Proposition 3

Oscar Mata of Weber County Forward signs a petition on Oct. 26, 2017, that calls for a ballot question on whether to study changing the form of Weber County's government. Weber County Commissioners in 2018 voted to put the question on the ballot, and voters weigh in on the proposal in the Nov. 5, 2019, general election.

OGDEN — The Weber County Clerk-Auditor‘s Office wants to get the lowdown from the public on why considering change to the form of county government is or isn’t a good idea.

Voters in November weigh in on the question of whether to form a special committee to study the notion of moving from the three-commission form of government in Weber County. It’d be the first step toward actually changing the governmental form, the focus of on-and-off debate going back to the early 1980s.

Ahead of the Nov. 5 vote, the office of Weber County Clerk-Auditor Ricky Hatch seeks arguments from both backers and opponents of the proposal, Proposition 3. He’ll decide which pass muster, following guidelines set by the state. But whatever’s chosen, it could have considerable sway — the two sets of arguments will accompany mail-in ballots voters get ahead of the general election and potentially serve as background for them in making a decision.

“State law requires that the county prepare a Voter Information Pamphlet (VIP) that will provide information about the proposition, including arguments both for and against,” Hatch’s office said in a notice on the call for arguments. The notice also went out to nearly 50,000 registered voters whose emails are on file with the Weber County Election Office.

Hatch emphasizes that Proposition 3, by itself, doesn’t call for change to the form of government. Rather, it just asks whether the notion of change should be studied. If voters vote in favor of the measure, a special committee would then be formed to delve into the question. If the group reaches some sort of consensus, a proposed change could then be put to voters at another election.

Hatch said he’s already received responses from people interested in submitting arguments for and against Proposition 3. He’s encouraging backers to work together in coming up with a statement and opponents to do the same. Those interested in submitting arguments have until Aug. 28 to report to Hatch, at rhatch@webercountyutah.gov or via mail or hand delivery to his office at 2380 Washington Blvd., Suit 320, Ogden, UT 84401.

Oscar Mata, part of a group that has pushed for a vote on whether to reconsider the government style, Weber County Forward, said he’d likely be involved in crafting an argument in favor of the proposition. He said a series of informational town hall meetings on the issue are to occur around Weber County ahead of the Nov. 5 vote.

Proponents of changing the governmental form say the current three-commissioner set-up doesn’t allow for adequate representation of Weber County’s diverse population. They also say allowing commissioners to handle legislative and executive duties, as is currently the case, gives them too much power.

State law allows commissions to have up to seven members. It also permits addition of an appointed or elected county executive or mayor to handle executive functions.

County commissioners last year voted to put Proposition 3 on the ballot. The action came after Weber County Forward had launched a petition drive to get the question on the ballot.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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