The Morgan County Council is making a Christmas wish list for Utah’s governor in preparation for a 1.5 hour meeting in January.
“This is a wine and dine, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Morgan County Councilman Ned Mecham.
The council is preparing a strategic plan to present to Gov. Gary Herbert, who is meeting with each county in the state to hear of their specific needs. Morgan County is inviting others to the meeting including Morgan City Mayor Ray Little and Morgan City Manager Ty Bailey; legislative representatives Logan Wilde, Ann Millner and Alan Christensen; as well as state representatives from UDOT and parks and recreation. Rumor is that the governor is asking counties to report back in six months on progress they are making on their strategic plan.
Word is Morgan County is asking for tax incentives for improved infrastructure, specifically for business and residential broadband; a $1.2 million full Interstate 84 interchange in Mountain Green in the next five years; improvement of the I-84 Morgan City interchange to improve pedestrian use; full funding for state initiatives for rural areas, rather than one-time money; removing a 110 percent wage requirement for rural businesses receiving state assistance; increased funding for road maintenance; a “seat at the table” for gas tax decisions; preservation of watershed and water rights; a Weber State University satellite campus; agricultural development; cluster development; tourism improvements on the Weber River; a Blue Ribbon fishery designation for Lost Creek and East Canyon Reservoirs; and a scenic byway between East Canyon and Salt Lake County;
Morgan is looking at bringing more broadband internet service to the county, but needs incentives to offer providers such as All West Communications. Also, the county needs ways to improve or expand water and sewer infrastructure.
A new gas tax implemented in Utah is being debated, particularly a new idea to assess miles for electric and hybrid cars rather than just increasing the tax at the gas pump. Councilman John Barber said Morgan County needs a “seat at the table” during these decisions, especially since drivers in remote rural areas tend to drive more miles than those in more urban areas. Morgan County Economic Development Director Steve Lyon noted that 66 percent of county residents drive out of Morgan regularly.
Establishing a state park on the Weber River from Henefer to Taggart or Morgan City could help mitigate littering and excrement, as well increase public safety, along that stretch of the river, Lyon said. This may lead to tubers needing a permit to float that section of the river. Lyon would like to see recreational access preserved while funding public facilities along the river.
The County Council is planning to finalize their strategic plan wish list at their Dec. 19 meeting.