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Summit County Council To Have Discussion With Morgan County, Romney Staff

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Summit County
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As part of their agenda on Wednesday, the Summit County Council will receive visitors from one of Utah’s Senators—and on a different topic, will hear from their neighboring county.

At about 2:45 pm at the Richins Services Building, the council will be visited by staffers from Senator Mitt Romney.

County Manager Tom Fisher said they’re making the rounds, introducing themselves to local governments. He said the council may be interested in bringing up some particular topics.

“They’ve been working with the EPA on the purchase of the Gillmor property. There is always the topics around the Central Wasatch Commission, any other federal lands issues. Then recently you know they've been interested in talking about forest health issues as it relates to wildfire, and of course water quality issues which is always on their mind.” Fisher explains that the conservation area designation for the Wasatch Front is part of what the CWC is looking at. “Our council has been supportive of that effort. They just want to make sure that Senator Romney’s staff and Senator Romney himself would be aware of our support.”

We also asked about the Public Lands Initiative, a multi-county proposal that Rep. Rob Bishop tried to advance in Congress a couple of years ago.

“It included lands all over the state,” Fisher continued. “We were interested in the forest lands up in the Uinta Mountain. We've been approached by several local groups to try and make that effort again if there's an opportunity. So, I'm sure the council will take advantage of having Senator Romney’s staff to discuss that for a few minutes.”

After that, they will hear from Morgan County Council about a section of the Weber River, from Henefer to the Taggart area, which is becoming maybe too popular with visitors.

“There’s a natural place for people to come out of the river there if they’re on tubes or small boats,” Fisher said. “It's a very heavily used part of the Weber River. The way that the staff materials read is that it's probably the second heaviest use for daily use in the state behind the Provo River. The concern is that there's natural things that happen, there's trash that gets left. There's the regulation of people getting out and into the river. It sometimes causes some safety problems too. So, both counties experience calls to our sheriff’s office about that.”

The section is called the “Hen-Tag Reach”. The entry point for river recreationalists in Summit County and the exit is in Morgan.

“There's not a lot that can be done about the number of people necessarily unless we go into some stronger regulation,” Fisher explained. “Certainly, there's probably some things we can do on how it affects either public or private land I think it's mostly private land.”

The topic comes up, as the Salt Lake Tribune ran an article about the Moab area, which is bursting with tourists, but also using the Restaurant Tax monies to generate more visitors.

Some Utah counties are suggesting that the Restaurant Tax be used to mitigate tourism, not just attract it. Fisher said the council hasn’t discussed that question.

“What does become one of the issues is as these impacts come—I mean certainly we are tourism-based economy here in Summit County. We're always seeking to make sure that we have the right revenue streams to deal with those impacts. It's always a discussion around the impact of surrounding tourism and what revenue sources we have. That one specifically, the Restaurant Tax, not sure if the county would support that or not. It's one of the ones that's out there for discussion, but it has a very strong nexus to increasing restaurant activity at this point. So, I'm sure that one would have a difficult lift.”

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