Carbon consents to join 7-county coalition, but it's not 7 counties yet
With a lot of "whereases" and "Now therefores" the Carbon County Commission adopted a resolution authorizing the county to join a new organization of counties from eastern and southeastern Utah and then passed an agreement making it so on July2.
The organization, called the Seven County Infrastructural Coalition joins together Carbon, Daggett, Emery, Uintah, Duchesne, Grand and San Juan counties in an interlocal entity that intends to be a force for economic development and power when it comes to many issues confronting the eastern part of the state.
"This give the group the ability to apply for and receive funds to be used within and around the coalition," said Commission Chair John Jones after the resolution and agreement were passed.
The agreement becomes effective on July 25.
Documents indicate that the purpose of the group is to do the following:
Encourage and promote multiple uses of natural resources;
Foster communication, coordination and planning between the member counties;
Promote and engage in planning, financing, undertaking ownership, acquisition, development, construction, management and operation, maintenance, repair, administration and control of projects located within and outside of the region, to utilize and enhance the region's natural resources and features in a responsible and appropriate manner with consideration for environmental concerns;
To secure funding for projects.
Once passed the 14 page resolution gave the commission the go ahead to then deal with the actual interlocal agreement that has been worked on by the county commissions and councils throughout the region. However, not all counties have approved it yet, despite a memorandum that was agreed upon several months ago concerning the formation of the coalition.
Tuesday the Emery County Commission tabled the proposal for the second time after some objections were raised by some citizens concerning more layers of government being put in place and that the coalition could bind the county to agreements that Emery might not want. There were also concerns that the coalition might obligate the county to financial commitments that they don't want to be part of. The tabling happened despite the fact it seemed all three county commissioners at the meeting supported the effort.
The agreement establishes a board and each county would appoint a member representing them on that board. That person would have to hold an elected public office within the county to be eligible to serve. The board will have a chair and vice-chair who will be elected by the board and their terms will expire every four years. No one will be able to serve more than two successive terms. The board will have to comply with the Utah open meetings act.
There are financial parts of the agreement that are spelled out as well. As far as indebtedness to individual counties, the board nor the coalition will not have the power to to incur any indebtedness for or on behalf of any member county. However individual counties can commit security to the coalition through the legislative action of their governing body (commission or council). Since the coalition will be able to receive money from agencies such as the CIB or the state, if any money is left over after projects are completed, 70 percent of that would be divided amongst the counties in the coalition that are directly affected by the project, 20 percent would go to the counties which were not affected and 10 percent would stay with the coalition for future projects. Budgets for the coalition will be adopted each year and all financial workings shall have a certified financial audit annually.
Financial accounts of the coalition will be administered by the board chair (or if the board sees fit by the hiring of an executive director). According to the agreement all documents and financial records shall be open to the public per state statute.
At this point, besides Emery County, not all the counties that have been on in the formation of the coalition have approved the final agreement.