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Summit County Council Retreat Offers Review Of County's Goals And Accomplishments

Summit County Council members held their annual retreat last Friday. They talked about the long-range prospects of another Olympics, and also considered how to move the needle on the major tasks they’ve set for the coming year.

After the retreat, county manager Tom Fisher said one major topic was the possible Winter Olympics in 2030.

“The first conversation was about an ongoing discussion we’re having with Park City and the Olympic Legacy Foundation,” Fisher explained. “About if we bid on as a state on a 2030 Olympics what is it that we’re going to agree to with our community in order to filter everything we have to do in order to prepare for that Olympics. So, the council had a health discussion about what our priorities are both looking for opportunities and protecting the community.”

Council member Roger Armstrong and Doug Clyde said they looked back at the achievements of the past year, including the Kamas Services Building, improvements to the fairgrounds, improved bus service, a park n ride lot near Kilby road, and after many years, a completed revision to the East County Planning Code.

Armstrong also noted the Amendments to the Master Plan of the Canyons.

“We got 1,000 beds of workforce housing along with a store for workers on site,” Armstrong said. They were willing to do their own internal assessment bond against their own properties to raise money to buy the land for the workforce housing.”

Clyde said the revisions to the resort are a benefit to the whole county.

“The Canyons Village area in particular was poorly laid out from the get-go,” Clyde continued. “The people who have been there in the past have always been undercapitalized. We finally have a group of people there who have the wherewithal to revise that plan to make it a far more functional base area. That’s going to be a positive for the county in making us a better tourist destination“

They said the major priorities remain the same—such as affordable housing, sustainability, mental health and transportation.

But a major objective, said Armstrong, is to persuade council members not to hold the reigns so tight.

“We’ve got passionate council members,” Armstrong said. ”It’s frequent that our council members approach staff directly and ask for things. In doing so it can disrupt the work flow and disrupt the concentration on the task that they’re trying to perform. It’s really trying to narrow that down provide a more proscribed chain of command and a manner of doing business so that staff knows what they’re working on. They’ve been able to identify the tasks that they think, and they’ve got the expertise to do this, will move us towards the goals.”

He said they’re trying to remember that the staff is at capacity, with the tasks they’ve been given.

“In order to make sure that our services are efficient, and that staff has the ability to accomplish what they said they’d like to do this year, it’s just a means of managing,” Armstrong explained. “That’s not to say that it’s a locked in system. It’s a flexible system, so that if I do have that all-encompassing great idea and I go to Tom and he says great idea and council says great idea and staff says great idea; then we all look at the board and we figure out which things come off to allow the great idea to take its place.”

Clyde said the problem is what he called “the squirrel effect.”

“You tell your dog to sit and then the next thing you do is throw out a box of squirrels well what happens? The dog doesn’t sit anymore. The task doesn’t get done. It’s keeping everybody on focus, keeping everybody on task, making sure that we’re not diverting them from their purpose.”

The retreat was held at Utah Olympic Park.

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