Millcreek Incorporation: Process
Feasibility Study Petition - the 1st Petition
This petition is simply a request of the citizens that their government conduct a feasibility study for incorporation. State law requires that the petition include all of the following:
- The names and addresses of petition signers
- A specific description of the proposed incorporation area
- The names of five petition sponsors
- An accurate map or plat of the proposed study area prepared by a licensed surveyor
- A request that the County Council commission a detailed study to determine the feasibility of the proposed incorporation.
The petition must be signed by land owners equaling 10% of the private land area AND 7% of the private land value.
Certification of the Feasibility Study Petition by the County Clerk
Once the petition is submitted, the County Clerk has 45 days to determine whether the petition meets the statutory requirements outlined above.
On January 7, 2011, County Clerk Sherrie Swensen certified that the petition requesting a feasibility study of incorporation in the Millcreek Township met the statutory requirements.
Hiring of a Feasibility Study Consultant by the County Council
State law requires that the County Council hire a consultant to complete a feasibility study of the proposed incorporation area within 60 days of receiving certification of a petition from the County Clerk. The County Council received notification of the County Clerk’s certification of the petition on January 10, 2011 and had until March 14, 2011 to hire a consultant to conduct a feasibility study. The committee to select a consultant included a person designated by the County Council, a person designated by the feasibility study petition sponsors, and a person designated by the Governor.
The feasibility study considered:
- Historical, geographic and topographical issues
- The effect of the proposed incorporation on islands or peninsulas of unincorporated territory surrounding the proposed incorporation area
- The effect on future annexation or incorporation by other cities
- Fiscal and taxation impact
- Economic projections and proposed growth
- Total costs compared to total revenues
- The general effect on surrounding cities, especially considering past and projected growth
In addition to reviewing the issues outlined above, the feasibility study directly addressed the “105% rule.” Under this rule, state law requires that when the costs of a proposed incorporation area are compared to the revenue of the area, the revenue cannot exceed the cost by more than 5%. As long as the petition meets the minimum statutory requirements, violation of the 105% rule is the only reason the County Council can reject a proposed incorporation proposal. In fact, the County Council must reject the petition if the 105% limitation is exceeded. These two provisions of state law are designed to prohibit a new municipality from making a tax windfall by incorporating, while resting the decision for incorporation with the people impacted.
It is important to note that if the incorporation petition is rejected for violation of the 105% rule, petition sponsors may request modified boundaries to try to meet the 105% rule without initiating a new petition. The modified area cannot be more than 20% smaller or more than 20% larger than the original proposal; and the modification must be submitted within 90 days of the initial submission of the feasibility study. For example, if the petition did not meet the requirements of the 105% rule, petition sponsors may modify the proposed area to meet that requirement. The sponsors may find that removing a shopping center from the proposed area would help the proposal comply with the 105% rule. This would be permitted as long as the new proposal did not vary from the former proposal by more than 20%. Any variation for both land area and land value that is 20% or less would be acceptable.
Public Hearings on the Feasibility Study
The feasibility study found that the proposed incorporation complies with state statute and the 105% limitation is not violated, therefore the County Council was required to schedule two public hearings within 60 days to allow petition sponsors to explain the proposed incorporation, the findings of the feasibility study and receive public comment.
The hearings were held on July 19, 2011 and August 2, 2011.
Incorporation Petition - the 2nd Petition
Following the public hearing process, a second petition had to be initiated within 18 months after the completion of the second public hearing. A second petition can only be initiated if the 105% limitation is not violated. In addition to required statutory petition language, the incorporation petition included:
- The names of five petition sponsors, including their addresses and phone numbers
- A statement that petition signers appoint the five identified sponsors to represent the signers in the process of:
Selecting the total number of council members for the city
Establishing council district boundaries
- The names and addresses of all petition signers
- A specific description of the proposed incorporation area
- The proposed name of the city to be incorporated
- An accurate map or plat of the proposed study area prepared by a licensed surveyor.
The incorporation petition must be signed by the owners of private real property that covers at least 1/3 of the total private land area within the proposed incorporation area AND is equal in value to at least 1/3 of the value of all private real estate within the area.
Certification of the Incorporation Petition by the County Clerk
The County Clerk had 45 days to certify or reject the incorporation petition and notify petition sponsors.
The petition to place the Millcreek Township incorporation issue on the November 2012 ballot was certified by the Salt Lake County Clerk on June 6, 2012.
A note regarding petition signatures
A signature on a petition for a feasibility study may be used toward the signature requirement for the incorporation petition if the feasibility study petition notified the signer in “conspicuous language” that the signature would be used for the incorporation petition. This was the case with the Millcreek petition.
As the feasibility study signature threshold has been met, all new signatures collected as of January 10, 2011, are for placing the incorporation item on the ballot. A person who signed the feasibility study petition can withdraw their signature for the second incorporation petition by submitting a written request to the County Clerk’s office that they would like their signature removed. This can be done in either the form of an email or signature on a letter requesting the removal of their name. This must be done before the incorporation petition is filed with the Clerk.