The study into the notion of turning the vast swath of unincorporated western Weber County into a city should be done by early September.
That won’t end the effort, though.
Then a series of public hearings will be held on the proposal, probably between September and October, giving the public a chance to learn more about the plans and the study results. After that, if proponents opt to continue with the push, area residents will sound off at the ballot box on incorporation, probably sometime next year.
Duncan Murray, a lawyer who’s aiding in the effort, provided the update. He said Zion’s Bank, selected by the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office, is conducting the study and has been working on it about two months, with another four to five weeks to go. The bank, which has a research division, is trying to get a handle on the potential cost to the new city, if created, of providing services and the potential change in the property tax load to residents, among other things.
A contingent in the Warren, West Warren, West Weber and Taylor areas of western Weber County petitioned for the study, the first step as outlined in state law in creating a new city. The aim of incorporating — turning the area west of Farr West, Plain City, Marriott-Slaterville and West Haven into Weber County’s 16th city — would be to give local residents more control.
Population growth and new development have become hot topics of debate in the area. As is, Weber County commissioners are the decision-makers on such issues in the area.
If the area becomes a city, provision of many services already provided by separate taxing entities wouldn’t necessarily change. The Weber Fire District now provides fire protection, two water districts provide drinking water in the area and other taxing units manage cemeteries and parks in the zone, Murray said. The new city could contract with Weber County for other services, like law enforcement, road maintenance and planning.
The key difference with incorporation, though, would be that a city council elected by residents of the new city — not county commissioners — would call the shots. “It’s local government as opposed to letting someone else make the decisions,” said Murray.
After the four public hearings that are to follow completion of the study, those pushing for incorporation will decide whether to continue their efforts, based on public response. If they move forward, voters in the area would weigh-in on whether to incorporate, perhaps via a question on the June 2020 ballot, Murray said. At they same time, voters would decide on what form of government to implement, presuming they favor incorporation.
If residents vote in favor of incorporation, another vote would be held, possibly in November 2020, to pick the new city’s leaders.