But Strong responded that the collection effort was ongoing and the petition turned in Sept. 5 contained just the first batch of signatures needed to get the lengthy process rolling.
Since the law allows the modification of petitions, including the addition of more signatures, the incorporation drive may continue, said Dahnelle Burton-Lee, chief deputy in the clerk's office.
"We know where we are and what we need," Strong said. "We'll get there."
To get a feasibility study going, incorporation supporters need signatures from people who own 10 percent of the private acreage in the township and 7 percent of the total private-land value.
The petition submitted Sept. 5 represented a little more than 2 percent in each category, prompting the county's rejection letter.
"When they brought it in, they said it was the complete petition and they wanted us to review it," Burton-Lee said. "We took the position it was their official filing date."
Establishing that filing date also meant township boundaries were frozen, she added, putting a concurrent effort to annex part of Millcreek into Holladay on hold.
But since the incorporation petition drive is still ongoing, backers of annexing the area between 3900 South and 4500 South from 2700 East to Interstate 215 also may resume their campaign to get enough signatures to seek inclusion in Holladay.
The back-and-forth was disruptive, said annexation proponent John Bradshaw, who is pleased that "we'll be able to continue our effort unencumbered by their success or failure. … We're not there yet, but we're finding clear interest in getting annexed. But it's hard work."
"It's a pretty heavy-duty process to get 4,000 signatures," she said, referring to the number needed to meet the two-pronged requirement for a feasibility study. "Last time it took three years. This time we're well on our way much faster."
Strong hopes to complete the petition process by the end of October, which would allow enough time to finish all of the steps necessary to put the initiative on the ballot in November 2014.
Voters in Millcreek rejected a proposal to become a city in November, with 58 percent saying no (16,805 to 11,952).