Summit County Council Member Clyde Looks Back On Annual Retreat
The Summit County Council and their staff met for their annual Retreat on November 12th, reviewing accomplishments of the past year, current challenges, and goals for 2020. KPCW talked afterwards with Council Member Doug Clyde.
The Council held the Retreat in North Salt Lake. As we’ve reported, they were asked if they want to take a proposal to the public next year for a “health tax levy.”
Clyde said everybody on Council feels that they need more information.
“We’re, of course, committed to the strides that we’ve made in mental health, particularly, and—but at the same time we’re very cognizant that raising taxes is an unpopular idea.”
He said the basic goals of the Health Department haven’t changed, but in the last few years, there have been additional costs to implementing them. As for Mental Health services in particular, he said those are largely funded by governmental grants.
The Retreat also looked at how to better focus the time of their employees. Council Chairman Roger Armstrong told the staff that if a Council Member comes to them with a particular project or assignment, the staffer should direct the Council Member to County Manager Tom Fisher.
“To some degree, that was tongue-in-cheek, but it is to make staff very much aware of the fact that they work for the County Manager. They don’t work for the County Council. And when the County Manager sets their priorities, we should not be changing those priorities. That’s just good common-sense management. (Leslie) Do we have Council Members pitching pet projects without going through the Manager? (Clyde) I think we did a fairly good job of containing that in the last couple of years. And, again, it’s part of our goals and objectives to just be more efficient.”
He said while the Council Members have their individual interests, the county has a process to deal with that.
“Y’know, we all have our own projects, goals and objectives that we’re working on. But the message is just simple—that we define those at the beginning of the year, if something comes up that is significant that we need to add, that we’ve overlooked, then we’ll take that up with the Manager, and figure out how to adjust.”
The county also wants to examine the staff time that goes to partnering with out-of-county agencies. Clyde said while the county wants to work with the Forest Service on, for instance, wildfire prevention, other items would be less of a priority.
“We have some forest agencies that we’re cooperating with that have a, really, a very small impact on our county. And for us to get fully involved in their National Environmental Policy Act funding and permitting process is not necessarily the best use of our time.”
Finally, on transportation, Clyde said they’re happy with the progress they’ve made in the past year. He said they are committed to getting the biggest bang for the buck from their existing resources.
Clyde said they’re also talking about expanding a couple of their routes.
“They’re not huge. It’s an existing line that runs out to Jeremy. Now we’re going to extend it out to Summit Park. We’re also looking at the line that runs out to the hospital, and the Health Department, and Peace House, etc. and looking to make that a regularly scheduled stop. So, again, just trying to do targeted improvements. Of course, we’re making improvements to the Kamas route by fixing up the parking lot there, putting in some restrooms so it’s a more functional park n ride.”
Summit County Council Member Doug Clyde.