This year’s session of the Utah State Legislature wraps up in just a couple of days, concluding March 12th.
Summit County’s Deputy Manager, Janna Young, says they’ve been able to forge compromises on a number of bills that worried the county. But they’re still watching some bills with concern—like a proposal that expands the authority of the Military Installation Development Authority.
Young has been watching the Legislature for Summit County for three years now. She said that the most terrifying bills that appear early in the session usually don’t get passed. She commended the work done to reach resolutions by county lobbyist, Des Barker, the county’s attorneys and the staff of the Utah Association of Counties.
“The ones that are really scary are the ones that either die, or they get assigned to interim for additional study, or they’re completely gutted and re-written, or we’ll able to amend them in a way that they work for us. At this point in the session, to be honest, most of the bills we were really worried about have been resolved, so we’re not monitoring a huge number of items right now. There are a few that we want to make sure stay intact, that we worked really hard on. There’s others that we support that we want to see passed. And then there’s a few we’re still working on some amendments for.”
She said they are keeping an eye on MIDA, since the legislature seems to increase its power every year. SB 192 sponsored by Senator Jerry Stevenson of Davis County, would allow the agency to create its own infrastructure district. Young said they’re concerned how this would impact the MIDA Authority established over the Mayflower area.
“It basically requires counties, and other political subdivisions as well as state departments, divisions and agencies to cooperate with MIDA to the fullest extent possible, to provide whatever support, information or other assistance MIDQA requests that is reasonably necessary to help them fulfill their duties and responsibilities. If it gets adopted, the county’s really concerned that we would not be able to push back on anything, should MIDA want to expand that development. And it may be that does not comport with our needs and values as a community.”
Last week, the bill was voted out of a Senate sub-committee. Paul Morris, Executive Director for MIDA, said then the change is needed for them to carry out projects involving private investment and construction.
“This law’s proposed to bring us in line with some federal laws. We want to do contracting with the federal government through inter-governmental service agreements, and this provides for that. It also brings our law in line with a bill that was passed by President Trump in December, which was the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020. And then we’re also allowed already to create subsidiaries to do our work. And we want to use the public infrastructure districts to be able to do that work.”
MIDA is an appointed body and locally it has no Wasatch Back representative. Janna Young said they’re concerned the new bill would allow MIDA to become a super-political subdivision that doesn’t have to follow the same rules as cities and counties.
“They don’t have to go through the normal public hearing process, should they want to levy a tax, under these new infrastructure districts. They also get to charge the resort community tax, which has only been available to resort cities up until now. And so there are a lot of concerns around this. And we feel like this is one more step toward that, that it’s kind of this steam engine that’s rolling, that we won’t ever be able to stop, even if it doesn’t comport with our land-use rules or our zoning codes or even safety, health and welfare of our community.”
Summit County Deputy Manager Janna Young.