This is an archived article that was published on in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The first three town hall meetings on the Community Preservation elections facing unincorporated Salt Lake County residents this November will take place this week.

Residents of Copperton, Emigration Canyon and Millcreek will get the first chance to ask questions and voice opinions about the change-in-governance vote, which will give people living in the valley's six townships a choice between living in a metro township or a city.

A second question will ask voters whether the prevailing city or township should join a metropolitan service district being created by the county to carry out public-works duties such as snowplowing, street lighting, and planning and zoning.

Residents of four dozen islands of unincorporated land also face a decision: to stay unincorporated and keep getting county services, or to annex into an adjacent city, the primary candidates being Sandy, Cottonwood Heights and South Jordan.

This week's meetings, which all run from 6:30 to 8 p.m., are:

• Tuesday at the Bingham Canyon Lions Club, 320 Hillcrest Street, Bingham Canyon.

• Wednesday at the Unified Fire Authority station, 5025 Emigration Canyon Road.

• Thursday at Skyline High, 3251 E. 3760 South, in Millcreek.

These meetings also will be the first in which county officials can explain the financial impacts of the township-versus-city and annex-or-stay-independent issues facing voters in the communities.

Zions Bank Public Finance recently analyzed the cost of providing municipal services in each township and the current revenues available to pay for that service delivery under different scenarios.

In general, the report found the financial feasibility of the municipal services district "relies heavily on the participation of the three largest [townships] — Kearns, Magna and Millcreek. ... Costs for the smaller metro townships/new cities increase significantly without the participation of the larger metro townships/new cities."

The report added that "costs decrease for each of the metro townships/new cities and the remaining unincorporated county from participating together for the provision of municipal-type services."

The County Council looks likely to approve the creation of the municipal service district at its Tuesday meeting. The district should be revenue-neutral, officials have said, essentially being a funding mechanism for the leaders of future metro townships and participating cities to contract for services from the county's workforce through interlocal agreements.

This revamped structure will get the county out of the dual role of being a municipal government for the unincorporated areas while managing countywide affairs for those areas plus the valley's 17 cities. Sometimes, those interests don't coincide, leaving county officials in dicey positions.

But, overall, plan architect county Mayor Ben McAdams sees the Community Preservation vote as a means of ending decades of local-government border disputes. Eliminating those annexation and incorporation battles once and for all, he believes, will provide the future political stability needed to promote economic development in heretofore neglected unincorporated areas.

After this week's first round of town meetings, additional sessions will be held:

• Sept. 21 at Kearns High, 5525 S. Cougar Lane (4840 West).

• Sept. 24 at Matheson Junior High, 3650 S. Montclair St. (7730 West), in Magna.

• Sept. 25 at Eastmont Middle School, 10100 S. 1300 East, for residents of White City Township.

• Sept. 28, also at Eastmont, for residents of the unincorporated islands.

The first three of these meetings go from 6:30 to 8 p.m., the last one from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Planning District

Another prong of the Community Preservation Act — the creation of a Mountainous Planning District to handle planning and zoning matters in most central Wasatch Mountain canyons — will be addressed Wednesday.

The concept will be discussed twice:

• At 8:30 a.m. by the County Planning Commission, which has handled issues in Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood canyons but earlier had voted to postpone action on the matter until December.

• At 4 p.m. by the Millcreek Township Planning Commission. Its members had seemed more amenable to the concept, although they already lost control over Mill Creek Canyon when the County Council changed Millcreek Township boundaries for the Nov. 3 Community Preservation vote.

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams came up with the idea as a means of treating the canyons as a regional resource important to a broader group of people better equipped to balance competing interests for the long-term good of the canyons.

Some canyon residents have objected, however, that they do not have enough say in decisions affecting the communities where they live.