Share |

Mountain Green residents hesitate to incorporate their city

Article Date: 
18 April, 2014 (All day)

A standing-room-only crowd seemingly agreed that now is not the right time to incorporate Mountain Green.  Local government representatives also revealed that Snowbasin officials do not favor incorporation.
While meeting organizer Raelene Blocker briefly discussed steps to incorporation, residents pressed her to find other options to address her concerns.  
“It does make sense to incorporate to keep the (tax revenue) home.  But right now there is no commercial base.  It would be funded on the backs of homeowners,” said resident Jim Bledsoe.  “This is a conversation we should have 15 years from now.”
Blocker, who has lived in the Cottonwoods area of Mountain Green for three years, said she contemplated incorporation of the area in order to provide a central gathering place, sense of community, and more say in local government.
“I personally think local government is the best government,” Blocker said.  
Morgan County Councilwoman Tina Kelley mentioned that as many as four of the seven county council members can come from the Mountain Green area.  
A common thread in the meeting was that Mountain Green residents feel distanced from the government decision makers.
Jesse Summers mentioned that there seems to be “animosity between everyone else in the county and Mountain Green.”
State Representative Mel Brown said that many cities incorporate for a sense of identity.
“Maybe some people would rather be Mountain Green than Morgan County,” Brown said.
Another reason is the right of self-determination and control, Brown said.
“As this place grows, the county has to create more special service districts or raise taxes in the entire county,” Brown said.  “The customs and culture of what brought you here is going to change.  Population increase is going to change the dynamics and will create a real headache for the county to provide services.
Brown said that if Mountain Green residents want more say in local government, they could pursue establishing a second planning commission, or township planning district.  Brown said such an approach has been successful in Summit County, where he lives.
“It has been successful,” said Brown, who lives in Coalville.  “Customs and cultures of different areas of the county deserve a say.”
Brown also discouraged county residents from considering special service districts.
“I am biased, but a special service district is the poorest form of government,” Brown said.  “They have taxing authority but the public doesn’t involve itself.  That is not good government.”
Brown discussed incorporation efforts in Millcreek and Dutch John.
“We used to say Morgan is the best-kept secret in Utah, but we can’t say that anymore,” said resident John Triplett.  
 “Things are going to change no matter what.  Are we going to organize it?”  Blocker asked. 
She also is concerned with emergency service response times, as ambulance usually has to come to Mountain Green from Morgan City.
“We are getting an elderly population here,” she said.  “With a 10-minute wait time, time saves lives.”
Resident David Potter said the county ambulance crew is open to place an ambulance in Mountain Green, since 15 percent of the county’s calls come from the Mountain Green area.
“They can have it down here in a week,” Potter said.  “Let’s work with what we have.”
Blocker would also like to see sidewalks for pedestrians, road conditions to accommodate bikers, soccer fields, recycling, a downtown gathering place and green space.
“We are increasing in population,” to the point where the population of Mountain Green exceeds the population of Morgan City, she said.  “We are constantly commuting and need to be worried about air pollution.
Blocker revealed three plat maps with possible city boundaries.  Although some participants scrutinized the maps, most of the time was spent in discussion.  
Many pointed out that the required feasibility of study would cost all the taxpayers in Morgan County.  A professional feasibility study exploring the economic issues of incorporation could cost as much as $60,000, said Morgan County Councilwoman Tina Kelley.  Brown said it would cost less, and could eventually be charged to the newly incorporated city.
Resident Mike McMillan is concerned with the extra cost another layer of government would bring with it.
Triplett agreed.
“Does Mountain Green need to be fixed?  Not now,” said Triplett, who has lived in Mountain Green for 32 years.  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The audience erupted in applause when one attendee said, “Starting a city is not cheap.  I haven’t heard anyone who can afford it.  I don’t have anything to complain about.  Why change what we’ve got and start over again.”
Long-time residents voiced their opposition to incorporation.
“The new-comers are causing the problems,” said Sheila Wilkinson.  “They come to our country home and want to change it to the city you just came from.”
Residents at the meeting said incorporation would be expensive and could take a long time to accomplish. 
Another roadblock could be Snowbasin’s resistance to Mountain Green incorporation.
“Snowbasin doesn’t want it and they will fight it,” Kelley said.
Bledsoe summed up that if people want changes, they should go to the county council first, form a second planning commission next, and only pursue incorporation as a last result.
“It is exciting to me to see you all here,” Blocker said to the large crowd at the Mountain Green Fire Station.  “We all care about Mountain Green and want the best.  It got you thinking.”