Monday, May 25, 2020

Moab, UT

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    Public note to study committee

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    When my family and I moved to Moab in 1991, the city and county were experiencing serious problems because of the collapse of the uranium industry. You could buy a house for $18,000 to $28,000. There was a three-person county commission that was making decisions that many folks found problematic.

    In 1992, the citizens of Grand County voted to change their form of government. Over the next 25 years the voters were given several opportunities to change that form of government and always voted against any change.

    In 2018, unbeknownst to most county council members and the general public, an amendment making our form of government illegal was inserted into a bill that was not designed for such an amendment…causing a lot of confusion and resulting in a lawsuit that delayed the formation of the current voter-approved study committee by three months.

    I have attended every one of your meetings and can say for certain that I believe the folks who ended up on this committee turned out to be strong choices. While you very clearly come from the full political spectrum (as the law requires), you have been respectful to each other, honest, and diligent. And you came to the conclusions you did about the number of people, the form of government, and the type of districts based on input from county government employees, elected officials, the public, and hours of committee deliberation. You have been working on this for six months.

    Everyone in the community had an opportunity to weigh in, and while the four open houses were well attended, the weekly meetings of the study committee that were open to the public, were not. Other than reporters, I was often the only other citizen present.

    Having watched this process from the start, I want to thank you, but to also urge you to believe in the process and in your deliberations. You have made your decisions and have unanimously voted to recommend this Optional Plan to the voters of Grand County. It is now up to the county attorney to review and then for the county clerk to get it on the ballot.

    This has been a frustrating experience for many in this community. We were not given the option to keep what we had. If the Study Committee Optional Plan can be voted on in this coming November election (2019), then candidates for the new government would be elected in the general election of 2020. Waiting to put the optional plan on the ballot until 2020 would mean that the new county government would not take place until 2023.

    Grand County is not the same place it was in 1991. Those houses that sold for under $30,000 now sell for 10 times that amount. And the complexity of running this county has grown as well. We are not only a rural community with an extremely diverse population, but one that has become a national and international destination with over two and a half million visitors a year. This has created problems similar to those experienced by urban cities.

    Since HB224 forced Grand County to change its form of government, choosing the form best suited to deal with our complex issues and problems from the four approved forms were your only options. Thanks for what you have done and for how you have conducted this process. Let’s get it to the voters.

    – Carey Dabney
    registered voter, Grand County, Utah

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