The marriage of East Carbon to Sunnyside, an idea that has gained momentum since its suggestion by the Rotary Club last summer, took another step toward the alter last week.
Utah state code requires that "municipalities shall begin by filing with the county legislative bodies of the respective counties in which the municipalities are located resolutions passed by the governing bodies of the municipalities which state their intention and desire to form a consolidated municipality; or petitions signed by at least 10 percent of the registered voters in each of the municipalities to be included with the boundaries of the consolidated municipality."
East Carbon city council approved a resolution to submit their intention to consolidate to the county commission for review.
However, according to the county commissioners office, intention to consolidate has not been received from Sunnyside.
Proponents of the plan believe that consolidation would allow the area better opportunities to receive grants and allow two sets of services to combine for a single, more effective system.
As with any marriage, though, compromise has been a constant consideration.
Opponents of consolidation believe that merging would lead to a loss of identity in the community, as well as a loss of jobs. The respective debts of the two cities has also been a consideration, although state law specifies that any debts incurred by towns before consolidation will remain with only those residents of the original municipality and will not be transferred to the others population.
The two towns have been working on a detailed plan of consolidation, which would layout the operating procedures of the consolidated city for the first three years.
In September 2003 the two town councils met with the county commission in a joint meeting so citizens and officials could have input into the idea of consolidation. By the end of the meeting the group had selected two council people from each city along with two citizens from each of the communities to be on a committee to study the issue and work toward a consolidation plan. The commissioners suggested that the towns get someone from the Utah Association of Government to act as a neutral chairman on the committee. Eventually Bill Howell from that agency joined the team.
At the time the county also offered funds to help pay for professional services that may be needed in work that the committee will do.
The group met for the first time around in late September to get organized and then went to work on the idea.
By November it was far enough along so that the committee held a meeting at East Carbon High School and invited towns people to hear what they had to say. The meeting attracted well over 100 people, some of which were very vocal about not consolidating the two towns. However, it appeared to organizers the majority of the group wanted to go ahead.
Once a resolution from both city councils that the towns want to merge are submitted and then a vote by the citizens can be set up to see if the populations of the towns also desire to have it done.
According to the Utah Municipal Code 10-2-613, the councils would be merged into one body with that body picking one person to act as mayor of the new town until the next regular municipal election.