Taylorsville-Bennion residents displayed a mixture of hope and fear as they gathered Thursday night to hear the first reports about the process that may lead to incorporation.
Most of the 300 residents gathered in the auditorium at Eisenhower Junior High seemed eager to claim an identity by forming a city of their own."I want Taylorsville-Bennion. I love this place," one man said after asking audience members who favor incorporation to raise their hands. Most did.
But the crowd included skeptics who fear creation of a new city will mean one thing: higher taxes.
"I feel this is the light rail of Taylorsville-Bennion," one man said. "I've voted on this several times, and it's been soundly defeated. Why are we here?"
Residents of Taylorsville-Bennion have staged three failed incorporation drives in the past - in 1983, 1988 and 1989.
So why try again? The answer given by members of the Taylorsville-Bennion Incorporation Committee is that the spread of cities across the valley is inevitable. Taylorsville-Bennion can either be consumed by a neighboring city or stake it's own spot on the map, the committee said.
"We're grown up now, and it's time we take responsibility for our own community," said Bruce Wasden, chairman of the Taylorsville-Bennion Community Council.
Wasden said the Conference of Mayors, made up of mayors of all valley cities, have made "no bones" about their interest in seeing Salt Lake County fill in with wall-to-wall cities.
"You decide," said John Brems, an attorney working with the incorporation committee. "I don't think it will stay the way it is." Kearns, West Jordan, Murray and West Valley City have all expressed interest in parts of Taylorsville-Bennion, he said.
A collective murmur of dismay rose when one member of the audience suggested joining another city - he named West Jordan - might not be so bad. Another man braved the crowd's disapproval by suggesting the incorporation committee investigate how costs and taxes might be affected if the area became part of another city.
That is an option, committee members said, although it is outside the scope of the incorporation feasibility study the Fry Management Group is conducting.
Some residents expressed impatience for specific information about what it will cost to run the proposed city of 55,000 residents. That's exactly what the Fry Management Group's study will provide.
Vicki and John Fry, the husband and wife team that comprise Fry Management, plan to release the report around May 15. The study primarily will focus on revenues and costs the proposed city could expect, as well as the impact on the county.
Vicki Fry said incorporating would not affect certain services to the area, including schools, water system, parks and recreation, libraries, flood control, paramedics, community and economic development or landfill.
Services that could change if the area incorporates include fire, sheriff, streets, planning and zoning and garbage. If residents pursue incorporation, they'll have to decide whether the new city will provide these services or contract for some or all of them from another city or the county, Vicki Fry said.
"If it's going to cost us a lot of money to incorporate than to stay with the county, I'll be one of the biggest opponents," said Leif Nelson, historian on the Taylorsville-Bennion Incorporation Committee. He voted against incorporating in the past but is now advocating the change.
So is El Schaffer, who also has dropped opposition to incorporation since some residents in his part of town began a push to be annexed into Murray.