MILLCREEK, Utah (ABC4 News) – Residents voted 2 to 1 to incorporate Millcreek as the newest city of the state making it the 10th largest city in Utah Tuesday.
“I’m very, very excited. Been waiting for this to happen for some time,” said Christina Balderas.
Having lived in Millcreek for 38 years, she’s seen the changes coming to the area and seen it grow from its status as a township to city. She was proactive in getting the votes for the the switch and says her neighbors were 100 percent behind the decision, and it showed at the polls.
Millcreek residents favored the switch 2 to 1. They made their voices heard at the polls as 66 percent of voters approved the measure, surpassing the 34 percent that wanted to keep the city as a township.
Driving up and down Millcreek neighborhoods pro-city signs stick out all over the place. On street corners, hanging on fences, and in people’s front yards. This effort showing the improved efforts by citizens to get the initiative passed. This isn’t the first time voters have tried to switch to a city. Three years ago it was tried and failed.
“It was a combination of getting a clear message out and the changes that about to come to our community. I think it was a mix of people getting the wrong message and confusing people,” said Balderas.
Those who opposed the transition cited their concern for an added layer of government as well as the cost for the new city. But residents in favor cited their concerns for rising taxes and the need for more autonomy.
“I just like that we’ll have total control than having 40 percent control and sharing with people who live far from us, you know? White City and Magna and Cooperton, they don’t care about Millcreek,” said Colleen Buchanan.
They say by having more control of what happens in their city they will be able to get things accomplished quicker. They just hope whoever becomes the next mayor will be able to keep taxes down while being able to maintain or surpass the services they already use.
Millcreek was the only township out of 6 that voted to become a city. Magna, Kearns, White City, Copperton, and Emigration Canyon all voted to remain a township. With a new city, Salt Lake County Mayor, Ben McAdams says this doesn’t change anything. The county will continue to work with all parties to provide them with the goods and services they may need.
“We had six different townships make a decision for their future today. Five of them chose to move as a metro township, one of them chose to move as a city and we’re here to serve all of them, and whatever way they feel it can be best delivered,” he said.
He goes on to add, “This was a trade off with what degree of autonomy versus the high quality resources that are shared. When you’re sharing these resources it costs less, but less autonomy…it really was an array of options,” he said. “All of them were good options for Salt Lake County. What form of local government best fits for their community and one of them chose a city, and now it’s our turn to meet their desires,” he says.
Now it’s up to Millcreek to decide what kind of government they’d like to see, and whether or not to contract the services they need for their new city.