First commission meeting of year 01

From left, Utah County Commissioners Tanner Ainge, Nathan Ivie, and Bill Lee review an agenda item during the commission meeting at the Utah County Administration Building on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Provo.

Another year, another discussion about changing Utah County’s form of government.

For those with acute memories, you’ll remember that it was about this time last year that we opined about changing Utah County’s form of government. We argued that Utah County is growing and can no longer be represented by just three commissioners.

At the time, Nathan Ivie, one of the three county commissioners, pushed for House Bill 224, which would speed along the process of changing county government structures.

Now, Ivie is a co-signer on a petition that will circulate the county, asking the residents of our community whether the county’s form of government should change or remain as is. The petition in question is asking for a county mayor-council form, made up of between five and seven council members and a single mayor, similar to Salt Lake County’s current form of government.

The group pursuing the petition now has about six months to gather enough signatures to put its plan on the ballot for voters to consider.

Ivie has stressed that he has no personal problem or plight with current elected officials, rather, the current form of government does not function structurally and does not have proper checks and balances in place.

Ivie is right on said accounts. The county would be better off with changing its form of government to avoid future foibles and better represent an exponentially growing population. We believe Ivie is right to sign on this petition and would recommend others to explore it as well.

We concur that this is nothing personal. We are grateful for our current commissioners and believe they often have the county’s best interests at heart. While Ivie put pen to paper and signed on the petition, his co-commissioners, Bill Lee and Tanner Ainge, support formation of a committee to evaluate and survey the best means going forward for restructuring of government. We don’t disagree that public should be as well-informed and educated as possible as this moves forward.

But we also believe it would be beneficial if this process were to move slightly faster than molasses. The idea of changing the form of county government is not novel; the idea has been punted around in past years and even Weber County to the north is also exploring the idea. As Ivie pointed out, as signatures are gathered, a discourse will be had and public input will be received. The two processes can happen simultaneously to create greater efficiency and hopefully make a governmental restructure occur a bit faster.

Due largely in part to the very public fallacies of former Commissioner Greg Graves over the last year or so, and other past commissioners, we would argue that the commission has the largest microscope on them ever. Between Graves’ accusations and Ivie pushing for an expansion of the commission, it could be said that more residents are aware of the county’s governmental processes than in prior years.

We encourage the residents and voters of Utah County to become better educated and understand what implications there are in expanding the Utah County Commission. Attend (or stream) commission meetings or become better involved at the local level of our government.

Utah County will likely top more than a million residents within the next 30 years, according to many economic and census-based projections. With the diversity of voices in Utah County, from the farms and agricultural developments in the southern reaches of our county to the multilevel megastructures that dot the Silicon Slopes of the northern county line, three commissioners no longer suffice.

The future of the county has to be planned now, and we believe a mayor-council government has the ability adequately address the financial, economic and infrastructural challenges our county faces to continue coping its expansive growth.

When the petition begins circulating, we encourage Utah County voters to give it their John Hancock, and help advance Utah County’s future.