The informal beginnings of the Governance Committee
In January 2016, two months after the vote to incorporate, a group of concerned Millcreek citizens began meeting as an informal group that was ultimately coined as the “Governance Committee.” These citizens wanted to take advantage of the year-long opportunity we have to ease the transition into our new city.
Millcreek’s four community councils authorized and legitimized the group by joint resolution. Several mayoral and city council candidates, interested community council members, and a couple of township planning commissioners, gathered with consultants and other volunteer citizens to learn about governmental structures, departments, municipal budgets, and the needs of our new city. In order to a better job starting our city, this group wanted to consult with representatives of other cities to gain some of their experience and advice.
The Governance Committee grew over the next few months. Volunteer experts, such as lawyers, accountants, human resource professionals, and planners, many of whom are Millcreek residents employed by other cities, have shared their experiences and expertise to help us in this unique experience of creating a new city. A field team has been compiling sample documents for our candidates and residents to review. The team also has prepared lists of decisions that will have to be made in order for the city to operate. Representatives of Riverton, Herriman, Syracuse, Holladay, Cottonwood Heights, Salt Lake City, and Salt Lake County have offered their advice and help. Members of the group have toured the offices of other cities to get an idea of the space Millcreek will need.
The Governance Committee is now run by the general election candidates.
After the primary election, the candidates advancing to the general election formalized the meetings into a public-meeting setting, including setting agendas and taking minutes. The Millcreek Township Council now posts the agendas, documents presented to the Governance Committee, and meeting minutes as they are approved. The candidates have continued to receive training, and have talked about making decisions about whether and how to initiate processes that can and probably should be completed now if unanimously agreed upon.
As an example, the candidates all agreed that Salt Lake County Township Services should apply this fall for a grant from the Wasatch Front Regional Council, the proceeds of which will fund the process, after incorporation, for adopting a new and better General Plan for Millcreek.
Another example: Utah law requires a feasibility study be conducted before Millcreek can leave the MSD. Waiting to start the process of obtaining that study until after we are officially incorporated might require us to spend unnecessary time and expense preparing two budgets for fiscal 2017.
Thus, to save tax money later, the candidates have unanimously agreed to explore how we could do some of the necessary work prior to incorporating. A pool of potential consultants for the study can be identified before the election, the consultant can be chosen by the newly elected city council in December, and a contract signed on or shortly after January 3, 2017, when our city is formally incorporated. With the process undertaken now, the study can be completed before the new City Council has to begin preparing the budget for 2017-18.
This kind of collaboration by the nine candidates the voters selected, a group from whom our five-member city council will be drawn, bodes well for a collaborative city council doing great things for Millcreek.