As Proposition 10 moves toward its voting phase in the coming election, there has been some growing concern as to why it is absent in many voters’ ballots. Voters in Orderville, Glendale and Mount Carmel may be questioning why their voices will not be heard on the matter.
After interviewing town and county officials, a few common answers appeared: first and foremost, Prop 10 is specifically designed to operate within Kane County’s unincorporated areas. That is to say: the shuttle system proposed will only have pick-up stops and staging areas within the borders of towns that have opted into the resolution; with the exception of driving through areas that have not opted in, the shuttles won’t have any operations within such areas.
According to policymakers in Orderville, “We weren’t really given the opportunity to opt in. We reviewed some of the minutes for the commission chambers stating that while Kanab was signing on to the resolution, Orderville and Glendale would be given the chance to opt in at a later date. We were never told when that later date would be, and we were never notified about our chance to opt in in the first place. Saying the town of Orderville has opted out of voting on Prop 10 just isn’t true. We never got that phone call.”
To be clear, Prop 10 is designed very deliberately to have little to no impact on taxation and logistical operation in the incorporated areas of the county. The resolution’s official text states: “The District [established by the proposition] is expected to be funded through private donations and through local, state, and federal grants … the District will have legal authority to charge fees for services but may not impose a fee on real property … may not levy taxes upon taxable property, or impose a sales and use tax … Based on the funding method of the District, it is estimated that the financial impact on district residents will be $0.”
The proposition is made specifically to not impose taxes or fees on the residents of the county, which is why it is able to operate without a county-wide popular vote. In addition, it is outside the legal jurisdiction for the county to establish such an area within city limits.
Kane County Attorney Rob Van Dyke stated as much in a recent social media post: “The transportation district that is proposed under proposition 10 only covers the unincorporated area of the county and Kanab City. Residents of these areas are required by state law to approve it before it can be created. The town council of the other towns in the county would have to ask their voters if they want to be a part of the district in order for it to be on their ballot. The county and Kanab City cannot start the creation of the proposed district in these other towns.”
By Utah law, it’s outside the authority of the county to assume such desire for participation in places that haven’t explicitly stated as much. Kane County Clerk and Auditor Karla Johnson said on the issue, “Kane County adopted this resolution, and the county can only adopt something like this regarding an unincorporated area. The county welcomes any of its cities and towns to be part of the project, but cannot and would not impose membership in such a project.”
The county doesn’t have the authority to establish a district operating in places like Orderville, because that’s the town’s jurisdiction, so they set it up outside of Orderville’s city lines entirely. The shuttles will pass through Mt. Carmel, and that’s about all the interaction the valley will get out of necessity, unless the people there state their explicit interest in joining the project.
This whole process will presumably take too long for any votes against the initial passing of Prop 10 to be registered from voters in incorporated areas that have not yet opted in, however County officials have stated, “If they want in, nobody’s going to stop them.”
Towns in the incorporated area leadership are welcome to begin the process of their own resolutions to join the Prop 10 project; after a vote, either in a standard election or a special election specifically for the issue, incorporated areas like the cities of Orderville and Glendale can still sign on and have their voices heard.