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Summit County Council holds meetings with U.S. Congress representatives

Rep. John Curtis (left) listens to concerns from members of the Summit County Council and staff.
Summit County, UT
Rep. John Curtis (left) listens to concerns from members of the Summit County Council and staff.

Summit County Councilmembers met with the county’s federal congressional representatives over the past week, but one of the meetings was not announced publicly.

Quorums of the county council met with representatives of Blake Moore’s office Wednesday, April 19 and with Rep. John Curtis on Monday.

But Summit County didn’t provide notice before councilmembers met with Rep. Moore’s staff.

The Utah Open and Public Meetings Act requires meetings of elected bodies that contain a quorum of voting members to be announced publicly ahead of time.

Council Chair Roger Armstrong announced the misstep the same day it happened at the council’s weekly meeting.

“Our apologies to the public. We typically do not swing and miss on open meetings, but we swung and missed on this one,” Armstrong said. “It was an oversight.”

The whole council was at the meeting, except for Canice Harte, who was out of town that day, as well as County Manager Shayne Scott. The representatives with Moore’s office were staff members Anthony Coombs and Peter Jenks.

Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson said County Clerk Eve Furse realized the mistake between the meeting with Moore’s office and the regularly scheduled council meeting.

Olson said Furse called her immediately and the two set to work on compiling minutes from the meeting.

Officials seemed to think the meeting with Moore’s office had been noticed by mistaking it for a similar item added to the regular meeting agenda: a liaison for Curtis’ office, not Moore’s, was there to introduce himself.

That issue aside, the two special meetings served similar purposes and covered similar topics. The council was able to inform congressional representatives about the issues Summit County is facing.

Topics covered in both meetings included the loss of COVID-era federal funding for childcare, which has led to PC Tots doubling tuition. They also spoke to both offices about conservation efforts, especially in the Kamas Valley.

Armstrong said they thanked members of Moore’s office for the representative’s help to secure federal funding for High Valley Transit.

In the meeting with Rep. Curtis, the county council shared its side of the Dakota Pacific saga, as well as county woes at this year’s state legislative General Session.

It was also a time to coordinate county actions with a national legislator. The county council recently declared April Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and Deputy Council Manager Janna Young informed Rep. Curtis about a bill he could co-sponsor, the National Plan to end Parkinson's Act.

The meeting was notable for crossing party lines. The entire Summit County Council is Democratic, and Curtis is a Republican.

Curtis said he appreciated the council’s focus on what he does at the national level that they like and appreciate.

“That makes it easy for me to come,” Curtis said. “You can imagine coming into a setting where all I'm gonna hear about is the things you don't like about me, because we could spend a whole day on that.”

Councilmembers said they were similarly grateful for Curtis’ attentiveness. After Monday’s meeting, he had an appointment with the Summit Land Conservancy to talk about conservation efforts on the county’s east side.