest — that’s a good thing and I’d say that’s how it’s suppose to work.
But here are a few questions that come to my mind:
What would this agreement provide that couldn’t already be addressed on a case-by-case basis? Has that not worked historically? Is there a history of inter-county non-cooperation? The Times-Independent article quoted council member Gene Ciarus as saying: “This is not an agreement that takes any authority away from this county,” and attorney Eric Johnson as saying: “The county would retain full control over any road projects within its jurisdiction.”
“Some of the language in the agreement is deliberately open-ended,” Johnson said, “because no one knows what kinds of infrastructure projects might be on the horizon.”
Really? It says in the proposed agreement that a simple majority of seven individuals (six from other counties) could be making a lot of decisions regarding infrastructure, among others, so how is this NOT taking some authority away?
“Deliberately open-ended?” What infrastructure are we not thinking about and why do we need to accommodate such projects before we know what they are? Road projects within a county’s jurisdiction may be fine, but what about across jurisdictions? Could as few as four individuals who don’t live here decide to commit Grand County to a highway bypass around downtown Moab that just makes it over the line into San Juan County?
I think these are valid questions and I bet many agree they deserve answers before any commitments are made.