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Summit County Council Chairwoman Weighs In On Legislative Session

The 2019 Utah legislature wrapped up last night. Summit County Council member Kim Carson said on Thursday that, overall, the county came out fairly well.

On the less positive side, Senate Bill 139, governing e-scooters, passed through the Legislature. Carson said the county’s concern is that it limits the ability of local governments to regulate the scooters.

“We don’t have the ability to prohibit them. We don’t have the ability to put together contracts or agreements with them. It does add a couple of safety items that are good. A restriction on driving while intoxicated and I think there’s a requirement for helmets in there. Those are pluses but overall not a good bill.”

She said they’re not against the scooters, but they don’t like to see their oversight restricted.

“Because of our environment up here with our weather. I just don’t know if it’s even feasible. I mean they haven’t come up here yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.” Carson said that this bill trumped the counties working draft for controlling the scooters.

Looking at better news for the county, they were successful with a bill that helps them to respond to failing septic systems.

Carson said they had worked with the County Health Department for three years.

“If the health department and it’s board declare an area basically a health hazard due to septic contamination then the county council would have the ability to form an involuntary assessment area. We could’ve already done that but the thresholds for citizens, if they want to protest that assessment area is at 40% which is very low. In this case it’s been moved up to 70% just for this special situation with failing septic systems.”

She said it’s been very difficult to set up assessment districts.

“You have some property owners that may have already upgraded their septic systems. We have some neighborhoods where they do have a number of failing systems. Unfortunately, some of these properties are so small that there’s no room for them to even put in an upgraded septic system. So, we really needed a solution and again this would just be used in various extreme cases but it’s another tool in the tool box.”

Carson added that the State House and Senate both voted unanimously for the bill.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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