March 9, 2018
Contact: Dan Weist or Molly Farmer, Council Communication
SALT LAKE CITY – City Council Members call on Governor Gary Herbert to veto S.B. 234, the Utah Inland Port Authority bill, passed by both Houses of the Utah Legislature on March 7, 2018.
Council Members have extreme concerns with the bill, which undercuts core city functions, such as taxing and certain land use authority, from the City. The bill also puts more than one fourth of land within the City under control of a majority non-elected Board instead of City leaders, elected by residents to represent the interests of the public. Council leaders say the bill could set a bad precedent for any city in Utah.
“We support the idea of a Port Authority. We have worked for years on developing the region for economic growth,” said Erin Mendenhall, Council Chair. “This legislation runs counter to the idea of good government. It severely diminishes local control, reduces transparent government and is a potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to schools, libraries, the County, and the City.”
The seven-member City Council unanimously opposes the bill for a long list of reasons. The final version of the bill, with many key changes, did not receive a public hearing and was passed late at night in less than an hour after it was released.
“Although the Council and the Mayor held multiple good faith discussions with the Legislature’s leaders, the end product strips the City of our ability to govern our own destiny,” said Vice Chair Chris Wharton. “The final bill and the way it was handled should be a concern to all Utah municipalities and their taxpayers.”
Council Members have heard all levels of concerns from around the state about this legislation. The Council urges people to contact the Governor and ask he veto the bill and work with the City, County, State, and other stakeholders to come up with a solution that will advance the inland port in a manner beneficial to all.
“The Governor needs to hear from everyone who wants good government and control in the hands of local elected officials,” added Mendenhall. “More than a majority of the Authority Board, nine members, are not elected and not directly accountable to residents.”