Governance question won’t be decided in 2019

Grand County Change of Government Study Committee Member Bob Greenberg

The Grand County Change of Government Study Committee in a split vote agreed to complete its work by November.

Passage of the vote is significant in that it virtually closes the door on voters deciding the issue that same month. This in turn means the current form of government will remain intact until the end of 2022, when elections to fill seats on the new commission or council could be held, at the earliest.

Saying it would be “crazy to try to get this on the ballot in 2019,” study committee member Bob Greenberg made the successful motion with support from Walt Dabney, Marcy Till and Chair Steven Stocks, while Jeramy Day, Cricket Green and Judy Carmichael voted no.

The action came after a lengthy discussion on whether the committee could complete its work by July 8 in time for County Attorney Christina Sloan to review the change in form of government proposal and Clerk-Auditor Chris Baird to prepare it for the ballot.

The committee has been meeting twice a month since it was formed in March and it was suggested members gather weekly to move things along, but the deadline for at least four of them seemed like a longshot to meet.

Day noted the committee’s work might not be too involved if members decide candidates would run at-large rather than by district, which would require a “lot more work” to complete.

Green and Day fretted the public might lose interest in the process if the committee’s work went into 2020, but Greenberg argued 2020 is a presidential election year – one that will undoubtedly draw a high voter turnout, especially in already highly engaged Grand County.

“The house isn’t on fire now,” Greenberg said. “Voters three times said they like the current form of government.”

Said Till, “The state gave us a year and we’re trying to shorten it to four months,” adding that it would be “improbable if not impossible” to be done by July. The committee, however, reserved the right to move up the timeline if they are further along than expected in early July.

In the meantime, the committee scheduled three open houses for 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. June 5 at the Grand Center, June 13 at GWSSA and June 17 in Castle Valley – in an effort to receive public input. At those meetings, residents will be provided a survey to complete.

Also, it is likely the committee will select a law firm it needs to draft the potential change of government proposal, which Sloan would have to sign off on.

Should the committee still have work to do by late November, state law mandates it be given a year to complete the job, meaning they are done in March.