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Summit County Council Talks Economic Aid, Stevens' Election

While COVID-19 was the major topic for the Summit County Council last week, they also looked at such items as financial aid for the county, tax rates—and the county’s profile on TV.


At its July 1 meeting, the Council heard a presentation on the Rural County Grant program started by the Utah State Legislature this year. Councilor Kim Carson said there have been several different programs set up in the past to help diversify the economy in rural areas and that the county is examining its own initiatives.


“It was kind of a hodgepodge,” she said. “And what they did, because things were so scattered and people really weren’t sure, both businesses and counties, of just what was available and who was able to apply for different pots, they simplified it, in that they just created one larger program. But it’s more flexible in its view. We’ll be looking at creating a county economic development advisory board.”


On another item, the County Auditor presented the certified tax rates for 2020 for the county and other local taxing entities. In that presentation, he noted that property valuations went up in several areas. Carson wasn’t yet sure if the pandemic would hurt property taxes.


“We haven’t so far seen any indication that there’s a large decline,” she said. “We just don’t think we’ll probably see as large of an increase this year. But again, we’ll have to wait and see.


She added that residents likely won’t see an increase in their taxes unless their property was subject to one of the county’s periodic reassessments.


And in an informal discussion, the Council talked about “ The County Seat”—a program shown on weekend television in cooperation with the Utah Association of Counties.


Carson said the program has been useful to showcase what’s going on in Summit County or to focus on important issues like wildfire prevention. The county has made payments going back about two years for segments on the show. But Carson said the expense may be a “want’ rather than a “need.”


“They have occasionally approached us, particularly when we’re down at the Legislature, during the session, and asked us to participate—’Would you like to be part of this panel discussion, she said. “And so this past year that’s happened. And we really weren’t aware that they were adding another segment to our costs. We haven’t agreed to pay for those. However, we feel like the ones that we have done have been useful. But we’ll evaluate it again going forward. Again, this year, with our current budget concerns, we’re not gonna be too likely to spend any additional money on things that are nice to have.”


Finally, Carson said she was happy with the Democratic primary election that determined her successor on the council last week. She said there were two good candidates to choose from, but she had endorsed last week’s winner, Malena Stevens, over Canice Harte. 


The November general election is still ahead, but there are no other declared candidates. She said Stevens will be a fine addition to the council.


“I think she has a skill set that will complement the other skill sets that we currently have on the Council, and just bring a different perspective.”

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