Midterm elections are just around the corner. But candidates aren’t the only important votes for the November 6th ballot. One of the critical votes on the ballot will be to determine whether the county would like a study committee to assess the inevitable change in government for the county council.
This is the statement you will see on your ballot regarding the change in government: SHALL A STUDY COMMITTEE BE APPOINTED TO CONSIDER AND POSSIBLY RECOMMEND A CHANGE IN MORGAN COUNTY’S FORM OF GOVERNMENT?
But why is this happening? House Bill 224 (H.B. 224) was voted on by the State Legislature and passed. What this means for Morgan County is the state has determined Morgan is required to make a change in the form of government currently used. Grand County will also have to make a change to their government as well.
Dave Durrant spoke of the importance of the vote for a study committee, he said, “Morgan County voters should be aware of an important ballot question. Since our current form of government is no longer recognized as an acceptable form of government we are being forced by state law to change. A no vote will force Morgan County into a 3-member council.”
The default government set up for a county like Morgan is a 3-member commission. Voting ‘No’ will automatically take the choice from members of the community and the county council will become a 3-member council automatically. With the growth of the county and the number of portfolio assignments the current 7-member council tackles there are concerns it will overwhelm the county government and progress on projects will cease if the government defaults.
Durrant continued saying, “Please remember if this proposition fails Morgan county will default to the 3-member council. This will take away the opportunity for input from citizens on whether that form of government is best for the county. The people are what make Morgan Valley such a great place. I know if they’re made aware of the upcoming choice forced upon us by the state they will make the right decisions.”
If voters vote ‘Yes’ then a study committee will be appointed to determine the best form of government needed for the county. If voters vote ‘No’ the council will become a 3-member commission by default and will have until December 31,, 2020 to transition.
There are 4 options for government which could potentially take place in Morgan after the change.
• The default 3-member commission (No Vote)
• Expanded county commission, which is a commission of 5-7 members (Yes vote)
• County executive/Council which is an elected county council and an elected executive who must live within the county boundaries (Yes vote)
• Council manager/Council which is an elected county council and an appointed manager appointed by the council. The manager can live outside of county boundaries (Yes vote)
If a study committee is voted in on the November ballot, the study committee is not allowed to recommend the same form of government previously used by the county. Meaning, even if the voters decided on a study committee, the committee would be required to change the form of government in some way. The Yes vote will give voters the ability to weigh in on the new form of government.